Lightweight and Portable Payment System

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The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is developing a lightweight and portable payment system designed to operate during catastrophic events.

About Lightweight and Portable Payment System:

  • The RBI has conceptualized this system which it is calling a bunker which is an equivalent of digital payments that can be operated from anywhere by a bare minimum staff in exigencies such as natural calamities or war.
  • It is expected to operate on minimalistic hardware and software and would be made active only on a need basis.
  • The infrastructure for this system will be independent of the technologies that underlie the existing systems of payments such as UPI, NEFT, and RTGS.
  • The system is expected to process transactions that are critical to ensure the stability of the economy, including government and market-related transactions.
  • The existing conventional payment systems such as RTGS, NEFT, and UPI are designed to handle large volumes of transactions while ensuring sustained availability.
  • As a result, they are dependent on complex wired networks backed by advanced IT infrastructure.

What is NEFT?

  • The National Electronic Funds Transfer is an electronic method of transferring money online.
  • It enables transferring funds from the account maintained with any bank to any other bank branch, provided the transaction is attempted between the banks that participate in the NEFT payment system.
  • The payments made via NEFT are processed and settled half hourly batches and transactions can be performed 24*7.
  • Minimum Transfer Value: Rs. 1
  • Maximum transfer value: No limit
  • Money transfer made through NEFT does not require any additional transaction costs.

What is RTGS?

  • It stands for Real-time Gross Settlement, which is a payment mode where the money is transferred from one bank account to the other in real time, without any delay. 
  • It is mostly used for transactions of high value.
  • When using the banking method, RTGS is the fastest possible way to transfer money.
  • Transactions made through RTGS are processed on a one-to-one basis and transactions can be performed 24*7.
  • Minimum Transfer Value: Rs. 2 lakh
  • Maximum transfer value: No upper limit is there, but can vary between banks.


Q1) What is UPI?

UPI stands for Unified Payments Interface. It is a real-time payment system developed by the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI). UPI enables individuals to instantly transfer funds between bank accounts using their mobile phones.

Source: Alternative to UPI, NEFT, RTGS: What is RBI’s planned ‘lightweight’ payments system for emergencies?