Razorpay, Cashfree receive final RBI nod to operate as payment aggregators

In a significant development for the Indian fintech landscape, major payment processing players, including Razorpay and Cashfree, have received the final nod from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to operate as Payment Aggregators (PAs). This comes after a year-long pause on onboarding new merchants imposed by the RBI and reflects a crucial milestone for these companies. Let’s delve into the details of this regulatory approval, the companies involved, and the potential impact on the burgeoning e-commerce and payment processing sector.

Credits: MoneyControl

Regulatory Approval and Company Statements

The RBI’s move to authorize Razorpay, Cashfree, and Neobanking fintech Open as Payment Aggregators under the Payment Settlements Act, 2007, marks the end of a year-long period during which these companies, along with others, were prevented from onboarding new merchants. Razorpay and Cashfree took to LinkedIn to announce the regulatory milestone.

Cashfree, in a LinkedIn post on December 19, expressed their excitement about receiving the final authorization and shared their readiness to onboard businesses onto the Cashfree Payment Gateway. Razorpay, in an official statement to Moneycontrol, confirmed the receipt of final authorization and expressed enthusiasm about onboarding new businesses on their Payment Gateway platform.

Open, the Neobanking fintech, also received approval from the RBI to operate as a Payment Aggregator. Open’s CEO, Anish Achuthan, emphasized the significance of the approval, highlighting the company’s dedication to regulatory standards and its commitment to serving Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).

Industry Landscape and Impact

Pause and Advisory from RBI

The RBI’s decision to pause the onboarding of online payment merchants, including industry giants like Razorpay and Cashfree, was initially announced in December 2022. This move was accompanied by an advisory to halt onboarding until the companies received the final authorization as Payment Aggregators. The pause affected several players in the industry, including Stripe, leading to a temporary halt in expanding their merchant base.

Others in the Queue

While Razorpay, Cashfree, and Open celebrate their newfound status as authorized Payment Aggregators, others in the industry, including Enkash and Paymentz, have also reportedly received approval. However, notable players such as PayTm, PayU, and JusPay are still awaiting the final nod from the RBI, according to industry sources. The delay in approval for some players underscores the stringent regulatory processes in place.

In-Principle Approval and Audit

In July 2022, Pine Labs, Razorpay, and Stripe became the first players to receive in-principle approval for the Payment Aggregator license. However, the final approval was pending with the RBI for more than a year. The RBI outlined a procedure wherein companies with in-principle approval would need to conduct an audit within the next six months to obtain the final nod. This audit requirement aligns with the RBI’s standard protocol for all licenses.

Company Profiles

Razorpay

Razorpay, founded in 2014, has emerged as one of India’s leading payment processing companies. Offering a range of solutions, including payment gateways and business banking services, Razorpay has been a key player in the digital payments ecosystem. The recent authorization as a Payment Aggregator further solidifies its position in the market.

Cashfree

Cashfree, founded in 2015, has been a prominent player in the online payments space. Known for its robust payment gateway solutions, Cashfree caters to businesses of all sizes. With the final authorization from the RBI, Cashfree is now poised to resume onboarding new merchants and continue driving growth in the payments sector.

Open

Open, a neobanking fintech, focuses on providing financial solutions to SMEs. The company, founded in 2017, has gained recognition for its innovative approach to business banking. The approval as a Payment Aggregator enhances Open’s capabilities, allowing it to better serve its SME clientele.

Potential Impact and Conclusion

The RBI’s authorization of Razorpay, Cashfree, and Open as Payment Aggregators signifies a positive turn for the fintech industry in India. As these companies resume onboarding new businesses, the e-commerce and payment processing landscape is expected to witness increased competition and innovation. The move aligns with the RBI’s commitment to maintaining regulatory standards while fostering growth in the digital payments sector.

For Razorpay, Cashfree, and Open, the regulatory approval opens new avenues for expansion and underscores their commitment to compliance. As these companies navigate the audit process and resume onboarding, they are poised to play a pivotal role in shaping the future of digital payments in India. The impact of this regulatory milestone goes beyond individual companies, contributing to the overall dynamism and competitiveness of the Indian fintech ecosystem.