Paytm's Strategic Moves: Nodal Account Shift and RBI's Deadline Extension

With the RBI extending the unit wind-down date to March 15, the company strives to maintain normal operations beyond the regulatory deadline.

Gobind Arora
Published on: 17 Feb 2024 7:37 AM GMT
Paytms Strategic Moves: Nodal Account Shift and RBIs Deadline Extension
Paytm (PC: Social Media)

In a bid to navigate its ongoing financial challenges, Paytm has strategically shifted its nodal account to Axis Bank, aiming to ensure the seamless settlement of merchant transactions. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) recently extended the deadline for Paytm Payments Bank to wind down its operations to March 15, providing a lifeline for the popular digital payment platform.

Despite facing regulatory scrutiny and persistent non-compliance issues, Paytm remains determined to sustain key services beyond the RBI's specified dates. The company assured users that essential features such as Paytm QR codes, soundbox, and card machines will continue to operate smoothly, even after March 15.

This strategic move comes amidst a broader financial crisis for Paytm, with the RBI instructing the payments bank to halt fresh deposits in its accounts and wallets by February 29. The extended deadline offers customers, including merchants, additional time to make alternative arrangements as Paytm seeks to address the regulatory concerns raised by the central bank.

In response to the RBI's directives, Paytm stated, "The company has shifted its nodal account to Axis Bank (by opening an escrow account) to continue seamless merchant settlements as before." The transition to Axis Bank is seen as a crucial step to maintain normalcy in Paytm's operations, particularly in facilitating merchant transactions.

While the extension provides a temporary reprieve for users to withdraw or utilize funds in their Paytm Payments Bank accounts and wallets until exhaustion, it prohibits any fresh funds or deposits after March 15, 2024. The RBI's detailed set of customer clarifications emphasizes the need for customers to make alternative arrangements for salary transfers or other fund credits into their Paytm accounts.

Merchants relying on Paytm's QR codes for payment acceptance can continue to do so, provided these codes are linked to accounts other than those held by Paytm Payments Bank. However, the regulatory restrictions extend to products like FASTags, which constitute nearly a fifth share of India's toll collections. The RBI specifies that FASTags cannot be recharged or topped up after the March 15 deadline.

As Paytm grapples with these regulatory challenges, the company's non-executive chairman, Vijay Shekhar Sharma, has engaged with RBI officials and the finance minister to advocate against the regulatory crackdown. Despite these efforts, RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das reiterated that there would be no review of the decision.

The coming weeks will undoubtedly be critical for Paytm as it strives to navigate the regulatory landscape, uphold user confidence, and maintain the operational integrity of its services. The strategic shift to Axis Bank signifies a determined effort to ensure uninterrupted merchant settlements, emphasizing the company's commitment to providing continuity amid the evolving regulatory scenario.

Gobind Arora

Gobind Arora

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