NRB to bring firms operating payment gateway under its ambit

Kathmandu, November 27

Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB), the banking sector regulator, will soon bring firms that operate payment gateways, such as

eSewa and Hello Paisa, under its ambit.

“We will soon bring out a guideline on licensing which will pave the way for firms operating payment gateways to obtain licence from NRB,” Mahesh Bhattarai, chief of Payment and Settlement Department at NRB, told the Financial Inclusion and Payment Systems Security Conference organised here today by the Information Technology Security Emergency Response Team, Nepal.

NRB is preparing the guideline based on Payment and Settlement Bylaw introduced earlier this year.

“We have also prepared the draft of Payment and Settlement Act which will soon be forwarded to Parliament,” Bhattarai said. “Once the Act is endorsed, we will be able to better regulate firms operating electronic payment system.”

Although firms operating payment gateways here are legal establishments, they have so far not been able to obtain licence from the central monetary authority due to the absence of a proper legal framework.

It is believed that the launch of a necessary legal framework on payment and settlement would help NRB fully automate payment and settlement system, and promote financial transactions through the use of electronic money.

Online financial transactions have become common in many developed and developing countries and they have made life of people easier, as one can now trade using computers and smartphones.

However, such transactions are not risk-free because online systems usually come under attack, which not only exposes personal information of individuals but inflicts financial losses to the tune of millions, if not billions, of rupees.

It is said 345 new threats emerge on the internet every minute. These threats are expected to rise as the number of internet users continues to grow.

Currently, there are around three billion internet users throughout the world. This number is expected to surge to four billion by 2020.

With the rise in the number of internet users, businesses have also started shifting to digital platform to cater to the needs of customers who have gone online.

“And along with this, online threats are also increasing,” said Yuvraj Pradhan, head of pre-sales for India and SAARC, Intel Security.

One of the reasons for this, according to Pradhan, is easy availability of tools to launch online attacks.

“A toolkit that can bring a system down can now be purchased online for a few hundred dollars. So, businesses conducting online transactions should build solutions to protect the system from threats, detect threats as soon as the system comes under attack, and rapidly roll out corrective measures.”