Govt Considering Adding Time Delay for First Transactions Between Users to Combat Online Frauds

Time delay will add friction to payments but officials see it as a necessary evil to curb ever-increasing online frauds.

Highlights
  • The government could introduce a minimum four-hour delay for every first transaction between two users.
  • The delay will likely be introduced for payments above Rs 2,000.
  • The delay could cover all forms of digital payments like UPI, IMPS, and RTGS.

Online payment methods have made our lives a lot easier, especially thanks to UPI money transfers. It is only a matter of a few seconds and you can send or receive money from anyone and anywhere in India. This easiness of payments has also led to an exponential growth in online fraud. Scammers are able to trick innocent people into sending them money almost instantly. In an attempt to curb online fraud, the government is considering the idea of introducing time delays for first transactions between users.

A new report from The Indian Express cites anonymous government officials to make the claim. It says the government has plans to introduce a minimum time delay of four hours for first transactions between users. The delay will be there for every first transaction between users with no transaction history.

The goal is to add the time delay for all types of online payment methods. These include the new-age UPI payments as well as traditional methods of Immediate Payment Service (IMPS) and Real Time Gross Settlement (RTGS). The proposed limitation plan may sound similar but has a different approach from existing payment limitations for new users.

In the current state, the government has imposed a limit of Rs 5,000 for the first 24 hours after UPI account creation. As for NEFT payments, there is a limit of Rs 50,000 for the first 24 hours after a new beneficiary is activated. The proposed time delay will work for every first transaction regardless of the account creation situation.

The report further adds government is thinking of imposing the time delay limit only when the transaction amount is above Rs 2,000. This is the ensure that low-scale buying like grocery shopping and day-to-day purchases do not get affected. The officials said the initial plan was not to add any payment limit which was changed later after considering low-scale buying situations.

Officials have also told the publication that they are aware time delays will add friction to the smoothness of online payments. However, it is a necessary evil to have in order to curb online fraud. This is understandable considering the significant increase in the number of people complaining about getting scammed, especially through the UPI payment mode.

One important thing to note is that this is still in the discussion stage and it may take a while before the time delay is implemented. The government may also make changes to how it is implemented when and if the time comes.

In other related news, Google recently launched the DigiKavach threat detection system to identify financial fraud in India. It is said to be capable of notifying the government and cyber department when it detects a possibility of financial crimes.