Hyderabad: Mobile operators, who have got payment bank licence from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), have been accused of opening m-wallet or payment bank accounts for their customers without their knowledge. Some customers, who had visited mobile customer service centre for linking their mobile numbers with Aadhaar, claim to have received messages about activation of m-wallet/payment bank account without them downloading the app or providing their consent.
Following a direction of the Supreme Court making it mandatory for people to link their mobile numbers with Aadhaar, telecom companies have been bombarding with reminder messages about the Aadhaar linkage. While basic m-wallet doesn’t require KYC compliance, an RBI official claimed that banks will be penalised if any account was found to be without KYC compliance.
“Payment banks are not exempted from this rule. In a few circumstances, KYC is not required for transfering an amount below Rs 15,000. But, without knowledge of customers, opening an account is against the norms of the RBI,” he said. Some customers, whom this newspaper had spoken to, believe that the staff of the customer service centre are sharing the Aadhaar details of customers — submitted for mobile-Aadhaar linkage — for activating the M-Wallet app and in some cases payment bank accounts, without express consent of the customers.
S. Siddharth Mohan, a techie from AS Rao Nagar, said he got a message soon after providing the biometric authentication, stating that his M-Wallet app of the mobile service provider has been activated and he could send money, recharge phones, pay bills etc., through the app by depositing some money in it. “How did they create my account without my requesting it?” he asked. “Immediately I went to the same outlet where I had provided biometric authentication and questioned the operator. They raised a complaint ticket and closed my m-wallet account,” he explained.
J.V. Ramana, who owns a retail store in Uppal, said that he has not submitted his Aadhaar details to the mobile provider but he is frequently receives messages insisting to download the pre-activated m-wallet app. “I use m-Banking app frequently for my business and have a few third-party payment apps like Paytm. We have a family CUG (Closed User Group) with the same mobile operator. Surprisingly, the operator is sending messages to only me, leaving out the 12 CUG numbers. I doubt if the telecom firm is monitoring my m-banking transactions, he said.
- Mobile operators are creating Payment Bank Accounts of customers without their knowledge
- As per the guidelines of the RBI, the mobile operator can create an account only after receiving KYC from customers for fund transfers above Rs15,000. Customer must provide PAN details to the M-wallet app to transfer funds up to Rs 1 lakh.
- In cases of pre-activated M-wallet apps, raise the issue with your concerned customer service centre or mobile operator outlet.
- To avoid such practices by mobile operators, customers should be careful while providing biometric authentication.
- Mobile operators who have online/offline stores are luring customers with gift vouchers and cash back offers after activating M-wallet app account without their knowledge.