The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) issued a directive vide circular DPSS.CO.OD.No 2785/06.08.005/2017-18 dated April 06, 2018 on ‘Storage of Payment System Data’ advising all system providers to ensure that, within a period of six months, the entire data relating to payment systems operated by them is stored in a system only in India.

Payment System Operators (PSOs) have sought clarification on certain implementation issues, from time to time, from Reserve Bank. The FAQs are intended to provide clarity on those issues to facilitate and ensure expeditious compliance by all PSOs.

  • Applicability of the direction: The directions are applicable to all Payment System providers authorized / approved by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to set up and operate a payment system in India under the Payment and Settlement Systems Act, 2007. Banks function as operators of a payment system or as participant in a payment system. They are participants in (i) payment systems operated by RBI viz., RTGS and NEFT, (ii) systems operated by CCIL and NPCI, and (iii) in card schemes. The directions are, therefore, applicable to all banks operating in India.

The directions are also applicable in respect of the transactions through system participants, service providers, intermediaries, payment gateways, third party vendors and other entities (by whatever name referred to) in the payments ecosystem, who are retained or engaged by the authorized / approved entities for providing payment services. The responsibility to ensure compliance with the provisions of these directions would be on the authorised / approved PSOs to ensure that such data is stored only in India as required under the above directions.

  • Where should the payment data be stored? The entire payment data shall be stored in systems located only in India, except in cases clarified herein.
  • Clarification regarding data that needs to be stored in India: The data should include end-to-end transaction details and information pertaining to payment or settlement transaction that is gathered / transmitted / processed as part of a payment message / instruction. This may, interalia, include – Customer data (Name, Mobile Number, email, Aadhaar Number, PAN number, etc. as applicable); Payment sensitive data (customer and beneficiary account details); Payment Credentials (OTP, PIN, Passwords, etc.); and, Transaction data (originating & destination system information, transaction reference, timestamp, amount, etc.).
  • Storage of data pertaining to cross-border transactions: For cross border transaction data, consisting of a foreign component and a domestic component, a copy of the domestic component may also be stored abroad, if required.
  • Can the payment system data be shared with overseas regulators? The data may be shared with the overseas regulator, if so required, depending upon the nature / origin of transaction with due approval of RBI.
  • Clarification in respect of entities earlier permitted to store banking data abroad?  In the case of banks, especially foreign banks, earlier specifically permitted to store the banking data abroad, they may continue to do so; however, in respect of domestic payment transactions, the data shall be stored only in India, whereas for cross border payment transactions, the data may also be stored abroad as indicated earlier.

Source: RBI