We reported yesterday that many recurring paymentswere set to fail from April 1 as banks, card companies and online vendors hadn’t upgraded their systems to comply with new RBI rules. Earlier today, the central bank said the new rules will now come into effect on October 1. Whew.
Also in today’s letter:
🚨FB, Twitter announce election plans
🛒Club Factory fights back
💰Uniphore bags $140M
Good news: your recurring payments won’t fail from tomorrow
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has extended the deadline for banks, card companies and online vendors to comply with its new rules for recurring payments by another six months to September 30, 2021.
Catch up quick: Earlier set to kick in from April 1, the new rules require banks to send a notification to customers a day before their automatic payments are due, with a choice to opt-out.
Several banks and card networks including HDFC, SBI, ICICI, Axis, Mastercard and Amex were set to decline all auto-pay transactions from April 1 as they needed more time to upgrade their systems to comply with RBI’s new rules.
Breathe easy for now: The new rule will have had a major impact on people who have set up automatic payments for everything from mobile and utility bills to subscription fees for video and audio streaming services. The RBI’s rules also say that for recurring payments of over Rs 5,000, banks must send customers a one-time password, essentially negating the auto-debit option.
- One company that was expected to benefit from the move was BillDesk. Its readymade platform, Standing Instructions (SI) Hub, which it built last year with Visa, would have come in handy for banks and others looking for a readymade alternative.
RBI wields rod: While extending the deadline, the RBI said it has noted the non-compliance by stakeholders “with serious concern” and said this “will be dealt with separately”. It also noted that any delays beyond the new deadline will attract “stringent supervisory action”.
How Facebook and Twitter will fight fake news during elections
Facebook and Twitter have announced their plans to combat hate speech and misinformation ahead of state elections in Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Assam, Kerala and Puducherry.
Why does it matter? Facebook and Twitter have come under fire in several countries for dragging their feet on combating election-related hate speech and misinformation.
What is Facebook doing?
- Significantly reducing distribution of content identified by its proactive detection technology as likely hate speech or violence and incitement. Facebook said it has made substantial investments in proactive detection technology.
- Identified content will face reduced distribution until Facebook determines whether it violates their policies or not. If it does, the content will be removed.
- Setting up a high-priority channel to remove content that breaks its rules or is against local law after receiving valid legal orders.
- Temporarily reducing the distribution of content from accounts that have recently and repeatedly violated its policies.
- Election day reminders to give voters accurate information and encourage them to share this information with their friends. Read more.
What is Twitter doing?
- Setting up a team with local, cultural, and language expertise to run its election-integrity work. It will be responsible for keeping the service safe from attempts at manipulation, and from content that could incite violence, abuse and threats.
- Deploying tech-based tools to more efficiently detect abusive content.
- Removing content that manipulates or interferes with elections and is false or contains misleading information about election procedures.
- Preventing certain terms that violate its rules from appearing in the Trends section.
- Labelling synthetic and manipulated media and linking it to a Twitter Moment to give people more context and help them make informed decisions.
- Creating an events page dedicated to the Assembly elections on voting days. On results day, it will include a timeline of tweets from credible accounts. It will be available through Twitter’s Explore tab. Read more.
Tweet of the day
Club Factory may invoke force majeure
Banned Chinese e-commerce firm Club Factory plans to invoke force majeure to counter Indian companies and vendors that have approached the courts to recover their dues from the company.
- Jargon check: Force majeure is a clause in contracts that frees both parties from liability or obligation when an extraordinary event or circumstance beyond the control of the parties prevents one or both of them from fulfilling their obligations under the contract. Most force majeure clauses do not excuse a party’s non-performance entirely, they only suspend it for the duration of the force majeure.
What’s the case? BPO companies Cyfuture and Aegis, which had provided customer-care support to Club Factory, have filed separate cases in the Delhi High Court to recover Rs 5 crore in combined dues.
India ban: Club Factory was banned in India along with TikTok, Shareit and UC Browser in the first wave of Chinese app suspensions last June. About a month later, the e-commerce marketplace suspended its operations in the country. In August 2020, an association representing over 2,000 sellers on various e-commerce platforms complained to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) about Club Factory, saying the company hadn’t paid their dues.
Uniphore Technologies bags $140M funding
Uniphore Technologies, a startup that uses artificial intelligence to improve customer service calls, has landed $140 million in Series D funding.
Who participated in the round? Led by Palo Alto-based Sorenson Capital Partners, it also included new investors Serena Capital, Sanabil Investments and Cisco Investments, and existing investors March Capital Partners, National Grid Partners, Chiratae Ventures, Iron Pillar Fund and Sistema Capital.
What’s the plan? Uniphore plans to use the funds to extend its AI tools to the video calling market and strengthen its foothold. It will also focus on building applications for the security and robotic process automation markets.
- Uniphore said its growth has been extremely strong in the past 12 months, and that it expects to have $100 million worth of earnings from annually recurring contracts in fiscal 2022 based on its forecasts.
Meanwhile, Amazon has acquired Bengaluru-based retail startup Perpule for Rs 107.6 crore. Digitising small offline retailers is considered crucial for winning in India’s fast-growing online retail sector.
Hybrid work a boon for women back from a break
Women professionals who were on a mid-career break are benefitting from more opportunities in hybrid work as companies are keen to retain them.
Hiring trend: There has been a 25%-37% increase in the number of women applying for jobs and getting hired across sectors such as healthcare, e-commerce, retail, knowledge process outsourcing, IT, pharma and automotive, according to data from recruitment firm TeamLease. The demand has been trending higher across roles such as sales and marketing, IT, office services and manufacturing.
About four in 10 working women in India were facing anxiety and stress issues due to work-from-home, according to a recent report by Pink Ladder, an organisation that focuses on career growth for women professionals. It said the key reason for this is that many women have to juggle their personal and professional commitments.
Also read: Working women want to return to office, now
Today’s ETtech Top 5 was curated by Vikas SN in Bengaluru.