Innovation for Transformation

      HARBINGER 2021 Winners :

1st Place Naffa Innovations Pvt. Limited
Runner up - Extolabs LLC

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#harbinger2021 #rbihackathon #innovationfortransformation

Be a part of haRBInger 2021
  • Start Registration

  • Submit Proposals

  • Shortlist Finalists

  • Submit Solutions

  • Announce Winners

All timings are as per (GMT -10:00) Hawaii
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About Us

About HARBINGER 2021

Let’s build a smarter digital payment ecosystem.

Reserve Bank of India (RBI) - India's central banking authority invites your innovative ideas for the four problem statements under the overarching theme of 'Smarter Digital Payments'.

RBI, through its guidance and support, has been able to transform India into a country riding the crest of a wave in the evolution of digital payments and continues to do so by fostering innovation.

Increase in digital payments in India have not only facilitated in achieving greater financial inclusion, but also interoperability among payment systems, unparalleled ease of transactions, robust customer protection measures have made India's retail payment system one of the safest in the world.

The journey has only just begun, and we are mindful of the challenges ahead, and we invite ideas to enhance the reach, convenience, and experience of the users, while making digital payments smart and secure.

If you have an innovative solution, haRBInger 2021 is the right platform.

Wish to learn more: visit https://fintech.rbi.org.in/FT_HaRBInger

Problem Statements

HARBINGER 2021 aims to identify and enable solutions and/or business models that have the potential to make digital payments accessible to the underpriviledged section, enhancing the ease of payments, enriching the experience of the users while strengthening the security of digital payments and protecting the consumers.

It aims to solve the following challenges in the payment and settlement landscape:

Alternate authentication mechanism

Alternate authentication mechanism for digital payments. (internet and mobile payments)

Presently, most of the digital payments are authenticated by a Personal Identification Number(PIN)/password/CVV followed by a One-Time Password (OTP) which is received by the remitter over his mobile phone. While the SMS through which the OTP is received is not an encrypted secure messaging system, the instances of digital payment frauds where the users are tricked into sharing the OTP have also been observed. As such, an alternate smart secure authentication mechanism may result in more secure digital transactions.

Context based retail payments solution

Context based retail payments to remove the physical act of payment from payment experience.

Context based payments require no direct interaction between the customer and the merchant. It is mostly contingent on completion of an underlying activity and may include automatic payment at grocery stores once a customer exits the store. Different use cases in the retail segment can be thought of to enable a seamless payment experience which may include an application. The solutions may also focus on consent mechanism, fraud prevention and security features besides enhancing the user experience.

Non-mobile digital payment solutions

Innovative, easy-to-use, non-mobile digital payment solutions for converting small ticket cash transactions to digital mode.

In order to onboard the under privileged and underserved faction of the society to digital payments, non-mobile, swift and easy-to-use innovative solutions for converting small value cash payments of amount less than Rs. 100 to digital mode, may be explored. This would enhance the reach of digital payments and enable a greater inclusion of the underserved into the mainstream.

Social Media Analysis tool

Social Media Analysis and Monitoring tool for detection of digital payment fraud and disruption.

Social media is playing vital role of providing a platform through which the consumers can raise their concerns. The analysis of consumer complaints and concerns over platforms like facebook, twitter, Instagram, etc. may facilitate the digital payment operators as well the regulator in taking proactive and swift action for consumer protection and fraud prevention. It may also help in the evaluation of a payment product through consumer sentiment analysis.


Are you in it to win it?

One winner and one Runner-up for each problem statement

₹ 40,00,000
₹ 20,00,000


(i) An entity or individuals who are of age eighteen years and above and are eligible to enter into a contractual agreement.
(ii) who possess a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) or a product available on the market or ready to be rolled out in the market.
(iii) who have an element of innovation or novel application of technology serving common good.

Participants from all backgrounds and geographies are welcome, albeit knowledge about the Indian payment systems market and consumers is preferred.


Who can apply?

Anyone - Individuals (eighteen years and above) and enterprises (including startups) from all geographies are welcome to apply under this global challenge. It is especially suited for enterprises (including startups) with ready solutions that can be piloted with limited additional development and integration efforts. However, all relevant and impactful solutions will be considered irrespective of the stage.

How many problem statements can I apply for?

You may apply for more than one category if you fulfil all the criteria set out in each category.

Does my solution need to focus exclusively on one problem statement?

No, your solution can aim to address the needs covered by more than one problem statement. We are looking at the uniqueness of the proposition and feasibility of the business model alongside to achieve the desired goal. 

Can I submit multiple entries?

Yes, we encourage you to respond to all problem statements that you think you might have a solution for. Multiple entries would be considered, and more than one of your solutions might be selected.

What is the format of the event?

Applications will be received only through APIX platform.  The Hackathon shall run in two phases with Ideation in the first phase and Solution Development in the second phase. RBI will shortlist the most promising ideas for the second phase wherein the participants will have to submit the working solution/running code/prototype, on APIX platform. Wherever needed, these solutions may be provided with mentoring, technical and regulatory support so that demo-able products can be created. The winners will be selected from the shortlisted products based on the product pitch and demo towards the end of the program.

Do I need to be a registered company to apply?

You need not be a registered firm for participation in the event.

Do I need to submit a solution after being shortlisted?

Yes, the shortlisted entities need to submit a working solution which would be evaluated to decide the winners

How will the prize be disbursed?

The prize will be disbursed in Indian Rupees (₹) to the winners as per Reserve Bank of India policies and will be subject to tax deductions as applicable in India. USD 1 is approximately ₹ 74 and thus, the winner and runner-up prize comes down to approx. USD 54000 and USD 27000 respectively

Will the information shared be kept confidential?

Information provided to us through the online application will be shared only on a need-to-know basis within the relevant event and evaluation teams. The information provided will be retained by us post the program for audit purposes and will be shared with an external party only upon obtaining explicit permission from the applicant / authorized team member.

Can I request for re-evaluation in case I am not satisfied with the Judges' decision?

NO. You cannot request for re-evaluation. The decision of the judges shall be final and binding. Reserve Bank of India reserves all rights with respect to the event.

Are the participants allowed to leverage their own IDEs?

The participants can choose to develop the solution via APIX or use their own IDEs. But if they are using their own IDEs then they will have to bring the code, compile it, run it on APIX, and present the running code before the judges for evaluation.


For HARBINGER 2021 related queries, please reach out to

For technical queries during registration or proposal submission process, please reach out to