Repo or repurchase option is a means of short-term borrowing, wherein banks sell approved government securities to RBI and get funds in exchange. In other words, in a repo transaction, RBI repurchases government securities from banks, depending on the level of money supply it decides to maintain in the country's monetary system.
Repo rate is the discount rate at which banks borrow from RBI. Reduction in repo rate will help banks to get money at a cheaper rate, while increase in repo rate will make bank borrowings from RBI more expensive. If RBI wants to make it more expensive for the banks to borrow money, it increases the repo rate. Similarly, if it wants to make it cheaper for banks to borrow money, it reduces the repo rate.
Reverse repo is the exact opposite of repo. In a reverse repo transaction, banks purchase government securities form RBI and lend money to the banking regulator, thus earning interest. Reverse repo rate is the rate at which RBI borrows money from banks. Banks are always happy to lend money to RBI since their money is in safe hands with a good interest.
Thus, repo rate is always higher than the reverse repo rate.