Making a Case for Wider Acceptance of Rupay

To boost the homegrown payment network, SBI Card will soon launch RuPay credit cards

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Presently dominated by the US-based payment gateways like Visa and Mastercard, the global electronic payment segment is slowly accepting India's homegrown payment network, RuPay. After launching the RuPay card in Singapore and Bhutan, Prime Minister Narendra Modi initiated the indigenous system of electronic payment in UAE by in August.

Maps of India

RuPay card scheme was launched in 2012 to fulfill the Reserve Bank of India's vision to have a domestic, open and multilateral system of payments. It is India's version of MasterCard and Visa. RuPay facilitates electronic payment at all Indian banks and financial institutions. It is a highly secure network that protects against cyber hacks.

SBI Card Launching RuPay Credit

To further boost the fast-growing payment network, SBI Card will soon launch RuPay credit cards. "We will be (launching RuPay based credit card) soon. There is a final agreement that is left out at the end of NPCI level. I think NPCI is going to send it any day and we will be launching some products," SBI Card MD and CEO, Hardayal Prasad said in an interview to PTI.

Notably, one-third of the cards being issued by India's largest lender State Bank of India are RuPay cards. Surprisingly, there's a nationalistic segment of customers who prefer RuPay cards over the rest, making Prasad optimistic that, "The Rupay will become very popular and will be used in India aggressively. I have no doubts on it."

Expanding the Footprint

RuPay has tied-up with international players like Discover, Japan Credit Bureau and China Union Pay to enhance its international acceptance. A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was recently signed between the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) and UAE's Mercury Payments Services, to establish a technology interface between the payment platforms in India and UAE.

The association has made RuPay cards acceptable at 1,75,000 merchant locations and 5,000 ATM and cash access locations within the UAE. As many as 21 major business groups — including Lulu, Petrochem Middle East, NMC Healthcare and Landmark — in the UAE have pledged to accept RuPay as a mode of payment.

The Digital Plan

In 2017, NPCI had partnered with Paytm Payments Bank (PPB) to launch a RuPay-powered digital debit card. With the PPB Digital debit card, customers are able to transact to all merchants who accept credit and debit cards. The RuPay-powered digital debit card can be issued to all customers who have opened their bank accounts with PPB.

For increased penetration of RuPay cards, the individuals who had opened bank accounts under Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) were issued the Rupay debit cards. As of August 2019, more than 28.44 crore account holders were allotted these cards. The government recently achieved a milestone of issuing 25 million RuPay cards.