The country’s first domestic payment card network, RuPay, plans to extend its services beyond automated teller machines (ATMs) and micro ATMs by December.
It expects to match the likes of existing payment facilitators such as Visa and Mastercard and provide services such as debit, prepaid and credit card which will be accepted in India and abroad across various channels such as points of sale, Internet, interactive voice response and mobile.
Says A.P. Hota, chief executive officer and managing director, National Payment Corp. of India Ltd (NPCIL) which launched RuPay in May, “Acceptance of this card at points of sale will happen by the end of this year. Once this happens, RuPay card will be at par with international cards. In a month or two we will be finalizing our international acceptance partner.”
RuPay at present has collaboration with two regional rural banks (RRBs) and two urban co-operative banks. Bank of India became the first bank last week to launch Aadhar-enabled RuPay card.
Benefits of RuPay
RuPay, which was conceived by the Indian Banks’ Association and later approved by the Reserve Bank of India, will reduce the overall transaction cost for banks. Also many banks, which are currently not eligible for card issuance under the eligibility criteria of international card schemes, will be able to issue cards through RuPay.
“It is being developed as a substitute to Visa and Mastercard. It would ensure that the Indian currency remains in the country itself and may help banks in reducing transaction costs slightly,” says B.R. Bhat, general manager, Corporation Bank.
Even from merchants’ point of view, a card like this may work as a cheaper option. Says Sanju Jain, a Mumbai-based electronic showroom owner, “If the cost for banks decrease, we (merchants) might have to pay a lesser fee when a customer uses his card for shopping.”
NPCIL has already acquired 500 international identity numbers (IIN). IIN is a card issuer identity number which will be issued to various banks once they enter into collaboration with the payment service provider.
Though RuPay’s current strategy is focused on RRBs and urban co-operative banks, in due course it plans to tap the established banks as well.