December 4, 2023

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What is RuPay – India’s card payment network?


A product of the National Payments Corporation of India, RuPay is India’s indigenous payment network. The name, derived from the words ‘rupee’ and ‘payment’, indicates that it is India’s own initiative for card payments. It is the country’s answer to international payment networks.


Initiated by the Reserve Bank of India, the financial and payment services system was launched in 2012 and subsequently, dedicated to the country in 2014. One of the intentions behind RuPay is to facilitate India’s entry into the global payments market through an indigenous card facility.


So, why was RuPay launched?

RuPay is meant to fulfil RBI’s vision of creating a ‘less cash’ economy. An effective way to achieve that was by ensuring every Indian bank and financial institution become tech-savvy and offers electronic payment services.


Building a less-cash economy calls for financial inclusion. To this end, RuPay helped reach rural India and promote digital payments with the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana scheme.


As of November 2021, banks in India had reportedly issued 31.67 crore RuPay debit cards with free accident insurance cover to Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana account holders.


In the absence of a domestic payments network, banks had to pay high affiliation charges to multinationals like Visa and Mastercard for trusted associations. As a result, NPCI was set up as a non-profit payments company that would build an accessible and affordable payments network for Indians.


And, what are the products on offer?

RuPay has both debit and credit cards on offer for individuals and corporates. It also has prepaid and ‘Kisan Credit Card’ as well. It also offers a ‘contactless’ card that facilitates transactions with a single tap, thereby making payments without revealing crucial card details.


But, as a customer, you might have two crucial questions on your mind.


First, where are RuPay cards accepted?






According to a financial daily, as of August 2021, they were accepted at all ATMs and POS machines, and also for domestic online and offline shopping, across India. However, internationally, they are not accepted except those ATMs, POS machines and e-commerce sites where ‘Diner’ and ‘Discover Financial Service’ are enabled. At the time of the report’s publishing, cards under RuPay Global were accepted at more than 1.90 million ATM locations and more than 42.4 million POS locations across 185 countries.


Secondly, what are the advantages of a RuPay card?

Banks that issue RuPay cards enjoy an advantage because they don’t need to pay network registration fees, unlike in the case of a MasterCard or Visa registration. This is because RuPay is a domestic framework. Thanks to a zero merchant discount rate, banks charge nothing on UPI and RuPay card transactions.

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