Monday, April 8, 2013

Desi card RuPay gets global access

The National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), which plans to rival Visa and MasterCard with its own RuPay Card, has got a leg up in its plans to provide international access to future RuPay cardholders following a tie-up with Discover Financial Services.

On Friday the two partners, entered the first phase of their partnership by providing Discover cardholders access to 85,000 ATMs in India which are part of the NPCI network.

Discover Financial Services is a banking and payments services company which competes with payment companies such as Visa and MasterCard and owns the card company Discover, Diners Club cards and Pulse ATM networks. Unlike Visa and MasterCard, which partner banks to enable them issue cards with similar features, Discover adopts a philosophy of partnering local payment networks across the world, including in China, Japan and Korea.

In China, Discover has partnered UnionPay, the largest network in China which will become available to RuPay global cardholders. Worldwide, Discover has a network of two crore retail outlets and 9.5 lakh ATMs which accept Discover Cards.

"We purely partner and do not have ambitions to compete with domestic networks," said David Nelms, chairman & CEO of Discover. He added that the Diner's Club credit card, which is being issued by HDFC Bank in India, is expected to grow significantly in numbers. "The alliance with NPCI marks another milestone for discover as the company has established network to network alliances across the globe. We plan to expand our acceptance footprint in the coming years throughout the country and provide our card members from all across the world the ability to use their cards at merchants across major metros and key tourist destinations in India," he added.

According to A P Hota, MD & CEO of NPCI, issuance of RuPay International cards would begin from July 2013 with two banks. NPCI started its services providing cheaper access to third-party ATMs by setting up a network with very low transaction charges with strong support from the Reserve Bank of India.

The next stage was to issue RuPay debit cards which would be accepted at merchant establishments across the country. The payments company has already enrolled around 85,000 point of sales terminals where Rupay cards can be accepted.

In the third stage, in May RuPay will have its own e-commerce platform to enable cardholders make purchases online at websites such as Indian Railways. "Rupay is also leveraging the EMV (chip card) technology of Discover to issue global cards. Cards, terminal and host specifications for RuPay Global Cards on D-PAS have since been released to banks," said Hota.

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