Friday, June 12, 2015

‘55% of RuPay cards active under Jan Dhan Yojna’

 AP HOTA, MD and CEO of NPCI

Exploring the feasibility of networking with China, says NPCI chief

As India’s own card-payment scheme RuPay aims to go global, National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), which conceived and launched the scheme, has tied up with Chinese and Japanese companies to help citizens of these countries use Indian ATMs and Point-of-Sale terminals. AP Hota, Managing Director and CEO of NPCI, says the corporation plans to take this one-way relationship further and bring more activity into the home-grown card network. Edited excerpts from an interview:

How will the tie-up with China UnionPay International be beneficial?
We are exploring the feasibility of network-to-network relationship with China. Initially, the relationship will be one-way, that is, China’s UnionPay card-holder when they come to India can use Indian PoS terminals and ATMs. Currently, all the ATMs and 99 per cent of PoS terminals are part of NPCI.
Next, we will look at commercial arrangements between NPCI and China Union. They will have their approval and we will now seek approval from our member-banks and we can expect this in the next two months.
Later, the technical integration will be done and, in anticipation, we have already started the process. We may look at going the other way later — that is, our card-holders can use ATMs and PoS terminals in China.

What is the status on cards under Jan Dhan Yojna? How many are active?
Over 130 million cards (13.7 crore according to the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojna website) have been dispatched as on April-end. According to Finance Ministry data, 55 per cent of the 140 million cards issued under Jan Dhan are active, though previously it was 70 per cent. However, we are hopeful that once MNREGA is implemented, the level of inactive accounts will come down. Direct Benefits Transfer (DBT) has also helped in making them active.

The RBI has said it will roll out guidelines for issuing mobility cards. When will they be launched?
We are working with the Ministry of Transport to make payments easier in smart cities by issuing mobility cards. We have built the specifications based on both national and international standards.
This will facilitate usage of the cards at grocery shops or while buying tickets for any mode of transport through the contact-less system.
Also, the requirement of contact-less transactions will be huge and procuring large terminals in accordance with Indian standards will also serve the ‘Make in India’ campaign. We have made several presentations and the Ministry is examining our specifications. 

Will you be using the same debit cards?
Yes, it will have to be EMV (Europay, MasterCard, and Visa) enabled and have NFC (near field communication) technology. From September onwards, we will have to issue EMV-based cards as per RBI mandate.
It will be a challenge to replace the existing Jan Dhan Yojna cards into EMV-enabled ones. As of now, the RBI has not given any deadline on the replacement.

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