Finally, India card Rupay to replace Visa, MasterCard

"We have finalised name of the proposed card as Rupay at our board meeting here today. We have also finalised the logo for the same," a senior official of the RBI-set up National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), told PTI this evening. The official sought not to be named.

The official further said the leading financial consultancy firm Ernst & Young(E&Y) will develop and roll out the entire architecture, including the design and software for the Rupay card rollout.

A senior E&Y official confirmed the development to this agency. He further said, the NPCI will initially launch a domestic ATM/debit cards to begin with and then would hit the credit card market later on.

In 2009, the RBI had asked the Indian Banks Association to launch a not-for-profit company and design a rival card, then tentatively called India Card, that meets the requirements of the domestic banks.

And finally, RBI plan is materialising and Rupay will be like the Union Pay of China, which is the domestic real-time payment processing firm for Chinese banks, and was planned to be launched last year. The commercial launch is expected in a few months, once the systems and network are in place.

Domestic banks now have no option but to tie up with Visa or MasterCard for connectivity between cardholders, merchants and issuing banks not just within the country, but across the globe in the absence of a domestic card.

Every transaction done here using a debit or credit card issued by a domestic bank is routed through network switches owned by Visa or MasterCard, which are based outside the country. But now the Rupay would eliminate the need for this connectivity.

Domestic banks paid around Rs 500 crore last year as fees to these global card firms for processing debit and credit card payments, 90 percent of which were domestic deals.
The Rupay initiative entails the setting up of a network switch, which acts as a payment gateway that connects all the ATMs and points-of-sale terminals. The domestic system is meant to gradually replace payment settlement providers like MasterCard and Visa, which now control all payments and settlements that happen through cards.

NPCI is registered as a company with nine public sector, private sector and foreign banks owning stakes. RBI will oversee its operations in the initial years. Thereafter it will function as an independent company regulated by RBI, according to the RBI policy paper on Payment systems vision 2009-12.

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