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SBI and Reliance Launch Credit Card on India’s RuPay Network

State Bank of India

SBI Cards and Reliance Retail are launching a credit card on India’s RuPay payment network.

The co-branded card marks Reliance’s entry into the credit card space, according to a Tuesday (Oct. 31) Reuters report on the collaboration. 

The report noted that the card could entice customers to rewards at Reliance Retail’s 18,650 stores in India, at a moment when credit card spending has boomed, with cards in the RuPay network jumping nearly 20% year-over-year as of last month.

The launch is also happening during India’s festive season, when consumers make a bulk of their big-ticket purchases for the year, Reuters added.

SBI Card, owned by the State Bank of India, is the country’s number two card issuer, and is set to launch two versions of the card with Reliance, the report said.

Last month, Reliance Retail — a subsidiary of Indian conglomerate Reliance Industriesreceived a new investment from global investment firm KKR. 

That investment of about $250 million increased KKR’s equity stake from 1.17% to 1.42% and valued RVL at a pre-money equity value of 8.361 lakh crore rupees (or around $100 billion), putting it among India’s top four companies by equity value.

Reliance operates India’s largest and fastest-growing retail business, serving 267 million customers, via integrated omnichannel network of more than 18,500 stores and digital commerce platforms in sectors that include grocery, consumer electronics, fashion and lifestyle, and pharmaceuticals.

Meanwhile, another Reliance company — the telecommunications outfit Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd. — last week rolled out a satellite-based gigabit fiber service and said it plans to provide high-speed broadband services to parts of India that had been previously inaccessible 

The new satellite network, dubbed JioSpaceFiber, will be available across the country at “highly affordable” prices, broadening Jio’s reach to cover the millions of homes and businesses that haven’t yet been connected.

“JioSpaceFiber will allow everyone, everywhere, to fully participate in the new digital society with gigabit access to online government, education, health and entertainment services,” Akash Ambani, chairman of Reliance Jio Infocomm Limited, said in a news release.

To make this project a reality, Jio has teamed up with global satellite operator SES, gaining access to the latest medium earth orbit (MEO) satellite technology.

John-Paul Hemingway, chief strategy officer at SES, said this project supports India’s Digital India initiative.

“Our first fiber-like services from space are already deployed today in parts of India, and we cannot wait to see how this will lead to digital transformation even in the most rural parts of the country,” Hemingway said.