Visa Says Indian Government Favors Domestic Payments Company RuPay

Visa has raised concerns with the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) about India favoring the domestic payments card provider RuPay, three years after Mastercard did so privately in 2018, Reuters reported Sunday (Nov. 28). 

“Visa remains concerned about India’s formal and informal policies that appear to favor the business of the National Payments Corporation of India over other domestic and foreign electronic payments companies,” said a USTR memo quoted by Reuters and referring to NPCI, the nonprofit that runs RuPay. 

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has suggested that it’s patriotic to use RuPay, the country’s central bank has directed Mastercard and Visa to store payments data only in India, and the Indian government has promoted RuPay cards for use for payments for public transportation and has pressured banks to issue the cards, according to the report. 

RuPay’s share of the debit and credit cards in India leapt from 15% in 2017 to 63% in 2020, the report said. 

In August, NPCI said it was working with RuPay to advance the message of #FollowPaymentDistancing, which strives to encourage people to adopt safe and secure contactless payments. 

Read more: India’s NPCI Helps Promote RuPay’s Contactless Payments 

“We believe that contactless is the present and future of payments,” NPCI COO Praveena Rai said in an Aug.13 press release. “With this campaign, our purpose is to educate and encourage consumers for an upgrade in their card payment experience — an upgrade that spurs innovations in the timeliness, convenience, safety and security of contactless payments, be it in the online or physical environment.” 

The premise of RuPay’s #FollowPaymentDistancing campaign is comprised of several online videos that highlight the importance of distancing when it comes to payments. The short films are intended to make people aware of the issue while also offering an approach that is presented in a “lightheartedly engaging manner,” according to the release.