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Product type
OwnerNational Payments Corporation of India (NPCI)
Introduced26 March 2012; 7 years ago (2012-03-26)

RuPay card scheme was conceived and launched by National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) on 26 March 2012.[1] It was created to fulfil the Reserve Bank of India's (RBI) vision to have a domestic, open and multilateral system of payments.

RuPay facilitates electronic payment at all Indian banks and financial institutions.[2] NPCI maintains ties with Discover Financial, JCB to enable RuPay card scheme to gain international acceptance.[3][4]

In India, 90% of credit card transactions and almost all debit card transactions are domestic; however, the cost of transactions was high due to the dominance of foreign card schemes.


In 2009, RBI had asked the Indian Bank Association to create a non-profit payment solutions company which will design an indigenous payment card offering state-of-the-art technology that is secure, robust, scalable, simple and cost effective meeting the requirements of having domestic, open, multilateral system of payments. The card was tentatively referred as India Pay. After years of planning, NPCI had finalized the name of the proposed card as Rupay, a portmanteau of the words rupee and payment to avoid naming conflicts with other financial institutions using the same name.[5] The colours used in the logo are an allusion to the tricolour flag of India. NPCI conceived it as an alternative to Mastercard and Visa while consolidate and integrate various payment systems in India.[6][7]

RBI in its vision paper 2009–12 on payment systems in India said that the need for such a system arises from the absence of a domestic price setter that has caused the Indian banks to bear the high cost for affiliation and the connection with international card associations schemes like Visa and Mastercard resulting in the need for routing even domestic transactions which account for more than 90%, through a switch located outside the country.[8][9]

The RuPay scheme was launched on 26 March 2012. RuPay was dedicated to India on 8 May 2014, by the then President of India, Pranab Mukherjee, at the Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi.[10][11][12]


RuPay Debit[edit]

Paytm Payment Bank on January, 2018 launched virtual and physical RuPay Debit Cards for its banking customers to make seamless payments across online platforms and offline stores. Additionally the physical debit card holders can withdraw money from any ATM in India.[13]

RuPay Debit

As of July 2018, RuPay cards have been issued across the length and breadth of the country to saving-account and current-account holders of over 1100 banks in India. Apart from the main private-sector and public-sector banks, RuPay cards are also issued by cooperative banks (scheduled cooperative banks, district cooperative banks, state cooperative banks, urban cooperative banks) and regional rural banks (RRBs) in the country.

RuPay Credit[edit]

Rupay credit cards were in operation since June 2017, according to NPCI Managing Director and CEO A P Hota with eight public sector banks, one private sector bank and one cooperative bank issuing the card without any formal launch. A pilot project was going on to technically enabling more and more banks in RuPay credit cards with additional five public sector banks and by March 2018, NPCI plans to have 25 banks altogether on board.[14]

Total 14 Banks launched RuPay Credit cards

To further boost the fast-growing payment network, SBI Cards & Payments Services Ltd will soon going to launch RuPay credit cards. This is a last agreement that is left out between NPCI and SBI with the proposed product launch in fiscal 2019.[29]

RuPay Combo[edit]

The Union Bank of India launched RuPay Combo Debit Cum Credit Card on November 2018, the first RuPay card that facilitates both debt and credit transactions through a single card. The card has 2 EMVs and 2 magnetic stripes. Debit and Credit transactions are made based on which side of the card is inserted or swiped.[30][31]

Rupay Prepaid[edit]

Sodexo launched the Sodexo Multi-Benefit Pass in partnership with RuPay on May 2019. The card contains a magnetic stripe that allows users to pay for meal-benefits and a chip that allows them make purchases through the RuPay network. It can also be used to make online purchases on web portals that accept RuPay payments.[32]

Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) in collaboration with the Union Bank of India and the National Payment Corporation of India launched the IRCTC-UBI RuPay pre-paid card on 2015 to book tickets, do shopping and pay service bills. The card is a first-of-its-kind in the market as both virtual as well as physical cards are being issued to customers in two variants.[33][34]

Kochi1, a RuPay prepaid smart card rolled out by the Kochi Metro Rail Ltd (KMRL) with the help of the Axis Bank on March 02, 2019 became the first inter-modal transit card when its usage was extended to private buses with additional services including parking solutions in near future. It is launched under Kochi Smart City project and there are plans to extend the card to auto-rickshaws, ferries including that of the Kerala State Water Transport Department, proposed Water Metro, KSRTC buses so as to make it a Common Mobility Card in all respects.[35]

RBL Bank had partnered with GI Technology, a Wirecard subsidiary and India's largest wallet-based domestic money remittance company operating under the Brand Name ICashCard to launch RBL-ICASH co-branded, open loop RuPay Prepaid Card.[36]

ItzCash, India’s largest digital payments company announced that it has partnered with RBL Bank to launch the country’s first co-branded Rupay Platinum Prepaid Card. The multi-purpose card will roll out a suite of prepaid services across physical and virtual platforms. The service was launched to ensure seamless interoperability, access to unlocking multiple solutions and driving the prepaid program of the nation.[37]

RuPay Contactless[edit]

Old Symbol
New Symbol

RuPay Contactless is a contactless payment technology feature that allows cardholders to wave their card in front of contactless payment terminals without the need to physically swipe or insert the card into a point-of-sale device. This is an EMV-compatible, contactless payment feature similar to Mastercard Contactless, Visa Contactless, and ExpressPay which use RFID technology.

The National Payments Corporation of India’s (NPCI) card network RuPay has launched a contactless prepaid NFC card. It launched the contactless card for the Ahmedabad Smart City project in association with ICICI Bank and Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation. It also launched similar prepaid contactless cards for the Kochi Metro Rail Ltd (KMRL) and Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) in association with Axis Bank.[38]

Contactless can currently be used on transactions up to and including ₹2000. On March, 2019 under ‘One Nation, One Card’ scheme a National Common Mobility Card (NCMC) for transportation was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at a function in Ahmedabad on RuPay platform in order to avoid vendor lock-in and create an interoperable system under Make in India.[39][40]

National Common Mobility Card

This is the latest development in the forward movement of the Interoperable Fare Management System. The main aim behind the card is to redefine payment for public transport systems and retail ease of access, at the cutting-edge of digital payments. The project is under the purview of the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, with the vision “One Card for all payments”. With this theme, the card needed to be accepted across multiple verticals. It then made sense to take up a card which is gaining a significant amount of adoption in the contactless payment space. The specifications for the NCMC programme are with the government and it is not owned by any specific body, hence all card payment schemes are welcome to join the programme.

Brihanmumbai Electricity Supply and Transport (BEST) buses are set to become the first public transportation in India to roll out the National Common Mobility Card (NCMC). The one nation, one card system will initially be implemented on a pilot basis from November, 2019 and will be available widely only from 2020. More than 10,000 BEST conductors will be given the hand-held devices that would be able to scan the NCMC cards with just one tap, alongside generating paper tickets.[41]

Visa is ready with the specifications to start issuing cards on the NCMC network and has started discussions with banks to issue their cards on NCMC as well, but it will take some time for the cards to start getting rolled out in the market.[42] Just weeks after its biggest competitor Visa, Mastercard set to join One Nation One Card project.[43]

RuPay Global[edit]

The NPCI started issuing global cards in 2014 when the Narendra Modi government came into power for the first time.[44] Singapore has offered assistance to promote India's digital payment network RuPay card overseas by becoming its first international partner.[45] On March 7, 2012, NPCI entered into a strategic partnership with Discover Financial Services (DFS) for RuPay, enabling the acceptance of RuPay Global Cards to utilize the Discover, Diners Club International and PULSE networks for international purchases and cash access outside of India. Both companies were also working to implement D-PAS, Discover's EMV technology to offer chip-based cards to RuPay card members.[46] The cards are accepted by over 4.1 crore (41 million) merchants and 18 lakh (1.8 million) ATMs across 190 countries.

NPCI with JCB launched RuPay-JCB Global card on July 22, 2019. After extending domestic POS terminal and ATM support for incoming foreign JCB card holders in 2017, NPCI entered into the second phase of partnership with the launch of co-branded card to further increase the international acceptance of RuPay. The card will offer special cashback program for POS transactions outside India in addition to selected popular international destinations for travellers. It will support additional services such as in-city JCB Lounges located in airports with round the year merchant promotions all over the world. While debit cards are only being issued initially through the partnership, credit and prepaid cards are also on the anvil.[47][48]

RuPay issued 6.4 crore (64 million) Global Cards between 2014 and March 2019.[49][50] RuPay has tied-up with international players like Discover, Japan Credit Bureau and China Union Pay to enhance its international acceptance and recently achieved a milestone of issuing 25 million RuPay – Discover global cards.[51]

RuPay has several agreements with other international payment networks. Some major examples include:


This is developed by NPCI in collaboration with Mastercard, and Visa as an integrated interoperable QR code based payment system and was launched in September 2016. It facilitates users to transfer their money from one source to another without the need of physical cards. The money transferred through BharatQR is received directly in the user's linked bank account using IMPS. It provides a common interface between RuPay, Mastercard, Visa, American Express as opposed to other such individual proprietary systems.[53] BharatQR is supported on both Android and iOS devices. Bijlipay, an end to end digital payment solutions company, is the first Indian Point-of-Sale (PoS) devices providing company to enable Bharat QR code on the screens of its POS machines. According to RBI, the Bharat QR Code is the world’s first inter-operable payment acceptance solution.[54]



RuPay cards are accepted at almost all ATMs across India.[55] According to the data published by the National Payments Corporation of India, there are well over 200,000 ATMs[56] and more than 2,614,584 PoS terminals in India in the RuPay network. In addition to ATMs and PoS terminals, RuPay cards are accepted online on most domestic payment gateways and some international payment gateways (through its alliances with other networks).[57][58]

RuPay cards are accepted at 97% of all PoS terminals in India. RuPay has partnered with 39 PoS-acquiring banks in India to accept their cards at PoS terminals located at different merchant locations.

RuPay cards are yet not accepted as a valid payment method on Google Play for making purchases in apps and games[59].


The Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, launched the RuPay scheme in Singapore on 31 May 2018. The launch took place in parallel with related services offered by the NPCI, such as UPI and BHIM. The State Bank of India, Singapore will be the first bank to issue RuPay cards in the country.[60]

The RuPay digital payments system was linked up with Singapore’s 33-year-old Network for Electronic Transfers (NETS). RuPay users will be able to make payments at all NETS acceptance points across Singapore. Holders of Singapore NETS will be able to make online purchases on e-commerce merchants that accept RuPay as well as use the 28 lakh (2.8 million) RuPay PoS terminals in India. Holders of NETS cards would also be able to withdraw cash at any ATM in India.


Following Bhutanese Prime Minister Lotay Tshering visit to India on 28 December 2018, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that RuPay cards would be introduced in Bhutan.[61][62] RuPay cards were officially launched in Bhutan on 17 August 2019 with Prime Minister Modi making the first RuPay transaction in the country with a purchase from Simtokha Dzong.[63]

Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and Royal Monetary Authority of Bhutan (RMA) announced that they would integrate the financial switches of the two countries in order to simplify cross border transactions. India will support an estimated 2.7 crore (US$390,000) cost of the integration work. Post-integration, RuPay card holders can use their cards across all ATMs and POS terminals in Bhutan. The RMA maintains an account with the State Bank of India. Any withdrawal by a RuPay card holder in Bhutan would be settled through an instant credit into the RMA's account. The arrangement is expected to benefit both countries by minimizing foreign currency outflow. Visa and MasterCard payments are settled in US dollars, while RuPay can be settled in rupees. The Bhutanese Ngultrum is fixed at a one-to-one exchange rate with the Indian rupee making settlement easy for both countries. In addition, Bhutanese banks will issue RuPay cards that will allow Bhutanese card holders to access the RuPay network in India.[64][65]


Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that RuPay cards would be launched in the Maldives during his address to the People's Majlis (the Maldvian Parliament) in 8 June 2019. Modi added that the introduction of RuPay would increase the number of Indian tourists visiting the Maldives.[66][67]


A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to establish a technology interface between the payment platforms in India and UAE was exchanged between the National Payments Corporation of India and UAE's Mercury Payments Services. UAE is the first country in the Gulf where RuPay has been launched. Around 175,000 merchant acceptance locations of 21 businesses and 5,000 ATMs in the UAE will soon start accepting India's RuPay card, it was announced on Saturday.Around 175,000 merchant acceptance locations of 21 businesses and 5,000 ATMs in the UAE will soon start accepting it. RuPay Cards will charge 10% of fees in comparison to other card issuers in UAE. Three banks in the UAE – Emirates NBD, Bank of Baroda and First Abu Dhabi Bank will start issuing the RuPay card. Businesses that will adopt RuPay are NMC Healthcare, Lulu Group, Aster DM Healthcare, Landmark Group, Sobha Ltd, Apparel Group, Nikai Group, Regal Group of Companies, ITL Cosmos, Jashanmal National Company LLC, Allana Group FMCG Products, Petrochem Middle East, Transworld Group, Al Dobowi Group, VPS Healthcare, UPL Group, Conares, Al Maya Group, EPS Facilities Services Group, Emaar and DP World, according to the Indian Embassy in Abu Dhabi. UAE receives close to 3 million Indian tourists annually. Acceptance of Rupay card in UAE will lower the charges as tourists will save on exchange rate.[68][69]


An MoU was signed between the National Electronic Payments Network (BENEFIT), a Bahrain company handling ATM and POS transactions among others, and National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) for launch of RuPay card in the Gulf Kingdom. The MoU would made it possible for Indian expats to pay and send money home in Indian Rupee by using RuPay cards.[70]

Market share[edit]

RuPay's parent organisation, the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), has been backed by 10 leading banks. Of these are 6 public-sector banks: State Bank of India, Bank of Baroda, Punjab National Bank, Canara Bank, Union Bank of India, and Bank of India; 2 private-sector banks: ICICI Bank and HDFC Bank; and 2 foreign banks: Citibank and HSBC.[71] Banks in India are authorised to issue RuPay debit cards to their customers for use at ATMs, PoS terminals, and e-commerce websites. RuPay's market share rose from 0.6% in 2013 to 50% by November 2018.[72]

As of December 2016, NPCI has issued 31.7 crore (317 million) RuPay cards which include 20.5 crore (205 million) of cards to the Jan Dhan Yojana account holders. Usage of RuPay cards at points of sale and for e-commerce together that used to be about 3 lakh (0.3 million) per day (pre-demonetisation) soared seven times to about 21 lakh (2.1 million) (post-demonetisation) with a targeted daily volume of 50 lakh (5 million) transactions through RuPay by the end of 2017.[73]

RuPay surpassed Visa as the largest payment card network in India by number of transactions in June 2017, recording 37.5 crore (375 million) transactions.[74]

About 60 crore (600 million) cards have been issued as of March 2019 by 1,100 banks giving it more than 58% market share in the country's card issuance market, beating the much older duo of Visa and Mastercard by number of cards issued.[75] RuPay holds about 30% market share by volume and value of transactions made.[76] According to NPCI data released in May 2019, 112.7 crore (1,127 million transactions) valued at ₹1,17,400 crore (US$ 17 billion) were made on RuPay cards during the 2018–19 fiscal year. RuPay held 58% of the market share by number of cards issued, 30% by number of point of sale transactions, and 25% by number of online transactions from around 11% two years ago.[77]

RuPay charges transaction processing fees that are approximately 23% lower than those charged by Visa and Mastercard.[74] The NPCI charges a flat-fee per transaction of 60 paise from acquiring bank and 30 paise from the card issuing bank. For example, if a customer made a transaction with their RuPay card at a POS terminal operated by another bank, then the customer's bank (the bank that issued the card) would pay 30 paise to the NPCI while the bank that operates the POS terminal (the acquiring bank) would pay 60 paise to the NPCI.[78]

RuPay reported 100 crore (1 billion) transactions through both online and offline merchant payment modes in financial year 2019, a nearly 70% jump compared to the 66.7 lakh (667 million) transactions in financial year 2018, according to data sourced from the NPCI and the Reserve Bank of India. RuPay debit cards saw a growth of 32% in FY ’19 at 440 crore (4.4 billion) transactions compared to the previous year’s 330 crore (3.3 billion) transactions.[79] Also, in terms of value, RuPay cards noted a rise of 80% in FY ’19, beating overall debit card payments which grew 30% compared to the previous fiscal year.[80]

Jan Dhan Yojana[edit]

RuPay cards got a major boost through the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana they were issued to all Jan Dhan account holders.

Until June 2018, 24.2 crore (242 million) RuPay Debit Cards were issued under the Jan Dhan Yojana against the 92.5 crore (925 million) debit cards issued by the banking industry. The NPCI held consultations with small finance bank licensees on the use of RuPay cards and is set to emerge as the dominant debit card with small finance banks.[81]

Due to Digital India initiative and JAM trinity, the number of RuPay card in 2016 was less than half at 23 crore (230 million) which was later surged to 56 crore (560 million) as of November 2018. In 2013 ATM transactions constituted 90% of the total number and 95% of the total value. In 2018, PoS transactions have expanded to cover 30% of the total number and 10% of the total value of debit card transactions.[82]

Initiative for farmers[edit]

RuPay also provides a unified "Kisan card", issued by banks across the country as the Kisan Credit Card, enabling farmers to transact business on ATMs and PoS terminals.[83]

PUNGRAIN (Punjab Grains Procurement Corporation Ltd) pays commission agents through the RuPay Debit Card and developed a commission agent network called the Kisan Arhtia Information and Remittance Online Network (KAIRON) with the help of the National Payments Corporation of India.[84][85][86]

Kotak Mahindra Bank, in partnership with RuPay, rolled out an initiative for financial inclusion, where the dairy farmers across 75 cooperative societies of Amul in regions of Burdwan and Hooghly of West Bengal will be able to get their payments directly into their accounts on the same day as the sale of their milk.[87]

The same model is planned to be adopted in the state of Gujarat where 1200 cooperative societies comprising over 3,00,000 dairy farmers will be the part of the programme.[88]

In 2017 post demonetisation, the government decided that NABARD will coordinate the conversion of operative/live Kisaan Credit Cards into RuPay ATM cum Debit Kisaan Credit Cards by Cooperative Banks and Regional Rural Banks on priority.[89]

See also[edit]


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External links[edit]