RuPay Cards
File photo: Mock-ups of RuPay Cards are displayed for a photograph at the office of National Payments Corporate of India (NPCI) in Mumbai. Image Credit: Bloomberg

Abu Dhabi: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday launched the RuPay Card, which, according to Indian officials, will charge one-tenth the transaction fees levied by debit and credit card giants in the UAE.

RuPay card, an Indian indigenous equivalent of MasterCard or Visa, was symbolically launched by Modi who swiped his card for buying Indian sweets at a shop temporarily set up at Emirates Palace Hotel in Abu Dhabi.

The UAE is the first country in the Middle East to launch the RuPay card. Three prominent banks — Emirates NBD, First Abu Dhabi Bank and Bank of Baroda — will soon start issuing RuPay card in the UAE,

Now, RuPay’s domestic cards will also be accepted across the UAE with a new Memorandum of Understanding, MoU, to establish a technology interface between the payment platforms in India and the UAE.

India’s RuPay card to be issued by banks in the UAE will be a standalone card, T.S. Tirumurti, Secretary, Economic Relations at Indian Ministry of External Affairs exclusively told Gulf News Sajila Saseendran/Gulf News

The MoU between the National Payments Corporation of India, NPCI, and UAE’s Mercury Payments Services was exchanged in the presence of Modi.

This will pave the way for the acceptance of the RuPay’s domestic card across the UAE. It will benefit nearly 3 million Indian tourists and also Indian expats with the RuPay domestic cards, Indian officials explained to Gulf News.

“The RuPay card charges very less transaction fees, as low as one-tenth of what the card giants charge,” said one official.

Discounts, loyalty schemes

“Currency conversion charges will not be applicable as transactions are done within the Indian system and the data is also saved in India. Additionally, RuPay provides big discount offers and attractive loyalty schemes.”

According to Arif Khan, Chief Digital Officer, National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) and Simon Haslam, Chairman of Mercury Payments Service and Chief Executive Officer of Network International who made an introduction to the RuPay cashless payment scheme to the business community ahead of the formal launch and MoU exchange in the presence of Modi, the RuPay launch will facilitate the issuance and acceptance of RuPay domestic card and will offer more competitive rates to the customers. Emirates NBD, FAB and Bank of Baroda will soon start issuing the card here. When the UAE banks start issuing a ‘standalone’ RuPay card locally, Indian expats and other UAE residents who use the card will get similar benefits.

Around 175,000 merchant acceptance locations of 21 businesses and 5,000 ATMs in the UAE will soon start accepting RuPay card, it was announced.

The representatives of 21 business groups, who were present in the launch, will be accepting the card in their merchant locations in the UAE.

Individual businesses are expected to announce the start date of accepting the card in their outlets.

Businesses that will adopt RuPay

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, EFS Facilities Services Group, Emaar and DP World, according to the Indian Embassy in Abu Dhabi.