In a latest attempt to generate user interest and increase the use of credit/debit cards, the global card issuing company Visa, is in talks with banks to join the National Common Mobility Card (NCMC) scheme.
A media report citing people aware of the development said that Visa is ready with the specifications to start issuing cards on the NCMC network and has initiated talks 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.
National Common Mobility Card (NCMC), also known as One Nation One Card, was launched on March 4 and is an inter-operable transport card conceived by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs of the Government of India. The card enables a user to pay for travel, tolls, retail shopping, and withdraw money as well. It is enabled through the RuPay card mechanism. The NCMC card is issuable as a prepaid, debit, or credit RuPay card from partner banks such as State Bank of India, Punjab National Bank, and others.
A senior banker reportedly said that 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. Also, it is being speculated that Mastercard, the other major card issuer in the country, could have started working on their own NCMC cards as well.
The development by Visa and Mastercard comes at the time when UPI has been the talk of the nation and has recorded 800 Mn transactions in March 2019.
In a Facebook post in November 2018, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said that Visa and Mastercard are losing market share to Indian financial services, noting that RuPay’s total worth of transactions had increased to $1.15 Bn (INR 84.3 Bn) as of September, from $151.2 Mn (INR 11 Bn) before demonetisation.
A December 2017 report titled ‘Flavors of Fast, 2017’ by US-based Fidelity National Information Services said, “The introduction of UPI in August 2016 led to the creation of a wealth of new innovative payment solutions, and the adoption rates of UPI payments are truly spectacular. UPI opens up access to real-time by allowing payments to be directly integrated into external business applications.”
As Visa and Mastercard now look to NCMC in an attempt to get their business back on track in the country, their strategy to challenge government-supported RuPay remains to be seen.
[The development was reported by ET.]