The United Arab Emirates (UAE) will become the first country in the Middle East to launch the RuPay card. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will launch RuPay on Saturday at the Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi, where he is to be awarded the "Order of Zayed," UAE's highest civilian honour. Agreements will be signed between payment networks in the two countries during his two-day visit, to ensure that the RuPay cards are accepted at point-of-sale (POS) machines in the Emirates. It will help millions of Indian tourists that visit Dubai each year.
RuPay is India's home-grown card payments service (like MasterCard or Visa) launched by the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) as part of RBI's vision of a domestic and multilateral system of payments. It has been looking to expand its reach to other countries, competing with large international payment companies like MasterCard and Visa.
Introduced in 2012, the RuPay cards are accepted at almost all domestic payment gateways. A major boost was given from the Jan Dhan Yojana, where all new account holders received RuPay cards.
In the last two years, PM Modi had expanded its reach to closer Asian countries, starting with Singapore and quite recently in Maldives (in June 2019) and Bhutan (17 August).
NPCI has been making strategic partnerships to expand the reach and acceptance of the RuPay card outside India, making transactions cheaper for its users. After a partnership with Discover Financial Services (an American company that operates Discover Bank), these cards are being accepted at 41 million merchants and 1.8 million ATMs across 190 countries. Similar arrangements are made with other leading payment services across the world.
In Singapore, the RuPay system was linked with Network for Electronic Transfers (NETS), an electronic payments provider in the country. Those holding NETS cards will not only be able to make purchases on e-commerce sites and merchants that accept RuPay, they will also be able to withdraw cash in India.
For the Bhutan market, a partnership was made between RBI and Royal Monetary Authority of Bhutan (Bhutan's central bank), to simplify cross border transactions. After an integration work, RuPay card holders will be able to withdraw from all ATMs in Bhutan. Bhutan will also issue RuPay cards to allow access to Bhutanese card holders to India's payments network. The arrangement is hoped to benefit both the countries by minimizing foreign currency outflow as RuPay transactions are settled in Indian rupees while MasterCard or Visa transactions are settled in US dollars.