NPCI adds reloadable wallet feature in RuPay cards for offline transactions

File Photo: The RuPay logo is pictured here
RuPay contactless cards have been enabled with an offline feature for retail payments on a pilot basis to ensure seamless transactions in areas of low connectivity.

The cards also have a reloadable wallet facility, whereby customers can store money and use that for day-to-day transit payments. The wallet feature, too, could be used to make payments despite facing connectivity issues at point-of-sale machines. 

This will boost the adoption of digital payments in the country, especially when the government has been pushing RuPay cards by nudging banks to promote these as the first option.

In a statement on Wednesday, the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), the umbrella body for payments and settlement, said these features would augment the transaction experience for new RuPay contactless cardholders and revolutionise the card payments ecosystem.

The NPCI said the RuPay National Common Mobility Card’s offline wallet can be used to make ticket payments in transit, including in metros, cabs, etc., enabling automatic, quick cashless payments, thereby reducing wait time, traffic congestion, and transit time.

“With the offline feature, the acceptance infrastructure for RuPay will increase exponentially, and will result in the rapid on-boarding of merchants and consumers across the nation,” said Nalin Bansal, head of RuPay and NFS, NPCI.

NPCI has also extended the offline wallet facility to retail stores on a pilot basis, after the Reserve Bank of India's approval for pilot on retail offline transactions. 

“This facility would be a boost for merchants as it reduces physical payments’ time to tap-and-go mode and its easy acceptance infrastructure smoothens payments in areas of poor network coverage,” the NPCI said.

Recently, the RBI also increased the limit for contactless card transactions from Rs 2,000 to Rs 5,000 from January 1, 2021. Experts said the enhanced limits for contactless cards will help millions of Indian consumers make the transition from cash to fast, convenient, and secure forms of digital payments.

RuPay is used to issue debit, credit, and prepaid cards. RuPay’s primary competitors are Visa, MasterCard, and American Express.

The Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated the adoption of digital payments in India. Unified Payments Interface (UPI), the flagship payments platform of the NPCI, recorded over 2 billion transactions for the second time in a row in November. 

Immediate Payment Service (IMPS) also touched an all-time high in terms of transactions and their value. In November, IMPS clocked 339.11 million transactions worth Rs 2.76 trillion. On the other hand, Bharat Bill Payment System recorded 23.93 million transactions worth Rs 3,713.21 crore in November. FASTag saw transaction count increase to 124.88 million — up almost 300 per cent from last year.

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