Mumbai: The National Payment Corporation (NPCI) plans to almost double the number of RuPay Cards, the homegrown rival to Visa and MasterCard, to 25 million over the next two months.
"We have so far issued 14 million RuPay cards, and this will touch 25 million by the end of March," NPCI Managing Director and Chief Executive Abhay P Hota said.
NPCI is the nodal agency under the Reserve Bank that manages the national payment switch and has developed the RuPay Cards.
RuPay Card, Reserve Bank and domestic lenders-promoted NPCI's answer to Visa and the MasterCards which control the domestic plastic money market, was launched in April 2012.
It has seen as many as 210 banks, including all public sector banks and some of the leading private sector ones, issuing these domestic debit cards, Hota said.
He agreed, however, that most of the RuPay customers are urban cooperative banks and regional rural banks.
He also said the two of the largest foreign lenders -- Citi and HSBC -- will join the RuPay system by July.
"Today our cards are accepted on all ATMs (1.45 lakh), 8.4 lakh merchant terminals and 70 percent of the e-commerce merchants," he said.
About the quick acceptance, he said, for all the stakeholders it makes immense business sense as NPCI charges just 90 paise as the fee per transaction -- 60 paise from the merchant and 30 paise from the issuing bank -- with the same kind of security; the same on a Visa or MasterCard is as high as Rs 4.
"Our switching fee is only 60 paise for acquiring banks and 30 paise for issuing banks per transaction," Hota said.
Asked whether the company will be able to break-even soon, Hota said the objective is not making a fast buck but to offer a secure and world-class payment solution. "We will break even by the end of the seventh year, that is FY19."
When asked whether the NPCI will be entering the credit card space, he said, not immediately, but added that he hopes to gain traction for the international debit cards soon.
So far three banks -- Bank of Baroda, Central Bank of India and Saraswat Bank -- have issued the RuPay international debit cards, being offered with the California-based Discover Financial Services.
First Published: Sunday, February 2, 2014, 13:21