RuPay was launched in the country by prime minister Narendra Modi who received the UAE’s top civilian award, the Order of Zayed, on 24 August.
The UAE is the first country in the Middle East to introduce RuPay card payment system, which is already in use in Singapore and Bhutan, soon to be followed in Bahrain.
RuPay was first launched in 2012 by the Reserve Bank of India-backed National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), along with the Indian Banks’ Association in partnership with 56 banks; including the State Bank of India, Punjab National Bank, Canara Bank, ICICI Bank, Citbank and HSBC.
The name RuPay is coined by combining ‘rupee’ and ‘payment’. More than 500 million cards are in circulation in India and more than half of country’s one billion debit and credit cards now go through the RuPay system.
In the UAE, about 175,000 merchant terminals and 5,000 ATMs accept the card and the number is slated to grow.
In addition, the country’s two top banks, Emirates NBD and First Abu Dhabi Bank, and the only UAE-licensed Indian bank, Bank of Baroda, will soon issue the cards.
The card’s success in the UAE is all but guaranteed, as 21 large groups; including retailer Lulu Group, NMC Healthcare Group, Aster DM Healthcare, Landmark Group – all owned by Indians – and the UAE’s Emaar Group, developer of Dubai Mall, and Dubai government-owned DP World, are already accepting the card.
Lulu Group managing director Yousuf Ali said it will implement RuPay digital transactions across all its 174 super and hypermarkets across 22 countries.
RuPay card users can enjoy many advantages, as it charges only one-tenth of the transaction fees levied by its international competitors.
Also RuPay allows issuing banks free entry into the payment system. The card facilitates electronic payment at all Indian banks and financial institutions at competitive rates. Unlike Visa and MasterCard, the processing is done in India at a lower cost and with shorter processing time.
It is expected that the introduction of the Indian payment card in the UAE will give retailers and hospitality industry a big boost and increase tourist flow, as the card facilitates ease of doing business, shopping and payments.
For visitors, RuPay will save transaction charges including foreign exchange commissions.
As a hospitality industry spokesman pointed out: “With one of the highest number of tourists in the UAE, [RuPay] can potentially increase tourist flow from India even more. It eliminates the hassle of carrying physical currency and allows stress-free shopping. It is a great move for retailers and the hospitality industry.”
“It is going to be a great initiative for the millions of travellers, tourists and NRIs as the RuPay card offers convenience and ease of usage,” said Lulu Group’s Ali.