In a move aimed at expanding payment options for Indians traveling abroad, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has given banks in India permission to issue RuPay prepaid forex cards. These cards can be used at ATMs, PoS machines, and online merchants overseas.
Additionally, RuPay debit, credit, and prepaid cards will now be available for issuance in foreign jurisdictions, making them internationally usable, including in India.
The decision to allow the issuance of RuPay prepaid forex cards comes as RuPay debit and credit cards issued by Indian banks gain international acceptance through bilateral arrangements with international partners and co-badging arrangements with international card schemes.
RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das believes that these measures will expand the reach and acceptance of RuPay cards globally.
Streamlining Bharat Bill Payment System (BBPS)
Governor Das also highlighted the operational efficiency of the Bharat Bill Payment System (BBPS). Since its launch in August 2017, BBPS has onboarded over 20,500 billers and processes over 9.8 crore transactions monthly.
In December 2022, the scope of BBPS was expanded to include all categories of payments and collections, including recurring and non-recurring payments, as well as facilitating inbound cross-border bill payments.
To further enhance efficiency and participation, the process flow of transactions and membership criteria for onboarding operating units in BBPS will be streamlined.
Expanding e-RUPI digital vouchers
The RBI plans to expand the scope and reach of e-RUPI digital vouchers. The proposed measures include allowing non-bank prepaid payment instruments (PPI) issuers to issue e-RUPI vouchers, enabling the issuance of e-RUPI vouchers on behalf of individuals, and simplifying the issuance and redemption process.
These steps aim to make the benefits of e-RUPI vouchers accessible to a wider user base and deepen the penetration of digital payments in the country.
E-RUPI is a prepaid digital voucher developed by the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI). Launched in August 2021, it is a person-specific and purpose-specific cashless voucher with a maximum value of ₹10,000 and a single-time redemption facility.
The RBI increased the cap on e-RUPI vouchers to ₹1 lakh last year, allowing multiple usages to facilitate the digital delivery of various government schemes to beneficiaries. This contactless and cashless mode of payment eliminates the need for cards, digital payment apps, or internet banking access.
Commenting on the same, Akash Sinha, Co-Founder & CEO, of Cashfree Payments said, “The regulator's announcement to allow Indian banks to issue RuPay Prepaid Forex cards for overseas usage is a significant advancement in facilitating smooth cross-border transactions. This development enhances convenience, cost efficiency, and security, empowering individuals and businesses to engage in cross-border payments with ease..”
“Further, the issuance of e-Rupee vouchers on behalf of individuals expands the market potential and increases customer engagement. Additionally, the widespread adoption of e-Rupee vouchers promotes digital transactions, boosting the efficiency and speed of payments, thereby enhancing the overall operational efficiency and financial management for businesses in India,” he added.
The RBI's decision to permit banks to issue RuPay prepaid forex cards opens up new avenues for Indians traveling abroad, providing them with more convenient payment options. These initiatives align with the RBI's ongoing efforts to promote a robust and secure digital payment infrastructure in the country.