Abu Dhabi, Aug 24 (IANS) Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday swiped his RuPay card to purchase one kg of laddoos at the Emirates Palace – formally launching the Indian indigenous equivalent of Mastercard or Visa in the UAE.
The United Arab Emirates is the first country in the Middle East where the RuPay card has been launched.
Twelve major business outlets in the UAE will start accepting the RuPay card starting next week, Indian Ambassador Navdeep Singh Suri announced during the launch.
Modi used his RuPay card for purchasing laddoos at a mock Chhappan Bhog Abu Dhabi outlet set up during the launch.
“He bought one kilo of motichur laddoos by using the card,” Vinay Verma, owner and managing director of Chhappan Bhog, told the Khaleej Times.
“It is great pleasure and honour for us to be part of this ambitious launch. He is going to take it (the laddoos) to Bahrain as prasad for the temple. He said he is very keen that we will be using the RuPay card,” said Verma.
Suri said three banks in the UAE – Emirates NBD, Bank of Baroda and FAB – will start issuing the card from next week.
The business community welcomed this step and stated that the initiative will go a long way in bringing India and UAE businesses together.
The UAE receives close to three million Indian tourists annually. Acceptance of the RuPay card in the UAE will lower the charges as tourists will save on the exchange rate.
The National Payment Corporation of India (NPCI) in association with Mercury Payments Services – UAE’s Domestic Scheme – has made RuPay cards acceptable at 175,000 merchant acceptance locations and 5,000 ATM and cash access locations within the UAE.
The NPCI, which manages the RuPay card network in the country, issues RuPay Global cards that run on the Discover Network when used outside India. The acceptance of RuPay Global cards with the partnership of Discover has reached over 44 million plus merchants & 2 million ATM and cash access locations, across 190 countries and is constantly growing, the Ministry of External Affairs said in a statement.
Adeeb Ahamed, Managing Director, LuLu Financial Group, said low transaction processing fee makes RuPay more economically feasible for banks, merchants as well as consumers and can be easily leveraged by business to reach out to a larger segment of the society.
“Indian tourists, who are one of the largest numbers to come to UAE will be able to utilize the RuPay cards here as well, as more strategic partnerships will make it more viable. We believe that through the building of a larger ecosystem, RuPay can position itself as a reliable, premium brand in the payment cards space,” Ahamed added.