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Visa complains to U.S. govt about Indian rival RuPay

In , which has been backed by public lobbying from Prime Minister Narendra Modi which included comparing local card use with national service.

Visa Inc has complained to the US government that India’s “informal and legal” promotion of domestic payments rival RuPay is hurting the U.S. giant. in an important market, memos were spotted by Reuters exhibitors.

In the community Visa has downplayed concerns about the rise of RuPay, which has been backed by public lobbying from Prime Minister Narendra Modi which included comparing local card use with national service.

But US government invitations show Visa raised concerns about India’s “high-profile stadium” during an August 9 meeting between the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Katherine Tai and company executives, including CEO Alfred Kelly.

Mastercard Inc has expressed similar concern privately with the USTR. Reuters reported in 2018 that the company had filed a protest with the USTR that Modiwas use citizenship to promote the local network.

“Visa remains concerned about India ‘s informal and legitimate policies that appear to favor the business of the National Payments Corporation of India” (NPCI), a non-profit organization owned by RuPay, “in addition to other domestic and foreign payment companies,” USTR said in a statement. . prepared for Tai before the meeting.

Visa, USTR, the office of Prime Minister Modi and the NPCI did not respond to requests for comment.

Mr. Modi has been promoting RuPay at home for many years, posing a challenge to Visa and Mastercard in the rapidly growing payment market. RuPay has charged 63% of India’s 952 million debit cards and credit cards as of November 2020, according to the company’s latest regulatory data, up from 15% in 2017.

In public, Mr. Kelly said in May that for years there had been “many concerns” that RuPay’s preferences could be a “problem” for Visa, but stressed that his company remained the leader of the Indian market.

“That will be something we will always be dealing with and we have been dealing with for years. So there is nothing new there,” he told an industry event.


‘NOT A HIDDEN PRESSURE’

Mr Modi, in a 2018 speech, pointed out the use of RuPay as patriotism, saying that since “everyone can cross the border to defend the country, we can use the RuPay card to serve the nation.”

While Visa expressed its concern during the USTR meeting on August 9, it quoted “an Indian leader’s speech in which he basically asked India to use RuPay as a show to help the country,” according to an email a U.S. official changed the address of the conference. .

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said last year that “RuPay is the only card” banks should promote. The government has also promoted a RuPay-based card to pay for public transportation.

Although RuPay dominates the number of cards in India, most transactions are still going through Visa and Mastercard as most RuPay cards are already issued by banks under Mr. Investment program. Modi, industry sources say.

Visa told the US government that it was concerned about “India’s push to use RuPay-linked transport cards” and “the subtle pressure for banks to issue” RuPay cards, a USTR email showed.

Mastercard and Visa cite India as an important growth market, but it was shaken by the 2018 central bank’s directive to keep payment data “only in India” in order to “reach unrestricted”.

Mastercard is facing a permanent ban on the issuance of new cards in India after the central bank said it did not comply with the 2018 rules. USTR official secretly calls Mastercard ban “draconian”,

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