On Saturday, the RuPay card was officially launched by Narendra Modi, the Prime Minister of India, with Indian officials claiming that the new credit card will charge just 10% of the transaction fees associated with other debit and credit card companies in the United Arab Emirates.

The RuPay card is the indigenous Indian counterpart to the likes of Visa or Mastercard, which Modi symbolically launched by swiping his own card in order to purchase Indian sweets at a temporary shop housed in Abu Dhabi’s Emirates Palace Hotel. The UAE is the first Middle Eastern country to launch the RuPay card, with three major banks – First Abu Dhabi Bank, the Bank of Baroda and Emirates NBD – set to begin issuing the card within the nation soon. 

RuPay’s domestic cards are now also to be accepted across all of the UAE, with a new Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) intended to create a technology interface between India and the UAE’s payment platforms. The MoU between the Mercury Payments System in the UAE and the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) was exchanged in Modi’s presence and will pave the way for RuPay’s domestic cards to be accepted all across the country, benefiting almost three million tourists from India in addition to Indian expats, according to Indian officials.

One such official claimed that the card charges as low as 10% of the same transaction fees charged by the traditional credit card giants. This is partly because currency conversion charges do not apply due to all the transactions being carried out and data saved in India, and RuPay also offers a number of exclusive loyalty schemes and big discount offers. 

When the standalone RuPay card begins to be issued locally by the big three UAE banks, Indian expats as well as other residents of the UAE will begin to see similar benefits, according to the NPCI’s Chief Digital Officer Arif Khan, and the Chief Executive Officer of Network International and Chairman of Mercury Payments System Simon Haslam, who introduced the business community to the RuPay cash payments system last year in advance of the formal launch. 

Around 21 businesses, 5,000 ATMs and 175,000 merchants in the UAE will soon accept the RuPay card. Representatives from as many as 21 business groups were present at the launch, and those groups will be accepting RuPay in their merchant locations within the UAE. The start date for individual businesses to commence acceptance of the cards within their own outlets is expected to be announced shortly.

Businesses in the UAE that will accept the RuPay credit card include the likes of NMC Healthcare, Aster DM Healthcare, Sobha Ltd, Nikai Group, ITL Cosmos, Allana Group FMCG Products, Transworld Group, VPS Healthcare, Conares, EPS Facilities Services Group, DP World, Lulu Group, Landmark Group, Apparel Group, Regal Group of Companies, Jashanmal National Company LLC, Petrochem Middle East, Al Dobowi Group, UPL Group, Al Maya Group and Emaar, according to Abu Dhabi’s Indian Embassy. 

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