India signs MoU with Saudi to launch RuPay card in Gulf Kingdom
India on Tuesday signed an agreement with Saudi Arabia to launch the RuPay card in the country, making it the third nation in West Asia to initiate India's digital payment system. The move will benefit not only the 2.6 million Indians in the Gulf Kingdom but also Haj and Umrah pilgrims.
The RuPay card is a first-of-its-kind Indian domestic debit and credit card payment network, with acceptance at ATMs, POS devices, and ecommerce websites. It was launched in 2012 to fulfil the Reserve Bank of India's vision to have a domestic, open and multilateral system of payments.
India has already launched the RuPay card in the UAE, Bahrain, Singapore, and Bhutan.
An MoU was signed to launch the RuPay cards in Saudi Arabia during Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit, said a joint statement issued at the end of his visit.
There are over 2.6 million Indians working in Saudi Arabia, the largest expatriate community in the country. Nearly two lakh Haj pilgrims and over 300,000 Umrah pilgrims from India visit Saudi Arabia every year, and acceptance of the Rupay card will allow them to transact at cheaper rates.
RuPay is a highly secure network that protects against cyberhacks and is India's version of Master Card and Visa. Today, there are close to 500 million RuPay cards in circulation in India.
RuPay has also tied up with international players like Discover, Japan Credit Bureau, and China Union Pay to enhance its international acceptance. It recently achieved a milestone of issuing 25 million RuPay cards.
India's relations with Saudi Arabia have been on an upswing over the last few years based on burgeoning energy ties besides cooperation in several other areas. Prime Minister Modi's first visit to Riyadh in 2016 put bilateral ties on a new trajectory.
PM Modi on Tuesday also invited Saudi companies to invest in India's energy space, saying that the government has set a target of $100 billion investment in the sector.
(Disclaimer: Additional background information has been added to this PTI copy for context)
(Edited by Teja Lele Desai)