India and Russia will explore the possibility of accepting RuPay and Mir cards in each other’s country for hassle-free payments amid sanctions imposed by the West on Moscow.
In the recent high level Internal Governmental Commission meeting on Trade, Economic, Scientific, Technological and Cultural Cooperation (IRIGC-TEC), it was discussed and agreed to explore the opportunity of allowing acceptance of these cards, sources said.
The mutual acceptance of RuPay (India) and Mir cards (Russia) will help Indian and Russian citizens to make hassle-free payments in Indian rupees and Russian ruble in their respective countries, sources said.
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The meeting, co-chaired by External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and Russia Deputy Prime Minister Denis Manturov, also agreed to explore the possibility of interaction of Unified Payments Interface (UPI) of National Payment Corporation of India and the Faster Payments System (FPS) of the Bank of Russia.
Besides, it was also agreed to look at adopting the Russian financial messaging system, Services Bureau of Financial Messaging System of the Bank of Russia, for cross border payments.
Currently, overseas payments from India and vice versa are through the SWIFT network.
At the given point when sanctions are imposed, sources said, it would not be feasible for India to opt for other than SWIFT network.
Recently, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong launched the cross-border connectivity between UPI and PayNow.
Linkage of India’s Unified Payments Interface (UPI) and Singapore’s PayNow now allows people in the two countries to undertake faster and cost-efficient digital transfers.
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It will also help the Indian diaspora in Singapore, especially migrant workers and students, through instantaneous and low-cost transfer of money from Singapore to India and vice versa.
The PayNow-UPI linkage is the world’s first real-time payment systems linkage to use a scalable cloud-based infrastructure that can accommodate future increases in the volume of remittance traffic.
To begin with, the State Bank of India, Indian Overseas Bank, Indian Bank and ICICI Bank will facilitate both inward and outward remittances while Axis Bank and DBS India will facilitate inward remittances.
The UPI was launched in 2016, and since then it has emerged as the most popular and preferred payment mode pioneering person-to-person and person-to-merchant transactions, accounting for 75 per cent of the total digital payments.
The volume of UPI transactions has increased manifold from 0.45 crore in January 2017 to 804 crore in January 2023. The value of UPI transactions has increased from just Rs 1,700 crore to Rs 12.98 lakh crore during the same period.
National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) was incorporated in 2008 as an umbrella organisation for operating retail payments and settlement systems in India.
It has created a robust payment and settlement infrastructure in the country. It facilitates payments through a bouquet of retail payment products such as RuPay card, Immediate Payment Service (IMPS), UPI, Bharat Interface for Money (BHIM), BHIM Aadhaar, National Electronic Toll Collection (NETC Fastag) and Bharat BillPay.