In a significant stride towards bolstering digital payments and financial inclusion in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), NPCI International Payments Limited (NIPL), a subsidiary of the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), has inked a landmark agreement with Al Etihad Payments (AEP), an indirect subsidiary of the Central Bank of UAE. The strategic partnership paves the way for the implementation of the Domestic Card Scheme (DCS) in the UAE, powered by India’s highly RuPay card network.
The signing ceremony, held in AbuDhabi , was witnessed by Piyush Goyal, Union Minister of Commerce and Industry of India, and Sheikh Hamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan,managing director of Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, marking a momentous occasion in the technological collaboration between the two nations.
Under the agreement, NIPL and AEP will collaborate closely to construct, deploy, and operationalize the UAE’s national domestic card scheme, which aims to accelerate the growth of e-commerce and digital transactions, advance financial inclusion, and align with the UAE’s ambitious digitization agenda. This partnership also seeks to diversify payment options, reduce transaction costs, and enhance the UAE’s global competitiveness in the payments industry.
RuPay, a secure and widely accepted card payment network indigenous to India, will serve as the foundation of the UAE’s DCS. RuPay cards encompass debit, credit, and prepaid options, with over 750 million cards currently in circulation. Remarkably, more than 60% of all cards issued in India are RuPay cards, demonstrating their widespread adoption across public and private sector banks.
India’s Digital Public Infrastructure (DPI) framework, comprising digital identity, digital payments, and digital data exchange layers, has played a pivotal role in driving fintech innovation within the country. With nearly every adult in India having access to banking services, remote authentication through Aadhar, and affordable mobile internet connectivity, India boasts the third-largest fintech ecosystem globally. Over the past five years, India has witnessed a staggering 367% surge in digital transaction participation, with an active customer base exceeding 340 million.
This strategic partnership between NIPL and AEP not only marks a significant milestone in the UAE’s payment systems but also signifies a groundbreaking era of technological cooperation between India and the UAE. By leveraging the RuPay card stack and the expertise of NIPL, the UAE is poised to revolutionize its payments landscape and pave the way for a digital future.The collaboration aligns with NIPL’s mission to share its knowledge and expertise to assist other nations in establishing efficient and secure payment systems, fostering economic growth, and enhancing financial accessibility.
Vinod Kumar (UAE)