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Draft Circular - Arrangements with Card Networks for issue of Debit, Credit and Prepaid Cards

Draft Circular for Comments

CO.DPSS.POLC.No. S-**** /02-14-003/2023-24

July 05, 2023

The Chairman / Managing Director / Chief Executive Officer
Authorised Payment System Providers / Participants (Banks and Non-banks)

Madam / Dear Sir,

Draft Circular - Arrangements with Card Networks for issue of Debit, Credit and Prepaid Cards

The authorised card networks1 tie-up with banks / non-banks for issuance of debit / credit / prepaid cards. The choice of affiliated network2 for a card issued to a customer is decided by the card issuer and is linked to the arrangements that the card issuers have with card networks in terms of their bilateral agreements.

2. On a review, it is observed that arrangements existing between card networks and card issuers (banks and non-banks) are not conducive to the availability of choice for customers.

3. In exercise of the powers conferred under Section 18 read with Section 10(2) of the Payment and Settlement Systems Act, 2007 (Act 51 of 2007), the RBI being satisfied that it is necessary and expedient, in the interest of payment system and public interest, to do so, hereby, directs as under:

  1. Card issuers shall not enter into any arrangement or agreement with card networks that restrain them from availing the services of other card networks.

  2. Card issuers shall issue cards across more than one card network.

  3. Card issuers shall provide an option to their eligible customers to choose any one among the multiple card networks. This option may be exercised by customers either at the time of issue or at any subsequent time.

4. Card issuers and card networks shall ensure to adhere to the above requirements in:

  1. existing agreements at the time of amendment or renewal thereof, and

  2. fresh agreements executed from the date of this circular.

5. The directions at para 3 (b) and (c) above shall be effective from October 01, 2023.

Yours faithfully,

(Gunveer Singh)
Chief General Manager-in-Charge

1 Authorised card networks in India are American Express Banking Corp., Diners Club International Ltd., MasterCard Asia/ Pacific Pte. Ltd., National Payments Corporation of India – Rupay, and Visa Worldwide Pte. Limited.

2 The affiliated network branded as American Express, Diners Club International, Mastercard, RuPay or Visa is displayed on the card.