Payments Giant Visa Complains To US Govt Over India's Backing For Local Rival RuPay: ReportVisa and Rupay logos

Payments giant Visa has reportedly complained to the US government stating that India’s “informal and formal” promotion of domestic payments rival RuPay is detrimental to the interests of the company in a key market.

The memos of the US government, as seen and firstly reported by Reuters, show that in a meeting between US Trade Representative (USTR) Katherine Tai and VISA executives, including CEO Alfred Kelly, the company had raised concerns about a "level playing field" in India.

"Visa remains concerned about India's informal and formal policies that appear to favour the business of National Payments Corporation of India" (NPCI), the non-profit that runs RuPay,"over other domestic and foreign electronic payments companies,"said a USTR memo prepared for Tai ahead of the meeting.

Notably, Mastercard had raised similar concerns privately with the USTR back in 2018.

RuPay, an Indian multinational financial services and payment service system, was conceived and launched by the National Payments Corporation of India in 2012. It has been supported by public lobbying from Prime Minister Narendra Modi posing a challenge to Visa and Mastercard in the fast-growing payments market.

The success of RuPay can be gauged from the fact that the domestic payments facilitator accounted for 63 per cent of India's 952 million debit and credit cards as of November 2020, according to the most recent regulatory data on the company, up from just 15 per cent in 2017.

In public, however, Visa Inc has downplayed concerns about the rise of RuPay. At an industry event, Visa CEO Kelly stressed that his company remained India's market leader, despite concerns that RuPay could be "potentially problematic" for Visa.

"That's going to be something we're going to continually deal with and have dealt with for years. So there's nothing new there," he added.

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