Hurray for RuPay?

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18 April 2012


  • I wonder if RuPay isn't a rather reactionary response though Gareth, more about envy of the success of the Chinese domestic debit scheme than a considered response to the problems of 21st century India. If you're going to set up a new scheme, why not base it on M-PESA rather than China UnionPay? Or why not use the UUID to front-end M-PESA-in-the-cloud?

    The requirement for terminals and connections seems so last decade in a country where 80% of the population have a mobile phone..

  • As always Dave, a good point well made.

    India is a fascinating place to watch and I wouldn't claim to understand everything that happens. However, we need to consider the bigger picture. In 2005, the Reserve Bank of India set out it's vision of what it wanted to achieve in the period 2009-12. The scope is mind-boggling - RuPay was one element, but it also included, amongst other things (!) a 24/7 faster payment scheme, a significant upgrade of the ACH, & a mobile payments settlement system. All in 3 years. SBI have since placed the single largest orders of POS devices, ever. The focus then is less on the scheme but on creating the infrastructures that we take for granted elsewhere. Indeed, I think some of the infrastructure will be far superior in technology and functions than found in many other countries.

    M-PESA has been a great success but it was still early days for it when the vision was set out. Whilst I absolutely believe mobile is the future, I'm not sure we've seen too many other instances where mobile schemes have achieved the same success. I know you're very close to them so would be curious to hear how its translated to other markets. In that context, perhaps building the path, the foundation, that takes them in that direction is a wise idea.

    And perhaps on a more political note, I do wonder there was an element of control at play as I'm told the banks are much more tightly regulated than the mobile operators. Its not uncommon for RBI to issue an edict and give the banks only a few days or weeks to respond - and the banks do respond.