Visa crosses 20 million contactless cards in India

New Delhi: Visa (NYSE:V), the global leader in payments technology, today announced that over 20 million Visa contactless cards have now been issued in India, since the launch of its first contactless card in 2015. Continuing its push for contactless payments in India, Visa also revealed that the acceptance infrastructure for such cards has crossed one million terminals across the country.

“In a little over three years, along with our clients, we have been able to promote the benefits of contactless cards to over 20 million consumers across India. Besides the significant push in building awareness, we have helped expand India’s contactless acceptance infrastructure to over one million points. Across the world, contactless cards have proven to be a significant catalyst in improving consumer stickiness for digital payments and we expect India to be amongst its biggest adopters in months to come,” said TR Ramachandran, Group Country Manager for Visa in India & South Asia.

Over 3.3 million merchants in India now accept cashless payments through multiple payment options. Contactless card payments help realize the government’s vision of Digital India, of which digital payments is a prime focus area. The government’s push towards digital payments was further strengthened with a directive in July 2018 to consider adding NFC (contactless) capabilities, in addition to the EMV chip feature, for all cards being upgraded as part of the RBI mandate to replace all existing magstripe cards by December 2018.

Contactless cards make the payment experience smooth, considerably shortening checkout time from close to a minute to just a few seconds. Consumers get the convenience of simply tapping and paying for transactions, whether at large retail outlets, the neighbourhood grocery or their favourite cinema.

“With 20 million contactless cards powered by Visa today in India, we have reached critical mass, adding to the building blocksof the cashless payments infrastructure of the country. Thanks to the government’s push towards enabling contactless payments, we expect this number to significantly increase in the months to come,” adds Ramachandran.Globally, over 1.5 billion contactless payment cards are expected to be issuedby the end of 2018 and will account for 50% of all payment cards shipped .

Across the world, contactless payments are hugely popular in mass transit use cases such as metros, trains and ferries. Cities such as London, Vancouver and Sydney already boast of contactless card acceptance across their mass transit systems while global cities such as Madrid, Manchester, Milan, Rio de Janeiro, Singapore, Helsinki and Rome are in the midst of upgrading to contactless payments. With a slew of transit projects including metros coming up across the country, Indian contactless cardholders could soon benefit from an interoperable and seamless payment experience while on the go.

For debit transactions up to INR 2,000, Visa contactless cardholders can just tap to pay, without having to enter aPIN or sign transaction receipts. With more and more banks currently issuing contactless cards, Indian consumers are now experiencing a new and faster way to pay at supermarkets, dining, entertainment venues and retailers such as Big Bazaar, Reliance Retail, PVR, Vishal Mega Mart, etc.

Visa contactless payment cards have an embedded antenna and microchip, enabling “contactless” communication with a card reader at checkout. Cardholders can simply tap or wave the card over a secure reader. The transaction is then processed through Visa’s global, secure network, VisaNet, which processes all Visa transactions.

With more than 1 billion debit and credit payment cards in circulation in the country today, Visa firmly believes that there is tremendous opportunity to shift consumers to contactless payment cards for small ticket transactions, in turn improving stickiness for digital payments.

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