Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the RuPay card here, making the UAE the first country in West Asia to initiate the Indian indigenous system of electronic payment.

RuPay card scheme was launched in 2012 to fulfil the Reserve Bank of India’s vision to have a domestic, open and multilateral system of payments. RuPay facilitates electronic payment at all Indian banks and financial institutions.

India has already launched the RuPay card in Singapore and Bhutan.

Modi launched the RuPay card by making a special purchase which he will offer as ‘prasad’ at the Shreenathji Temple in Bahrain tomorrow. “The RuPay card comes to UAE! PM @narendramodi makes a special purchase, which he would offer as Prasad at the Shreenathji Temple in Bahrain tomorrow,” the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) tweeted.


Before the launch, an Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was singed between the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) and UAE’s Mercury Payments Services, to establish a technology interface between the payment platforms in India and UAE. The MoU was signed in the presence of the Prime Minister.

As many as 21 major business groups — including Lulu, Petrochem Middle East, NMC Healthcare and Landmark — in the UAE have pledged to accept RuPay as a mode of payment. They stated that the initiative will go a long way in bringing India and the UAE businesses together.

The UAE receives about three million Indian tourists annually. Acceptance of Rupay card in UAE will lower the charges as tourists will save on exchange rate.

The NPCI in association with the Mercury Payments Services, has made RuPay cards acceptable at 1,75,000 merchant locations and 5,000 ATM and cash access locations within the UAE.

RuPay is a highly secure network that protects against cyberhacks and is India’s version of Master Card and Visa. Today, there are close to 500 million RuPay cards in circulation in India.

RuPay has also tied-up with international players like Discover, Japan Credit Bureau and China Union Pay to enhance its international acceptance and recently achieved a milestone of issuing 25 million RuPay cards.