India on Tuesday signed an agreement with Saudi Arabia to launch the RuPay card in the country, making it the third nation in the West Asia to initiate India's digital payment system which will benefit not only the 2.6 million Indians in the Gulf Kingdom but also Haj and Umrah pilgrims.
The RuPay card is a first-of-its-kind Indian domestic Debit and Credit Card payment network, with acceptance at ATMs, POS devices and e-commerce websites. It was launched in 2012 to fulfil the Reserve Bank of India's vision to have a domestic, open and multilateral system of payments.
India has already launched the RuPay card in the UAE, Bahrain, Singapore and Bhutan.
During Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit, an MoU was signed to launch the RuPay cards in Saudi Arabia, said a joint statement issued at the end of his visit.
There are over 2.6 million Indians working in Saudi Arabia, the largest expatriate community in the country. Nearly two lakh Haj pilgrims and over three hundred thousand Umrah pilgrims from India visit Saudi Arabia every year and acceptance of Rupay card will allow them to transact at cheaper rates.
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.
India's relations with Saudi Arabia have been on an upswing over the last few years based on burgeoning energy ties besides cooperation in several other areas. Prime Minister Modi's first visit to Riyadh in 2016 put bilateral ties on a new trajectory.
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