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What is the future of EMV in India?

August 7, 2023


All the developed economies started moving towards a cashless economy at the beginning of the 21st century. With India becoming an economic powerhouse in the world, has set the vision a step ahead towards becoming a card-less economy by 2020, as confirmed by NITI AAYOG, a government of India initiative.

India has always been a cash-rich economy and the card usage started picking up towards the end of 2012 after the launch of India’s 1st domestic payment scheme RuPay by National Payments Corporation of India. Though RuPay started late, it has emerged as the fastest-growing payment brand in the world, touching 200 million card bases by the end of 2016. RuPay has achieved about 38% of the debit card market share.

In India, EMV picked up after RuPay launched its first EMV card with international acceptance towards the end of 2012. All the banks in India started replacing old magnetic stripe cards with EMV cards, after RBI mandated to make all cards EMV compliant by September 2015.

By the time EMV cards reached most cardholders in India, NPCI and Government of India came up with biometric-based payment using AADHAR number. Just after that NPCI revolutionized Indian payment space with the introduction of Unified Payment Interface (UPI) in 2016, which brought card-less transactions using mobile.

At the end of 2016, demonetization by Govt. of India has given a boost towards cash-less transactions, which helped people to move to card and UPI transactions.

At this juncture with a lot of payment options available in India i.e. UPI, Card, IMPS, *99#, the user base is divided among various payment options and with the Government promoting UPI, it has been tough going for EMV in the Indian market.

Now the future for EMV in India lies in transit space with a contactless Tap & Go system, which remains untouched and Host Card Emulation (HCE) system with increasing mobile phone usage. As NPCI is coming up with its own dual interface cards capable of Tap & Go features with various state metro railway ticketing systems, EMV is eyeing a new surge in usage. How India with its huge population manages to implement open-loop EMV for the transport ticketing system, is something the whole payment world is waiting for.

And if this becomes successful, definitely EMV will make a big comeback in the Indian market challenging non-EMV transaction infrastructure.

Indranil Chakraborty

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