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Mastercard lodges protests over Indian PM’s promotion of local payments network

Mastercard had lodged a protest over Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s use of nationalism to promote domestic payments network, called “RuPay”, in India. In a document seen by Reuters, Mastercard stated that New Delhi’s protectionist policies were “hurting” foreign payment companies.

The Reuters article said that Modi had publicly endorsed RuPay, saying the network’s transaction fee stays within the country and could be used to aid in India’s growth. In response to this, Mastercard had written to the office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) in June that the prime minister has associated the use of RuPay with nationalism. The note also added that while Modi’s digital payments push was “commendable”, the Indian government had adopted “a series of protectionist measures” to the detriment of global companies.

Marketing has reached out to Mastercard for comment.

RuPay was launched by the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) six years ago and according to the Reuters article, more than half of India’s one billion debit and credit cards go through the RuPay payment system. In 2016, Modi promoted the use of digital payments in a bid to crack down on the black economy. According to data from the Central Bank, the digital push recorded US$51 billion on debit and credit card in November 2016.

Recently, Mastercard had released its third quarter financials for 2018, which saw a 33% increase in revenue. Mastercard’s net income climbed to US$1.9 billion in the three months ended 30 September 2018, as opposed to US$1.43 billion last year. In addition, the international card company had spent US$2.35 billion on advertising and marketing this year, an increase from US$2.03 billion last year.

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