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  • Union Budget 2016 to enhance cashless transactions

    A range of actions and strategies on card transactions is expected to be detailed out in the union budget for the next financial year. The Ministry of Finance is still in discussion regarding the matter with the department and stakeholders. They have already pushed a cabinet note on enabling electronic fund transactions more extensively, in accordance with the government’s aim of attaining a cashless economy. This is expected to bring down corruption, plug leaks, improved target recipients of backings, and speed up financial inclusion. The imminent Union budget will possibly make clear some of these steps from waiving off with convenience fee levied by the government departments for different payments ( Debit cards ) and efficacies to lower the mercantile discount rate on plastic transactions to reduce mobile payment expenses to increase the yearly reportable limit. Over 80 crore card transactions are documented on a monthly basis.

    5 January 2016

  • RuPay’s popularity vexes global card providers, MasterCard & Visa

    US card providing firms, MasterCard and Visa, have protested against an indiscernible command to keep them out of the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana, the present government's ambitious financial inclusion programme. They are demanding a fair playground to compete with the national and government-sponsored card provider, RuPay. Smarted by a steep and sudden rise in credit and debit cards distributed by RuPay, owing to the PMJDY Programme, MasterCard and Visa tell that they have requested the RBI and the government to take their services into consideration, which are on the inexpensive side compared to the desi card distributor. The co-president in the Asia Pacific for MasterCard, Mr. Ari Sarker, emphasized on their need to get a fair deal and chance to partake in the PMJDY, which is considered the largest fiscal inclusion programme to ever grace any country. He reiterated that this mandate on RuPay should go down as their cards are priced 30 percent less than RuPay. The same was echoed by the other international player, Visa, saying that the unwritten preference for RuPay by the Government.

    2 January 2016

  • Dismal involvement in Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana by private lenders

    Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY), the aspiring fiscal inclusion programme, has witnessed lukewarm reception from private banks, which constituted a meagre 3.76 percent of the overall number of accounts started and 4.21 percent of funds in them. As predicted, public banks comprised the biggest share, having 78 percent of the total number of savings and other accounts started and keeping 78.6 percent of the balance sum being in these accounts. The remaining accounts were started with rural banks. As for private banks, 73 lacs accounts were started in which the balance as on the beginning of December this year was INR 1149.36 crore. As a whole, 19.41 crore accounts were started and thousands of debit cards were distributed since the PMJDY was unveiled by the PM on the Independence Day in 2014. The balance stands at INR 27,283 crore as of now. Out of the 19.41 crore bank accounts, 34 percent were zero-balance accounts. The Modi government introduced the PMJDY to offer ‘global access to banking facilities' to people with an overdraft facility of INR 5000 and a personal accident cover of up to INR 1 lakh.

    28 December 2015

  • Citrus Pay partners with RuPay, Visa to enhance payment usage

    Citrus Pay has entered into partnerships with RuPay and Visa (national and global credit and debit card distributors) and a slew of other ingenuities to increase its performance in the payments arena. Headquartered in the city of dreams, Mumbai, this digital wallet startup has managed to raise 2.5 crore USD in October, making it eligible to apply for a payments bank license, but hasn’t received it. Citrus is currently striving to attract the sizable clientele of RuPay, the Indian cash card scheme introduced by the National Payments Corporation of India, from cities and small towns to their transaction portal. They are aiming at a jump 20 lacs in the number of users in the coming 2 to 3 months by enabling RuPay acceptance. The organization is hoping that this partnership would help them own the second phase of growth. One incentive they offer to lure customers is 10 percent cashback on their first recharge.

    19 December 2015

  • RuPay Debit Card usage extended to 90 days for insurance claims

    Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY), Nationwide Undertaking on Financial Inclusion was declared by the honorable Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi on his first Independence Day Speech in 2014. The key goal was of enveloping every family unit with a minimum of one bank account throughout the country. The scheme was officially inaugurated on 28th August 2014 at a National level by the PM. As per the scheme, RuPay Classic Debit Cards were distributed to all PMJDY account holders along with an integral personal accident cover of up to INR 1 lakh. One of the main prerequisite to file claim was that the card has to be used for at least one transaction in 45 days. This got amended last week and got extended to 90 days. The transaction can be done at any ATM, e-commerce portals, mercantile or PoS. The government has taken this step upon multiple and relentless requests by the users. The amendment will be effective from 25th November onwards. The claims filed before this date will not be eligible for this.

    18 December 2015

  • Financial Inclusion - Payments Banking is the future

    An unobtrusive fiscal revolution has started in our country. Reserve Bank of India has given authorization to initiate payment banks to 11 Indian firms. This is with the aim of finding new regions as per the financial inclusion schemes that are normally overlooked by commercial banks. Payment banks can take in sums up to INR 10 lacs, and will deliver other services like issuing of ATM debit cards, and funds transactions.

    The renowned entities that were issued licenses are Airtel, Aditya Birla Nuvo, India Post, IDFC, National Securities Depository Limited (NSDL), Reliance Industries and more. This is expected to function by the end of this month. This step is taken keeping in mind the previous year’s financial figures. In 2014, only 35 percent adult citizens held a bank account and only 8 percent applied for loans. Banking using credit and debit cards too haven’t reached the remotest India. Formal banking should be accessible for all for the development of Indian economy and infrastructure. Hence this is a path breaking move.

    21 September 2015

  • E-Commerce in India and Growth of Payment Systems

    E-Commerce in India started to gain traction in the early 2000s and it since then, has marked an era that has redefined the retail dynamics and seller-buyer relationship. These days, people can buy anything online from cars to groceries and gadgets. Because of the sheer convenience, comfort and choices that it offers, e-commerce is expected to grow in the coming years also. From the perspective of banking and payment systems, e-commerce in India has helped greatly in the penetration of plastic money. Debit card transactions have seen massive growth in values and the rise of debit card sales also is viewed as a partial consequence of e-commerce growth. according to RBI data, debit cards have witnessed a 16.3% growth as compared to the previous year. Debit cards are no longer just the boring instrument to complete transactions, they have grown to play important role in making the whole purchase experience more rewarding. SBI debit cards have seen a growth of over 200% in e-commerce spends. Debit cards now offer deals, exclusive discounts and special value additions to the customers. In the coming days, as the number of internet users is expected to grow and as debit cards will compete to offer the best features, a consumer can expect the best when it comes to shopping and payments.

    15 September 2015

  • The Union Cabinet to make decision on FDI for White Label ATMs

    The Union Cabinet is on plans to make a decision regarding permission of 100% Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in India for operations of White Label ATMs (WLAs). This move is targeted towards financial inclusion and the proposal was influenced by the Commerce and Tourism Ministry. FDI for White Label ATMs in expected to boost the number of non-bank ATMs in rural and semi-urban areas. White Label ATMs are set up by non-bank entities that have a net worth of a minimum Rs.100 crore. Some of the White Label ATM operators in the country include Srei Infrastructure, AGS, Vakrangee Software and Muthoot Finance. Also, the Government has relaxed the Foreign Direct Investment Rules in railways, defence and construction sector. The FDI into India has seen a growth of 27% in the year 2014-15.

    Initially, only banks were allowed to establish ATMs and the banks were majorly setting up ATMs in tier I and tier II cities. The Reserve Bank of India, under the WLA plan, later allowed non-bank entities to operate ATMs in India.

    13 September 2015

  • CAIT asks Government to shut down ATMs to facilitate cashless Economy

    The Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) is in an opinion that the Government should close ATMs across the country to control cash flow and to aid the creation of cashless economy. CAIT also feels that the ATMs must be closed in a phased out manner and also that the Government must ensure the installation of maximum number of PoS terminal card swipe machines at merchant outlets. At present, about 12 lakh PoS terminals are present in India. Contrary to the cashless economy policy, ATM machines are still in operation because 95% of card transactions in India happen at ATMs for cash withdrawal using debit card.

    The CAIT also asked the Government to advise banks to waive off the transaction charges on Debit cards which discourage customers to use e-payment gateways. The CAIT has also suggested changes like subsidies on card swipe machine rentals and import duty waiver for card swipe devices. Even though there are over 500 million debit cards in India, the momentum of paper money is so strong that only less than 5% of personal consumption expenditure of Rs.70,000 crore transaction happen electronically.

    12 September 2015

  • Jan Dhan Yojana might benefit from FDI for White Label ATMs

    To give a boost to the financial inclusion in the country, the Government has given nod for 100% foreign direct investment (FDI) for non-bank entities to operate cash machines including ATM. This move is expected to improve the funding requirements of White Label ATM (WLA) which is capital intensive. Some experts are reluctant to expect any growth in the WLA segment because of problems with cash management and flaws with business models. According to the RBI rules, WLAs need a sponsor bank which will be responsible to settle and maintain cash. White Label ATMs are essentially operated and controlled by non-bank entities and can be used by any bank customer who holds a debit card or credit card to make balance enquiry, withdraw cash and also for PIN change. Introduced by the RBI to increase the penetration of ATMs in rural and semi-urban areas, WLAs are also required to deploy 33% of ATMs in urban locations and 67% of the ATMs in rural locations. If more WLA operators make an entry, bank accounts opened under Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY). The Government has also stated that the PMJDY’s focus has been shifted from account opening to offering cash-out facilities for account holders which will enable cash mobilization.

    11 September 2015

  • No strangers in the ATM Kiosks, please!

    Clients of Pandyan Grama Bank (PGB) were warned against revealing the PIN of their debit cards to outsiders and permitting unfamiliar people inside the ATM booth while withdrawing cash. This came up when NPCI vice-president Ramachandran Sundaresan addressed a financial literacy programme held by the bank with ties with NABARD and National Payments Corporation of India. He said that ATMs are so user-friendly that one can easily learn how to operate it and do not need to get help in using their debit cards. He also strongly recommended that the customers change their PIN from time to time and also to punch the cancel button before leaving the kiosk for good measure. He also wanted people to link their Aadhar cards to their debit cards for added security.

    09 September 2015

  • Fashion and Retail Stores Witness Almost 50% of Card Spends

    The boom in e-commerce industry has majorly contributed to the 28% growth in card spends in the year 2014-15. Nearly 30% of the spending happens on retail purchases including that of electronic goods and grocery and about 22% card purchases relates to fashion. Other major contributors include spends in hospitals, hotels, travel and fuel.

    Over the last year, the issuance of debit cards grew to 42% as every new account started under Jan Dhan Yojana (JDY) scheme was given a debit card. The average debit card spend also stood at Rs.1502. In India, debit cards have primarily been used for cash withdrawals at ATMs. This situation is changing with POS terminals being made more common and if the government introduces tax rebates, this situation is expected to get better.

    With banks coming up with contactless payment cards and with the rise of payment banks, the report payment industry is expected to see a boost. Recently, RBI had issued in-principle approval to 11 new entities for Payment banks who are expected to integrate technology and banking to facilitate fund transfers and sale of third party products.

    09 September 2015

  • White Label ATMs Suffer due to Lack of Sponsors

    Automatic Teller Machines (ATM) operated by non-banking entities are also known as white label ATMs. Because white label ATMs are not able to find suitable banks to sponsor the ATMs in small cities, white label ATMs are stumbling to meet the RBI targets. WL ATM operators do not come under the banking rules and regulations directly, but requires a sponsor bank to manage and load cash in each WLA. Most of the WLA operators have opted for Scheme A out of the three schemes offered by the RBI wherein they have to open at least 9,000 WLA’s in a period of three years. Under the same scheme, for every WLA that the operator has installed in tier I, II cities, they need to install three in tier III, IV, V and VI towns. Since the launch of this scheme, seven operators have established only 9,600 WLAs.

    Difficulty in partnering with PSBs, limit on number of free ATM transactions and reduction in interchange fee have been quoted as the reasons for slow growth of WLAs. In conventional bank ATMs, customers can use their debit card to withdraw cash immediately. WLAs, if aggressively deployed, could cover 15-20% of non-bank deployed localities and can also accept payment bank debit cards.

    07 September 2015

  • More than INR 22,000 Cr mobilized in bank accounts

    The accomplishment by Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) is fast pacing towards its full capacity. Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) was declared by the Honorable Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi on the Independence Day (2014) and was inaugurated in the same month.

    Early request for bank accounts was estimated to be over 750 lacs. And to date, nearly 18 crore accounts were started and 157.4 million RuPay Debit Cards were delivered with over INR 22,000 crore being mobilized in these accounts. Banks are asked to give out overdraft feature up to INR 5000 as per this scheme. To avail this, you do not need to have an Aadhar card. Incidentally, Indian Banks Association (IBA) has been requested to hand out reviewed recommendations to every bank.

    07 September 2015

  • White Label ATMs Suffer due to Lack of Sponsors

    Automatic Teller Machines (ATM) operated by non-banking entities are also known as white label ATMs. Because white label ATMs are not able to find suitable banks to sponsor the ATMs in small cities, white label ATMs are stumbling to meet the RBI targets. WL ATM operators do not come under the banking rules and regulations directly, but requires a sponsor bank to manage and load cash in each WLA. Most of the WLA operators have opted for Scheme A out of the three schemes offered by the RBI wherein they have to open at least 9,000 WLA’s in a period of three years. Under the same scheme, for every WLA that the operator has installed in tier I, II cities, they need to install three in tier III, IV, V and VI towns. Since the launch of this scheme, seven operators have established only 9,600 WLAs.

    Difficulty in partnering with PSBs, limit on number of free ATM transactions and reduction in interchange fee have been quoted as the reasons for slow growth of WLAs. In conventional bank ATMs, customers can use their debit card to withdraw cash immediately. WLAs, if aggressively deployed, could cover 15-20% of non-bank deployed localities and can also accept payment bank debit cards.

    07 September 2015

  • Sudden upsurge in E-com ‘clicks’ and debit card usage

    The growth of ecommerce in the country has allured customers towards plastic cash aka debit card or credit cards rather than carrying around money. Banks vouch that the new-age factor has been one of the key forces in this rocketed sales and business values of debit cards. And we have to give E-commerce and Point of Sales their due credit for this. Using hard cash has come down drastically and it is already transforming the Indian economy as it could lead to dramatic reduction in the expenditures of printing money. Banks also save a lot on maintenance and staffing thousands of ATMs. There was a 16.3% rise in the utilization of debit cards in 2015 and a clear 21.3% jump in the current financial year.

    4 September 2015

  • Centre approves the launch of smart cards for travel and retail purchases

    In an effort to streamline card usage, the Ministry of Urban Development will be introducing the National Common Mobility Card in 2016. As a single smart mobility card, it will eliminate the requirement to carry multiple cards and customers will be able to use the card to avail any transit service or as a debit card or credit card. The card will be linked to the customer’s bank account and can be used for retail purchases as well.

    With the ‘EMV Open Loop Card with stored value’ model recently approved by the Urban Development Minister, Mr. M Venkaiah Naidu, the card will carry information separately for travel and for general purchases. The smart card will be developed by the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing and the National Payment Corporation of India, as per the appointment done by the Ministry.

    02 September 2015

  • The final deadline for banks to issue chip and PIN enabled credit and debit cards have been extended, by RBI

    As per the Reserve Bank of India a final decision has been taken on extending the deadline for banks to issue, to customers, PIN and chip enabled credit and debit cards. Confirming the news through a notification, the apex financial institution (RBI) of the nation said that the deadline for PIN enabled cards and EMV Chip cards (issued by banks under the Prime Minister Jan Dhan Yojana) has been pushed to 30th September 2016. Though most banks still use the magnetic stripe system when issuing cards, some banks have moved to PIN and EMV chip system.

    EMV denotes Euro Pay MasterCard Visa, and while PIN stands for Personal Identification Number. If you wish to use your debit card at an ATM for cash withdrawal or any other transactions, you need to enter the correct PIN issued to you by the bank.

    27 August 2015

  • RBI has decided to concentrate on customer rights and reassess Banking Ombudsman scheme

    RBI has decided to reassess the Banking Ombudsman scheme. This will mean that the scheme reaches out to rural and semi-urban areas, and also protects customers from being a victim of wrong selling practises by banks. RBI has also taken into consideration the complete operationalising of Charter of Customer rights.

    Released on 3rd December 2014 , the Charter of Customer Rights’ primary purpose is to protect customers of banks and giving them important rights like right to transparency, right to suitability, right to fair treatment, fair and honest dealing, right to privacy and right to grievance redressal and compensation

    RBI’s Deputy Governor Mr. S.S Mundra has spoken about receiving over 80,000 customer complaints last year. He also went on to say that the maximum percentage of complaints were regarding non-compliance with BCSBI code. A lot of complaints about debit cards and ATM were also recorded. Mr. Mundra believes that these issues need immediate attention to ensure improvement.

    27 August 2015

  • First postal ATM in the country opened in Meerut

    The city of Meerut witnessed a historical moment when the first postal ATM of India, was opened there for public use. Postal ATM has been launched keeping in mind over one lakh people who hold a postal account in the Meerut Cantonment post office, and other post offices in the city. This innovative banking operations venture, approved by the Reserve Bank of India, is going to cater to the banking needs of those residents of the city who depend primarily on their postal account. Postal accounts have also been evolved with the introduction of complete computerisation.

    Every post office which has been enabled with CBS (core banking system) can be easily used for transactions via these postal ATMs. Customers can walk in with their ATM / Debit cards and withdraw cash from these postal ATMs. One can also carry his/her debit card to an ATM to withdraw money or make purchases, through the same, at merchant outlets.

    26 August 2015

  • RBI Introduces Payments Banks to Change Banking Habits

    The RBI is introducing innovations into the Indian Banking System that might revolutionise our banking habits. The RBI has proposed payments banks that will bring about change in the banking structure and functioning of the unorganised sector, for small businesses, farmers, migrant workers and low income households.

    Last week, the RBI issued licences to 11 companies including Aditya Birla Nuvo, Reliance Industries, Airtel and Vodafone.

    These banks will be licensed to accept deposits of up to Rs. 1 lakh per customer. This limit is an initial step and might be enhanced later on by the RBI. The minimum capital required is Rs100 crore. The stake of the promoter should be 40% minimum for the first five years. The Banking Regulation Act, 1949, will regulate voting rights. The banks cannot form subsidiaries to run non-banking operations.

    Payment banks will be able to do Internet transactions, fund transfers and sell mutual funds and insurance. They are not permitted to lend money to the general public. They can, however, lend to the Government, making these banks extremely safe as the Government won’t default on its payments. Customers cannot avail of credit cards, but debit/ATM cards will be issued to facilitate easy transactions.

    23 August 2015

  • Central and North-Eastern India to Benefit the most from Payment Banks

    Global ratings and research company Crisil is in the opinion that east, central and north-east of India will benefit the maximum from payment banks because of under-penetration of formal banking. The existing banks are expected to hold the same market share and is unlikely to be affected by the payment banks. Eight in 17 states that fall under this geography have a Crisil Inclusix Index value of below 40 as compared to the all-India average score of 50.1. Payment banks will offer an alternative channel to improve efficiency and decrease costs, providing better services to customers in semi-urban and rural India. There is also a chance that the existing banks partner with payment banks and increase the reach in areas without formal banking services. According to Crisil, domestic remittances, transaction fee from debit cards and e-commerce, savings deposit spread and fee from business correspondents are the four main areas of opportunity for Payment Banks. These banks can become a source for insurance and other financial solutions, offering payment points for small businesses and grocers.

    22 August 2015

  • Payments Banks to revolutionise the banking world

    India is largely a cash-based country but simultaneously, operations in the digital world is on the rise. The RBI has been working over the past year to introduce innovative steps to cater to the rural and unorganised sector, farmers, migrant labour, small businesses, and low income households. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had said in his budget speech that the RBI will be creating a framework to license small banks and other differentiated banks. These banks are allowed to only accept deposits. They cannot lend to the general public but they can lend to the Government.

    Payment banks will eventually change the way we bank. Customers can deposit a maximum of Rs. 1 lakh as of now which may be enhanced by the RBI later. Mobile banking will be revolutionised to replace debit cards. Customers will be able to transfer funds to merchants directly through their mobiles rather than handing over their debit card to be swiped. This feature would be available on all phones even if they are not smartphones. Customers will also be able to transfer funds for utility bills, railway bookings and so on.

    21 August 2015

  • RuPay breaks the autocracy of Visa and MasterCard in India

    Masked behind the honorable Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s much-talked-about fiscal inclusion push is a somewhat overlooked development story- the rise of RuPay, India’s very own payment portal. Did you know that over 19 crores i.e. one in three of the entire 58 crores debit cards now in use in our country are RuPay cards?

    Evidently, the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) have granted a privileged head-start to an infant cash card system, which currently stands nearly neck-to-neck with international peers such as MasterCard and Visa, which had ruled the roost in India. And now the user-volume is more for RuPay than the rest.

    19 August 2015

  • Debit Card Numbers Spike by 40%, Thanks to Jan Dhan Yojana

    According to an exclusive report from Worldline India, the debit card base in the country has grown by 40% in 2014-15 when compared to the year before. This impressive hike in numbers is primarily attributed to the popular Jan Dhan Yojana which is a government of India doctrine and requires the earmarked recipients of the scheme to open a savings bank account (the debit card being the mainstay in the account kit). Worldline India, a premier payment processing company, also noted that overall spends through debit cards has also seen a significant increment- accounting for Rs.1.2 lakh crores last year. The company utilised data accumulated from ATM and POS outlets alongside surveys that cumulated the spending habits of people across India to compile this influential report.

    10 August 2015

  • Cheaper debit card transactions to promote cashless transactions

    In a bid to popularize cashless transactions, the government wants banks to provide cheaper debit card transactions so that customers will make greater use of these cards to buy goods and services. Major points include allowing only card transactions for high-value payments, asking petrol pumps to reduce surcharge, forcing banks to install payment terminals, two-year freeze on banks that charge debit card fee and a preferential tax treatment for electronic payments.

    The government wants to promote electronic mode of payment based on the Korean model where tax breaks were used to popularize cashless transactions. The action plan was formulated in a letter sent by a team in the ministry of finance to various financial regulators like Reserve Bank of India, National Payments Corporation of India and other ministries and tax authorities.

    2 July 2015

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