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Difference Between RuPay Debit Card and VISA Debit Card

Now, having a debit card is synonymous to having a bank account. Using a debit card, customers can make transactions at POS terminals and on online merchant stores, can make withdrawals at ATMs - making the effort of carrying around physical cash or visiting the bank branch to make a transaction redundant. Banks across the country offer debit cards in association with card associates such as VISA, MasterCard, Maestro and so on. Till the launch of the domestic card associate RuPay, only foreign card associates as mentioned above dominated the market. Rolled out by the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), the RuPay debit card became popular following the Government of India’s Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana initiative - to make banking facilities available to all. Through the scheme, the Government of India subsequently rolled out zero-balance savings accounts and the Basic Savings Bank Deposit Accounts. This was intended to include even people from rural areas to have access to banking facilities. With the zero-balance savings account and the BSBDA, customers were offered a free RuPay debit card on opening the account. That said, now with all Indian banks offering RuPay debit cards, the biggest question is what is the difference between using the RuPay debit card and VISA debit cards, or which is better. To clear your doubts, we’ve listed a number of differences between the two, to help one make a choice when the option of availing either of the debit card is given to the customer. Let’s begin.

The difference between VISA and RuPay debit card

To make things easier and help customers distinguish the difference, we’ve compared both the card associates based on a few parameters:

  • Processing fee: For RuPay debit cards, since the processing of a transaction takes place domestically, the processing fee is relatively cheaper. With regard to VISA debit cards, since VISA is a foreign card associate, the processing takes place abroad, making it a little more expensive that a RuPay debit card.
  • Speed of the transaction: As already mentioned, since the processing for RuPay debit cards takes place locally, it’s possible that the transactions will take place faster that VISA debit cards. That said, the difference is just a matter of a few seconds.
  • Global acceptance: The biggest drawback of the RuPay debit card is it is only accepted by Domestic payment gateways, hence making the possibilities of carrying out a transaction a lot less than VISA. With VISA debit cards, customers can make transactions domestically as well as internationally.
  • Fee Structure: For the RuPay debit card, Indian banks do not have to pay an entry fee or a quarterly fee. For VISA debit cards, banks have to pay VISA a quarterly fee as well as initiation fee.
  • Card Type: RuPay card associate offers only the option of debit cards, whereas VISA offers debit as well credit cards.
  • Safety and security: With regard to safety and security of transactions, both RuPay and VISA card associates are equally good.
  • Innovation and presence: While VISA is already a reputed card associate globally and customer holding VISA debit cards having the privilege of making transactions and withdrawals anywhere across the globe, RuPay debit card has its presence only domestically and the card associate is striving to tap the international market. With regard to innovation, RuPay is striving to keep up with foreign card associates such as VISA, MasterCard, Maestro, American Express and so on, by rolling out features like contactless transactions, EMV chip cards and so on.


  1. I’m trying to use my RuPay debit card online but I’m not able to process the transaction. Why could that be?

    RuPay debit cards are accepted on online websites that have domestic payment gateways. If not, you will not be able to carry out a transaction using your RuPay debit card. That said, foreign card associates - VISA, MasterCard, American Express and so on- are accepted on almost every website.

  2. Is the debit card fees of RuPay debit card higher than foreign card associate fee structures?

    No, RuPay debit cards are cheaper with this regard primarily because it is processed domestically and secondly because it was popularised following the Government’s financial inclusion drive.

  3. Most banks offer foreign card associate debit cards first when opening an account? How do I choose a RuPay debit card instead?

    When filling in the form to open a bank account, choose RuPay debit card as your preference. The bank will issue a RuPay debit card.

  4. Are RuPay debit cards accepted internationally?

    National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) that issues RuPay debit cards is striving hard to give RuPay debit card an international presence. As of now, it’s not likely that you’ll be able to use your RuPay debit card abroad. Make sure you have a debit card with a foreign card associate if your making a trip abroad.

  5. I’ve heard that making a transaction using RuPay debit card is faster. Is it true?

    Yes, since RuPay debit card is processed domestically, it is faster to make transactions via the RuPay debit card. That said, the difference is just a matter of seconds.

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