India is the world’s largestremittance market by inbound money flows, receiving US$49 billionin 2009 alone according the World Bank. And the market is alsoamong the world’s most promising and fastest growing markets forpayment cards. Now Visa has moved a step forward to tap into theopportunities represented by both segments.
In October Visa became thefirst and only card network to provide inbound cross-borderremittances to its eligible debit and prepaid cards in the country.With the approval from India’s central bank RBI, Visa now can workwith over 40 banks, many of which leading local banks such as ICICIBank and HDFC Bank to promote and offer card-based remittancesreception.
Visa says by using the cards as thereceiving channel (rather than the traditional remittance providersagents) consumers can receive money sent by their family membersand friends in another country, securely, conveniently, quickly,and at a lower cost.
General purpose payment cards, likethose branded with Visa and MasterCard, have become increasinglypopular and common among Indian consumers – especially those livingin or close to urban areas. The increasing penetration of cards(especially debit cards, which grew over 29 percent in one yearalone) and the improving acceptances at POS and ATMs makecard-based remittance reception a viable option to more and moreIndian consumers.
MasterCard, which also has a strongpresence and views India of strategic importance to its futuregrowth, is expected to seek similar permissions in order to competein the local market with its MoneySend service.