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Payments in Metaverse

What is Metaverse?


Metaverse is a parallel online world enabling users to create their own virtual worlds, early onset of Metaverse came in 2003 with Second Life. Second Life was and is an online multimedia platform allowing users to create an avatar for themselves and have a second life in an online virtual world.


Since the prominence of cryptos and blockchain, Metaverse has seen a resurrection. Often described as the first web 3.0 application, wherein users can create avatars in virtual worlds, socialize, shop, bank, play, and do business. To sum “A shared 3D virtual reality world where people play, socialize, work and buy/sell goods and services”


Why is Metaverse important?


Some of the most important voices have this to say about Metaverse.


“An internet you’re inside of, rather than just looking at” – Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook


“The Metaverse is a massively scaled and interoperable network of real-time rendered 3D virtual worlds which can be experienced synchronously and persistently by an effectively unlimited number of users, and with continuity of data, such as identity, history, entitlements, objects, communications, and payments” – Matthew Ball, Metaverse expert

To sum Metaverse has the potential to be “The NextGen Internet”


How does it affect us?


Metaverse has taken baby steps in defining how we:



  • Multiplayer online games with Virtual Reality etc
  • Multiplayer with friends, family, or even strangers
  • Interactive Gameplay – no more predefined storyline


  • Interact with friends, family, colleagues, and strangers via VR, AR
  • Attend Social Event – Create Social events, even marriages
  • New age tourism – boomed during the COVID, VR enhanced real-time tours of some of the best-known places across countries
  • Virtual Activities – VR enhanced Treasure Hunt, etc with Friends and Family


  • Meetings and Team building – Interact with colleagues via VR, and AR across time zones
  • Skilling, training, and workshops – VR enabled training modules for softer to finer skills
  • Distance Assistance – Get help from colleagues in the virtual office
  • Business Development – Customers and Businesses are operating in Metaverse, why should newer businesses not pitch for business deals in Metaverse itself


  • Purchase – Purchase Virtual items for virtual self, home, office, and business
  • Window Shopping and Business Expos – Customers and Businesses both are in Metaverse, selling and buying
  • Marketing and Advertising – With Millennials living life in Metaverse, businesses are forced to market and advertise themselves in the Metaverse or they will be left out of the mindspace. JP Morgan has recently launched themselves in Metaverse

So what about payments in Metaverse?


The Metaverse is an estimated $758 billion opportunity by 2026 as per Report Linker Feb 22, 2022. So, people not only have fun in Metaverse but they are doing real businesses and creating wealth in Metaverse. New world should have new payment rails to conduct businesses.


Many platforms rely on traditional payment methods and in-game tokens, but crypto is gaining traction.


Traditional platforms use traditional payment methods like VISA/Mastercard cards etc. They also use in-game tokens (but limited to online gaming space use-case) given they are not accepted at other businesses in Metaverse. Blockchain-based platforms transaction is via cryptocurrencies via platform tokens (e.g. Mana for Decentraland, Sand for Sandbox), that can be bought and swapped on exchanges for other major cryptocurrencies like BTC/ETH, hence they are more interoperable, and easier to withdraw.


One of the key benefits of crypto payments in the metaverse is that they are borderless. Users and businesses can send and receive payments from anywhere in the world with minimal transaction costs and no wait time.


Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are also gaining popularity as a form of payment. NFTs are digital assets created on blockchain platforms like Ethereum and EOS and are often used as tokens of ownership for digital assets like land, art, and collectibles that are unique. Like cryptocurrencies, NFTs can be easily transferred between users via P2P or exchange-based systems.


To sum it up, Metaverse is a new and exciting opportunity and will need new payment methods which are still evolving. Will it be a fad or a robust business, only the future will tell, but it’s definitely worth exploring.

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Evolution and Growth of POS Terminals

There has been a welcome change in the RBI March 22 BANKWISE ATM/POS/CARD STATISTICS report, PG and POS volume are shown separately helping people to understand both landscapes better. 


And it clearly states that POS is not going anywhere but is going to further evolve to super POS. As of today, POS can support Swipe, DIP, Tap N Pay, BQR, AEPS, and also card not present scenarios (SMS Pay Links). If allowed payment from other banks/ fintech wallets can also be accepted, I personally feel that other wallets’ acceptance should not be seen as competition but as complementing payments growth in general. 


Moreover, today it can host multiple apps like EMI, DCC etc. Below is the last three years growth story in numbers:


Month Mar-19 Mar-20 Mar-21 Mar-22
Terminal Count 3,722,229 4,433,973 4,720,077 6,070,142
% Growth 19% 6% 29%


POS will further change in shape and size and grow in their thinking capacity. Banks and POS aggregators in acquiring a business with their issuance counterpart/issuing partners can create solutions/algorithms which provide customized offers for the cardholder on the go as per PINCODE, MCC, or other criteria. 


And what about business outlets wherein the terminal is deployed? How we can benefit them? It will all depend on the Value Added Services (VAS) delivered by the acquirer. The VAS can be any of the following:


  • EMI services either OEM or issuance partner sub-vented
  • Plug & Play platform to create an online store for the merchant
  • ERP integrated with payments
  • Credit facilities based on volume – it can be term loans or revolving line
  • Assisted e-commerce, forget laptop just have an app that can be installed in POS


Above are a few examples but there is much more than POS terminals will be able to do in the future. The success of the VAS model will depend upon fast deployment, customized merchant reports, and easy to understand dashboard.

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The role of API-led technology in modernizing the BFSI industry

Technology in finance has been around for more than half a century. With the turn of the century, it became even more critical as a key differentiator, moving up from a mere enabler. However, many financial services firms continue to struggle with their legacy tech and the need to stay relevant, mainly due to the slow creation and adoption of modern financial technology solutions. This is where the FinTech industry is playing a critical role in bringing new-age customer and business-centric innovations into the industry.


The question to ask now is- Is modern technology in finance and banking or as we call it Fintech any different from traditional banking technology and why is it positioned as a unique sector? Over the past 50 years, technology has “assisted” traditional financial institutions. However, there has not been any dramatic change in the products being offered or their target market.


FinTech- Accelerating API-driven innovation in the Banking and Financial Ecosystem


One of the key levers of the growth of Indian Fintech is its robust and scalable technology that caters to all kinds of customer segments. The development is aided by entrepreneurs who bring in innovation, supported by a pool of deep talent.


The trend that started with Fintech companies specializing in payment services, digital lending, saving accounts, wealth management and remittances space, is now disrupting the Indian banking and financial landscape in many ways.


Primary enablers of fintech growth


As we popularly call it, the India stack has been the key enabler for the growth of the fintech ecosystem. While demonetization and the pandemic provided tailwinds to the industry by increasing customer acceptance, the India Stack, regulatory support like CKYC, Video KYC, etc. made things easier to adapt to the compliance requirements. These, in turn, helped accelerate fintech innovation.


While the pandemic accelerated the global economy’s digitisation, India’s fintech sector riding on open APIs platform has ushered in a new era of reimagining financial services by prioritising customer experience and accessibility to banking services.


Post-pandemic, banks/financial institutions have started to revisit their strategy of digitizing customer experience without compromising on the quality of service delivery, regulatory compliance, and cost. We are now witnessing more collaborations between fintech that are building API-driven digital platforms and Banks. The partnership ranges from basic customer onboarding journeys to offering last-mile delivery of banking services.


This partnership has furthered the government’s stated agenda of financial inclusion. It has changed every aspect of the banking industry, including payments, infrastructure, access to financial services and distribution.


The popularity of API banking systems is driving more innovation, particularly in the fintech ecosystem. The API technology essentially allows technology infrastructure players to plug into a Bank’s legacy platform without being embedded into it. The infrastructure players, in turn, use the same API technologies to open up their solutions to fintech innovators/distributors. This is helping Banks to accelerate the adoption of API technology to ramp up customer acquisition, improve transparency and increase customer satisfaction.


There are several reasons why API banking and payments are becoming the wave of the future. The first and most obvious reason is cost reduction and faster launch of products/services. Secondly, APIs can automate customer support and other processes, improving the quality of service provided to customers while lowering costs. In turn, this allows users to have more interaction with the companies they already know and trust, making them more likely to do more business with them.


CARD91 is an API-led issuance Platform-as-a-Service company. It offers unparalleled technology infrastructure to banks, SMEs, corporates & fintech through its Switch and Card Management Solutions for Prepaid Cards, Multi-CurAPIrency Travel Cards and allied systems like Centralised System of Records (C-SOR) for prepaid cards, credit cards and Access Control systems (ACS)


The article is authored by Avendra Singh, Director, Partnerships & Sales, CARD91

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Benefits of Sales Incentive Payouts on Cards

Corporates typically incentivize their sales channel comprising distributors, dealers, retailers, and their own salesforce to target product-specific push or drive overall sales. There are various ways to pay out these incentives – bank account transfers, cash disbursement, discounts on additional sales, accumulation of reward or loyalty points reimbursable upon reaching a milestone, etc. However, each of these leaves a lot to be desired. For example,


  1. maintaining and updating the account details of lakhs of retailers or salespeople is a cumbersome exercise and fraught with operational risks.
  2. cash disbursement is expensive and poses a risk of theft, last-mile delivery is always a grey area and disbursement above a certain threshold are not permissible according to local laws.
  3. while discounting features can help push your product, it may not always be in the best interests of your sales channel and therefore, not in your best interest. Supply build-up can lower the brand value of your product.
  4. although reward or loyalty points do offer a competitive attribute to your incentive scheme and engage your sales channel initially, it can lose its sheen if the program is not regularly updated with newer schemes or offers. In short, you need a creative team regularly coming up with innovations.


What if there was an alternative that addresses all these concerns while allowing you an avenue to brand yourself, monetize the entire scheme, and much more? Enter Prepaid Cards. 


  1. Easy to maintain: A General-Purpose-Reloadable (GPR) prepaid card can be issued once to an individual and can be reloaded as many times as desired till the expiry of the card or till the applicable limit is exhausted. You no longer need to maintain the bank account details of each channel partner or salesperson as any card-load transaction is just an API call away whereas funding is done into a single pool account.
  2. Cash equivalent, but not so much: Yes, your channel partners are elated that they don’t have to play barter trade with you anymore (remember discount schemes or reward points that can be only availed on future sales?) and at the same time, they do not have to deal with physical cash.
  3. Branding: One more potent opportunity to showcase your brand! The more cards that are issued, the better the visibility of your brand, and the higher the multiplier effect. 
  4. Wider acceptability: By giving incentives on cards and not via discounts on future sales or reward points, you ensure wider acceptance of your incentive program with the desired audience, which ultimately helps drive more sales.
  5. Instant gratification: In this digital era, enchant your channel partners by instantly issuing and activating physical or digital cards, and crediting incentives to their cards rather than relying on the traditional way of transfers. 
  6. Compliant: A prepaid card is a regulated product issued by RBI-licensed entities – this ensures the heavy lifting of compliance is already taken care of. Besides, the data is hosted in a PCI-DSS-compliant environment, ensuring full data privacy for the cardholders.
  7. Customize your program: Create a positive or negative list of merchants and categories where the card can be used. Place restrictions on the amount or count of transactions to avoid misuse – something that you, as a Corporate, cannot influence if the incentive is disbursed in cash or to a bank account. Allow cashback or discounts on your choice of merchants through a brand loyalty program.
  8. Control with the user: A cardholder can view balances or statements, reset the PIN, switch on/off any transaction type, and set corresponding limits, and analyze spending.
  9. Leverage the existing card network and its reward programs: By giving incentives on prepaid cards, you’re allowing the channel partner to choose how she would like to spend it across millions of merchants accepting cards and benefit from the network-run reward programs.
  10. Financially inclusive: A simple yet effective way to contribute to the nation by easily bringing those in far-flung areas under the banking system.
  11. Support: Ensure you tie up with a Bank or Technology Service Provider who can offer on-demand support to you or your cardholder in the language she desires.


At CARD91, we pride ourselves on being able to roll out sales incentive programs for corporates in less than 2 weeks! Yes, our API-first approach, deep understanding of supply chain programs, in-house technology & payment experts, and existing partnerships with banks and card networks allow us to offer any prepaid card solution in a simple, plug-and-play manner. Just sign us up, sit back, and witness the magic!


Given that you’ve reached here, it seems that you’re interested in launching a hassle-free and widely accepted loyalty scheme for your sales channel. Irrespective of your inclination or choice, do have a 30-minute free session with one of our supply chain and payment experts by writing to us at sales@card91.io. We will be pleased to share how we’ve helped several corporates successfully make the decision!


Written by Shailabh Kothari, Director – Partnerships & Sales

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“The Rise of Gift Cards: How They’re Changing the Gifting Industry “

Over time, there has been a significant shift in how people give gifts to their near and dear ones, with more individuals choosing gift cards over cash. This trend has now extended to corporate gifting also, with organizations preferring to incentivise and reward employees with gift cards. This trend can be attributed to various factors such as convenience, personalization, security, flexibility, budgeting, and specific purchases. Additionally, the growth of e-commerce has played a crucial role in driving the gift card industry; the recipient can order their gift from the comfort of their home. Based on the research conducted by researchandmarkets.com, the estimated value of the Indian Gift Card Market is USD 36.16 Bn in 2023 and is projected to grow at a CAGR of 12.64% to reach USD 65.57 Bn by 2028.


Gift cards are considered by modern fintech startups and established large companies as the most efficient method to incentivize their sales channels, vendors, business partners, and employees. Additionally, gift cards are used to reward customers for their loyalty. 


To keep up with the growing demand for gift cards, businesses are exploring ways to modernize their traditional gift card offerings by incorporating new technology and platforms. This may involve expanding their range of gift card options and adopting innovative technologies to streamline the gift card purchase and redemption process.


Types of Gift Cards

The types of gift cards can be categorized as follows:

  1. Open Loop Gift Cards: These gift cards are issued by financial institutions such as banks or card companies and can be used at any location within the card’s network.
  2. Closed Loop Gift Cards: These gift cards are issued by retailers or brands and can only be used at their specific stores or websites. Examples of such gift cards include those from Starbucks, Lifestyle, and others.
  3. Card Catalogues: There are a few aggregators that compile a catalogue of brands and issue gift cards that can be used at more than one brand, but within the defined catalogue only.

How do Gift Cards work? 

Customers can purchase a gift card online or offline from retail stores/ businesses. Once the card is purchased, it can be activated either by the purchaser or the recipient, depending on the issuer’s policy.


To use a gift card, the recipient presents the card at the time of payment either in-store or online. The available balance on the card is then applied toward the total purchase amount. If the purchase amount exceeds the card’s balance, the recipient may be required to pay the remaining balance using another payment method.


For example, if a person has an INR 500 gift card to a clothing store and they buy a shirt that costs INR 300, the remaining balance of INR 200 will still be available for future purchases. However, if the person buys an item that costs INR 600, they can use the gift card to pay for INR 500 of the total amount and then pay the remaining INR 100 with a UPI or credit card, or cash.


It’s important to note that some gift cards have expiration dates or fees associated with them, which vary depending on the issuer’s policies. 


How businesses can benefit from Gift cards?

Gift cards can be a valuable tool for businesses in several ways:

  1. Boosting sales: Gift cards encourage recipients to visit the retailer and make purchases, which can increase sales and revenue.
  2. Building brand awareness: Gift cards can feature a retailer’s logo and branding, which can help promote the business and increase visibility.
  3. Customer retention: Gift cards can be used to incentivize customers to return to the retailer, as they may have unused funds on their cards.
  4. Cost-effective marketing: Gift cards can be a cost-effective way to promote a business, as they can be used as prizes in contests or given as incentives to customers who complete a survey or refer friends to the business.
  5. Increased cash flow: When a customer purchases a gift card, the retailer receives payment upfront, which can help with cash flow management.

Overall, gift cards can be a powerful marketing and sales tool for businesses, as they can encourage customer loyalty, attract new customers, and increase revenue.


CARD91 offers an API-driven technology that enables businesses to effortlessly modify their current gifting solutions or create a new gifting tool for their employees, clients, vendors, or customers to enhance their sales. If you are interested in discovering more about CARD91’s products and services, do reach out to us at sales@card91.io and we will be happy to help you.


Written by Astha Bishnoi, Manager – Partnerships & Sales

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Assisted Commerce – Accelerating the growth of Digital Payments in India

India’s e-commerce sector has grown significantly over the past few years and is expected to grow multifold in the coming years. The growth has been driven by increasing internet penetration, rising smartphone adoption, and the growing popularity of online shopping among consumers. The D2C and B2B segments have seen significant growth due to the increasing popularity of online marketplaces, making it easier for businesses to reach customers directly and for buyers to find a wider range of products at competitive prices. The projected growth of the D2C market to US$ 60 billion by FY27 and the overall e-commerce market to US$ 350 billion by 2030 highlights the tremendous potential of the sector in India (according to a recent report published by e-commerce enablement platform Shiprocket in collaboration with CII)


Further, India has seen a boom in smartphone penetration as well as tremendous growth in digital transactions. The number of internet connections in 2021 saw a tremendous growth to 830 million, driven by the ‘Digital India’ programme and the digital transactions in January 23 were close to (in terms of value) INR 12.98 Lk Cr (according to the latest TRAI data).


Given an understanding of the low adoption of mobile penetration in rural areas, assisted commerce was born and is now a full-fledged huge business opportunity for the commerce industry.


The assisted commerce industry is growing rapidly, driven by several factors, including the increasing popularity of mobile messaging apps, the rise of voice assistants, and the growing demand for personalized and seamless shopping experiences.


One of the key benefits of assisted commerce is that it allows businesses to provide 24/7 customer service, without the need for human customer support staff. This can help improve customer satisfaction and reduce costs for businesses.


Assisted commerce is also helping businesses to improve their customer engagement and loyalty by providing personalized recommendations and targeted marketing messages.


Imagine a situation where an individual may require support to make online purchases or conduct transactions- What started as kiosks in tier–3, 4, 5, and 6 towns and villages to help people navigate online government services and promote financial inclusion created a whole new business model.


The goal of assisted commerce is to enable individuals to participate in the digital economy and make purchases independently, by offering some level of assistance.


Assisted commerce can take many forms, depending on the individual’s needs and abilities. For example, helping individuals in rural areas to navigate online shopping platforms, bill payments, and train and bus ticket purchases. Alternatively, it may involve support staff or caregivers assisting individuals with shopping in physical stores or conducting financial transactions.


Assisted commerce is important because it can help promote independence and autonomy for individuals who may otherwise face barriers to participating in the new economy. By providing the necessary support and assistance, individuals with disabilities or the elderly can have greater control over their finances and make purchases that align with their needs and goals.


On this, Prepaid cards can be a very useful tool, as they offer a way for caregivers or support staff to manage and monitor the individual’s spending while still allowing them to make purchases independently. Many prepaid card programs offer features specifically designed for assisted commerce, such as cardholder and caregiver controls.


Some examples of the types of transactions that can happen via Assisted Commerce:

  1. Online shopping: Individuals who require assistance to navigate online shopping platforms may receive help from caregivers or support staff to browse products, compare prices, and make purchases.
  2. Bill payments: Individuals may require assistance with paying bills (utility/mobile/etc), such as by helping to navigate online payment platforms
  3. Banking transactions: Individuals may require assistance with banking transactions by making deposits or withdrawals at a bank branch or through online or mobile banking platforms.
  4. Direct money transfers can also be facilitated with the help of assisted commerce. This can involve using a variety of payment methods, such as bank transfers, wire transfers, or mobile payment apps.


We at CARD91 can play an important role in facilitating assisted commerce by providing innovative solutions that will be easier for businesses that may have limited access to banking services. If you’ve any use case, particularly on Assisted Commerce, you may write us at sales@card91.io


Written by Khushboo Bakhru, Senior Manager – Partnerships & Sales

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How to drive seamless customer onboarding using a Partner for DigiLocker KYC

DigiLocker is a Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) flagship initiative launched as part of the Digital India Programme. DigiLocker is a secure document repository created for the use of Indian citizens and businesses to store and retrieve important identifying documents easily. 


It also assists in maintaining a secure digital record of the original documents in the cloud and makes them available for various authentication reasons as requested by the user. The app is hosted per ISO 27001 standards to protect personal and financial information. The program also employs 256-bit SSL (Secure Socket Layer) certifications, which ensures that the data you supply to issue papers is secured. To get papers from the government or registered issuers, users must verify themselves using their Aadhaar data.


Compliance in the financial services industry largely comes in the form of KYC and AML procedures. For any financial services offerings, organisations need to process ‘Know Your Customer (KYC)’ as mandated by regulatory authorities. 


DigiLocker is used by regulated financial institutions (FIs) to conduct KYC verification before customer onboarding. DigiLocker KYC, as this process is known, involves integrating with DigiLocker to retrieve and verify KYC documents after obtaining the customer’s consent. A mobile native KYC journey is critical to reduce friction points as part of customer onboarding and prevent drop-offs.

How do financial institutions complete KYC using DigiLocker?


They partner with a ‘requestor’. A requestor is an authorised entity registered with the Digital Locker directory. It pulls out KYC documents such as Aadhaar & PAN from a user’s DigiLocker account, authenticates them, and uses them as Proofs of Identity & Address.

As per DigiLocker, it shall be used by the requester to –

(a) register on the Digital Locker directory;

(b) access documents uploaded by the subscriber on the Digital Locker portal; 

(c) use authorised gateway providers to access these documents stored across repositories; 

(d) access subscriber’s State or Central department or agency or body corporate issued documents based on the URI; and

(e) take consent from the subscriber to access documents available in the subscriber’s Digital Locker account 





4 Critical points to consider when looking for a ‘requestor’ for DigiLocker KYC


1. Compliance with DigiLocker norms

A DigiLocker-based KYC journey must follow certain rules as per the DigiLocker norms. As per UIDAI, MeiTY & other regulators, the following aspects must happen for a compliant DigiLocker flow:

  • Customer must be mandatorily redirected to the DigiLocker page
  • Customers must enter their Aadhaar details, OTP, and captcha themselves
  • Take consent from the subscriber to access documents available in the subscriber’s Digital Locker account
  • The verification must be performed by a requesting partner registered with DigiLocker

2.  Ability to create DigiLocker accounts on the fly

A customer may or may not have a pre-existing DigiLocker account. For such cases, your KYC partner must be able to create one for the customer on the go with their consent to be able to pull the relevant documents


3. Smooth customer experience 

It’s no news that Financial Institutions face heavy competition when acquiring customers. Hence, when choosing a KYC partner, thinking about your customer’s journey is basic hygiene. A smooth customer onboarding experience sure gives you an edge over your competitors.


4. Ease of integration

The requestor should have an API bus which Financial institutions can simply plug into to facilitate a DigiLocker KYC journey for their customers.


How can CARD91 help issue various card-based payment instruments using DigiLocker-based KYC?

CARD91 is a full-stack card issuance Technical Service Provider. We work closely with financial institutions such as Banks & NBFCs, and Fintechs to help them launch new-age card programs across card-based payment instruments such as prepaid cards, credit cards, forex cards etc. For issuing these various types of cards to the end customer, KYC is mandated by all financial institutions. We have been working closely with our banking partners to incorporate & promote mobile native DigiLocker-based KYC for a complete end-to-end digital experience for the customers to get their hands on these different types of card-based payment instruments. Some advantages of adopting a DigiLocker-based KYC methodology are as follows – 

  1. An end-to-end mobile native digital journey for the end customers that helps reduce drop-offs and increase the number of cards issued.
  2. A faster turnaround time for the card issuing entity (Banks) to validate and verify the customer and take approval decisions on issuing cards to these customers.
  3. Get a full KYC limit of up to INR 2 lac per card per month in case of pre-paid instruments.
  4. Help promote financial inclusion & digital payments for New to Credit and New to Bank customers who can apply for a pre-paid instrument with no or thin file financial history with financial institutions.

Bhushan Sawant, Director – Partnerships & Sales at CARD91

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The Dynamics of Interchange Fees and their Impact on Businesses

Interchange fees are a critical aspect of card processing and have a significant impact on the business’s bottom line. However, it is an important component of the revenue of the payments industry, affecting both merchants and consumers.

What are Interchange fees?

Interchange fees are the fees that a merchant’s bank pays to the card issuer’s bank for each transaction. These fees are a percentage of the transaction amount and are charged to the merchant’s bank every time a card is used for payment. The fees are set by the card networks, such as Visa and Mastercard, or by regulators in various countries, and are typically based on the type of card used (debit, credit, prepaid, multi-currency, rewards, etc.), the transaction amount, the location (domestic or overseas), and the merchant category code (MCC).

How do Interchange fees work?

When a customer uses a credit or debit card to make a purchase, the merchant’s acquiring bank pays an interchange fee to the card-issuing bank as compensation for processing the transaction. The acquiring bank then passes this fee onto the merchant as a “Merchant Discount Rate (MDR), typically as a percentage of the transaction amount. The acquiring bank has other revenue streams such as float income.

How does it work in India?

In India, interchange fees are primarily regulated by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). The RBI periodically reviews and revises the interchange fee structure to promote transparency, competition, and efficiency in the payment system. The aim is to strike a balance between the interests of payment system participants, such as card issuers, acquirers, and merchants. The fees are typically a percentage of the transaction value or a fixed amount per transaction.
How do Interchange fees affect your business?

Interchange fees can have a significant impact on a merchant’s profitability as they decide the MDR charged by the acquiring bank to them. The MDR fees can range from 1% to 3% of the transaction amount, and for some high-risk industries, the fees can be even higher.

Understanding interchange fees, the float income of banks, and the resultant MDR is an important part of managing a successful business. By taking steps to optimize payment processing and manage fees, merchants can improve their profitability and provide better experiences to their customers.

At CARD91, we understand the dynamic relationship between Interchange fees and MDRs and help our issuance partners to monetise their transactions.

-Ayushi Jain, Manager- Sales & Partnerships, CARD91

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Digital Payments: Revolutionising India’s Financial Landscape

India has experienced a remarkable evolution in its digital payment landscape in recent years. The swift proliferation of smartphones, internet connectivity, and government initiatives such as Digital India, Unified Payments Interface (UPI) NEFT/IMPS, Prepaid Cards/Wallets/Contactless Payments, e-RUPI, CBDC, AEPS, Open Banking/API Integration has significantly contributed to the expansion of digital payment methods throughout the nation. A strong tailwind to digital/contactless payments was provided by demonetisation and Covid-19, leading the way for a cashless economy and better tax compliance. This blog explores the latest digital payment trends reshaping India’s financial landscape.

Unified Payments Interface (UPI) Dominance

The Unified Payments Interface (UPI) has been a game-changer in the Indian payments industry. Launched in 2016 by the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), UPI enables users to link multiple bank accounts and execute real-time peer-to-peer transactions. UPI has witnessed exponential growth, with transaction volumes crossing the billion-mark monthly. Its success can be attributed to its simplicity, security, and interoperability across various payment apps.


IMPS and NEFT have revolutionised the way funds are transferred in India, providing individuals and businesses with fast, secure, and convenient payment options. Whether you need to send money urgently or make routine payments, these electronic funds transfer systems offer unparalleled accessibility and flexibility.

Prepaid Cards, wallets and Contactless Payments

Digital wallets and Prepaid cards have gained significant traction in India, allowing users to store funds digitally and make quick payments. The COVID-19 pandemic further accelerated the need for contactless transactions and contactless payments. NFC-enabled cards, QR code payments, and mobile payment solutions are increasingly prevalent, allowing consumers to make secure transactions without physical contact. Today, merchants are offering contactless payment options to provide their customers with a safer and more efficient checkout experience.

New Government Initiatives:

The Government of India has played a pivotal role in promoting digital payments through its flagship initiatives, such as Digital India, e-RUPI, CBDC and many more. Digital India aims to transform India into a digitally empowered society by promoting digital literacy and providing digital infrastructure.

o e-RUPI is a wholly cashless and no-contact electronic payment instrument that will be delivered to beneficiaries’ mobile devices (even mobile devices that are non-android or iOS) as either a QR code or an SMS-based e-voucher.

o CBDC is a digital currency issued by a central bank, rather than a commercial bank. Backed by blockchain technology, this central bank digital currency (CBDC) is an electronic version of the physical rupee, potentially representing a more secure and government-supported alternative to private digital currencies


India has witnessed rapid growth in biometric authentication for digital payments. The Aadhaar-enabled Payment System (AEPS) allows individuals to link their bank accounts with their unique Aadhaar identification number and make transactions using biometric verification. This technology has simplified payments for the underbanked population, making financial services more accessible and inclusive.

Integration of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML)

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) are revolutionising the digital payments landscape in India. With AI-powered chatbots, payment service providers are enhancing customer support to address queries effectively. ML algorithms are leveraged to detect and prevent fraudulent activities, ensuring secure transactions. Moreover, personalised recommendations and targeted offers based on user behaviour are being utilised to drive customer engagement and loyalty.

Open Banking, driven by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) guidelines, is a game-changer in the banking sector, allowing secure sharing of customer data between banks and fintech companies. Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) facilitate the seamless integration of various financial services, allowing customers to access multiple banking services through a single platform. This collaborative ecosystem encourages innovation and empowers customers with a variety of payment options.

As India moves towards a cashless economy, these trends will continue to shape the future of digital payments, driving financial inclusion and economic growth.

CARD91 is an API-led issuance Platform-as-a-Service company. It offers unparalleled technology infrastructure to banks, SMEs, corporates & fintech through its Switch and Card Management Solutions for Prepaid Cards, Multi-Currency Travel Cards and allied systems like Centralised System of Records (C-SOR) for prepaid cards, credit cards and Access Control systems (ACS)

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The Evolution of Prepaid Cards: Empowering Financial Inclusion and Digital Transactions in India and Beyond


Prepaid cards have experienced a remarkable transformation over the past few decades, emerging as a powerful tool in the financial landscape. Originally introduced as a convenient means for gifting and travel, these cards have evolved with advancements in technology to meet the changing consumer needs.

Prepaid Cards in India:

In India, prepaid cards have had a significant rise in popularity due to their numerous benefits. Initially embraced as a safe and convenient alternative to carrying cash, these cards quickly became prevalent in various sectors, from retail and transportation to online shopping. Their proliferation was further accelerated by the expansion of the country’s digital infrastructure.

One pivotal moment in the evolution of prepaid cards in India was the advent of e-commerce and the widespread adoption of mobile wallets. Leading banks and fintech companies integrated prepaid cards into their mobile applications, enabling users to make quick and secure digital transactions. This integration propelled prepaid cards into the forefront of India’s burgeoning digital payment ecosystem.

The Indian government also played a crucial role in promoting prepaid cards to drive financial inclusion. Millions of unbanked and underbanked individuals gained access to digital financial services by advocating for their adoption in government schemes and benefits disbursement. Prepaid cards became a gateway to the formal banking system, empowering individuals previously excluded from traditional financial services.

Prepaid Cards on the Global Stage:

The transformation of prepaid cards is not limited to India alone; it has reverberated globally. Prepaid cards have become an integral part of the financial landscape in many countries, catering to a diverse range of consumer needs. They have emerged as an alternative to traditional bank accounts for the unbanked and underbanked population, providing access to vital financial services.

The rapid growth of e-commerce and the increasing demand for seamless digital transactions have fueled the global adoption of prepaid cards. Payment processors and fintech companies have collaborated to issue virtual prepaid cards, making online shopping more accessible and secure for consumers worldwide. These cards have played a pivotal role in bridging the gap between individuals and the digital economy.

Another significant application of prepaid cards globally is in the travel industry. Prepaid travel cards have become the preferred choice for international travellers, offering favourable exchange rates and enhanced security. They provide a practical alternative to carrying foreign currency, enabling travellers to make hassle-free transactions.

Expanding Functionality and Rewards:

Today, prepaid cards have expanded their functionalities beyond basic transactions to address evolving consumer preferences. Many prepaid cards now incorporate rewards programs, cashback offers, and other loyalty benefits. These additional features aim to attract and retain users, fostering a sense of value and engagement.


The evolution of prepaid cards in India and globally has been transformative, empowering financial inclusion and enabling seamless digital transactions.

As prepaid cards continue to adapt to changing consumer preferences and technological advancements, they are poised to play an increasingly significant role in shaping the future of the financial landscape. With their convenience, security, and versatile functionalities, prepaid cards will continue empowering individuals and businesses alike, fostering financial inclusion and contributing to the growth of the digital economy.

Card91 presents a diverse collection of prepaid cards, catering to both domestic and international transactions, accompanied by a convenient switch system. Our integrated solutions empower businesses and authorised dealers with effortless operations, facilitating a wide range of applications. To gain a deeper understanding of our innovative solution, please contact us at sales@card91.io. Our team will be delighted to assist you and explore how our offerings can cater to your specific requirements.

Let’s unlock new possibilities together!

-Written By Khushboo Bakhru, Partnership & Sales

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