The Reserve Bank of India has placed on its website the draft circular on arrangements with card networks for issue of debit, credit and prepaid cards for feedback from stakeholders. The draft circular mandates card issuers (banks / non-banks) to issue cards on more than one card-network along with providing customers the facility to choose any one among the multiple card networks. It also restrains card issuers from entering into agreements that limit their ability to tie-up with other card–networks.
The authorised card networks tie-up with banks / non-banks for issuance of debit / credit / prepaid cards. The choice of affiliated network for a card issued to a customer is decided by the card issuer and is linked to the arrangements that the card issuers have with card networks in terms of their bilateral agreements. On a review, it is observed that arrangements existing between card networks and card issuers (banks and non-banks) are not conducive to the availability of choice for customers.
Card issuers should not enter into any arrangement or agreement with card networks that restrain them from availing the services of other card networks. Card issuers must issue cards across more than one card network. Card issuers must provide an option to their eligible customers to choose any one among the multiple card networks. This option may be exercised by customers either at the time of issue or at any subsequent time.
The directives will be effective from October 1, 2023. The Chairman/Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of authorized payment system providers/participants (banks and non-banks) can submit their comments or feedback, if any, via email or by post to the Chief General Manager-in-Charge, Department of Payment and Settlement Systems, Central Office, Reserve Bank of India, 14th Floor, Central Office Building, Shahid Bhagat Singh Road, Mumbai – 400 001, on or before August 4, 2023.