MasterCard, Indian State Launch Electronic Payments Push (Jan. 13, 2015)
MasterCard is joining with the Indian state of Gujarat to accelerate the adoption of electronic payments across multiple sectors, including commercial, government and transit. The payments network this week signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the State Government of Gujarat, located in the western part of India and home to a population of more than 60 million. The MOU lays out a plan to “improve access to money and create improved transparency, efficiency and speed in payments” to benefit consumers, businesses and the government. Among the planned initiatives are digitizing and streamlining state government procurement payments, developing a mobile-based system for delivering government benefits and creating an electronic transit card for use on Gujarat’s public metro and bus systems.
India is in the midst of a major push toward electronic payments, with the national and state governments encouraging expansion of banking services and a move away from cash. In 2012, the Reserve Bank of India, the country’s central bank, released its Payment System Vision Document, which proposed a plan for ushering in a “cash-less society” and spurring the use of electronic payment methods, including prepaid.
MasterCard has played a major role in that push, implementing electronic payments projects with the state governments of Chhattisgarth and Madhya Pradesh, along with the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation and the National Skill Development Corporation. In September, MasterCard and the State Bank of India launched a multicurrency travel card for Indians traveling abroad. And in May of last year, the network acquired India-based prepaid processor ElectraCard Services to expand its processing capabilities in the Indian market.
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