India rolls out gift and virtual cards nationwide
The Central Bank of India is starting national issuance of a gift card and a virtual internet card.
The initiatives are part of the central bank’s partnership with MasterCard payments solution provider Rêv which operates throughout the Asia-Pacific region.
The partners plan to introduce a series of new national payment products, starting with the Central Bank of India MasterCard Gift Card and the Rêv MasterCard Virtual Card. The partnership aims to broaden access to safe, convenient, accessible and affordable cash alternatives across the country.
“The partnership will enable Central Bank of India to regain our hold among retail customers. And, through a range of prepaid card and mobile payment products, deliver on the bank’s mandate for financial inclusion,” said Mr. S Sridhar, chairman and MD, Central Bank of India.
The gift card can be used by recipients to make purchases anywhere MasterCard is accepted in India. The virtual card is a prepaid MasterCard number that enables shoppers to buy online, over the phone or by mail order wherever MasterCard is accepted without requiring a bank account or credit card.
The partners say that, since the products will be widely available to Indian consumers without bank accounts or credit cards, they will lay the groundwork for widespread access to the financial mainstream by enhancing familiarity with prepaid cards. The virtual card is claimed to be the first in the market available without a bank account or credit card, and it is the first MasterCard payment product in India available outside a bank branch.
Only 20% of adults in India have a payment card of any kind – the rest rely almost exclusively on cash – and more than half of the population is unbanked.
The Central Bank of India is one of India’s largest public sector banks with more than 3,500 branches throughout the country.
The partnership is Rêv’s first project in the Indian market.
The gift card is immediately available from select Central Bank of India branches for Rs100 plus load value. (www.centralbankgiftcard.co.in)
The virtual card is available for Rs30 plus load value and can be purchased online from this week and through participating retail locations in the near future. (www.revvirtualcard.co.in)