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Apple to launch credit card in India, in talks with NPCI for Apple Pay

The iPhone maker is also holding talks with the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) to possibly launch Apple Pay in the country


Photo: Kamlesh Pednekar

BS Web Team New Delhi

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Cupertino-based Apple is gearing up to launch its credit card, dubbed “Apple Card”, in India soon. Apple’s CEO Tim Cook met HDFC Bank CEO and Managing Director Sashidhar Jagdishan during his recent trip to India in April, according to a report in Moneycontrol on Friday.

Apple Inc executives have also discussed matters with the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) related to the legalities of the car. The RBI asked Apple to follow the norms laid out for other co-branded credit cards. The central bank clearly stated that no special provisions will be made for the tech giant to launch its credit card in India. The discussion about the Apple Card is in the initial stages and no concrete steps have been taken till now.

At present, neither Apple nor HDFC Bank has made any official statements regarding the deal. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has also not issued any official confirmation.

The iPhone maker is also holding talks with the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) to possibly launch Apple Pay in the country. It is not clear whether discussions were related to the credit card being powered by the Rupay platform or the unified payments interface (UPI). Rupay credit card can be linked to UPI as well. Only banks are allowed to launch credit cards in India while UPI makes it easier for customers to make fast payments by scanning QR codes.

Currently, Apple runs a credit card service in the United States. The card is made of titanium and was launched in collaboration with Mastercard and Goldman Sachs.

The development comes as the number of payments made through mobile phones is increasing rapidly. Tech firms, such as Apple, Google, Amazon, and Samsung, are all actively expanding into the payments sector and have ambitious plans for the financial services space. These companies have developed payment apps and are looking to make inroads in the sector.

Focusing on India

Apple has been increasing its focus on India in the last couple of years. In the financial year 2022-23 (FY23), the iPhone maker's sales in India reached Rs 50,000 crore. Cook, the CEO of Apple, recently visited India and launched two exclusive stores in Mumbai and Delhi.

Apple has been shifting a significant portion of iPhone production to India, and it currently has a four per cent share of the overall smartphone market in the country, which amounts to twenty million users. What could have led to Apple planning the launch of its Apple Card in India is that the company at the present moment does not accept card payments in India. App Store purchases mostly run on UPI in India. 

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First Published: Jun 23 2023 | 5:12 PM IST

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