Apple is said to be in talks with banks and regulatory authorities about the possibility of introducing its ‘Apple Card’ credit card in India. During his visit to India in April, Apple CEO Tim Cook reportedly met with HDFC Bank CEO and MD Sashidhar Jagdishan to discuss these initiatives.
Furthermore, the company has reportedly engaged with Indian authorities and officials to explore the introduction of its payments service, Apple Pay, in the South Asian market.
Localized Apple Pay Utilizing UPI
Sources familiar with the matter have revealed that Apple is working on a localized version of Apple Pay specifically designed for the South Asian market. This version would be integrated with the Unified Payments Interface (UPI), a popular payments system in the region managed by the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI). Apple aims to enable iPhone users in India to initiate UPI transactions by scanning QR codes, eliminating the need for third-party payment apps.
Expansion into the Payments Sector
Apple’s interest in the Indian payments market aligns with the growing trend of mobile-based payments. Alongside other technology giants like Google, Amazon, and Samsung, Apple is actively pursuing expansion into the financial services space. These companies have developed payment apps and are seeking significant advancements in this sector.
Discussions with Indian Authorities and RBI
Apple has been engaging in discussions with Indian authorities and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) regarding the launch of Apple Pay and the Apple Card. However, the RBI has reportedly advised Apple to follow the standard procedure for co-branded credit cards, without offering any special considerations.
Apple Card Partnership with HDFC Bank
In addition to Apple Pay, Apple is considering the launch of its co-branded credit card, Apple Card, in partnership with HDFC Bank in India. However, the discussions are still at an early stage, and no final decision has been reached. The extent to which Apple is willing to deviate from the standard co-branded credit card model remains uncertain.
India’s Significance for Apple
India currently represents a relatively small market for Apple, and the potential introduction of Apple Pay is unlikely to disrupt existing players in the ecosystem. The UPI platform already processes over 8 billion transactions per month, with more than 90% of smartphones in India running on the Android operating system.
Apple Card’s Benefits in India
Apple is exploring the launch of its credit card, the Apple Card, in India. However, the country’s regulatory landscape poses challenges, such as the requirement for banks to take a prominent role in the card and restrictions on storing customer and transaction data.
Despite these considerations, the integration of the Apple Card with Apple Pay and its benefits, including cashback rewards and interest-free installment options, make it an appealing proposition for Indian customers.
Partners and Launch Date
While conversations have taken place, Apple has not made a final decision regarding its partners or the launch date for these services in India. The sources caution that a launch may still be a few quarters away.