Mastercard complains to Trump against Modi for backing domestic RuPay card

New Delhi: The American financial services corporation Mastercard has complained to the US President Donald Trump against Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi for ignoring Mastercard and promoting domestic payment network “RuPay” by invoking nationalism.

The Mastercard said that Modi was using nationalism to promote the use of domestic payments network and India’s protectionist policies were hurting the foreign payment companies.

In a document submitted to the US administration Mastercard said that they are finding it difficult to maintain their market share in India due to increasing use of domestic RuPay, BHIM and SBI app. Narendra Modi launched these apps and card at the ‘Business, Innovation and Community Event’ in Singapore in May this year.

The rise in the use of the RuPay network due to Prime Minister Modi’s support in the recent years have broken the dominance of US payment giants such as Mastercard and Visa. More than half of India’s 1 billion debit and credit cards are reportedly using the RuPay payment system, making it a difficult for companies like MasterCard to maintain its foothold in India.

The Mastercard has told the Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR) on June 21 that Prime Minister Modi “associated the use of RuPay cards with nationalism, claiming it serves as ‘kind of national service’.

The note was sent by a Mastercard Vice President for Global Public Policy, Sahra English to the USTR stating that, while Modi’s digital payments push was ‘commendable,’ the Indian government had adopted ‘protectionist measures’ to promote their own payment channels.

The Mastercard urged the US government to ‘discontinue’ the Indian government’s preferential treatment o the RuPay card.

The US companies in India have been increasingly protesting against Modi’s policies which they often allege are protectionist.

Earlier this year, the US technology companies have also protested against an Indian law that would require them to store more data locally, raising their costs.

Reuters has reported that Mastercard has said in a statement it “fully supports” the Indian government’s initiatives and is “deeply invested” in the country. The company did not comment on its USTR note and its executive Sahra English reportedly did not respond to questions.

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