Visa, a leading electronic payments technology firm, on Tuesday said it has received the RBI's approval to offer inbound cross-border remittance to eligible Visa Debit or prepaid cards issued in India. The RBI permission makes Visa the only electronic card payments technology company in India to support over forty banks, including ICICI Bank , Canara Bank and HDFC Bank , to enable them to offer their cardholders the facility of receiving remittances on their Visa Debit and prepaid cards, Visa said in a statement.
The permission allows Visa's client banks in India to promote money transfer capability as a new channel to receive international remittances, it said. Utilising Visa's robust payment network gives financial institutions and governments a cost-effective and secure way to send funds directly to a Visa Debit or prepaid account and allows the recipient to use the funds at any Visa accepting merchant or ATM, it said. Most of the current options of remittances involve high costs and inconvenience to customers, who usually have to personally queue up at an agent, during working hours to collect their funds, it said. The electronification of a service that is still dominated by cash will also help the government's objectives of driving transparency, lower costs and financial inclusion in the money transfer market, said Visa India Country Manager Uttam Nayak.
India is the largest recipient of recorded international remittances as per World Bank estimates. The World Bank has estimated that India received USD 49 billion in 2009, representing almost 3.5 per cent of the country's gross domestic product and exceeds the total of foreign direct investment attracted in the same period (USD 36.6 billion)