Visa launches new payment service in India

Expanding Indian banking

Visa’s partnership with five of India’s leading banks has been announced to provide Adhaar holders – the Indian national identity system – access to a Visa account. As a result, the system will provide tens of millions of Indians with access to electronic payments and financial services for the first time.

Biometric information, such as fingerprints, is used to authorise payments.  Both the account and associated biometric data are securely managed by the new national identity system which is run by the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI).

The new initiative brings together Visa, ICICI Bank, State Bank of India and others to solve a long-standing problem. That problem has been authenticating citizens who do not have a current bank account or adequate forms of identity required to initiate one. The ability of banks to expand and for consumers to pay safely and securely has been hindered as a result of the above.

With Visa accounts linked to the centralised identity system, payments can be made and cash withdrawn much more easily. An example would be the implementation of newly designed Micro ATM’s which would run fingerprint scans. The Micro ATMs are portable biometric Point-of-Sale devices and laptops designed to overcome the lack of bank branches in parts of the country. Visa serves as the network which links the banks to the government’s identity database and is currently the only authorized international payment network for the initiative.

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