The finance ministry, in a letter written to the chief executives of banks, has asked lenders to begin issuing near field communication (NFC)-enabled credit and debit cards to their customers, as that would enable the government to expand the use of card payments beyond merchant transactions, reported the Economic Times.
In the letter, a copy of which was seen by ET, the ministry said that NFC enabled or contactless cards are not only secure and convenient but also pointed out that most point-of-sale (PoS ) terminals in the country are already capable of reading such cards. As such, if banks start issuing the said cards to its customers, it could help push up the adoption of digital transactions in the country, the ministry’s letter said according to ET.
“As and when cards need to be re-carded, then at that stage the new cards being issued can be NFC enabled/contactless and whenever new cards are being issued they could also be NFC enabled/contactless,” read the note circulated by the ministry.
NFC-enabled cards allow users to just tap the point-of-sales terminal instead of having to dip the card or swipe the card which requires physical contact. Alternatively, customers can also use a payment app like Samsung Pay or ICICI Pockets, along with a phone that supports NFC payments to complete the transaction.
According to the report, the ministry was of the view that if such cards were adopted by a large number of people, then they can be used for mass transit like metro, railways and even buses where consumers can just tap their cards and the ticket price can be directly debited from their bank accounts. The government is known to have set an ambitious target of 30-billion digital transactions to be accomplished within the current year, ET said.