RBI Implements Stricter Guidelines for Debit and Credit Card Issuers

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has made significant amendments to its master directions concerning credit and debit cards, aiming to enhance the monitoring of fund usage.

With immediate effect, card issuing entities are mandated to implement improved and efficient systems as per the central bank’s directives.

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Enhanced Monitoring Systems

Under the revised provisions, RBI urges card issuing units to adopt advanced systems for monitoring fund usage effectively.

This move is aligned with the RBI’s commitment to ensuring secure and transparent transactions for cardholders.

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Secure Data Transmission

To facilitate cardholders, the RBI permits the direct capture of card transaction data from the issuer’s systems in encrypted form.

This data is then securely displayed on the Co-Branding Platform (CBP) to enhance security measures.

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Notably, information displayed through CBP remains accessible only to the cardholder, with CBP neither having access to nor storing such data.

Protection of Cardholder Data

In accordance with the revised Master Direction, card issuers are prohibited from sharing cardholder card data, including transaction data, with outsourcing partners, unless such sharing is imperative for the responsibilities of the outsourcing partner.

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Any sharing of data requires the explicit consent of the cardholder. Moreover, it is mandated that card data storage and ownership remain with the card issuer at all times.

Freedom of Choice for Cardholders

In a move towards promoting competition and consumer choice, the RBI prohibits card issuers from entering into agreements with card networks that restrict them from availing services of other card networks.


Card issuers are required to offer customers the flexibility to choose from multiple card networks during issuance.

Existing customers should be provided with this option during the next renewal process.


The RBI’s recent directives underscore its commitment to fostering a secure and competitive environment in the realm of debit and credit card transactions, prioritizing the interests and protection of cardholders across the nation.

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