India bank regulator blocks Mastercard from issuing new cards
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India bank regulator blocks Mastercard from issuing new cards

The Reserve Bank of India on Wednesday indefinitely barred Mastercard, a payment operating company, from issuing new debit, credit or prepaid cards to customers in India over the company’s non-compliance with Indian rules on local data storage.

The order, which is an exercise of the Central Bank’s supervisory powers under the Payment and Settlement Systems Act 2007, comes as the result of the company’s non-compliance with the 2018 RBI circular on Storage of Payment System Data, which had ordered all payment system providers, including MasterCard, to ensure that all data relating to payment systems operations be stored in a system located in India, with the body having provided for an additional grace period of six months.

While the order does not affect existing customers of the company, the ban is likely to affect India’s banking sector, since it would essentially require Indian banks to sign new commercial deals with rival card networks and might, in turn, imply substantial overhauls of the operations of several Indian banks.

Mastercard is not the only payment operating company that has been affected by the Central Bank’s enforcement of Indian data storage laws. In April, the regulator had imposed similar restrictions on American Express Banking Corp. and Diners Club International Ltd.