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India Unveils Wellness Contactless Card

The Union Bank of India, under the Ministry of Finance, has partnered with the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) to launch the Union Bank RuPay Wellness Contactless Credit Card. This card focuses on customers’ lifestyle, fitness, rejuvenation, health, and personal care. NPCI is an umbrella organisation for operating retail payments and settlement systems owned under the country’s central bank, the Reserve Bank of India. RuPay is NPCI’s multinational financial services and payment service system.

The Union Bank RuPay Wellness Credit Cardholders are entitled to one complimentary premium health check-up package in a year. Even after utilising the complimentary package, users can go for health check-ups at discounted rates, according to a news report. This is significant in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. Cardholders will also be able to avail of monthly holistic spa sessions at over 100 outlets with one complimentary wellness treatment every year along with discounted sessions throughout the year. Additionally, customers can avail of complimentary access to over 30 domestic airport lounges twice per quarter across India, using the Union Bank RuPay Wellness Credit Card.

Further, with the card, consumers would be able to avail themselves of 15-30 days of complimentary gym membership at selected gyms across India. The existing members of these gyms will get a discount of 40-50% while renewing their membership using the card. It will also provide concessional access to over 20 premium golf courses in top cities in India with one complimentary golf game or lesson every year.

The credit card is launched on JCB International’ s network, which is a global payments brand and leading issuer and acquirer in Japan. The President and COO of JCB International stated that the new and unique card will be well appreciated for its many features domestically and internationally too, such as the in-city exclusive lounge access in key destination countries and a large variety of international merchant offers through JCB’s vast global acceptance network. “We look forward to continuing to work closely with our esteemed partner, NPCI to bring the best-in-class payment technology to our Indian issuers as they create path-breaking products for their customers.”

Earlier in August, the Prime Minister inaugurated a new digital payments system, e-RUPI, an electronic voucher promoting digital payment solutions. It is a QR code or SMS string-based e-voucher, which is delivered to the mobile of the beneficiaries. The users of this seamless one-time payment mechanism will be able to redeem the voucher without a card, digital payments app, or Internet banking access at the service provider. Any government agency and corporation can generate e-RUPI vouchers via their partner banks.

The e-RUPI initiative will be one of the programmes launched over the next few years to limit touchpoints between the government and the beneficiary and “ensure that the benefits reach its intended beneficiaries in a targeted and leak-proof manner”, according to a government statement. The vouchers are person- and purpose-specific, which means that if they are released by the government COVID-19 vaccinations, for instance, then they can be redeemed only for that.

It also ensures that the payment to the service provider is made only after the transaction is completed. Being pre-paid in nature, it assures timely payment to the service provider without the involvement of any intermediary. E-RUPI is expected to be a revolutionary initiative for ensuring a leak-proof delivery of welfare services.

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