Visa to Enable Deeper Financial Inclusion with Offline Payments in India


After a successful pilot in Karnataka last year, Visa has advanced to the next stage, making offline payments possible with a proof of concept


Visa (NYSE: V), the global leader in digital payments, is driving a Proof of Concept (POC) for offline digital payments in India. A first for the domestic payments ecosystem, the initiative is led by Visa in partnership with YES BANK and Axis Bank. The offline payments technology will allow users to make transactions using chip-based Visa debit, credit and prepaid cards even in places with low or no internet connectivity. Extending Visa’s commitment to RBI guidelines on offline payments, the solution is a significant step towards greater financial inclusion across rural, urban and remote areas. The POC has been executed in partnership with Innoviti in catchment areas in Bengaluru. 

This thrust to offline payments underlines the government’s vision of digital and financial inclusion in Digital India. In a country where cards are the most popular instrument of digital payments1 and customers and merchants are migrating from cash to digital, offline payments can allow deeper percolation in the country. Visa cardholders may soon get to request their banks for a fresh card that enables this solution.

The chip will hold a stored value of a daily spend limit of INR 2,000 and have a per transaction limit of INR 200, as currently mandated by the RBI. This is akin to having a wallet with a preloaded amount. In the event of insufficient balance, the transaction will be declined, making this proposition suitable for cardholders as well as merchants. Merchants also stand to gain revenue from reduced friction and risk of payment failures. Visa’s solution is the first of its kind and equipped to enter the Indian market.

“The pandemic’s unprecedented impact has spurred significant movement in the digital payments ecosystem. With the RBI’s cognizance of low and no connectivity being major impediments to financial inclusion, offline payments have the potential to catalyse digital payments usage even where internet connectivity is a challenge and failed transactions are a top concern. With this solution, Visa aims to work with our clients to see if this can scale with mass adoption,” said T.R. Ramachandran, Group Country Manager, India and South Asia, Visa.

Prashant Kumar, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, YES BANK, said, “To drive adoption of digital transactions in remote reaches of the country and ensure financial inclusion, the Bank feels it is indispensable to invest in the right technology tools that will help service a significant proportion of the digital payments market in Bharat. We are glad for this opportunity to forge a valuable partnership that allows us to leverage emerging technologies with the potential to enrich customer journeys and make them more convenient across the country. With this approach, YES BANK has taken another step towards fulfilling its vision of satisfying customer needs in a convenient, harmonious way, especially in rural areas.”

Commenting on the partnership, Sanjeev Moghe, EVP & Head- Cards & Payments, Axis Bank said, “We have been continuously working on innovations in the payments space to extend offerings that are low-cost payments acceptance solutions and a last-mile support for merchants. In this endeavour, we are delighted to partner with Visa for their first of its kind offline payments solution, which is a great opportunity for us to support micro-merchants in conducting their business smoothly.”

“Lack of Internet connectivity have limited the democratization of digital payment acceptance in the country, as all existing payment technologies need real-time connectivity for authentication and authorization.  Transaction failures arising from low quality connectivity impact consumer and merchant confidence, further impeding digital payment acceptance. Offline payments are a fast, reliable and low-cost way of solving this problem that can change the way payments happen.  We are excited about partnering with Visa, Yes Bank and Axis Bank in this pilot,” said Rajeev Agrawal, MD & CEO, Innoviti Payment Solutions, India.

Nearly 70% of India’s rural population and 33% urban population is yet to adopt a digital mode of payment2. This necessitates driving greater inclusion, with offline payments as a feasible solution to connectivity issues. Aligned with this vision, Visa successfully conducted a pilot for offline payments across five villages in Karnataka in December 2020. The pilot was an extension to the RBI’s guidelines issued in August 2020 that allowed payments operators to launch pilot programs for small value offline payments.


1 Retail Payment Habits in India – Apr’21

2 IAMAI’s Internet Adoption in India Report for 2020 (Press Release)


About Visa Inc.

Visa is the world’s leader in digital payments. Our mission is to connect the world through the most innovative, reliable and secure payment network – enabling individuals, businesses and economies to thrive. Our advanced global processing network, VisaNet, provides secure and reliable payments around the world, and is capable of handling more than 65,000 transaction messages a second. The company’s relentless focus on innovation is a catalyst for the rapid growth of connected commerce on any device. As the world moves from analogue to digital, Visa is applying our brand, products, people, network and scale to reshape the future of commerce.

For more information, visit About Visa, and @VisaNews.