India’s RuPay Card issuance crosses 10,000 milestone in Bhutan

NPCI International Payments Ltd (NIPL), the wholly-owned subsidiary and international arm of National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), on Monday, said it has touched the milestone of issuing over 10,000 RuPay cards in Bhutan. 

RuPay recorded this mark with partner bank of Royal Monetary Authority of Bhutan – Bhutan National Bank Ltd (BNBL). 

RuPay has partnered with the Royal Monetary Authority of Bhutan – Bhutan National Bank Ltd (BNBL). Photo Courtesy:

The BNBL RuPay debit cards are accepted at more than 265,994 ATMs and 7.9 million PoS terminals deployed by the member banks of NPCI for cash withdrawals, balance inquiries, and purchases in India.

RuPay is first-of-its-kind global card payment network from India, that is innovative, secure and packed with features. 

RuPay Phase – II was launched in November 2020. 

This cross-border payment initiative between India and Bhutan was aimed at promoting the use of low-cost digital payment solutions and advancing digital financial inclusion. It allows Bhutanese citizens to withdraw cash and make payments through all ATM and PoS terminals in India.

Currently, Bhutan National Bank is the only bank in Bhutan that issues RuPay cards.

NIPL’s strategic association with BNBL ensured a robust acceptance infrastructure of RuPay in Bhutan.

The card is gaining popularity in the Bhutan market owing to RuPay’s customized solutions for its users. NIPL is also venturing into new international markets to widen the reach of RuPay. 

Rina Penkar,  Deputy Chief – Product Development, NIPL said, “We are glad to witness RuPay achieving the milestone of 10K issuance in Bhutan. We would also like to extend our gratitude to Bhutan National Bank for encouraging the widespread adoption of RuPay in Bhutan – the first country to issue as well as accept RuPay cards." 

"We look forward to making RuPay the most preferred card for the residents of Bhutan and achieving many more milestones in the future. At NIPL, we are committed to expanding the footprint of RuPay in various countries to offer an unparalleled purchase experience to citizens and travellers across the world," she said.

Hem Kumar Acharya, Director of Banking Operations, Bhutan National Bank Ltd, said, “While we launched Rupay Card issuance in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are happy that the offtake has been impressive even during a period when travel was restricted, and not many people ventured out of Bhutan." 

"RuPay card has been a very convenient value-addition for our account holders, many of whom are students studying at various colleges and universities in India. A major chunk of the cards were issued after restrictions were lifted towards the middle of 2022, and we look forward to an exponential increase in the number of customers using this card, by introducing more features, like acceptance of the card for online transactions, for payment of FastTag road toll transactions, etc, in the future,” Acharya said. 

Kesang Jigme, Officiating Director of Payment and Settlement Systems, stated, "The introduction of RuPay in Bhutan has played a pivotal role in bridging the gap in cross-border payments, representing a significant stride towards promoting a robust digital payment system with India."

"We extend our heartfelt appreciation to Bhutan National Bank for their invaluable support in reaching the 10k RuPay Card issuance milestone. Furthermore, we are actively collaborating with our member banks and NPCI International Payment Limited to enable the issuance of RuPay cards by member banks across the country," he said.

He said the interconnection between Bhutan's Financial Switch network and the RuPay network has not only introduced secure and convenient banking services but has also fostered cost-effective and cashless transactions by streamlining payment flows into mainstream banking systems.

"This synergy has significantly enhanced cross-border digital payments between our two nations, reinforcing economic cooperation and facilitating seamless financial transactions," he added.