Mastercard banned from issuing new cards from July 22 by RBI: What will happen to existing customers?


The Reserve Bank of India on July 14, 2021 barred Mastercard Asia / Pacific Pte Ltd (Mastercard) from issuing new credit, debit and prepaid cards with effect from July 22 for its failure to comply with its data storage norms.

The central bank said in a statement, “The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has today imposed restrictions on Mastercard Asia/Pacific Pte. Ltd. (Mastercard) from on-boarding new domestic customers (debit, credit or prepaid) onto its card network from July 22, 2021.”

The bank continued by saying, “notwithstanding the lapse of considerable time and adequate opportunities being given, the entity has been found to be non-compliant with the directions on Storage of Payment System Data.”

The major supervisory action has been taken in the exercise of powers vested with the RBI under Section 17 of the Payment and Settlement Systems Act, 2007 (PSS Act). Mastercard will be required to advise all card-issuing banks and non-banks to conform to these directions

What will happen to existing Mastercard customers?

The RBI clarified that the supervisory action will not impact the existing customers of Mastercard in the country.

What is the issue?

• The RBI in its circular on Storage of Payment System Data on April 6, 2018 had directed all system providers to ensure that the entire data relating to payment systems is stored only in India within six months time period.

• The system providers were also required to report compliance to the central bank and submit a System Audit Report conducted by a CERT-In empanelled auditor within specified timelines.

• However, the US firms said that the rules would increase their infrastructure costs and hit their global fraud detection platforms. The RBI did not relent.

RBI takes similar action against American Express, Diners Club International

The Reserve Bank of India had taken a similar action against Diners Club International and American Express earlier this year by barring them from issuing new cards due to similar violations.


Mastercard is a major Payment System Operator, which is authorised to operate a card network in the country as per the Payment and Settlement Systems Act, 2007 (PSS Act).

It is the third company to have been barred by RBI from getting new customers in India over violations of its data storage norms after American Express Banking Corp and Diners Club International.

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