Breaking Master/Visa credit card oligopoly, UPI-based mobile vCard finds takers in India [Features Inside]

vCARD is the future:

vCard is a digital credit card that incorporates several technological advancements. It is fundamentally different from bank-issued plastic credit cards. Since the 8th of November (demonetisation), the country’s Fintech transition accelerated, with Digital Payments and Digital Lending experiencing the perfect Goldilocks conditions of regulatory, consumer, and industry advancements. However, one sector on the cusp of Lending and Payment – Credit Cards – was already languishing with just 5% consumer penetration with no significant financial advances in the previous 30 years. Master-oligopoly Visa’s controlled how all banks, large and small, treated credit cards. According to Vishal Ranjan, founder and CEO of vCard, this industry inefficiency provided an impetus for the company to crack the Master-Visa construct and improve its whole Business Model.

vCard is a digital credit card that incorporates several technological advancements. It is the only credit card that does not use the Master-Visa payment rails, rendering it radically different from banks’ plastic credit cards. It employs UPI, which provides a broader acceptance for both P2P and P2M transactions.

Ranjan told FE Online that putting together related relationships, building the requisite technology stack, and getting RBL Bank’s market risk and technical approval took two years. On Mahatma Gandhi’s 150th birthday, October 2, 2019, the product was officially launched.

After its introduction, vCard has introduced several new features and is now being used by consumers as their primary credit card, especially for the smallest to most extensive payment needs across their entire budget. (While the average monthly bill for a credit card is $8-10,000 p.m., vCard customers spend over $30-35,000 p.m. on vCard), said Ranjan, who hopes that with the addition of new NBFC partners and banks, vCard will scale up the service to new consumer segments and quickly increase customer volumes in the next 12-18 months, with a promising EBIDTA this year.

RBL Bank has joined vCard as its primary credit card affiliate, and Pinnacle Capital has joined as an NBFC partner. Over 10,000 customers currently use RBL Bank’s vCard Credit Card. Every month, more customer sets for the vCard Credit Line service are added, according to Ranjan.


Market potential:

About 10,000 customers now use RBL Bank‘s vCard Credit Card. According to Ranjan, more consumer sets for the vCard Credit Line service are introduced every month.

“In contrast to Plastic Credit Cards, a digital credit card can originate the customers at 100 times lower costs (instead of ‘physical airport sales), offers chat-based customer servicing (instead of ‘call centre support’), and collects through sophisticated mobile footprint from all over India (instead of top ‘10-15 cities’). Thus a Digital Credit Card – with limits as small as Rs. 15,000 – can potentially reach a market of 300-500 million Indian customers, in addition to Global markets,” he said.

Covid impact:

The Covid-19 pandemic and ensuing lockdown had a negative impact on vCard’s ability to attract new customers. However, as a blessing in disguise, the pandemic necessitated the need for personal financial goods, which resulted in expanded use by current consumers.

“Covid did lead to conservative lending practices from our lending partners – thereby killing all new customer momentum for over six months. However, this pandemic also emphasised the need for a personal finance product – which is as agile and relevant as vCard. Covid saw the increased usage of vCard by all its customers; at the same time having a negligible impact on the quality of the loan book,” said Ranjan.

vCard vs Plastic Credit Card: Difference

vCard is a mobile credit card with a 30-day redemption period that can be used to pay for the entire monthly bill (ranging from Rs. 20 for food to Rs. 200 for petrol to Rs. 2000 e-commerce to Rs. 20,000 for school fees). As compared to Plastic Credit Cards, the vCard Credit Card is much more flexible in use, applicable in customer satisfaction, and far more modern.

Benefits of vCard:

And if one already has a credit card issued by a bank, Ranjan lists many reasons why one should subscribe to the new system

  • Instant Approval, Zero Documentation, and No Joining Fees are only a few examples. In comparison, the processing time for a Plastic Credit Card will take up to 15 days.
  • Your cell phone functions as a credit card with vCard. As a result, there is no need to carry a plastic card or remember 16 digits.
  • Just use a credit card with UPI fees to track the entire monthly schedule, regardless of wage delays, medical problems, or last-minute transactions.
  • The only payment card that has a built-in credit line. Vcard can be used to make emergency transactions up to Rs 5 lakh at a 15% discount.
  • The subscriber can convert the entire credit limit or Entire Bill Into EMI At ~15%
  • No Esoteric Award Points: Save your money and use it to purchase appropriate coupons right away. Instead of 1000 Incentive points on 1 lakh spent over months, get instant 0.5 per cent spend waivers, which are worth 100 coffee!
  • 5–10 Cash-Backs/ Scratch Cards – Waivers of up to Rs 100 are available based on the amount invested.
  • Whatsapp-based assistance is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
  • Zero Touch Ultra Safe – No Savings Account Linkage; No Lost Plastic Card; No Physical Card Handing Over, Multi-Factor Authentication Face Recognition For High-Risk/Out-Of-The-Box Spending

Interest rates:

For Super Prime Customers, Ranjan says there are two products under this system: 

  • For Super Prime Customers, Ranjan says there are two vCard products:  Customers will also receive a Plastic Mastercard for ‘non-UPI’ orders, if applicable. 
  • Prime and Near Prime Customers will also receive a Credit Line for UPI Payments powered by PinCap NBFC.


  • The vCard Credit Card’s interest rates are standard for the RBL Bank Credit Card programme: 0% for 30 days and 42 per cent after the due date.
  • There is no cost to attend. If you pay more than Rs. 1 lakh in a year, there is no annual fee; otherwise, there is Rs. 500+GST.
  • UPI fees are subject to a 1% convenience fee.
  • On Plastic/Online Spend, there is a 0.5 per cent minimum cashback. For a spend of Rs. 10,000, and Rs. 20,000, the consumer receives Rs. 100 and Rs. 250 coupons, respectively.


  • The vCard Credit Line interest rates are calculated regularly at Rs. 1.15 per 1000 per day. For up to Rs. 5000 per month, there is no interest.
  • There are no subscription fees. In Year 2, if you pay more than Rs. 1 lakh in a year, there is no annual fee; otherwise, it is Rs. 500 plus GST.
  • A monthly convenience fee of Rs. 100 is fixed.
  • Depending on the amount paid, you can receive cash back or coupons.

Digital credit cards may be subject to hacking and other online frauds. How vCard addresses security concerns?

Digital cards, according to Ranjan, are safer than plastic credit cards, and there is no risk of physical card fraud. The cell phone serves as an identification mechanism, so no card data is stored on it.

The MPIN serves as a protection check even though the handset is hacked and the system lock is compromised. Again, for rare or large-ticket purchases, the smartphone camera is turned on for automatic facial recognition and payment authentication.

Furthermore, since the OTP and device credentials are connected to the actual device, a thief with a cloned phone number would not use the credit card. Besides, vCard is regularly subjected to frequent security and safety checks to ensure ‘MasterCard/Visa’ security functionality.


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