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Visa, HDFC Bank launch Kerala Card
James Paul
22 March 2002

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Kochi: Visa International, the world’s largest payment system, and HDFC Bank, India’s leading private sector bank, has launched the Kerala Card Acceptance Programme.

The programme will run from March to July 2002 and will involve the deployment of an acceptance framework that will increase the number of Visa cards issued and the number of merchant acceptance locations in cites, including Ernakulam, Thiruvananthapuram, Thrissur, Kottayam and Kollam.

Under the programme, HDFC Bank will sign up new merchants and provide merchants with electronic terminals to accept Visa cards. The number of Visa cards-accepting merchants is expected to increase by 50 per cent (from 1,000 to 1,500) after the programme.

Visa will also conduct several promotions and provide exclusive benefits and rewards as incentives to cardholders to use their cards. This is a payment industry initiative driven by Visa International to grow card-acceptance. HDFC Bank will be the lead acquirer for the project and all Visa card-issuing banks will jointly run usage programmes to offer an additional value to their cardholders.

Says HDFC Bank country head (retail branch banking and credit card) Uma Krishnan: "As the lead acquirer, HDFC Bank will play a significant role along with Visa in signing on new merchants, training them, providing electronic acceptance terminals and opening new categories of payment, including basic telephony, hospitals and clinics and petrol stations. This will raise the merchant acceptance base in the state and enable cardholders to experience the safety, simplicity and convenience associated with a payment card."

Says Visa International country manager (South Asia) Santanu Mukherjee: "Acceptance is a key driver of growth for the payment-card industry and Visa realises that apart from issuing cards to consumers, it is also important to increase the merchant-base that accepts these cards. We are confident that the acceptance framework developed by Visa will be successful and will benefit cardholders in Kerala, and we are happy that HDFC Bank is partnering with us in developing the payment-card industry in this state."

As the payment industry leader in India and the world, Visa has taken the initiative, in partnership with its member banks, to grow card-acceptance, he says. "We are committed to rolling out this project in several other tier-II cities in India in the coming days." Visa conducted the first pilot project on acceptance in Vadodara in
send this article to a friend June 2001 and this six-month pilot project helped build awareness for both credit as well as debit cards.

It also achieved an overwhelming 79 per cent increase in transaction volume year-on-year and a 70 per cent increase in merchant sales volume (MSV) over the six-month period, as against the India MSV growth of 30 per cent. During the programme, 280 new merchant establishments and 200 new merchants with electronic data capture terminals were added.

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Visa, HDFC Bank launch Kerala Card