India launched its new payment system, RuPay, this week to provide a low-cost card network to rival Visa and MasterCard.

President Pranab Mukherjee declared the RuPay payment gateway puts India among "few countries in the world to have such a network built domestically to meet the card-based payment system needs of the country," according to a May 8 article in The Hindu.

The National Payments Corp. of India developed RuPay over the past two years while operating as a not-for-profit company through the Reserve Bank of India, the article says. RuPay cards are accepted at all ATMs, more than 90% of point of sale terminals and more than 10,000 e-commerce merchants across the country, it says.

More than 150 cooperative banks and the Regional Rural Banks in the country have issued RuPay ATM cards. The total number of cards issued to date is 17 million and is growing at a rate of about 3 million per month, The Hindu says.

Russia is also contemplating a national payment system, as Visa and MasterCard stop working with some Russian banks affected by U.S. sanctions. Both Visa and MasterCard have expressed concerns over the situation in Russia, though the sanctions affected just a small portion of their business.

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