May23 , 2022

Apple stops card payments in India

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iPhone-maker Apple has stopped accepting credit and debit card payments for subscriptions and app purchases using Apple ID in India. This means that Apple device users with subscriptions running on their iPhones or iPads will need to update their payment methods for recurring payments to continue. While Apple initiated these changes to its payment methods last month, they are still being rolled out to consumers across the country.

At the heart of the changes made by Apple are two directives issued by the Reserve Bank of India – one, on autodebit mandates and two, on card tokenisation. The directives on auto-debit, which went live effective October 1, 2021, meant that any instructions for recurring online payments made through credit or debit cards would need validation from the user with the existing standing instructions getting affected.

Separately, in another move that will become effective July 1 onwards, any company storing card details of users on their websites or apps will have to purge those details. An estimated 5 million customers, who have stored their card details for online transactions on various platforms, could be impacted if the online players and merchants are not able to implement the changes at their backend.

In an update on its support page on April 18 this year, Apple said: “Regulatory requirements in India apply to the processing of recurring transactions. If you hold an Indian debit or credit card and you have a subscription, these changes impact your transactions. Some transactions might be declined by banks and card issuers”.

“To continue enjoying your subscriptions, you can pay with your Apple ID balance. You can add to your Apple ID balance using App Store Codes, Net Banking, and UPI,” it added.

Apple did not respond to e-mail seeking comments for this story. According to data sourced from Counterpoint, Apple’s iPhones comprised 3.3% market share in smartphone shipments during January-March quarter. Industry sources said that in the smartphone operating system segment, Apple’s iOS only has less than 5% market share, while Google’s Android enjoys the lion’s share.

Other apps and websites that take recurring payments such as OTT platforms like Netflix, Hotstar, etc had back in September started migrating their users from card-based recurring payments to UPI or net-banking-based recurring payments.

On September 29, Apple had also updated its developers that the RBI directives on auto-debit mandates that would “affect purchases in India initiated via credit cards and debit cards for auto-renewable subscriptions”. For those developers offering auto-renewable subscriptions on their apps, Apple suggested promoting payments using Apple ID wallet.

For users facing issues with auto-renewal of subscriptions on their Indian credit and debit cards, Apple suggests adding balance to their Apple ID wallets, which will enable recurring payments. Apple ID wallets can be loaded using most credit and debit cards, Net Banking, RuPay, and UPI.

Recently, Apple again notified its developers of the RBI directives and said they won’t be able to use their cards to make payments for some of the recurring ad-campaigns that they run on the App Store. In an e-mail to developers, Apple noted: “Due to the Reserve Bank of India regulations, Apple Search Ads will soon no longer accept payments from credit cards issued by banks in India”. “Starting 1 June, all campaigns using a credit card issued from a bank in India will be placed on hold”.





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