The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has indefinitely barred the US-based Mastercard from issuing new credit, debit and prepaid cards with effect from July 22 for its failure to comply with data storage norms.

Mastercard, a major card issuing entity in the country, is the third company to have been banned by RBI from acquiring new customers after American Express Banking Corp and Diners Club International over data storage issue.

“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 RBI said in a statement on Wednesday.

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

“Notwithstanding 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 bank added.

Mastercard is a payment system operator authorised to operate a card network in the country under the Payment and Settlement Systems Act, 2007 (PSS Act).

In terms of RBI’s circular on Storage of Payment System Data on April 6, 2018, all system providers were directed to ensure that within a period of six months the entire data relating to payment systems is stored only in India.

They were also required to report compliance to RBI and submit a board-approved System Audit Report conducted by a CERT-In empanelled auditor within specified timelines.

“Mastercard is fully committed to our legal and regulatory obligations in the markets we operate in. Since the issuance of the RBI directive requiring on-soil storage of domestic payment transaction data in 2018, we have provided consistent updates and reports regarding our activities and compliance with the required stipulations,” the company said in a statement.

“While we are disappointed with the stance taken by the RBI in their communication dated July 14, we will continue to work with them to provide any additional details required to resolve their concerns,” it added.

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