Rupay Contactless FAQs

What is RuPay Contactless?

RuPay Contactless is an open loop EMV based payment product from NPCI and aims at providing an efficient and hassle-free experience to the customer. This advanced and secure card can be used for all payment applications, including transport (Metro, Bus etc.), toll, shopping etc. In payments lower than Rs.2,000 the customers can simply tap their card and the transactions are processed with a blink of an eye. No second factor authorization is needed through a PIN.

What are the objectives of RuPay Contactless?

One Card for all Purpose - To provide single payment platform for making payments across end to end everyday needs of customer aimed at value proposition for all involved stakeholders. Standard Payment: Standard EMV based retail payments through contact and contactless interfaces at merchant POS terminals.

What are the key features of RuPay Contactless?


  • Service Compartments: It comes with a unique feature that enables acquirer to create and use their own space on the card, referred to as ‘Service Compartment’. There may be multiple independent service compartments on the same card catering to different business implementations. Acquirers/merchants may build their own specific programs such as transit,loyalty, etc. on these areas as per their business agreements with the card Issuer.
  • Multi-level Wallets: qSPARC specification supports creation of wallets in the card at two different levels – Global i.e. at card level and Local i.e. at service level. Global balance is maintained by issuers and local balance is maintained by acquirers/operators. While the local balance may be utilized for transactions only at service provider specific outlets, the global balance may be utilized for payments at all outlets where RuPay chip cards are accepted.
  • Shorter transaction processing time – Transactions amounting less than Rs.2000 can be approved offline without additional factor authentication.
  • Interoperability

What is contact, contactless and dual interface?

Contact Interface: A card based on contact interface can interact with terminal only when the card is in contact (dipped or swiped) with the terminal.

Contactless Interface: A card based on contactless interface can interact with terminal when the card is in the range of the terminal. The card does not need to be in contact with the terminal to initiate a transaction. 

Dual Interface: These cards support the properties of both the contact as well as contactless interface. A transaction can be initiated by either interface depending upon the capabilities of terminal.

What is the difference between qSPARC & existing RuPay specifications?

The existing RuPay specification only caters to solution for contact RuPay chip cards. Whereas qSPARC specification addresses both contact and contactless RuPay chip cards. qSPARC also has provision for service compartments so that a common card can be used for various purposes.

What are the benefits to Banks?

  • Customer loyalty & stickiness.
  • Additional revenue opportunities with large customer base.
  • Savings on cost of servicing customers and cash handling.
  • Increased usability of bank issued cards due to transit/toll/utility payments related use case.
  • Improved brand image to offer value added products/services.
  • Rich data insights with valuable customer data for data analytics.

How can a bank implement RuPay Contactless in its switch?

Banks should abide by the Issuer host implementation Guide/Acquirer Implementation guide which enlist all the changes that need to be made at Bank Switch in order to successfully process a RuPay Contactless transaction. 

At what level certifications are required to support RuPay Contactless?


    Switch - Issuer host has to be certified by NPCI to ensure successful qSPARC transaction processing..

    Card - At card level white plastic certification is required.


    Switch - Acquirer host certification is required.

    Device - It also requires two level of certification – L2 certification kernel for contactless interface and L3 certification application.

Clearing and Settlement:

    RGCS certification is required from NPCI.

What is service compartment/area?

Service compartment is a unique feature that enables acquirers to create and use their own space on the card, referred to as ‘Service Compartment’. There may be multiple independent service compartments on the same card catering to different business implementations. Acquirers/Merchants may build their own specific programs such as transit, loyalty, etc. on these areas as per their business agreements with the card Issuer.

How are services created?

Service creation is a onetime process; data and key exchange takes place during the same. Service creation takes place in two steps - referred to as

  1. Service booking 
  2. Service check-in

In Service booking step 

The terminal sends the Service ID to the card Card searches the Service ID requested by the terminal in active Service stack. If the Service ID is not found, then the Card sends the Service Availability Info to the terminal else card returns the Service data associated with the requested Service ID. If Service ID is not found & space (maximum space required for storing a service record) is available on card, card temporarily reserves the space for the requested Service ID.

 In Service check-in step

As part of service creation transaction, terminal sets the Service Management Info data, and sends it to the card and performs various security checks for authentication and integrity verification before approving/rejecting the Service creation request. In case all security checks passes, card creates the desired service, initializes the required parameters for that service and reserves the space Issuer online approval is mandatory for Service owner to create services to use card global balance.


Transaction type supported by RuPay Contactless?

Transaction types supported for contact only.

Sr. No Transaction Mode Transaction Mode
1 PoS Purchase
2 PoS Purchase with Cash Back
3 PoS Cash @ PoS
4 PoS Decline Advise
5 PoS Reversal Advise
6 ATM Cash Withdrawal
7 ATM Balance Inquiry
8 ATM Reversal Advise
9 ATM Mini Statement
10 ATM Decline Advice
11 ATM PIN Change

Transactions supported for contactless interface.

Sr. No Transaction Mode (Retail & Transit) Transaction Type (Online & Offline)
1 PoS Purchase
2 PoS Service Creation*
3 PoS Money Add*
4 PoS Balance Inquiry*


*These transaction types are specific to qSPARC & can be enabled on contact interface also.


What type of balance is in the RuPay Contactless card?

Balance Type Description
Host Balance
  • Limit and rules to maintain this balance will be as per the bank policy applicable for Debit/Credit/Prepaid card.
  • This balance signifies Balance amount present at Issuer Host.
  • This balance will be utilized during online transactions e.g. retail purchase, ATM (cash withdrawal) and ECOM.
Global Balance (Card Balance)
  • The global balance is maintained at the card level.
  • There is only one global balance stored on the card.
  • Issuer is responsible for management of this balance.

Local Balance (Service Balance)

  • This is service level balance. Operator/Acquirer may use its own balance (local balance) as defined in Service area.
  •  Management of Operator created balance in service area is operator’s discretion and outside the scope of this document.
  •  Service Balance may be linked to card balance i.e. global balance.


Can qSPARC be extended to NFC-HCE platform?

Yes, qSPARC can be upgraded for NFC/HCE such as wearable, mobiles etc.

Is there a standard RuPay Contactless identification mark?

EMV co. has published the contactless indicator to be used for contactless payment cards. This contactless indicator is globally recognised and provides an immediate and consistent mechanism to merchants and customers to recognize payment cards supporting contactless technology.

Are there any differences when personalizing contactless payment cards versus magnetic-stripe-only cards?

Yes. There are additional personalization processes for contactless payment cards since payment data and security keys are loaded onto the contactless smart card chip. Most major personalization bureaus support the contactless process. Issuers should contact their personalization vendor for changes and additions to their existing process for embossing and encoding.

Why should I use contactless?

There are many benefits to contactless payments:

  1. It's like having exact change wherever you go, so you don't have to worry about

    carrying around cash or fishing for coins.

  2. You are in control because your contactless-enabled card never leaves your hand at


  3. You get better record keeping of all your purchases than you do when using cash.

  4. It's fast and ideal at places where speed is essential, like stadiums, fast food

    restaurants, gas stations and more.

Could customers unknowingly make a purchase if they walk past the reader?

No, you have to activate the terminal first and the cashier must enter the payment amount to activate the contactless terminal. In addition, the card or device has to be held within 2 cm (1 inch) of the terminal.

What are the costs involved?

Cost will vary depending in the selected solution. To accept contactless payments, merchants can choose to implement a plug-in peripheral reader or a fully integrated POS or Stand-alone POS system.

Is it possible to make refunds to a contactless card?

Yes, it’s possible to issue a refund to customers by tapping the contactless payment device in the same manner as making a purchase. Please follow your store’s refund policy.