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Apple Stops Accepting Debit, Credit Cards for Subscriptions, App Purchases in India

Apple users in India can, though, still make purchases using UPI or netbanking.

Apple Stops Accepting Debit, Credit Cards for Subscriptions, App Purchases in India

Apple users can no longer be able to use their cards for making purchases on App Store

  • Apple brought the change for all users in India last month
  • Auto-debit rules by RBI came into force in October
  • Apple says the update is due to "regulatory requirements in India"

Apple has stopped accepting card payments for subscriptions and app purchases using Apple ID in India. This means that you are no longer able to use your Indian credit or debit card to buy apps from the App Store, get Apple subscriptions such as iCloud+ and Apple Music, or purchase any media content from Apple. The change has come as a result of the new auto-debit rules from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) that came into force last year and are disrupting recurring online transactions.

Several Apple users have taken to Twitter to complain about the removal of the credit and debit card option from the payment methods Apple accepts in India for purchases using Apple ID. The users who already have a card added as a payment method to their account are also not able to make any fresh payments through their Apple ID as the company is showing an error saying, "This card type is no longer supported."

Apple's support page listing the available payment methods in each country it operates shows that the company currently only supports netbanking, UPI, and Apple ID balance as the three options to receive payments. The change took place in April — on April 18, to be precise — as per another support page on the Apple site.

"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," the company said on its support page detailing the update.

The regulatory requirements, which are essentially the new auto-debit rules that RBI implemented in October, are limiting Apple to receive recurring payments from users in India via credit and debit cards. The change is also pushing the iPhone maker to accept transactions through UPI and netbanking — the two features that it had introduced for its users in the country last year.

The new rules require merchants like Apple to set up an e-mandate for customer cards. Customers also need to use two-factor authentication and set up a fresh e-mandate for recurring payments. The rules also require customers to give their consent each time they need to pay a subsequent payment of above Rs. 5,000. Additionally, systems processing with the given requirements are yet to be updated to a large extent. All this is making it difficult for Apple to continue to support card payments.

However, Apple is not alone in shifting its payments mechanism. Google is also one of the largely impacted companies due to the RBI update. A large number of its users are facing difficulties in making recurring payments and purchases via their cards on Google Play and YouTube. The company is also not able to process Google Workspace transactions for many users due to the restrictions.

Similarly, Netflix last year introduced UPI AutoPay support for recurring payments on its platform — as a resort to avoid issues due to the auto-debit rules.

The National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) in 2020 introduced the UPI AutoPay feature to enable auto-debit of recurring payments. It is giving a prominent reason to companies including Apple and Netflix to favour the local interface over traditional cards.

Will the 2022 iPhone SE sink or swim? We discuss this on Orbital, the Gadgets 360 podcast. Orbital is available on Spotify, Gaana, JioSaavn, Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music and wherever you get your podcasts.

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