Thomas Cook India Partners with National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) to Launch a Pioneering RuPay Forex Card Pilot with UAE, Followed by a Global, Phased Roll-Out

Outbound travel from India is witnessing unprecedented growth, more so to short hauls like UAE: visitors to Dubai from India have surpassed pre-pandemic levels (2019), with a 23% growth for Jan-Jun 2023. Thomas Cook’s foreign exchange business reiterates a significant uptick with its internal data reflecting a surge of over 2x (2022 vs. 2019) and an expectation of 3x growth by the end of the year. What is noteworthy is that the Company is seeing a strong increase in per person spends for UAE – of over 30% in 2022 vs. pre-pandemic. To seize this significant and growing opportunity, Thomas Cook (India) Limited has partnered with NPCI (National Payments Corporation of India) to launch a pioneering RuPay prepaid forex card for Indians travelling to the UAE; technology being enabled by NPCI Certified Partner, CARD91.

The Thomas Cook – RuPay partnership operates on NPCI’s global card payment network of India. This pioneering initiative aligned with the Country’s Made in India focus, offers international payment solutions for Indians travelling overseas.

Given the growth potential of the destination, the Thomas Cook and RuPay forex card partnership commences with UAE as its pilot; with a global rollout planned via a phased model. For phase one, Thomas Cook’s RuPay card will be loaded in AED (UAE Dirhams) offering extensive usage across the UAE – for transactions and ATM withdrawals.

Key Benefits of the Thomas Cook RuPay Card:

  • Thomas Cook travel vouchers worth INR 13,900.00
  • Lounge access at International Airports in India*
  • Free ATM Withdrawal (in UAE)*
  • Free replacement on loss of Card  
  • Complimentary insurance cover up to INR 7,50,000.00
  • 50% off on unique photographic experiences at Dubai’s top attractions, by Digiphoto Entertainment Imaging (DEI)
  • KrisFlyer miles on every forex purchase        

Thomas Cook’s position as India ka Forex Specialist is a result of the Company’s sustained focus on the Country’s foreign exchange segment – serving over 1 million active Forex prepaid card users, 1000+ corporates, over 300,000 outbound travellers and 100,000+ students studying overseas.

Thomas Cook is the largest non-bank foreign exchange services provider and prepaid card issuer in India. The Company’s card business is witnessing an impressive uptick: its card loads grew by 172% YoY, with new prepaid card issuance up by 228% YoY (FY23).

Thomas Cook’s strategic omnichannel model ensures both choice and customer convenience with access to India’s largest forex network of over 4000 touch points: An extensive retail footprint of owned/ partner outlets and airport counters; its Online Forex Store, Virtual Forex Branch, Contact Centre, m-apps: FX Now (Corporate and Individual) and Fx MATE an innovative B2B partner platform. The Company’s game-changer Ghar pe Forex commitment offers doorstep delivery within 2 Hours.  

Thomas Cook’s cashless portfolio features its multicurrency Borderless prepaid card (9 global currencies), One Currency (USD) prepaid card and its innovative Study Buddy Card focused on the overseas education segment.

 Mahesh Iyer, Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer, Thomas Cook (India) Limited said, “We are bullish about our forex card business and we are delighted to partner with NPCI for the upcoming launch of our pioneering RuPay prepaid forex card. This unique Made in India initiative will go-live with UAE as the pilot destination, followed by a phase wise global rollout.

Our card business has witnessed a significant uptick with card loads growing at 172% YoY and new prepaid card issuance by 228% YoY (FY23).

National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) said, “The RuPay Forex card is poised to be a game changing product for our consumers, owing to RuPay’s ever-expanding and innovative network. We extend gratitude to our partners, Thomas Cook and Card91, for their collaborative efforts in crafting and developing this rewarding card. As travel demand returns to normal, Indian tourists will soon have access to a myriad of enticing benefits and rewards offered by this card. Our goal with RuPay Forex card is to create an unparalleled end-to-end consumer experience for Indian travellers.”

Ajay Pandey, CEO and Co-Founder, CARD91, said, “We are excited to partner with NPCI and Thomas Cook (India) for the launch of the RuPay Forex Card powered by CARD91’s highly configurable and state-of-the-art technology platform. Our feature-rich technology stack offers a one-stop solution for Thomas Cook (India) to issue secure Forex Cards, suiting the varying needs of its customers.