Pine Labs, an Indian fintech firm, has partnered with Thomas Cook India to facilitate payments via the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) for foreign nationals from G20 countries. The two firms have also partnered with the National Payments Corporation of India to provide UPI-enabled Indian rupee payments for foreign nationals.
Customers can encash foreign currency at Thomas Cook's airport counters on arrival, and instead of collecting Indian rupees in cash, they can open a Pine Labs Fave Money prepaid account and load the INR (Indian National Rupee) value, which can then be used to make digital payments via the Fave app at merchant outlets across India. Any remaining balance can be encashed at Thomas Cook's airport counters on departure.
Pine Labs has launched Fave Money to enable the payment process and the prepaid product is issued by Pine Labs under the PPI authorisation obtained from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). The first UPI-PPI wallet transaction for a G20 foreign national took place at Bengaluru Airport on February 21, 2023 and the service is set to go live at all Thomas Cook airport counters.
"The move is aimed at ensuring safe, seamless, and convenient merchant payments via UPI for foreign nationals visiting India," said Pine Labs chief executive officer (CEO) B Amrish Rau. He added that UPI was India’s incredible contribution to the world when it comes to digital payments. Mahesh Iyer, executive director and CEO of Thomas Cook India, said that the partnership with Pine Labs and NPCI would give visiting foreign nationals from G20 countries the seamless UPI experience across the firm's gateway airports.
Founded in 2008, NPCI is a non-profit organisation that operates India's retail payments and settlement systems, offering a range of payment solutions such as UPI, IMPS, BHIM, NETC, and RuPay, with UPI being the most popular.
Thomas Cook India is the leading omnichannel travel company in India, offering a range of services including foreign exchange, corporate travel, leisure travel, and visa services. The Thomas Cook India Group spans 28 countries across five continents. Pine Labs is a leading merchant commerce omnichannel platform operating across India and Southeast Asia. The firm's online payments cloud-based software Plural represents a one-stop payments destination across channels.