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Apple stops accepting debit, credit cards for app purchases, subscriptions in India

By Priyanka Verma 
Updated Date

Apple has stopped accepting Indian debit and credit cards as a payment method for apps and subscriptions on its App Store. The development essentially means that customers will now need to add money to their Apple funds – similar to a prepaid card – which will deduct money from the account every month when the subscription renews.

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“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,” Apple’s statement on its India billing page says.

Apple makes it mandatory for new iPhone or iPad users to create an Apple ID while setting up the device, and they are also required to provide bank details. If customers want to renew or buy a subscription, say, Apple Music or Apple TV, the company offers its own payment gateway for the transaction. The transaction was earlier possible via debit or credit cards, or UPI.

Over the past two months, numerous users have taken to social media platforms to complain about not being able to pay for subscriptions or apps with previously saved debit and credit cards on their Apple ID.

The incident comes after the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) announced mandatory tokenisation of saved card on file (CoF) data to be done by merchants, in order to continue accepting recurring payments for subscriptions. After multiple extensions, the present deadline for companies in India to enable tokenization of cards in order to save debit and credit card information on file stands as June 30, 2022.

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The move affects recurring payments made in India, and multiple companies have already informed users about this change. Services such as Netflix, which rely entirely on user subscriptions, have already made changes to adapt to the new regulations in India.

The latter, for instance, rolled out support for UPI autopay for its Indian customers in September 2021. The feature itself was introduced by the National Payments Council of India (NPCI) to replace the need for users to save their card data on platforms.

The RBI has previously stated that the new regulations around autopay for credit and debit cards in India would help prevent cyber frauds and theft of financial data from platforms, which occur due to data breaches.

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