demonetisation icici bank mdr debit cards credit cards digital india banks cash crunch modi govt hdfc bank india rupay npci trupay sbi canara bank
A signboard of the ICICI bank is pictured outside a bank in New Delhi, March 4 2016.Reuters file

ICICI Bank won't be charging merchant discount rate (MDR) on debit card transactions done at stores serviced by ICICI Merchant Services Ltd. (IMSL) between November 23 and December 31 2016. This will encourage buyers to opt for digital payments and thereby avoid cash crunch.

"With this announcement, merchants serviced by IMSL will be able to accept payments on all Visa, Mastercard and RuPay debit cards without any cost to them, thus facilitating greater adoption of card based payments in the country in the wake of the demonetisation move. This announcement comes a day after ICICI Bank waived MDR on RuPay debit cards," ICICI Bank said in a statement on Wednesday.

In a related move, the government said that more banks have taken similar measures to boost digital payments by customers.

"To promote greater use of debit cards, public sector banks and some of the private sector banks have decided to waive the MDR charges till 31.12.2016," the finance ministry said on Wednesday.

This comes after the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) a few days ago said banks won't levy charges on transactions done at ATMs by customers at banks, including those different from where they have accounts. This too is for a limited period, until December 31 2016.

To blunt the criticism against the negative impact on people ever since demonetisation was brought into effect on November 8, the BJP-led NDA government has also decided to waive service charges on railway tickets booked on IRCTC.

"In order to help passengers and incentives online payments, IRCTC Service charge has been waived off on booking of E-tickets and I-tickets from 23rd Nov 2016 to 31st Dec 2016," IRCTC said in an update on its website. The decision to waive off the service charge was taken on Tuesday evening.

In another update, State Bank of India and HDFC Bank went live with their United Payment Interface (UPI) services on Financial Technology Company Trupay.

"With SBI and HDFC coming onboard – the total number of banks offering UPI services on Trupay has increased to 28 major banks," TruPay said in a statement. 

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