IndiGo, the leading airline in the country, has stopped accepting credit cards for on-board payment in its flights. The low-cost carrier (LCC), which is known for offering cheap air fare has made this rule effective from the December 2013. Recently, the Reserve Bank of India had announced that starting from December, all transactions using swiping credit and debit cards will essentially require giving the PIN number as a compulsory aspect. This means that any payment done by swiping will require its owner to enter the 4-digit unique number combination. This has been done by the central bank to safeguard card usage and to prevent the misuse of these to carry out fake transactions. While on one hand, this is good for the safety of users, but on the other, it might cause problems for airlines who have opted for the system of unbundling.
Carriers in an attempt to provide cheap airline tickets had reduced the base fare and made the in-flight services separately chargeable on-board. However, while flying, there is no scope of having online access, which simultaneously has led to stoppage of the use of debit and credit cards. It is impossible to validate PINs offline, which has forced IndiGo to take this decision. There are talks and researches regarding how to punch PINs in the offline mode, but at present this system stays null and void. Incidentally, this carrier was the only one to accept cards in-flight, but with this decision of the RBI, the leading LCC is expected to face some issues. Though, there would be no effect on IndiGo online booking, it would have some significant impact on its on-board marketing. However, it is to be noted that passengers will still have the option of carrying out the payments on-board using cash.