Bhutan National Bank is launching a prepaid Visa card today. Other banks are offering or have plans to offer similar cards. According to the information provided by BNB, the card can be used for Internet online shopping.
Since this card is "usable only in India", it would be interesting to see if it can be used when buying from non-Indian online vendors. If that is the case, and the card works on sites like E-bay, PayPal and Amazon.com, it can signify a dramatic change in shopping habits of Bhutanese. Some products are all but impossible to buy offline - for example, Internet domain names. Many other products, which are impossible to find in Bhutan, are easily available for online purchase, with many vendors now shipping to Bhutan. In addition, products such as small electronics are cheaper when purchasing online. If these cards become popular, a significant shift in the retail habits of Bhutan's urbanites is expected.
P.S.: For someone travelling to India the card can be a convenience, as there is no need to carry piles of rupees. It can also benefit Bhutanese students who study in India. However, there are also big risks involved with the card, including online and offline scams. The consumer has to be educated about the risks. Here's an idea for BNB: As a service to your customers, provide a brochure that explain the entailed dangers and how to avoid them. Whenever dispensing the card to a customer, include the brochure in the package.