SBI Cards, the second largest credit card solutions provider in India after HDFC Bank, is targeting to add one million new

customers by 2014-15, Mr Kadambi Narahari, CEO, said on Thursday.

Between 2007 and 2010, the number of credit card holders in India fell from 27 million to 17 million. Even after this consolidation in the wake of global slowdown, when many credit card companies went out of business, penetration of credit cards in India is still low — as against China and Brazil accounting for 200 million cards each, India accounts for only 18.4 million credit card holders, he told presspersons here.

SBI Cards have a customer base of 2.3 million. HDFC currently issues about 80,000 credit cards per month while SBI Cards issues about 50,000.

On an average, an Indian credit card holder spends only $755 (Rs 40,000) annually, as against the Australians ($3,352), and even the Thais ($2,084).

With its expansion in Tier II and III towns and cities becoming profitable with 12 per cent of cards reaching there, SBI Cards is now banking on the spread of the Internet to 121 million customers and grow its business by three to four times by 2014-15. India currently has 80 million banked households, he said.

Ticket booking and similar instant payment facilities have boosted the business of SBI Card, particularly after its tie up with the Indian Railways and other agencies and co-branding cards with the Oriental Bank of Commerce, Bank of Maharashtra and the Karur Vysya Bank.

Credit card spend in India is expected to increase from Rs 96,000 crore in 2011 to Rs 120 crore this year. SBI Cards and Payment Services Pvt Ltd, a joint venture with GE Capital, is the only standalone credit card providing company in India. It offers 14 different modes of payment options to customers.

(This article was published on August 16, 2012)
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