User count drops 37% in 2007-2010

Barclays Bank’s credit cards, Barclaycard, failed to do any business across India in June, according to a recent report of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).

The UK-headquartered Bank, which had only 2,148 credit card users, drew a blank in terms of both the number and the amount of transactions, according to the RBI statistics on credit cards, dated June 26.

Other banks with less active credit cards were Tamil Nadu Mercantile Bank Ltd (5,624 cards) and Dhanlaxmi Bank Ltd (1,833 cards) whose businesses amounted to Rs 99.70 lakh and Rs 71 lakh, respectively.

Among the nationalised banks, the credit cards of Central Bank of India (59,346) seemed least active, with transaction worth only Rs 2.14 crore, followed by Bank of Maharashtra (27,009 cards, transaction: Rs 3.85 crore) and Indian Overseas Bank (35,542 cards, transaction: Rs 7.58 crore).

HDFC Bank continued to be the top credit card provider with 57.98 lakh credit cards in use, followed by ICICI Bank (28.21 lakh) and SBI Cards (23.21 lakh).

Among foreign banks, Citibank (23.13 lakh cards, transaction: Rs 1,725.55 crore), American Express (6.20 lakh cards, transaction: Rs 1,162.11 crore) and Standard Chartered Bank (12.65 lakh cards, transaction: Rs 696.97 crore) were active.

As of June 2012, various banks in India had 1.80 crore active credit cards which did a total business of Rs 9,039.29 crore, the report added.

After four years of expansion, the credit card business shrank from from 2.70 crore users in 2007 to 1.70 crore in 2010. With this consolidation, while some players went out of business, although technically, in some cases, their credit cards might still be active.

Between 2004 and 2006, the number of new credit cards issued by various banks doubled to 50 lakh, and then fell to 11 lakh in 2009, increasing again to 15 lakh in 2010. Currently, India has only 1.8 crore outstanding credit cards against 20 crore in China and Brazil each.

(This article was published on August 17, 2012)
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