SBI Cards & Payments Services (SBI Card), the country’s largest pure-play credit card issuer, is upbeat about clocking a better third quarter (Oct-Dec 2023) performance this year, riding on the strong ongoing festive season spends, Abhijit Chakravorty, Managing Director & CEO, has said.
In his first interaction with BusinessLine post assuming charge at the helm of SBI Card this August, Chakravorty said that transaction volumes in the third quarter are “impressive” and that the company is bound to register a better performance in Q3 considering that the festive season started in October this year.
“Last year the festive season was split between two quarters i.e festive season started from September 2022. We will be seeing better performance this quarter considering that festive season started as late as Oct 10”, Chakravorty said.
“My receivables now are at an all time high, my spends are at an all time high. There is great appetite for consumption in the market. So all these leads me to believe that my business volumes to be continuously growing this quarter and those will bring me adequate returns”.
SBI Card on Friday reported a 15 per cent increase in net profit for the second quarter ended September 30, 2023 at ₹603 crore (₹526 crore). Credit card spends saw 27 per cent year-on-year growth in Q2 at ₹79,164 crore (₹62,306 crore).
Asked whether he intends to bring some “strategic shift” in the company’s working, Chakravorty said that it would be a largely “business as usual” approach, but quickly noted that he intends to focus on “customer centricity” as an add-on to the existing business plans.
“I would be working closely on the customer satisfaction front. I would prefer to give my customers an absolute friction-free experience so far as card usage is concerned.
- Also read: SBI Card Q2 net up 15% at ₹603 crore
We would like to see if there is any gap, if there is anything that can be done, if there is any value additions that can come towards customer satisfaction, have an ear to the market, look at the noises that are coming out and work on them and give them the best experience that they expect”, he said.
Chakravorty however declined to give any profit guidance for the entire fiscal even as he pointed out that fourth quarter is expected to be an outlier this fiscal too and help boost overall financial performance.
On Cards-in-force, Chakravorty said he expects to sustain the growth (21 per cent year-on-year in Q2) and noted that gross additions have been comfortable.
“We had aspirations of adding 10 lakh plus new cards (on gross level) per quarter. That level we have been achieving (overshooting in last two quarters) and would like to maintain and achieve going forward also”, Chakravorty said.
Going forward, SBI Card would look to push more digital onboarding of customers rather than human sourcing that is prevailing now.
“We want to accelerate the digital journey and make customer interaction more digital. The digital journey is already there which helps in getting a card within 10 minutes, provided all documentation are aligned.
- Also read: SBI Card for MSMEs launched
Nothing can beat a digital experience. The delight created by a seamless digital experience, but that kind of awareness we would like to create in the market for our digital journeys which are already there”, he said.
UPI CREDIT - A THREAT?
Asked if SBI Card sees UPI on Credit as a threat, Chakravorty replied in the negative.
“UPI on credit is one more facility, one more window, but it is a limited window. As on date and as per our understanding on what we have read, we don’t see UPI on credit as a threat”, he said.
He said that credit card is a niche payment option that will continue to prevail and expressed confidence that customer preference will not be taken away.