Credit card issuance fell sharply in the early years of the current decade, as banks tightened regulations to address rising defaults. However, from 2016 the number of credit cards issued picked up, as more banks tried to improve card penetration amongst the younger generation.
Credit card POS transactions increased steadily over the last few years, in keeping with the government’s objective of promoting cashless payments. The installation of larger numbers of POS terminals at merchant locations and the higher number of cards in circulation, especially amongst urban residents, aided the growth of credit card transactions.
The trend of increasing numbers of credit cards in circulation is expected to continue over the forecast period. This will be helped by schemes such as the payment of outstanding dues in equated monthly instalments (EMIs), and additional facilities, such as access to premium services at hotels and airlines, including lounge access.
HDFC Bank accounted for the highest share in terms of both credit cards in circulation and transaction value in 2017. Over the years, the largest private bank has attained the leading position in credit cards by launching a variety of cards with lucrative offers, including lounge services, dining offers at major restaurants and shopping offers at various high-end stores.
HDFC Bank has entered the co-branded credit cards space by launching a card with online retailer Snapdeal, targeting younger consumers, who frequently shop online. Other prestigious co-branded credit cards include JetPrivilege Platinum, in partnership with Jet Airways, and Maruti Suzuki Nexa Card, with exclusive benefits for owners of Nexa cars.
Visa and Mastercard have been the dominant credit card operators in India for many years. The largest banks in India have entered into deals with these operators, enabling expansion in the coverage of Visa- and Mastercard-operated products.
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