Falling for debt: Inside India’s co-branded credit card rush

Falling for debt: Inside India’s co-branded credit card rush


Sohini Mitter

10 reads

Sohini Mitter

10 reads

There’s a new aspirational product in town: the co-branded credit card. Jointly issued by banks and affiliate merchants, these account for 1 in 3 new credit cards issued in India today. With every brand worth its salt throwing its hat in the ring, India's credit card usage is on the cusp of a boom.

August 09, 2023


Key Takeaways

  • There are 87 million credit cards in circulation in India, with the number estimated to cross 100 million by the end of 2023
  • About 10-12% of these are co-branded credit cards across shopping, dining, travel, fuel, and other categories
  • The Amazon Pay-ICICI credit card and the Flipkart-Axis credit card are bestsellers in this segment, with ~8 million cards in circulation between them
  • Co-branded credit cards are a win-win for both banks and merchant partners, at the same time opening up the world of formal credit for new users

“India is at the cusp of the next payments revolution where credit will become the mainstream payment choice,” declared Vijay Shekhar Sharma during the launch of Paytm’s new co-branded credit card—issued in partnership with SBI—in May 2023.

While credit cards aren’t new, only about 3% of India’s population owns them—well below the World Bank’s benchmark of 30%. Traditionally, Indians have had a fear-based relationship with credit cards, largely viewing them as debt traps. “Most of India's first credit card users were expatriates familiar with how credit card systems worked. This resulted in a misconception that credit cards are a luxurious foreign consumer product reserved for the extremely wealthy,” reads a 2022 note from Kotak Mahindra Bank.

But the times, they are a-changin’.

Today, there’s far greater awareness and far lesser trepidation around credit cards. Indians are slowly yet surely realising that credit cards can also become a tool for financial access, rewards, and benefits.

Read this article for free

Sign in using


Sign in using your email

Don't have an account?

Forgot Password?

By signing up for The CapTable you agree to the

Terms of Service


Privacy Policy

of the platform.

Smart Information, Better Decisions

We report on the latest and most important developments in India’s biggest tech companies and disruptive startups so you can make better decisions.

Inside View with Org Charts

Know the key decision-makers with Org Charts. We thrive on decoding boardroom conversations so we can bring you a 360° view of what's happening at India's high-growth companies.

Seasoned Team

Tracking the highs and lows of India’s biggest internet companies over the past decade has given us access to the right decision-makers to interpret the latest state of play.

Inside View

We thrive on inside scoops and decoding boardroom conversations so we can bring you a 360° view of what’s happening at India’s high-growth companies.


For subscribers only

Premium Reads


View More >>

Deeply reported and objective news on the country´s fastest-growing companies and the people behind them.