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India’s credit card surge is real, but can it sustain?

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Sohini Mitter

33 reads
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Sohini Mitter

33 reads

Riding on lower entry barriers and a growing appetite from young, first-time users, India’s credit card circulation has risen 62% in the last three years. By 2027, however, credit card transaction value is projected to decline both online and in-store in favour of UPI payments.

April 12, 2024

5 MINS READ

India now has more than 100 million active credit cards in circulation—a milestone it was projected to reach at the end of 2023. But, better late than never.

Monthly data released by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) revealed that India’s top four banks accounted for ~70% of active credit cards in the country, with HDFC Bank leading the charge with a 20.28% market share and 20.4 million cards in circulation. The State Bank of India (18.7 million), ICICI Bank (16.8 million), and Axis Bank (13.9 million) round out the top four.

Incidentally, these were also the only banks to have over 10 million active credit cards each in the market. Kotak Mahindra Bank—with 6 million cards in circulation—came in fifth.

There’s no denying that credit cards have witnessed a meteoric rise over the last 3-4 years. At the end of the year ended March 2021 (FY21), India had 62 million credit cards in circulation, per RBI data. This has surged over 62% in three years, with entry barriers coming down, and more and more banks adopting the co-branded route to launch category-specific cards for a wide array of users.

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