Cobranded debit cards: How good are they?
By Ankit Sharma
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Debit cards have been increasingly gaining importance as well as acceptance amongst Indian customers. The Indian customer being more of conservative in attitude finds better cash management with the debit card. The increased usage of debit cards led to the advent of cobranded debit cards.

Cobranded debit cards:

These cards are similar to conventional debit cards issued by banks. The only difference lies in the fact that the card has a tie up with other businesses/organizations/brands too. So while conventionally the debit card has association with a bank and a payment service provider like Visa/Maestro, the cobranded card has association with a third element too - the organization/brand.

The rising popularity of debit cards led organizations/brands to co brand with these cards as a brand promotion activity which would in turn benefit their sales. The card thus acts a marketing tool for the brand.

The organization gets to print its logo on the card. Both the bank as well as company leverage on each other's competencies as well as customer base.

These cards benefit the customer by enabling him to meet money requirements even when he is falling short of cash. They act more like prepaid cards. This is because these cards allow shopping only for the amount of balance available in the customer's account.

There are rewards and discounts associated with these cards in a wide range of categories like travel, lifestyle, entertainment, telecom, petroleum etc.

Some cobranded debit cards offered by banks:

HPCL- ICICI Bank Cobranded Debit Card

The card comes as an association of HPCL with ICICI Bank. It offers the card holder a 2.5% waiver on fuel transactions. The offer is however applicable at only selected HPCL petrol pumps.

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