HDFC Bank becomes leader in credit card space
By Ankit Sharma
Oct 26, 2010
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Private sector lender, HDFC Bank has become the leader in credit card segment by outbeating the largest private sector lender of the country, ICICI Bank. HDFC Bank holds the top slot with a credit card base of 5 million while ICICI's credit card base has dropped from 8.5 million to 4 million at present.

Citibank, which also had a huge card base of 3.8 million is now at 2.5 million.

RBI data reveals that there has been a 27% rise in credit card spends by customers in August 2010 amounting to Rs 6,259 crore from Rs 4,932 crore in April last year.

"Though banks may not be aggressively pushing accounts, customer spends on cards are on the rise,'' said Sandeep Bhalla, business manager cards for Citibank India.

He added, "2009 was a transition year as banks moved away from simply acquiring accounts to focus on growing spends on the cards. The trend is confirmed by Abhay Kumar Singh, CEO, SBI Cards. Singh said,"Customers today are becoming more responsible in their spending habits."

"Banks' underwriting norms have become much better with the entry of credit bureaus,'' says Bhalla.

Stuart Davis, HSBC India, said, "The bank has started acquiring customers for its cards business though the pace of growth may not be as rapid as it was between 2004 and 2007.''

"The credit card market is reviving in the emerging affluent segment where annual income levels are between Rs5 lakh to 10 lakh," says Bhalla.


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