Indian Credit Card Industry – On the Path of Unbound Growth

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Soon you won’t have to carry your plastic money for your payment purposes as your mobile number will act as the credit card number. Recently, Reserve Bank of India (RBI) in its annual policy statement informed that it was in the process of formulating the guidelines for a payment system using mobile phones. RBI is discussing with both public and private sector Banks, service providers and industry bodies to develop the payment system. RBI said the draft guidelines would be placed on its official website by June 15, 2008.

In India the usage of mobile is growing rapidly. There are about 250 million mobile phone connections in the country, whereas credit card holders are far lower as compared to number of mobile phone users. Hence, mobile for payments is being considered for quite some time as a progressive step forward.

As reported by The Times of India, RBI said in the policy statement “The rapid expansion of this mode of communication and transaction have thrown up a new delivery channel for banks.” RBI further states, “This channel will definitely facilitate small value payments to merchants, utility service providers and the likes and money transferred at a low cost.”

The credit card market is going to witness some more progressive changes in this year. A joint venture between Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) and GE Money is likely to launch its first product by the end of 2008. As reported by Business Standard, the venture is now on cards. But we have sorted out those issues (conflict of interest). Currently, we are looking at human resources-related issues. The two financial giants are planning to launch the card by the end of the calendar year.

Once the credit card is launched it would be offered only to LIC customers and policy holders in the first year. GE Money has a 30 per cent stake in the card venture, while LIC Housing Finance Company, LIC Mutual Fund and Corporation Bank have 5 per cent each in this venture. LIC will have 40 per cent in the company, which is capitalized at near about Rs.150 crore. LIC is yet to take a decision about the remaining 15 per cent stake of the total investment. In another positive development, ABN AMRO with India’s travel portal launched a distinctive co-branded credit card, ‘Go Card’ recently. The card offers special reward benefits and good range of travel-related promotions and packages.

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