State Bank of India’s (SBI) credit card arm — SBI Card — has seen close to 20% rise in monthly credit card issuances following demonetisation, and has 4.75 million cards at the end of December.
In December alone, SBI issued 1.15 lakh new cards. “We have been issuing more than 1 lakh cards per month in the last couple of months and issuances were at 85,000 cards per month before demonetisation,” said Vijay Jasuja, CEO, SBI Card. If the 35-40% attrition is taken into account, then net issuances per month were at 65,000 cards.
SBI chairman Arundhati Bhattacharya, who was present at the event, told reporters that demonetisation has given a big fillip to the card business. “We believe that if we continue with this kind of effort of putting more and more of our transactions online then it would do well for the card business,” she said on the sidelines of the launch of its co-branded cards with Future Group-owned Central outlets.
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Bhattacharya said the bank is willing to allow cash at point-of-sale (PoS) terminals to any merchant who wishes to deploy the service. At present, the bank offers it to merchants such as the Future Group, petrol pump dealers and to its banking correspondents.
“Actually this is very useful as a person who is at a store to buy something does not need to go elsewhere for a small sum of cash,” she said, adding that the merchant also does not need to deposit the money in the bank and it gets recycled within the store.
“So for the banks too it becomes another outlet for cash,” Bhattacharya said. At the end of October 2016, the total number of credit cards in India was 27.34 million.