Indian consumers in January initiated 20.3 million credit card transactions, down 6.9% from 21.8 million during the same month the previous year, according to data from the Reserve Bank of India. Credit card sales volume, however, increased by 5%, to 54.3 billion rupees (US$1.2 billion or 869.3 million euros) from 51.7 billion rupees.

Indian financial institutions issued 20.4 million credit cards as of Dec. 31, down 20.9% from 25.8 million a year earlier, the central bank says.

Debit card use in December increased 32.8%, to 15.8 million transactions from 11.9 million, the central bank says. The value of those transactions increased 47.1%, to 25 billion rupees from 17 billion rupees. Indian financial institutions issued 174 million debit cards as of the end of last year, up 32.8% from 131 million a year earlier.

The current upswing for credit card spending bodes well for card issuers affected by the economic slowdown, Mrinalini Manral, an analyst with Mumbai-based electronic payments research firm Dassler Business Intelligence, tells PaymentsSource.

“Card issuers like ICICI have been paring down cards …,” she says. “The lack of confidence could also be seen by the decision of RBS to not carry on with ABN Amro’s card operations This card-usage upsurge should instill some confidence back into the market,” she adds. (see story)

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