India’s improving economy is helping to drive higher overall payment card usage, with debit cards growing significantly faster than credit cards, new data from India’s central bank show.

Indian consumers in June spent 55.4 billion rupees (US$1.2 billion) on credit cards, up 14% from 48.6 billion rupees spent during June 2009. They initiated 20.2 million transactions, up 5.8% from 19.1 million during the same period a year ago, according to the Reserve Bank of India.

The number of credit cards in circulation in June fell 17.1%, to 18.9 million from 22.8 million a year ago.

Debit card sales volume in June increased 43%, to 25.9 billion rupees from 18.1 billion rupees. Debit card transactions in June increased 34.4% to 16.8 million transactions compared with 12.5 million a year earlier, the central bank says.

Indian financial institutions had issued 192 million debit cards at the end of June, up 31.1% from 146.4 million a year earlier.

As India’s economic recovery continues, the employment outlook is also improving, an official from the central bank tells PaymentsSource. “Some banks have also started issuing cards again after a lull,” he says.

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