After the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) stopped the country’s largest private lender, HDFC Bank, from issuing new credit cards late last year, its biggest competitor — ICICI Bank — gained the most. At the end of February 2021, there were 61.6 million outstanding credit cards in the system, an increase of 1.5 million over November 2020, according to RBI data.
Between November 2020 and February 2021, ICICI Bank issued 665,000 incremental credit cards, which is 43.38 per cent of the cards issued. HDFC Bank — which has the largest credit card base in the country — saw its outstanding credit cards fall by 189,000 in the same period. Axis Bank’s increased by 151,000, while State Bank of India — through SBI Cards and Payments — saw its outstanding credit cards increase by 445,000 in the same period.
Among other large private sector banks, IndusInd Bank’s credit card base increased by 24,720, YES Banks saw an increase of 73,750 credit cards, Kotak Mahindra’s outstanding credit cards increased by 47,275, and IDFC First Bank saw its outstanding credit card go up by 131,000.
In early December last year, the RBI directed HDFC Bank to halt all its digital launches as well as new sourcing of credit card customers. The move came after the bank faced various outages due to technical glitches over the past two years.