Plastic Money - The Indian Experience|IT and Systems|Case Study|Case Studies

Plastic Money - The Indian Experience

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Case Details:

Case Code : ITSY011
Case Length : 10 Pages
Period : 1990-2001
Pub Date : 2002
Teaching Note : Available
Organization : HDFC, Citibank, ICICI Industry : Banking and Finance
Countries : India

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This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

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"Why has India been slow to adopt cards? Mostly because there were no guidelines and no standards, so it was natural for the banks and other people to wait and watch."

- M.N. Gopinath, Executive Vice-President, ICICI Bank, in May 2000.

The Plastic Card Boom

In the late 1990s, the plastic cards market in India, comprising credit cards, smart cards, debit cards, charge cards, stored value cards and others, picked up momentum like never before, growing at an annual rate of 25%. Analysts attributed this growth largely to the rapidly increasing user base of debit cards.

Though initially, there were only two players, (HDFC and Citibank), the debit card market base grew considerably through 1999 and reached the 3 million mark in March 2000. The usage figures indicated a very healthy growth of the market in future, as seven out of 10 cardholders were reportedly using their card regularly.

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The annual spending through debit cards in India reached over Rs 5 billion.

The growth of debit cards was all the more impressive considering the fact that credit cards, introduced in the country in the early 1980s, had managed to reach the 10 million-user base level only in 2000.

Thus, the debit card user base had reached one-third of the credit card user base in just around one-tenth of the time.

Also, smart cards introduced in the late 1990s, had become very popular, especially in the financial services, banking, healthcare, transport and telecommunication businesses.

The demand for co-branded cards during 2001 was a further indication of the fact that the Indian market had finally realized the potential of plastic money.

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