CARDS & PAYMENTS | Cesar Tordesillas, Hong Kong

SBI Cards plans to double its credit card base by March 2015

SBI Cards aims to more than double its credit cards in circulation over the next three years.

India has about 18.3 million cards while State Bank of India Cards & Payment Services has 2.3 million at present with HDFC Bank being the market leader.

"Penetration in the credit card market is quite low in India. There is a huge potential for growth," says SBI Cards CEO Kadambi Narahari.

The 60:40 joint venture between State Bank of India and GE Capital plans to issue 575,000 new cards this fiscal and another 800,000 and one million cards in 2013-14 and 2014-15 respectively.

India's credit card industry had suffered from around 20% delinquency ratio in 2006 but the situation improved since then as card issuers started relying more on Credit Information Bureau (India) Ltd or Cibil data for borrowers' credit repayment behaviour.

Narahari said delinquency ratio improved to about 5% for the sector while his company has the ratio at 4.9%.

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