The number of credit and debit cards in India is steadily increasing but debit card issuance outgrew credit cards. In May 2017, a total of 30.86 million credit cards and 880 million debit cards were in operation, according to the Reserve Bank of India. Between May 2016 and May 2017, India added some 0.48 million credit cards and added 13.03 million debit cards.

​Card usage spiked during the months of November, December and January following the demonetization of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes. This forced cardholders to use them. But since February, both debit card and credit card usage have been range-bound.
Number of transactions using credit cards grew by 47% year on year, while it rose by 100% for debit cards for the 12 month period ending May 2017. In May, total number of transactions through credit cards were 115.3 million while the figure for debit cards was 267.5 million.

Total amount transacted through credit cards — which was Rs 36,141 crore in May 2017 — increased by 46% in the one year period ending May 2017. Amount transacted through debit cards increased by 142% during the same time. In May 2017, Rs 37,508 crore were transacted through debit cards. Note in the chart above that though the amount transacted using debit cards had surpassed credit cards in November 2016, we’re in a situation where amount transacted using credit cards might surpass debit cards again.

Total amount transacted through credit cards went up by Rs 2,998 crore in May 2017 while amount transacted through debit cards up by Rs 27 crore.


Average amount transacted per transaction using credit cards — which is an indication of how much amount people are willing to spend in one transaction — decreased by 1.48% between May 2016 and May 2017. For debit cards, it grew by 21.07% during the same time period.