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India had 35.5M credit cards, 842.47M debit cards in December 2017

In December 2017, the number of debit cards increased to 842.47 million, with 9.58 million new cardholders, while a total of 35.5 million credit cards were in operation, with addition of 0.7 million cards, according to the Reserve Bank of India. Between December 2016 and December 2017, India added some 7.2 million credit cards and added 81.35 million debit cards.


​Card usage spiked during the months of November 2016, December 2016 and January 2017, following the demonetization of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes. This forced cardholders to use them. But since February 2017, both debit card and credit card usage have been range-bound. In June 2017, debit cards were down by 86.2 million to 793.83 million, shaving off most of the increase that demonetization brought in.

Number of transactions using credit cards grew by 6.6% year-on-year, while it declined by 30% for debit cards for the 12 month period ending December 2017. In December, total number of transactions through credit cards were 123.7 million, while the figure for debit cards was 290.35 million.

Total amount transacted through credit cards — which was Rs 41,850 crore in December 2017 — increased by 34% in the 12 month period ending December 2017. Amount transacted through debit cards decreased by 30% during the same time. In December 2017, Rs 40,461 crore were transacted through debit cards. Note in the chart above that the amount transacted using debit cards had surpassed credit cards in November 2016, but by May 2017 the amount transacted through credit cards and debit cards became almost the same, and now credit card transactions are slightly above debit card transactions.

Total amount transacted through credit cards went up by Rs 2,590 crore in December 2017, while amount transacted through debit cards also raised by Rs 3,942 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 — increased 26% between December 2016 and December 2017. For debit cards, it slightly declined during the same time period.

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