In February 2018, the number of debit cards increased to 855.4 million, with 8.7 million new cardholders, while a total of 36.94 million credit cards were in operation, with the addition of 0.74 million cards, according to the Reserve Bank of India. Between February 2017 and February 2018, India added some 7.84 million credit cards and 15.43 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. The unavailability of cash 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.

The number of transactions using credit cards grew by 21% year-on-year, while it increased by 12% for debit cards for the 12 month period ending February 2018. In February, the total number of transactions through credit cards were 114.75 million, while the figure for debit cards was 282.6 million.

Total amount transacted through credit cards — which was Rs 37,660 crore in February 2018 — increased by 32% in the 12 month period ending February 2018. Amount transacted through debit cards went up by 4% during the same time. In February 2018, Rs 37,126 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 down by Rs 3,777 crore in February 2018, while amount transacted through debit cards declined by Rs 3,977 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 9.21% between February 2017 and February 2018. For debit cards, it declined by 7.7% during the same time period.