In April 2018, the number of debit cards increased to 906 million, with 45.3 million new cardholders, while a total of 37.78 million credit cards were in operation, with the addition of 0.30 million cards, according to the Reserve Bank of India. Between April 2017 and April 2018, India added some 7.41 million credit cards and 39.36 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 at POS terminals or swipe machines grew by 24% year-on-year, while it increased by 24.5% for debit cards for the 12 month period ending April 2018. In April, the total number of POS transactions through credit cards was 132.3 million, while the figure for debit cards was 333.7 million.

Total amount transacted through credit cards at POS terminals — which was Rs 44,834 crore in April 2018 — increased by 35% in the 12 month period ending April 2018. Amount transacted using POS terminals through debit cards went up by 21% during the same time. In April 2018, Rs 45,457 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 January 2018 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 at POS terminals went up by Rs 526 crore in April 2018, while amount transacted through debit cards grew by Rs 3,600 crore.

At POS terminals, 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 8.96% between April 2017 and April 2018. For debit cards, it declined slightly during the same time period.