In June 2019, the number of debit cards grew to 836.89 million, an addition of 11.9 million new cardholders. At the same time, a total of 49.65 million credit cards were in operation, with the addition of 0.73 million cards, according to the Reserve Bank of India. Between June 2018 and June 2019, India added some 10.3 million credit cards and lost over 107.4 million debit cards.
Card usage spiked during the months following demonetization, when the unavailability of cash forced people to use cards. Since then, both debit card and credit card usage has been increasing, and at times, range-bound, but we really aren’t seeing spikes in usage.
The number of transactions using credit cards at POS terminals or swipe machines grew by 20% year-on-year, while it increased by 43.8% for debit cards for the 12 month period ending June 2019. In June 2019, the total number of POS transactions through credit cards was 163.2 million, while the figure for debit cards was 407.4 million.
Total amount transacted through credit cards at POS terminals — which was Rs 56,903 crore in June 2019 — increased by 23% in the 12 month period ending June 2019. The amount transacted using POS terminals through debit cards went up by 19% during the same time. In June 2019, Rs 57,042 crore were transacted through debit cards at POS terminals.
Note that in the chart above, the amount transacted using debit cards had surpassed credit cards in November 2016, but from January 2018 onwards the amount transacted through credit cards and debit cards was nearly the same. In June 2019, debit card transaction amounts were slightly higher than those of the credit card transaction amounts.
The total amount transacted through credit cards at POS terminals declined by Rs 4,355 crore in June 2019, while the amount transacted through debit cards decreased by Rs 610 crore.
At POS terminals, the average amount transacted per transaction using credit cards — which is an indication of the amount people are willing to spend in one transaction — increased marginally between June 2018 and June 2019. For debit cards, it sharply declined during the same period.