In September 2019, the number of debit cards grew to 835.6 million, a 9.46 million increase over August. At the same time, a total of 52.6 million credit cards were in operation, with the addition of 0.82 million cards, according to the Reserve Bank of India. Between September 2018 and September 2019, India added some 10.8 million credit cards and lost over 146.9 million debit cards.

Card usage spiked during the months following demonetisation, 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 there have been no spikes in usage.

The number of transactions using credit cards at POS terminals (or swipe machines) grew by 29.8% year-on-year, while it increased by 14.4% for debit cards for the 12-month period ending September 2019. In September 2019, the total number of POS transactions through credit cards was 179.5 million, while the figure for debit cards was 414.9 million.

Total amount transacted through credit cards at POS terminals — which was Rs 59,453 crore in September 2019 — increased by 29% in the 12-month period ending September 2019. The amount transacted using POS terminals through debit cards went up by 21.5% during the same time. In September 2019, Rs 55,718 crore was transacted through debit cards at POS terminals.

Note that in the chart above, the amount transacted using debit cards had surpassed amount transacted using credit cards in November 2016, but from January 2018, the amounts transacted through credit cards and debit cards were nearly the same. In September 2019, credit card transaction amounts were higher than those of the debit card transaction amounts.


The total amount transacted through credit cards at POS terminals declined by Rs 147 crore in September 2019, while the amount transacted through debit cards decreased by Rs 2,359 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 — decreased marginally between September 2018 and September 2019. For debit cards, it grew 6.3% during the same period.