The weak global economy is driving down credit card transactions in India as more consumers shift their purchases to debit.
Indian consumers had 19.3 million credit card transactions in November, down 6.3% from a year earlier, according to the Reserve Bank of India. Credit card sales volume declined 1.9%, to $1.1 billion
Debit card use in November, however, increased 34.3%, to 14.1 million transactions, from 10.5 million, the central bank said last week. The value of those transactions increased 44.9%, to $493.6 million.
Indian financial companies had issued 165.8 million debit cards and 20.8 million credit cards at Nov. 30.
"Indians are conservative by nature and loath the idea of credit," said Mrinalini Manral, an analyst with the Mumbai electronic payments research firm Dassler Business Intelligence. "Over the past few years, banks in India had issued credit cards without much due diligence."
But "as the economic crisis unfolded, many of those who did not have that necessary repayment capability have stopped using their cards completely," she said.