India's ICICI Bank Ltd. is no longer issuing lifetime no-annual-fee credit cards to new card customers.
"The bank started issuing lifetime-free credit cards in 2005 to increase its cardmember base," a spokeswoman said. "But market conditions since then have changed, and it no longer makes business sense issuing cards with no annual fees."
The banking company did not formally announce the shift. A customer service representative said people who already have the cards will keep the no-fee benefit.
ICICI is also shifting its efforts, to attract new card customers from its existing banking and investment customers as part of its issuing strategy, the spokeswoman said.
ICICI Bank has taken other steps to solidify its card portfolio, including no longer accepting card applications online.
The banking company also cut its card base by 2 million last year, to 7 million, said Mrinalini Manral, an analyst with the Mumbai research firm Dassler Business Intelligence.
"Industry losses had peaked in 2009 and are still stabilizing this year," she said. "Offering nonfree lifetime cards also helps them separate the wheat from the chaff in terms of repayment capacity."