'About 54 crore bank customers may get debit cards in 3 years'
New Delhi: As many as 54 crore bank customers in India are likely to be issued debit cards in the next three years, an increase of 71 percent, marking an impressive rate of inclusive banking, a study has said.
As on December last year, as many as 31.44 crore bank customers have been issued debit cards and the number is growing at a compound annual rate of about 18 percent, Assocham said in a study.
With focus on more and more bank inclusion, the pace of growth is only expected to improve. "This would take the number of bank debit cards to well over 54 crore in the next three financial years," it said.
The study, however, said the number of credit cards would remain at less than three crore in the same period. At the end of December 2012, the number of credit cards was just 1.88 crore and the annual growth is just 6-7 percent.
"Conservative habits in financial matters, high interest rates and excessive penal rates even for short delays in payment, even by a few days, are some of the reasons keeping the consumers away from the credit cards," it said.
"The so-called plastic money culture, implying living on borrowed money, has not really caught on in India. Part of the blame lies with the card issuers, which have kept so many hidden charges making users feel deceived," Assocham President Rajkumar Dhoot said.
Besides, every now and then, there are reports about frauds taking place with the misuse of the credit card transactions. The increasing cyber crime, originating from the data theft, hacking have also resulted in loss of confidence in the plastic money, particularly the credit cards, the study said.
However, it said, the debt cards are largely being used for cash withdrawals and not much at the merchandise stores, given the conservative nature of most of the customers.
The study said cash withdrawals or borrowings by the credit card holders is limited to a monthly figure of just about Rs 124 crore, against a whopping Rs 1,46,125 crore by the debit card holders.
"The debit cards are performing the role of bank cashiers, through ATMs. Several advantages have accrued both to the banks and customers through increased use of the debit cards. These include less crowding at the bank branches, convenience of any-time banking to the customers through the use of ATMs," it said.