"The card is positioned directly against American Express and we believe it is a better product," the bank's Managing Director, Aditya Puri, said, pointing to the entrenched competitor serving the high-net category.
The bank will be issuing 5,000 of the credit cards christened Infinia, which come with a slew of privileges through partnerships, to its wealth management customers to start with on the basis of their net worth and financial dealings history.
The bank management, however, declined to give details like the networth cut-off which will make a customer eligible.
The card's annual fee will be Rs 30,000 while the bank will charge an interest of 1.99 percent per month and levy a two percent foreign currency fee.
"We have the largest network of merchant terminals across the country acquired by ourselves. The unique difference from others serving the segment is that Infinia will get accepted anywhere," the bank's country head for retail assets and credit cards, Pralay Mondal, said.
A senior bank official said American Express has around 1.50-lakh cardholders in India.
Puri said HDFC Bank will not offer concierge services to its cardholders, something which American Express is famous for. Instead, it will give facilities like an air accident cover of Rs three-crore, emergency hospitalisation cover of Rs 50-lakh, loyalty rewards and has also tied-up with Taj Hotels and Singapore Airlines, he said.
The ultra rich may comprise one percent of the card holding population but they spend 10 percent which is a big opportunity, its Executive Vice President, Parag Rao, said.
The number of ultra rich stands at 62,000 presently which is expected to grow to 2,19,000 by 2016, he said, adding that 22 percent of the wealth for this category of customers goes into consumption.
HDFC Bank has a credit card base of 5.3-million, issues 80,000 cards a month and holds a 26 percent market share going by spends.
Puri said it has a net non performing assets ratio of around 8-10 percent from the credit cards vertical as compared to the industry average of around 15 percent.