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Credit card spending hits record high at Rs 1.4 lakh crore in May; cards in use at 87.4 million

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Similarly, the number of cards in use has also jumped by more than 5 million since January and crossed 87.4 million in the reporting month, making this also an all-time high in May, according to the RBI data

Mumbai: Credit card spending has hit a record high of Rs 1.4 lakh crore in May, the latest data from Reserve Bank of India showed.

The total spending or outstanding dues on credit cards, which remained rang-bound throughout the year in the previous fiscal, have been rising by 5 per cent month on month this year.

Similarly, the number of cards in use has also jumped by more than 5 million since January and crossed 87.4 million in the reporting month, making this also an all-time high in May, according to the RBI data.

Of the new additions, as much as 2 million were used in the first two months of the current fiscal alone.

In January 2023 there were 82.4 million active cards in the country. The number has been growing steadily and reached 83.3 million in February, 85.3 million in March and 86.5 million in April, the data showed.

Credit card spends were in the range of Rs 1.1-1.2 lakh crore throughout FY23, but reached an all-time high of Rs 1.4 lakh crore in May this year, according to the RBI data, which also showed that the average spend on a card scaled a new peak of Rs 16,144.

Market leader HDFC Bank has the maximum number of cards in circulation at 18.12 million in May and the bank also leads the market in terms of outstanding dues with 28.5 per cent of the total industry-wide dues.

SBI Card is a close second with 17.13 million cards in circulation, followed by ICICI Bank at 14.67 million. Axis Bank is the fourth largest with 12.46 million and its recent takeover of the retail portfolio of Citi has helped it close the gap with ICICI Bank. Citi had 1,62,150 active card users when it sold to the portfolio along with retail banking to Axis in 2022.

Meanwhile, indicating the rising stress level among individuals, a Transunion Cibil report last week said delinquencies in the credit card portfolio of banks have been rising and have jumped by 66 basis points to 2.94 per cent in March 2023.

The report, which comes amid heightened concerns on the riskier unsecured loan portfolios from the regulator, also said that products like credit cards and personal loans grew the fastest.

On the asset quality front, credit card balances unpaid for over 90 days stood at 2.94 per cent, which is a 0.66 per cent jump over the year-ago period, while the same for personal loans improved by 0.04 per cent to 0.94 per cent, Cibil said.

From a loan growth perspective, outstanding balances on credit cards grew 34 per cent in the year to March 2023, and personal loans were up 29 per cent.

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