The credit card industry is among the most promising ones in the country and the number of credit cards in India are growing at a steady rate every year. Between the financial years 2022 to 2027, the Compounded Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of credit cards is expected to reach 39.22%. In June 2022, the total number of credit cards in the country were 7.87 Crores, according to the RBI. The number has risen to 8.86 Crores in June 2023.
The total number of credit cards have risen almost 1 Crores in the past 12 months, and it indicates a rise of almost 11% in the total number. Still, a lot of growth can happen in the credit card industry as there are approximately 5.5 cards per 100 people in the country, which is quite low compared to other countries like the USA. Moreover, ever since RBI has announced the linking of credit cards to UPI, the number is expected to go up even more.
Also, the rise of e-wallets and Buy Now Pay Later options are competing against credit cards, but there are still many card issuers that have a great range of cards that will surely attract more customers.
The following is the list of some major and most popular credit card issuers in India that offer the Top Credit Cards in every category, including shopping, travel, lifestyle, entertainment, and many more. One can find a wide range of credit cards in the portfolio of these issuers:
HDFC Bank is headquartered in Mumbai and is the largest private sector bank in India in terms of assets. In terms of market capitalisation, it is the fourth largest bank in the world. As of June 2023, HDFC Bank currently has more than 1.83 Crore active credit cards in India and RBI had banned the bank from issuing new cards in December 2020, but the ban was lifted next year. After the ban, HDFC launched some nice co-branded cards and even upgraded the premium Infinia credit card to the Metal version which resulted in many customers for the bank. Currently, the best cards offered by the bank include HDFC Infinia, Diners Club Black, Regalia Gold, Millennia, Moneyback+, and more.
Just after ICICI Bank and HDFC, Axis Bank is the third biggest private sector bank in the country. The bank has its headquarters in Mumbai and has been one of the most trusted institutions ever since its inception in December 1993. When it comes to credit cards, Axis Bank is also in third position after HDFC and SBI. As per RBI’s June 2023 records, Axis Bank has 1.25 Crore credit cards currently active, and its range of cards is great. The Axis Bank Magnus and Reserve are super-premium cards offered by the bank, and it even has co-branded travel, fuel, and shopping cards in its portfolio. The co-branded cards with Club Vistara and Flipkart are among the most in-demand cards of the country.
In terms of market capitalization and revenue, ICICI Bank is the second largest private sector bank in the country. The range of credit cards offered by ICICI Bank is great and covers all major categories including travel, shopping, fuel, lifestyle, dining, and more. As of June 2023, the bank has over 1.48 Crore credit cards in the country, and it has tied up with India’s biggest loyalty program PAYBACK to offer reward points to customers. The best credit cards offered by the issuer include ICICI Bank Emeralde, ICICI Bank Sapphiro, Amazon Pay ICICI Bank Card, ICICI HPCL Super Saver, ICICI Bank Rubyx, and more.
Right after HDFC Bank, the second largest credit card issuer in India is SBI Card with more than 1.73 Crores cards currently active. SBI Card’s headquarters are in Gurugram, and it is the lone publicly listed card issuer in the country. GE Capital and State Bank of India launched SBI Card in 1998, and The Carlyle Group bought a stake in the company in December 2017. It is also the only pure credit card company to be listed on the stock market. The top cards offered by the issuer include the SBI Aurum, SBI Elite, SBI SimplyCLICK, Air India SBI Signature, IRCTC SBI Premier, and more.
The US-based card issuer, American Express, is famous all over the world for its premium credit card range. Also, it is a card processing network and even offers cards with other issuers like ICICI Bank, and more. As of June 2023, there are more than 13 Lakh active credit cards in the country by American Express. The top cards offered by American Express include the Platinum Charge card, Gold Charge card, Platinum Travel credit card, SmartEarn credit card, etc.
IDFC FIRST Bank:
IDFC First Bank was formed when the Capital First Bank and IDFC Bank merged together in December 2018 and it is one of the newest issuers in the Indian credit card market. In January 2012, IDFC First Bank launched its first four credit cards that were lifetime free and packed with great privileges and benefits for the users. These included the First Select, First Millennia, First Wealth, and First Classic credit cards. Now, IDFC Bank has added a few more options and also partnered with HPCL and Club Vistara to offer co-branded cards to their customers. Currently, IDFC First Bank has more than 16.7 Lakhs active cards in the country, and it is an impressive figure for a card issuer that just started recently in 2021.
IndusInd Bank is headquartered in Mumbai and was inaugurated in April 1994 by Manmohan Singh, then Finance Minister of India. The bank’s name takes inspiration from the Indus Valley Civilization and it is among the best private sector banks of India. As of June 2023, the bank has almost 24 Lakhs credit cards in the country. The issuer has more than 15 cards in its portfolio with the Pioneer Heritage and Indulge credit card being the most premium variants. Other popular cards include Celesta, EazyDiner IndusInd Bank card, Club Vistara IndusInd Bank Explorer card, and more.
Kotak Mahindra Bank:
The Kotak Mahindra Bank is headquartered in Mumbai and is the third largest private sector bank in the country in terms of market capitalization. As of June 2023, the bank has more than 52 Lakh active credit cards in the country. Many new customers have been onboarded by the bank in the last 1-1.5 years. When it comes to entry-level credit cards, the Kotak 811 #DreamDifferent card is among the best options out there. Other top cards by the issuer include Myntra Kotak credit card, IndianOil Kotak credit card, PVR Kotak Gold card, Kotak White Reserve card, and more.
Formerly known as Ratnakar Bank, the RBL Bank was established in 1943 and is headquartered in Mumbai. Compared to some other issuers, RBL Bank is a smaller private sector bank, but it still has an impressive range of credit cards in its portfolio. This is the reason that there are over 46 Lakh active credit cards in the country by RBL Bank. The bank keeps customers at its priority and offers great benefits with its cards. The RBL Bank World Safari does not charge any forex markup fee, while some other popular cards include RBL Bank Edition, RBL Bank Shoprite, BookMyShow RBL Bank Play credit card, and more.
Bank of Baroda:
Headquartered in Vadodara, Bank of Baroda is India’s second largest public sector bank, and it merged with Dena Bank and Vijaya Bank in September 2018. The bank offers its credit card services under BoB Financial. Until July 2021, there were just 6 Lakh active cards, but currently Bank of Baroda has more than 20 Lakhs active credit cards in the country. BoB Financial has great co-branded cards with IRCTC and HPCL which is a reason behind its popularity, and also it offers many exclusive cards for the armed forces, government employees, etc. The best cards by the issuer include BoB Eterna, BoB Premier, BoB Select, etc.
Yes Bank was founded in 2004 and is headquartered in Mumbai. It was among the best private sector banks in the country before a 30-day moratorium was placed on the bank by RBI due to financial instability in the beginning of 2020. As a result, SBI acquired 30% stake and overtook the bank. The range of cards offered by Yes Bank is decent and as of June 2023, the bank has somewhere around 15 Lakh active credit cards in the country. The best cards offered by the issuer include Yes Bank First Exclusive, Yes Bank Wellness Plus, Yes Bank First Preferred, the customizable Yes Bank BYOC credit card, and others.
Standard Chartered Bank:
Standard Chartered India is a subsidiary of the Standard Chartered Bank based in London, and was formed when the Standard Bank of British South Africa and the Chartered Bank of India, Australia, and China merged together. The bank has been operating in India since 1958 and is the biggest foreign bank in India. As of June 2023, the bank has around 10.5 Lakh active credit cards in the country. Some of the top cards offered by the issuer include the Rewards credit card, Ultimate credit card, Platinum Rewards credit card, and more.
HSBC started operations in India after taking over the Mercantile Bank of India and it is the second-oldest foreign banking institution in the nation. The range of credit cards offered by HSBC is quite low and there are four cards offered by it in the Indian market. There are roughly 6.65 credit cards active in the country by June 2023. The bank offers the HSBC Smart Value, HSBC Visa Platinum, HSBC Cashback, and the Premier MaterCard credit card right now with all of them available without any joining fee.
Federal Bank is another major private sector bank in the country headquartered in Kochi. The bank has a customer base of over 10 million and more than 1,250 branches spread across different states in India. As of June 2022, there are over 2.3 lakh active Federal Bank credit cards in the country.
Citibank India or Citi India is a subsidiary of the US-based multinational financial conglomerate, Citigroup. Citibank announced that it is about to exit the retail banking business in India along with 12 other countries. However, the bank assured that it would continue to serve its customers just as it had been. The bank also assured that it would not shut down its operations in India, instead, it would look for a potential buyer and sell off its retail business.
Citibank currently offers only eight credit cards to its Indian customers. As of June 2022, with over 25 lakh active credit cards, Citibank is the sixth-largest credit card issuer in the country. Citi Prestige Credit Card and Citi PremierMiles Credit Card are two of the most popular offerings by the bank in the Indian credit card market.
IDBI Bank is one of the largest public-sector commercial banks in India. The Bank is a subsidiary of the Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC). IDBI Bank entered into the credit card business in 2014. The bank currently offers five credit cards in the Indian market. As of June 2022, there are over 41k active IDBI credit cards in the country.
Union Bank of India:
Union Bank of India or UBI is another prominent public sector bank in the country. The bank became the largest PSU bank in terms of number of branches after its amalgamation with Corporation Bank and Andhra Bank in April 2020. As of June 2022, there are over 5.5 lakh active UBI credit cards in the country.
Canara Bank is one of the largest PSU banks in the country. The bank was established in 1906 and was nationalised in 1963. Canara Bank started issuing credit cards in 2002. As of June 2022, there are over 9.2 lakh active Canara Bank credit cards in the country.
Punjab National Bank:
Punjab National Bank or PNB is the second largest public sector bank in the country after State Bank of India (SBI). Orential Bank of Commerce and United Bank of India were merged into Punjab National Bank (PNB) in April 2021. PNB was embroiled in controversies in 2018 due to excessive NPAs accumulated by the bank. Punjab National Bank issues credit cards in partnership with RuPay and Visa networks. As of June 2022, there are over 3.3 lakh active PNB credit cards in the country.