Between October and March, debit cards in circulation declined by 73 million despite banks offering cards to new account holders.
Chennai: Closure of zero balance bank accounts has brought down the number of debit cards in circulation by 73 million in the last five months.
As of March 2019, there were about 925 million debit cards in circulation. Between March 2018 and March 2019, India added only 64 million debit cards. This was against 116 million debit cards added between December 2017 and December 2018.
The number of debit cards started falling after hitting a high of 998 million in October 2018.
Between October and March, debit cards in circulation declined by 73 million despite banks offering cards to new account holders. According to World-line, this was a result of the mass closure of bank accounts with zero balances.
Several banks, including State Bank of India, closed zero balance accounts last year. As per an RTI query, State Bank of India closed 41.16 lakh savings bank accounts between April 1, 2017 and January 31, 2018. With 34 per cent share in FY19, State Bank of India was the largest issuer of debit cards. Punjab National Bank had 8 per cent share and Bank of Baroda 7 per cent.
In March 2018, Central Bank of India had announced that zero balance accounts in which there were no financial transactions for the last 12 months would be closed.
Meanwhile, credit card numbers have been growing all through these months and had touched 47 million in March 2019. Between March 2018 and March 2019, ten million credit cards were added. HDFC Bank has 26 per cent share of the credit cards in circulation followed by State Bank of India at 18 per cent and ICICI Bank at 14 per cent.