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Plastic money growth rides on Visa power

Mumbai, Dec. 9: The sale of credit cards and plastic money in India have pole-vaulted to record levels for the September quarter on all key parameters, including card numbers, card sales volume and retail sales volume.

In the third quarter ended September 30, Visa registered an exponential growth in the number of cards issued. In July-September, there were 14.77 million Visa-branded cards in India — a growth of 121.6 per cent year-on-year. Visa debit cards closed the quarter with 9.53 million and registered a growth of 212.5 per cent over the year-ago period. Visa credit cards crossed the five million mark with 5.04 million cards and a growth of 47.4 per cent.

In the same period, retail sales volume (spending at the point of sale using Visa cards) grew 48 per cent over the same period last year to reach $450 million. India has recorded one of the highest growth rates in retail sales volume in the region.

In July-September, card sales volume (which measures retail sales volume plus cash advances and withdrawals at ATMs) grew 160.8 per cent over the year-ago period to reach $2.45 billion. This again represents the highest card sales volume growth rate for an Asia Pacific market in this quarter.

Visa International country manager — South Asia Santanu Mukherjee said, “India continues to be one of the fastest growing markets for Visa in Asia Pacific, with significant long-term potential.”

“Our core business strategy in India is to focus on expanding Visa debit cards to the mass banked population, helping the country build its card acceptance infrastructure and accelerate our progress to a cashless society, as well as to increase consumer awareness and encourage greater payment card usage,” he added.

China also saw rapid growth as the number of international cards on issue rose 102 per cent to 1.1 million.

Visa also added that two biggest markets by population — China and India — remain relatively untapped in terms of payment cards and have enormous potential.

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