August 20, 2019 / 1:13 PM / 2 months ago

DBS Bank to enter India's credit card market next year

FILE PHOTO: A logo of DBS is pictured outside an office in Singapore January 5, 2016. REUTERS/Edgar Su/File Photo

MUMBAI (Reuters) - Southeast Asia’s biggest bank DBS Group Holdings (DBSM.SI) is preparing to enter the local credit card market in India in 2020, a senior company executive said on Tuesday.

The Singapore-based lender’s move highlights its efforts to tap growth outside its home market to offset weakness in the local economy.

“We will launch our credit card by the second, or the third quarter of next year,” said Shantanu Sengupta, head of consumer banking for DBS in India on the sidelines of a banking industry event in Mumbai.

Global rivals, such as Citigroup (C.N), are also looking to expand their credit card customer base in India. Earlier this year, India’s top digital payments player Paytm announced plans to launch a card with Citi, giving the U.S. bank an opportunity to service some of Paytm’s more than 300 million clients.

India’s credit card market is still small in comparison to its debit card market. The latest data from May showed 48.9 million credit card users in the country, compared with some 825 million with debit cards.

DBS, which had set a target of reaching a 5 million customer base in India by 2023, now expects to achieve this target early.

“We’ve crossed more than half the customer target already and hence we’ll be able to cross the mark before the deadline,” said Sengupta. He said DBS was not daunted by the ongoing economic slowdown in India and was currently focusing on increasing its domestic branches.

India is trying to boost adoption of electronic payments and recently moved to require banks and card payment networks to offer no-fee debit card transactions.

Reporting by Nupur Anand; Editing by Euan Rocha and Jane Merriman

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