Delhi, India (PressExposure) February 14, 2012 -- Credit-card issuers are increasingly turning into financial counsellors. Come January quarter, SBI Cards, a standalone credit-card company co-promoted by India's largest state-owned bank, plans to launch 'customised statements' to help its customers know their spending pattern, say over a year.
Based on the analysed spending pattern, which will be shared in the credit card statements, SBI Cards will provide 'offers' that would help its customers save on their spends.
"Our new customised statement will tell you where your Rs 100 is going. X per cent in grocery, Y per cent in jewellery, and so on, We want to help customers know how are they spending... where their money is going ...and we have offers which are going to help them make smart savings on their spends," Mr Sanjeev Jain, Chief Executive Officer, GE Capital Business Processes Management Services (GECBP), said.
GECBP handles the technology and processing needs of SBI Cards. The total number of SBI credit-cards issued and outstanding is about two million. Nearly 60 per cent of SBI Cards' customers are receiving e-statements (in electronic form), Mr Jain said. Personal touch
Any analysis of spending patterns by SBI Cards may not be an industry first in India, but it does show how credit-card issuers are striving to provide better customer experience.
"We believe that we are in an industry where we should be working like an FMCG company works, and not as a finance company. We believe that our touch-points with customers are going to be extremely personal," Mr Jain said.
Mr Kadambi Narahari, CEO, SBI Cards, said that the company was very customer-centric and plans to increase its presence in Tier-II and Tier-III cities in the coming months.
The credit-card industry in India is still at a fairly nascent stage. The exuberance seen among credit-card issuers prior to 2007-08 has now changed and customers have also become more financially savvy, Mr Narahari noted. A period of turmoil
The last five years, since the outbreak of the global financial crisis in 2007-08, has been a period of turmoil for the credit-card industry in India. From a high of 27 million cards in 2007-08, the total number of credit-cards outstanding has now come down to about 18 million as of end October 2011, according to latest RBI data.
But SBI Cards is very bullish about the Indian market given the fact that it is still under-penetrated. "As consumerism grows, and as people become comfortable with plastic, the credit-card market is bound to grow. People are already very comfortable with plastic in terms of debit cards. The usage of credit cards probably would ride, in some sense, on that. Our idea here is to see how we can develop the credit-card market and make sure it grows in a big way," Mr Narahari said.