Aiming a high growth in the credit card business, Shailesh Baidwan, CEO, American Express India, is eyeing to grow faster than the Indian market. He spoke to HT on various issues. Excerpts
How do you see consumer behaviour on credit cards after the financial crisis and what are you doing to address it?
The financial crisis has hit consumer sentiment. People are now looking for financial discipline and value for money and our charge card fits the bill. Being a pay-in-full product, it allows consumers and companies to control their debt along with earning rewards and premium servicing.
How do you see the growth of credit card usage?
Credit card spending grew by over 16 per cent so far this year and our spending has grown 28 per cent. As the economy picks up, we hope that card spends will achieve the levels of 2007-08.
At present, in India, less than 2 per cent of personal expenditure is on cards while it is in double digits in developed countries. There is a huge opportunity and with growing affluence and income levels we will see a high growth.
What are your growth plans?
We want ourselves to be relevant to a larger set of customers and would look for volume growth along with rise in card spendings. We are partnering with local banks who do not have their own card operations to distribute our cards and are also looking at co-brand partnerships.
Will you enter one notch below the segment you cater to?
We want to enter the segment that has the spending capacity. We start at the income criteria of Rs 8 lakh and it is an important segment for us. We are looking for deeper penetration into segments like that.