Getting a credit card just got tougher | india | Hindustan Times
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Getting a credit card just got tougher

Banks are going slow on the sale of credit cards as rising interests and inflation have made many customers miss payment deadlines, and, in some cases, even default. Sandeep Singh tells more. Read on...

india Updated: Aug 27, 2008 00:30 IST
Sandeep Singh

If you are getting fewer pesky calls offering you credit cards, here is why.

Banks are going slow on the sale of credit cards as rising interests and inflation have made many customers miss payment deadlines, and, in some cases, even default.

Payment irregularities among customers "have been on the rise for nine to 12 months because of over-leveraging and rising interest rates," said Parag Rao, head, credit cards, HDFC Bank.

In the past two quarters, most banks have raised the monthly interest rate on credit cards by half a percentage point, pushing up repayment liabilities.

"The growth of new cards has been slow for six months," said Sachin Khandelwal, head, card services at ICICI Bank. He refused to give any figure, but an executive at a private bank, on condition of anonymity, said growth of new cards has dipped by 50 per cent from last year.

There are fewer cards on offer and, banks have strict eligibility norms. "Most banks have tightened credit screens to get new customers," said Khandelwal.

Banks are relying on the Credit Bureau, which provides credit records of people who have borrowed from financial institutions, said Subrat Pani, business head - cards, Kotak Mahindra Bank.

Banks are also identifying groups vulnerable to defaulting, Pani said. Some banks, for instance, are now reluctant to issue cards to those below 27 working in BPOs. This blacklist includes politicians, cops, journalists and lawyers.