The Rising Popularity of Co-Branded Credit Cards in India


Co-branded credit cards have seen a significant surge in popularity in India over recent years. These credit cards, issued by banks in collaboration with retail brands, airlines, or service providers, offer a plethora of benefits tailored to the specific needs and preferences of consumers. As the Indian economy continues to grow and consumer spending increases, these specialized financial products are becoming an integral part of the financial ecosystem.

Growth of Credit Card Usage in India

The credit card market in India has witnessed remarkable growth. As of recent data, there are over 74 million credit cards in circulation across the country. This growth can be attributed to several factors, including increasing consumer awareness, rising disposable incomes, and the proliferation of online shopping. Additionally, the convenience and security offered by credit cards have made them a preferred mode of payment for many Indians.

What are Co-Branded Credit Cards?

Co-branded credit cards are a type of credit card issued through a partnership between a bank and a specific brand. These cards come with unique features and rewards associated with the brand, such as discounts, reward points, cashback, and other exclusive benefits. For instance, a co-branded credit card with an airline might offer frequent flyer miles, priority check-in, and lounge access.

Why are Co-Branded Credit Cards Popular?

  1. Tailored Rewards and Benefits: Co-branded credit cards offer rewards that are specifically tailored to the spending habits and preferences of cardholders. For example, a co-branded card with a retail chain might offer higher reward points on purchases made at that chain, along with special discounts and offers. This makes the card more appealing to consumers who frequently shop at that chain.
  2. Exclusive Access and Privileges: Many co-branded cards provide cardholders with exclusive access to sales, events, and other privileges. For instance, a co-branded card with a luxury brand might offer invitations to exclusive events or early access to new collections. Such perks enhance the cardholder’s overall experience and add value to their spending.
  3. Enhanced Travel Benefits: Travel-centric co-branded cards, particularly those associated with airlines and hotels, offer a host of travel-related benefits. These include complimentary lounge access, priority boarding, free checked bags, and accelerated earning of loyalty points. These benefits are highly attractive to frequent travelers.
  4. Increased Savings: Co-branded credit cards often come with significant savings opportunities. These can be in the form of cashback on specific categories, discounts on purchases, and waivers on fuel surcharges. Cardholders can maximize their savings by using the card for transactions where these benefits apply.
  5. Loyalty Program Integration: Many co-branded cards are integrated with the loyalty programs of the partnering brand. This allows cardholders to earn and redeem points more efficiently. For example, a co-branded card with a hotel chain may allow cardholders to earn points faster and redeem them for free stays, upgrades, and other services.

Examples of Popular Co-Branded Credit Cards in India

  1. HDFC Bank – InterMiles Credit Card: This card, in partnership with InterMiles, offers accelerated earning of miles on everyday spending, as well as enhanced benefits on flight bookings and hotel stays. Cardholders also enjoy airport lounge access and other travel-related perks.
  2. ICICI Bank – Amazon Pay Credit Card: This co-branded card with Amazon offers cashback on purchases made on and at partner merchants. It also provides additional rewards for Amazon Prime members, making it a popular choice among online shoppers.
  3. SBI – Air India Credit Card: This card provides benefits such as Air India Frequent Flyer Program miles, priority check-in, extra baggage allowance, and complimentary lounge access. It is highly valued by frequent flyers who prefer Air India.
  4. Axis Bank – Vistara Credit Card: Co-branded with Vistara Airlines, this card offers Club Vistara points on spending, complimentary flight tickets, priority services, and lounge access. It is particularly attractive to travelers who frequently fly with Vistara.

The Future of Co-Branded Credit Cards in India

The future of co-branded credit cards in India looks promising. As consumer spending continues to rise and digital payments become more widespread, the demand for personalized and rewarding financial products is expected to grow. Additionally, the ongoing expansion of e-commerce and the travel industry will further drive the adoption of these cards.

Banks and brands are likely to continue forging partnerships to create innovative and attractive co-branded credit card offerings. These collaborations will focus on providing enhanced value to consumers through more tailored rewards, better integration with loyalty programs, and exclusive privileges.


Co-branded credit cards have firmly established themselves as a popular financial product in India. Their success can be attributed to the unique and customized benefits they offer, which cater to the specific needs and preferences of consumers. As the credit card market in India continues to expand, the popularity of co-branded credit cards is expected to grow, providing consumers with even more opportunities to save money and enjoy exclusive perks. This trend underscores the evolving nature of consumer preferences and the innovative approaches being adopted by banks and brands to meet these demands.

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