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Tuesday, 9 July, 2002, 16:07 GMT 17:07 UK
Indian banks woo credit card users
State Bank of India cash point
Cash points are few and far between in India
India's largest commercial bank plans a credit card revolution that it hopes will increase its share of the retail banking market by 47%.

State Bank of India, which is 60% owned by the central bank, deals with about one-fifth of the county's retail loans and deposits.

It hopes to attract almost half a million new credit card customers through better access to cash points.

It will also have more credit card terminals in shops.

"Retail trade is highly cash based," T.S. Bhattacharya, general manager of the State Bank of India (SBI) told the BBC's World Business Report.

"The total number of point of sale terminals of both Visa and MasterCard is about 50,000 and credit card acceptance has not moved out of cities or towns," he said.

Debit cards will also be issued by September in an attempt to add a further two million users to its 90 million customer base.

Network building

SBI said it would spend 5bn rupees ($102m) to connect 1,400 of its 9,000 branches and double the number of cash points to 2,000 by March next year.

"We are the number one bank in the country and [are] covering towns and cities where others have not gone and we are working with General Electric and getting the best possible technology from them," Mr Bhattacharya said.

India's second largest commercial bank ICICI, HSBC, and other rivals are also issuing more credit cards and debit cards and upgrading their cash-point networks.

The banks are also rolling-out their telephone banking and online banking services.

Retail loans account for onl 8% of the country's total loans.

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T.S. Bhattacharya, general manager, SBI
"Retail trade is highly cash based."
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30 Jun 02 | Business
16 May 02 | Business
18 Feb 02 | Business
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