ING Vysya launches multi-currency forex travel card

The customer will have to load the card with the desired amount of money in all the currencies required. As he travels from one destination to another, the card identifies the usage country and makes payment from the respective currency wallet

Private sector lender ING Vysya Bank launched a multi-currency forex travel card and said it is targeting up to 5% market share of the travel card segment in three years.

"We are proud to launch the world's first Visa Platinum Multi-Currency Forex Travel Card. The power of this product lies in the convenience and security it offers. Our customers can manage transactions across five currencies in one single card. This will go a long way in meeting the evolving needs of the global Indian," ING Vysya Bank managing director and CEO Shailendra Bhandari said.

The customer will have to load the card with the desired amount of money in all the currencies required. As he travels from one destination to another, the card identifies the usage country and makes payment from the respective currency wallet. Change in the exchange rate will not affect the card holder as the rate gets locked at time of uploading the card.

"We are targeting 4%-5% market share of the travel card segment in next 2-3 years, he said, adding 45,000- 50,000 travel cards are issued across all banks every month. The card is available in five currencies - USD, Pound, Euro, Australian Dollar and Japanese Yen.

"We plan to add more currencies in future depending on the demand," Bhandari said. Initially, the card will be offered only to ING Vysya Bank customers and subsequently extended beyond that, he said.

The bank will get revenue through setting up fee of Rs250 for the card and currency conversion charge, he said. Asked about ING Vysya Bank's credit growth, Bhandari said it is expected to be 16%-18% in FY12.

"We expect the credit growth to be less this year at 16%-18% compared to last year's 28%," he added.

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GDP to grow at 7.5% in 2012-13: Fitch

“India appears to be reaching the bottom of the current economic cycle,” Fitch said, adding, real GDP grew just 6.1% in the third quarter of the current fiscal against 6.9% in the previous fiscal

Global rating agency Fitch said the Indian economy is projected to grow at 7.5% in 2012-13.

"...Fitch is forecasting that real GDP could grow around 7.5% in 2012-13, up from an estimate of 7% in 2011-12," the rating agency said in its global economic outlook.

"India appears to be reaching the bottom of the current economic cycle," it said, adding, real GDP grew just 6.1% in the third quarter of the current fiscal against 6.9% in the previous fiscal.

Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee in his Budget speech earlier this month had said, "taking a bird's eye view of the entire economy and keeping in mind the difficult global environment, I expect India's GDP growth in 2012-13 to be 7.6%, +/- 0.25%."

As far as rate of price rise in the coming fiscal is concerned, Fitch said, there would not be sharp acceleration in the inflation.

"The slowdown in economic activity is taming inflationary pressures. The headline wholesale price index (WPI) rose 7% in February, compared to a 6.6% y-o-y rise in January," the rating agency said.

"Barring any unforeseen shock to oil prices, it seems reasonable to believe that India is unlikely to face a sharp reacceleration in inflation this year," it said.

The new combined consumer price index (CPI), which will eventually become India's key inflation gauge, shows inflation stood at 7.7% in January. Since the new CPI measure was only released in February 2011, year-on-year comparisons are still not available, it said.

Fitch also said, given the backdrop of both a slowing economy and easing inflation pressures, it should come as little surprise that the RBI has already begun to loosen monetary policy.

The cash reserve ratio was cut by 0.75% to 4.75% in early March, which follows the 0.5% cut in late January.

The RBI should also be able to cut its key reverse repurchase rate, which currently stands at 7.25%, and bring it down by 1% over the course of 2012-13, Fitch said.
 

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