Number of credit cards dropped in India in 2011: Survey

More and more card-holders have reduced the number of cards in their wallet and consolidated spending with a single card during 2011

Mumbai: The total number of credit card- holders in India declined to 21% in 2011, though the number of premium card-holders rose to 29%, reports PTI.

India also witnessed the fastest growth in the platinum card segment, to 29% in 2011 from 18% in 2010 on account of a rise in the mass affluent segment and the focused sourcing of customers with a higher income levels by the issuing banks, an HSBC Credit Card Monitor Survey said.

"This comes even as the country saw a 2% drop in the number of credit card-holders last year," HSBC India consumer assets head Manish Sinha said in the report.

"The role of benefits and rewards in attracting new and loyal customers is growing in importance," he said.

Significantly, the survey also finds that more and more card-holders have reduced the number of cards in their wallet and consolidated spending with a single card in 2011.

The proportion of single card-holders has grown most in India in 2011 at 90%. The second was the Philippines with 84%, followed by Malaysia (80%).

Interestingly, credit card offers are perceived differently across Asia. For instance, Indonesians rank worldwide card acceptance as the most important feature (50%), whereas only 2% of Hongkongers feel so.

Singapore registered the highest number of platinum card holders at 71%.

 In Asia, Hong Kong had the highest penetration of credit cards in 2011 with 77% of the people polled saying they use credit cards.

The survey interviewed around 5,000 general card-holders, mostly in the 18-54 years age-group, in India, Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, Malaysia, Australia, Indonesia and the Philippines during May-November 2011.


Union Bank cuts BPLR by 0.5%

Under the revised interest rates applicable from 15 May 2012, the bank has cut its benchmark prime lending rate to 15%, down 0.50%

Mumbai: After cutting its base rate or the minimum rate of lending last month, state-run Union Bank of India (UBI) slashed interest rates on loans under the basic prime lending rate (BPLR) by 0.50%, reports PTI.

Under the revised interest rates, applicable from 15 May 2012, the bank has cut its benchmark prime lending rate to 15% from 15.50%, UBI said.

"The revised BPLR shall be applicable to all existing accounts where the floating interest rate is linked to BPLR and those who have not opted to change to base rate," it said.

Shortly after the Reserve Bank made a surprise 0.50% cut in the key interest rate to 8% on 17 April 2012, UBI had cut rates on loans linked to the base rate regime -- which came into effect from July 2010 -- by 0.15% to 10.50%.

Majority of banks, barring the State Bank of India, have cut their base rates following the policy review by up to 0.25%.


Indians prefer second-hand property: Study

Those who opted for new launches for discounts, are now repenting their decision mainly due to delays in project completion

Mumbai: While buying a house, majority of the Indians prefer a ready-to-move property than new launches, a recent study found out, reports PTI.

"About 74% home buyers across India are negotiating for a ready-to-move property," real estate market news portal Track2Realty's survey titled 'Home Buyer's Satisfaction Index' said.

The survey says out of the remaining 26%, who opted for new launches for price discounts, as many as 82% were now repenting their decision, mainly due to delays in the project completion.

The survey was conducted in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Bangalore, Kochi, Ahmedabad, Chennai and Patna.

 About 68% of buyers prefer ready-to-move property because they could avail of tax benefits only after getting the possession of the house, it says.

"Saving tax on the EMIs (equated monthly instalments) is one of the big reasons why eight out of 10 plan their house buying," it points out.

Around 92% of the respondents agreed that buying under-construction property makes them suffer double blow of paying rent and EMI and not getting any tax benefit.

Nearly 52% were ready to pay slightly more for a ready-to-move property because they wanted to make sure who their neighbours would be and the overall community profile.

Delay in the delivery was cited as a major reason by almost 92% buyers for reluctance to book a new launch.

Faulty design or construction scares 70% of home buyers, who opted for "you get what you see" projects.

"About 78% say they have not got what was showcased as the sample flat," the survey adds. Around 72% respondents complained about developers passing off cafeterias as "clubs" and under-equipped gyms.

Also, 72% were scared of going to consumer courts and face the legal hassles.

More than 62%, therefore, said they preferred to settle for a flat in the secondary market.


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