Samsung launches credit card in India

Samsung has launched two credit cards in India, entering a crowded category where more than 50 companies are vying fiercely for the attention of consumers in the world’s second-largest internet market.

The South Korean giant said it has partnered with Mumbai-based Axis Bank and global payments processor Visa to launch the cards, which it calls Samsung Axis Bank Credit Card. Consumers who buy Samsung products and services through one of the two cards will get 10 percent cashback “all year long,” company executives said at an event in New Delhi.

(There is a monthly cap of 2,500 Indian rupees ($31) on the Signature card, while the Infinite card quadruples that limit. Cashback is capped annually at 10,000 Indian rupees ($123) on the Signature card and 20,000 Indian rupees ($246) on card Infinite.)

Samsung, India’s second-largest smartphone vendor, said it will also offer customers “exciting” credit card financing options. The cards are specifically aimed at serving consumers in smaller Indian cities, executives said.

Although the space Samsung is entering is crowded, the opportunity is undoubtedly great. Indian banks have issued over a billion debit cards to customers in the country, but fewer than 25 million unique individuals in the nation have a credit card, according to industry estimates.

Customers will earn rewards for spending through their cards and get access to deals from local businesses including food delivery service Zomato, fashion e-commerce Myntra, online pharmacy Tata’s 1mg, grocer Bigbasket and Urban Company.

Monday’s announcement underscores a growing attempt by smartphone makers to expand their services. The Chinese giant Xiaomi, which commands the smartphone market in the country, launched a UPI-powered payments service in India in 2019 and began lending to customers last year. (Samsung launched its UPI-powered Samsung Pay payments service in India in 2017.)

Co-branded cards are generally a “win-win for the bank, partner brand and customers” as they allow a brand’s power users to reap greater benefits as they spend more with the brand.

“The brand gets more loyalty from its users, while the bank obviously gains by getting access to a different set of customer base, with the customer acquisition itself coming from the brand or the brand’s loyal users,” a Bengaluru-based fintech executive told TechCrunch, requesting of anonymity when commenting on another company’s products.

The annual fee for the Signature card is $6.13 before taxes, while the Infinite card charges 10 times that. The company said it will soon begin accepting customer applications for the cards.

“At Samsung, we believe in transforming the lives of our consumers through the power of innovation. The Samsung Axis Bank Credit Card powered by Visa is our next big India-specific innovation that will change the way our customers buy Samsung products and spend on services through a series of industry-leading features. We are excited to put control in the hands of our users,” said Ken Kang, president and CEO, Samsung South-West Asia, in a statement.

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