Business Case Studies, Marketing Strategies / Strategic Marketing Case Study, Swipe War in India, Race to Win Wallets

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Case Title:

Swipe War in India- Race to Win Wallets

Publication Year : 2006

Authors: Joel Sarosh Thadamalla & Dr. A.V Vedpuriswar

Industry: Banking, Insurance and Financial Services


Case Code: MKS0044A

Teaching Note: Not Available

Structured Assignment: Not Available

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The credit card industry grew at a rapid pace all over the world as well as in India. Between 1987 and 2001, the numbers of cards in India grew over 4 million with a growth rate of over 25-30%. With the number of customers growing day by day, the domestic credit card business was witnessing a fierce war to win the wallets of the customers. Citibank and Standard Chartered Bank were leading players in 2004 with 2.7 million and 2 million cards. The private bank - ICICI - a young entrant into the credit card business (2001) and the largest public sector bank, State bank of India (SBI) were the top Indian players.

Within four years of its launch (2000-2004), ICICI Bank had issued about 3 million credit cards. SBI had issued 1.7 million cards till 2004. According to McKinsey, by 2010, 35 million cards would be used by Indians. In this swipe war about numbers, spends, revolving credit, promotions and frauds, it remained to be seen who would dominate the market in the long run.

Pedagogical Objectives:

  • To understand the history of Credit card industry in India and its development as a mature market
  • To discuss the marketing strategies adopted by the global as well as the Indian credit card issuers
  • To analyse and debate ICICI’s marketing and promotional strategies.

Keywords : Standard Chartered, Visa, ICICI Bank, Citibank, credit cards, competition, industry structure, consolidation, financial institutions, debit cards, Marketing Strategies Case Study, Credit Cards, corporate governance, electronic payment systems


  • Introduction
  • Credit Cards in India
  • Citibank India
  • ICICI Bank

  • Standard Chartered Bank India
  • The War
  • The Road Ahead

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