2021 promises to be a good year in terms of credit card launches. In the first 3 months, we have already seen a few good launches i.e. SBI Aurum credit card and 4 credit cards from IDFC First Bank. In the rest of the year, I expect around 6 new card launches to happen. Below is the list of upcoming credit card launches in 2021.
Upcoming Credit Card#1: Bajaj Finance DBS Credit Cards
Expected Launch: Sept-2021
Bajaj Finance during its 3QFY20 results mentioned that they have tied-up with DBS Bank to launch a co-branded credit card. These credit cards are likely to be launched by September 2021, as per recent management commentary in a research report.
Bajaj Finance currently has co-branded credit cards with RBL Bank. However, the management has been stating for quite some time that they will also partner with another bank to launch new credit cards.
DBS on the other hand had been planning to launch credit cards for a long time now. However, DBS Bank does not have a substantial customer base to sell credit cards. Thus, a partnership with Bajaj would be valuable here. After all, Bajaj has a customer base of around 5cr individuals and nearly half of them are with CIBIL of 700+. My guess is Bajaj and DBS will launch around 3-4 credit cards to service the whole spectrum of customer base.
Given that DBS has a wide bouquet of credit cards in other countries they operate in, I expect these credit cards to be very good in terms of rewards and offers.
Upcoming Credit Cards#2: AU Small Finance Bank
Expected Launch: Apr-Sept 2021
AU Small Finance Bank started operations in 2017 after getting the SFB license in 2015. The bank is launching 4 credit cards namely Altura, Altura+, Zenith and Vetta. While the details and on these credit cards is not known the management mentioned that these cards are already available to internal employees for testing. Thus hoping that credit cards will be launched in the next 6 months.
Upcoming Credit Cards#3: Federal Bank
Expected Launch: April-May 2021
Federal Bank currently offers credit cards on the SBI platform. However, they are now working to launch credit cards on their own internal platform. The card will be launched in Apr-Jun 2021 for internal employees and later during the year for Federal Bank customers. It Will be interesting to see the positioning and reward structure of the card; given that Federal Bank is a very old private sector bank but it has been getting into a lot of fintech tie-ups lately.
Upcoming Credit Cards#4: HDFC Diners Emirates Skywards credit card
Expected Launch: 2021
The source of this information is one of the updated MITC of HDFC Bank. However, I came to know later that this card is in the works for quite some time now, at least since 2019. The launch was delayed primarily due to covid in 2020 and later due to RBI restrictions on HDFC Bank. Probably the credit card will launch in 2021.
Given that it will be on the Diners platform, I expect the base reward rate to be better than most other cards. Further, the Diners’ 10x and 2x reward program should make this card a strong contender for the best air miles credit card in India. The downside of an Emirates Skywards credit card as I foresee will be the limited partner airlines and the absence of any domestic airline to burn miles.
Upcoming Credit Card#5: Mariott Bonvoy co-branded credit cards
Expected launch: Possibly 2021
Mariott Bonvoy has been planning to launch credit cards in India for quite some time now. However, there is no clear timeline on this yet. My guess is Mariott will eventually launch credit cards in partnership with either Amex or HDFC Bank. The reason being, only Amex and HDFC Bank could possibly offer the kind of clientele Mariott would be after.
Upcoming Credit Card#6: Karur Vysya Bank Credit Cards
Expected launch: Possibly 2021
Karur Vysya Bank or KVB is a regional bank with a majority of the business coming from Tamilnadu. KVB like Federal currently offers credit cards on the SBI platform. However, they are planning to launch their own credit card since 2019. In between, due to the change in the leadership and Covid-19, the launch was delayed. I expect the card to be launched in 2021. However, I don’t expect the KVB credit card to create any impact. Firstly, being a conservative bank they will offer the card only to its own customers, which itself reduces the reach and I don’t foresee KVB offering very good rewards and offers on the card.
From the above list, I keenly look forward to credit cards from the Bajaj DBS partnership, hoping that the reward structure will be good, given DBS’ experience. Also, Mariott co-branded credit card could be exciting. Mariott has a large number of hotel properties all over the world including India. So burning the points should not be an issue. Further, Mariott has a good number of airline transfer partners too, so one can transfer points to airlines to get free tickets too. However, the value proposition will depend on the earn rate the card offers.
Do let me know if I have missed any upcoming credit cards. Also, share your views and thoughts on the new card launches listed above.