Applications for travel-focused credit cards surge five-fold; women take the lead: IndiaLends study

~ Axis Bank Vistara credit card, American Express Platinum Travel card, and SBI ELITE card emerge as top choices for travellers on IndiaLends’ platform~

National, September 26, 2023: IndiaLends, a leading online marketplace for personal loans and credit cards, has launched its second edition of IndiaLends’ #TravelToGrow report on World Tourism Day, celebrated on September 27. The study investigates how the youth in India are investing in travel experiences using credit products.

The IndiaLends study revealed a remarkable five-fold surge in travel-specific credit card applications over the past year. With a customer base of more than 17 million members, IndiaLends witnessed 50% of all credit card applications for travel-focused credit cards starting from the 2022 travel season. Interestingly, a notable driver observed here was the increasing demand from women travellers, comprising 52%. On the other hand, loan applications for travel purposes have increased two-fold. Interestingly, last year, the company witnessed a 10x growth in loan applications for travel purposes and a 6x growth in travel credit cards. The shift in trend indicates people really like to travel. Individuals are using credit to invest in acquiring travel experiences as well as leveraging the rewards and benefits offered by credit cards to fully or partially fund their wanderlust.

In the last year, IndiaLends has seen about 48% of its applications for travel-based credit cards come from members between 24-35 years, followed by 52% from members between 36–45 years. Geographically, this surge in applications is most prominent in the metropolitan cities of Bengaluru (30%), New Delhi (26%), Mumbai (20%), Hyderabad (12%), and the remaining from non-metro cities. Over the last year, IndiaLends has noticed a significant increase in credit card applications during March, preceding the holiday season, and from September to December, coinciding with the festive, year-end, and wedding seasons.

Gaurav Chopra, Founder & CEO of IndiaLends, said, “Travel is an integral part of life for many, one of the top aspirations fueled by our Indian cinema and social media. Given the remarkable growth we are witnessing in our travel-centric credit cards, today’s younger generation is actively focused on establishing a strong credit history while making savvy use of the reward programs linked to credit cards. With the upcoming festive and holiday season, just like last year, we expect a significant surge in applications for travel-specific credit cards by the end of CY 2023.”

“With the growing popularity of travel-focused credit cards, it is crucial to manage credit cards responsibly, ensuring on-time payments and avoiding high balances to avoid potential debt and financial challenges”, Chopra added.

Among the most applied credit cards on the IndiaLends platform, Axis Bank Vistara credit card, American Express Platinum Travel card, and SBI ELITE card credit have emerged as top-preferred among travellers. We further understand that their preferences favour reward programs and extensive travel-related perks.

Ankit Khurana, Chief Marketing Officer, IndiaLends, said, “Looking at the consumer trend, it is apparent that today’s youth are not looking at travel just as leisure but as a profound way to create cherished memories and personal growth. This trend is amplified by changing lifestyles that prioritise experiences over material possessions, growing awareness among consumers, and the availability of personalised card options tailored to the preferences of different travellers.”

Furthermore, the numbers also show how these travel-specific cards have been incorporated into everyday life to maximise the benefits. A substantial 38% of users used their travel-specific cards for everyday expenses for a year and accumulated reward points. Out of those, about 22% used these reward points and got 1 complimentary domestic flight ticket. This made their travel experiences more cost-effective, and it’s a practical way to make the most of your spending, whether going on vacation or simply going about your daily purchases.

The insights drawn by IndiaLends were from September 2022 to August 2023. IndiaLends is partnering with more than 70+ financial institutions, including Scheduled Commercial Banks, NBFCs, and Fintechs. Founded in 2015, the company has raised over $30 million and achieved net profitability for FY 2022-23.

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