Samsung has launched two credit cards in India, entering a crowded category that sees over 50 companies fiercely compete for consumers' attention in the world's second largest internet market.
The South Korean giant said it has partnered with the Mumbai-headquartered Axis Bank and global payments processor Visa to launch the cards, which it is calling the Samsung Axis Bank Credit Card. Consumers buying Samsung's products and services through either of the cards will get a 10% cashback "round the year," the company executives said at an event in New Delhi.
(There is a monthly cap of 2,500 Indian rupees ($31) on the Signature card, whereas the Infinite card extends that limit by four times. The cashback is capped yearly at 10,000 Indian rupees ($123) on the Signature card, and 20,000 Indian rupees ($246) on Infinite card.)
Samsung, the second largest smartphone vendor in India, said it will also offer customers "exciting" financing options on the credit cards. The cards are especially aimed at serving consumers in smaller Indian cities and towns, the executives said.
Even as the space Samsung is entering is crowded, the opportunity is undoubtably large. 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 spendings through their cards and get access to deals from local firms including food delivery service Zomato, fashion e-commerce Myntra, online pharmacy Tata's 1mg, grocer Bigbasket and Urban Company.
Monday's announcement underscores smartphone makers' growing attempt to broaden their services. Chinese giant Xiaomi, which commands the smartphone market in the country, launched a UPI-powered payments service in India in 2019 and started to lend to customers last year. (Samsung launched its payments service Samsung Pay, powered by UPI, in India in 2017.)
Co-branded cards are generally "a win-win for the bank, the partner brand and the customers" as it allows power users of a brand to get higher benefits as they spend more with the brand.
"The brand gets more loyalty from its users, while the bank obviously benefits by getting access to a different set of customer base with the customer acquisition itself coming from the brand or the brand's loyalist users," a Bengaluru-based fintech executive told TechCrunch, requesting anonymity commenting on other company's products.
The annual fee on Signature card is $6.13 before taxes, whereas the Infinite card levies a charge 10 times of that. The company said it will soon start accepting applications from customers 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're excited to be able to put the control into our consumers' hands," said Ken Kang, President and CEO, Samsung South-West Asia, in a statement.