SBI Card has joined hands with American Express (Amex) to leverage scale and differentiated offerings for its premium customers. Under this partnership, SBI Card’s top-end premium products SBI Card ELITE and SBI Card PRIME — will be available on American Express’ global network.
”We (SBI Card) have a card base of about 10.5 million at this point, this is still a very small number compared to the State Bank of India (parent bank) customer base of 288 million. And if you look at the entire industry of 880 million debit cards, this is a long-long way to go,” Ashwini Kumar Tewari, MD & CEO, SBI Card told PTI.
"So that’s the scale we are targeting but within this scale we understand that we have to differentiate our offerings … Amex is a clear market leader and they have a very good understanding of the customers,” Tewari noted.
The premium segment credit card users of SBI Card can enjoy American Express’ valuable network benefits through local and global network offers, access to Elite tier membership, complimentary domestic lounge program, access to VIP upgrades and privileges at hotels, restaurants and retail outlets around the world, SBI Card said in a release.
Customers will also get benefits like pre-ticketing access to sporting and entertainment events such as the Wimbledon and the US Open which are presently accessible virtually.
"Our issuing partnership with SBI Card will enhance the service and value proposition for Indian consumers and significantly expand our footprint in the country. Together, we will create appealing and differentiated products to meet the needs of a wide set of Indian consumers,” Pierric Beckert, President, American Express Global Network Services, said.
The on-boarding of SBI Card ELITE and SBI Card PRIME on American Express platform will have joining fees of Rs 4,999 and Rs 2,999 respectively.
Currently, the cards have been launched in Delhi NCR and Mumbai and will gradually be extended to other cities in the American Express network.
When asked about the timing of the partnership amidst the pandemic that has restricted spending behaviour, Tewari said the partnership was under the pipeline much before COVID started.
"We had the choice of not launching it but since we have done all the hard work, planned everything and did the back-end network integration… so we thought let’s launch it.
"Let’s bring value when customers have shifted online, we are looking for more value beyond the usual buying stuff and not launching it now probably may not have served the purpose because no time is better than now,” Tewari said.
Beckert said there has been a lot of change in Indian spending behaviour with more and more transactions through mobile phone, online and other digital modes. Now the importance of security is even bigger than earlier.