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Play your cards right

Very soon, you will be able to swipe your debit card to withdraw cash from any point of sale, thanks to a directive from the RBI.

Print Edition: August 23, 2009

Very soon, you will be able to swipe your debit card to withdraw cash from any point of sale, thanks to a directive from the RBI. But it was not always so easy to spend or pile on debt.

1950
The Pioneers: Diners Club issues the world’s first credit card allowing members to charge meals at 27 New York restaurants.

1982
First Plastic: Andhra Bank launches India’s first credit card. Five-star hotels start accepting credit cards for room charges.

1990
Who’s Using Cards: Usage of credit cards still restricted to under 1,00,000 users, mostly in metros.

1997-98
Follow the Leader: SBI, India’s largest bank, launches its credit card. Still, less than a million Indians use plastic.

1998
Masterstroke: Mastercard introduces India’s first pin-based point-of-sale debit card for convenient access to bank accounts at merchants and ATMs.

1999
New Era: ‘Plastic’ becomes a fashion statement. HDFC Bank launches India’s first signaturebased VISA debit card.

2002
Red vs Blue: It’s a plastic world. ICICI Bank introduces debit cards. Not to be outdone, HDFC Bank launches credit cards.

2005
It’s Free: Competition peaks as ICICI takes the radical step of waiving joining and annual fees. Over 12 million card users celebrate.

July 2009
Back to the Future: RBI says debit cards may be used to withdraw cash from any point of sale. Is cash returning as the mode of payment again?

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