Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Credit cards in India

Some of the major banks that provide credit cards in India are Citibank, HSBC, HDFC, ICICI, SBI and recently Barclays. They operate very differently from their American counterparts. In America, there are credit bureaus that maintain credit history of individuals. The credit history is verified before issuing credit cards. There are concerns of privacy but it is located at some central entities and this information is disbursed to selected organizations. It is a lot more haphazard in India. Credit card companies employ third party call centers to solicit and collect information of individuals. They employ third party background verification agencies who call you and/or send their representatives to verfiy your residence/office.

There was one such individual who had come from ICICI to verify our residence. When asked for an Identification, he retorts that he does not have one and walks away. Three weeks later there is a letter from ICICI saying that they have rejected the application for credit card and do not state any reason.

I had applied for a Barclay's card recently. They promply send their representative who collects your relevant financial documents and you fill their application form. Now the verification starts. First they send their representative to your residence who asks you a bunch of questions. Then they call your cell phone and repeat the process. It does not end here. They send someone to your office. Then call your office phone. It could get worse if you are living in a rented accommodation. They may also call and physically verify your permanent residence! And I thought applying for a passport was tough!!

To be continued....

No comments: