American Express launches credit card in India

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BOMBAY--American Express has thrown the gauntlet at global payments franchise rivals Visa International and MasterCard International with the launch of its first credit card in India.

The credit card will carry a monthly interest rate of only 1.99%, the lowest charge in India and nearly a third lower than the 2.95% charge levied by most card issuers in the country.

"Recent industry surveys have revealed most Indian credit cardholders are unclear about the costs relating to credit cards," Sanjay Rishi, VP and country manager-India and area countries at New Delhi-based American Express Travel Related Services, told reporters.

"The low interest rate offered by us will alert consumers in two areas: It will make them conscious of the high interest charges they are currently paying and make them ap-preciate the savings they can get through the smart selection of a credit card," Mr. Rishi adds.

AmEx currently is the No. 3 franchise in India, after market leader MasterCard, and Visa. Ogilvy & Mather, New Delhi, handles the AmEx account.

India accounts for nearly 2.5 million cardholders in a market estimated by industry observers to be growing annually by 25% to 30%.

Copyright November 1998, Crain Communications Inc.

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