Credit cards

Credit cards will see growth in the second half

Citibank expects single-digit growth in the Hong Kong credit card market for the second half of the year.

Citibank said total credit card sales in the city were flat year-over-year in the first four months of the year, with double-digit increases in online and offline spending. overseas, but a drop in dining and entertainment spending due to Covid, said Lawrence Li, head of cards and unsecured loans at Citibank Hong Kong.

But Li expects credit card sales to pick up to post single-digit second-half growth on the back of the easing of Covid and the positive effect of the latest cycle of the consumer voucher program.

This came as Citibank’s loyalty program HKT (6823), The Club and Mastercard yesterday announced the official launch of the Citi The Club credit card, which offers spending rebates of up to 4%.

The new card was soft-launched in April, with 60% of applicants aged 30-45.

In other news, Standard Chartered (2888) chief executive Bill Winters said he was “skeptical” of any attempt to break up rival lender HSBC (0005) which is under pressure from its biggest shareholder to consider divesting from its Asian operations. “You end up taking something that’s working reasonably well and breaking it into pieces,” he said in an interview with Bloomberg TV. “Certainly for Standard Chartered Bank the cost would be far greater than the benefit. But frankly, no one is suggesting that in our case.”