Axis Bank acquires Citi’s India consumer business

By | March 31, 2022

Citi entered India in 1902 and started the consumer banking business in 1985. On 30th March 2022 Citi announced sale of its Indian consumer banking businesses, including credit cards, retail banking, wealth management and consumer loans, to private lender Axis Bank for “Rs 12,325 crores”, as part of its plans to exit retail operations in 13 markets.

What Axis gets from Citi deal ?

The transaction includes the sale of the consumer banking businesses of Citibank India, which includes: credit cards, retail banking, wealth management, and consumer loans, as well as the consumer business of Citi’s non-banking financial company, Citicorp Finance (India) Limited.

On Cards front, they instantly add:

  • 25 Lakh credit card customers, most of whom are in premium segment

With this acquisition Axis Bank moves to 3rd spot in market share by card volume. This is one of the major advantage of the deal.

The deal, which is expected to close in the first half of the 2023 calendar year, will include the transfer of about 3,600 Citi employees to Axis. 

What happens to Citi customers?

It’s said that customers will continue to avail all the rewards, privileges, and offers to which they were previously entitled.

No change as of now.

We will have to wait and watch to see how they merge these customers into Axis systems & I’m pretty sure its gonna take them quite sometime.

My Thoughts

Axis has become one of the best credit card issuer with extremely rewarding products in the past couple of years. There has been a major transition in products in the last ~4 years with a balanced focus on all segments.

And now, with this deal it gives nitro boost to Axis to offer even much more premium offerings, hopefully with the the help of well trained employees from Citi and the current agreements with CC points transfer partners might be hugely beneficial

I hope the support issues and never ending technical issues popping up every other day gets sorted before the transition begins.

If all goes well, Axis premium credit card customers is likely to enjoy the Citi grade premium customer support, hopefully by early 2023.

That aside, it would be interesting to see how they improve burgundy & burgundy private products as they’re also acquiring the retail banking customers.

Author: Siddharth

Helping Indians to choose right credit cards, pick right offers and enjoy luxury vacations for less. Day & night exploring the spiritual reality of our human existence.

56 thoughts on “Axis Bank acquires Citi’s India consumer business

  1. balaji

    HI Sid

    Instead of some citi CC picture use bank logos , that would be appropriate .

    1. Siddharth Post author

      I wouldn’t think that way.

      With Atlas, Axis for sure is thinking in Citi lines already. So I’m positive on this.

      1. PRAMTESH

        I think Axis Bank would come up with more better cards or would add extra benifits in order to retain Citi customers.

  2. Ajai Singh

    @sid Can AXIS use Citi name for products pan India now?

    Also will non serviceable places “Like Manali” be included for credit card issuing now since AXIS does give credit card services there.

    1. Siddharth Post author

      Right away nothing changes. But after 2023 I don’t think they can use Citi name.

      Ideally they will merge the customers into Axis, swap vendor agreements to axis and continue the Citi products under axis, like maybe Axis Prestige. 😀

      Non-serviceable places will be thing of the past, as its ideally Axis going forward. So this move is a great one for small city consumers wanting Citi products.

  3. Raj

    Should we apply for Citi Card in the interim during this transition? Is that a good move or bad move?

    My personal experience has been very difficult to get a response from Axis for getting their Credit Cards. Their customer service simply don’t care ( Amex or ICICI is better here followed by HDFC and Stan Chart) even when I reached out to them looking for their offering.

    It’s also important to see whether they will be able to retain a sizeable portion of the 3600 Citi Employees whom they plan to absorb. With market conditions, its possible they will get poached by HDFC, ICICI and other multinationals.

  4. DareDevil

    Citi Bank was the no-nonsense credit card issuer in India. One would rarely had to contact customer support.
    Citi retail will be missed!!

  5. Nick

    Yup. Citi Prestige is my go to card for majority of the spends. I never had to contact customer support for things like reward points, cashback and offer fulfillment. And customer support at citi is better than amex and miles above standard chartered. Started with citi rewards card in 2015 and loved that one for cool blue colour and unique patterns. Maintained good spends and credit limit enhancement every 6 months became a norm. Upgraded to Citi Prestige in 2017 and now the card is a mammoth with 25 lakhs credit limit. Will Axis be able to absorb..?? Already have a Magnus with 8 Lakhs credit limit.

      1. SSR

        Hi Sid,
        I agree that PayTm Citi Card lost its shine after Axis ACE came. But, PayTm Citi Card is still useful for those who could not get hold of ACE, as one can get 3% cashback on the bill payments made on PayTm App/ website.

      2. Raja

        Paytm Citi gives 3% cb on rent and insurance payments on Paytm portal without any limits. It is the best card for these 2 category and had been my most used card in last 1 year.

    1. Selva

      My guess! 1,axis may offer upgrade option to Free charge plus from paytm citi card. 2, May continue existing agreement with paytm 3, Paytm may be tie up with similar banks like SCB or DBS and convert their existing citi base with SCB or DBS. 4, Paytm is clever so they may be partnership with SBM and issue credit card like one metal card, they never lose their customers as DATA is new OIL. probably june or july this year we may come to know.

  6. Mahendra

    Its huge loss for CITI customers with respect to customer care. The worst customer care among SBI, ICICI, HDFC and AXIS.

    Till now CITI customers enjoy premium customer care. Now they have to deal with worst customer care. AXIS doesn’t even have a toll free number.

    1. Jambui

      Agree 100℅ with you on that. Both are poles apart in support.
      Wish axis could absorb same citi values in cust care though I expect it other way.

    2. Ishant G

      I just blows my mind how not having a toll free number is even allowed. Every bank must have a toll free number for all its services.

    3. Pranay

      Axis has a toll free number but, only for premium customers and as of now the number is 18004190065.

    4. NMS

      Definitely going to miss the Citi customer care. Second only to Amex.

  7. Guru

    I am gonna miss citibank. My first ever credit card was of citibank way back in 2000. I have upgraded and downgraded several times till date. Best customer support service.

  8. Rishabh

    Will definitely going to miss “Everything can be done online” service from Citibank. Holding Citi Account since last 10years and never visited any branch till date for any sort of service.
    Every thing can be done online.

    Secondly for customers who like different offers will miss them after one of the bank closing business. Citibank is always regular in running good promotions every month across merchants.

  9. JAY

    First problem for Axis would be the retention of citi employees and then would be it customer base. “Citi” is a brand of its own and retaining that value is gonna be a daunting task for Axis.
    However Axis is benefiting in the infrastructure that citi has built over the years!


      It was earlier. When I had converted my citi rewards to LTF.
      They replaced the variant from Visa to Master.
      Same thing was aslo with my 2 friends
      But currently master is ban.

  10. Dev

    I will definitely close my citigold account and premier miles card if such a nonsense bank like axis acquires citi’s retails banking. I am with citi only for their premium service and customer support. I can’t tolerate axis for my banking purposes.
    Can anyone suggest a better bank ?

    1. Darshdeep Singh Grewal

      HDFC the only name I would. DBS maybe but it’s still new in India.

  11. Prashant Gupta

    I had stopped using all my Citi cards many years back. One of the worst regarding cards. Hope Axis infuses some life in them.

  12. Gaurav

    Axis has terrible customer care. Looks like I have to stop using the citi cc when it becomes Axis.

  13. anup

    Hi all,

    I did not want Citi, who does not want to stay in the company to make money by selling my account. So called them to cancel my card. A few points to consider:
    – Their agreement with Axis values portfolio based on # of card accounts. So it does impact them if they lose customers.
    – They instantly offered INR 1000 as cashback as an incentive to stay with Citi. This is despite not doing much with their card.

    My request to the group here. Please call Citi phonebanking and ask to close account. You can either take the money or punish a business which does not want to remain. I personally refused the cash. But totally up to you to choose what works for you.

  14. Sam

    I got the 1000rs retention offer too, but plan to cancel eventually

    1. Abhishek Sarkar

      As part of customer retention service gesture, Citi Helpline offered INR 1000 credit to my card. Once I rejected, then they offered me card swapping option ( from Citi Rewards to Citi IOC card ) with LTF facility, which I accepted. No joining or annual charges and no spend based waiver, which Citi doesn’t offer usually.

      1. Ravindra Kumar Kumawat

        I also tried it with my CITI Paytm Card but the customer care executive refused to provide any other card with LTF status, so I closed the card as I was anyway not using the card. I also refused the INR 1,000 offer from their side. Goodbye to CITI from my side.

  15. Zahid

    Hi Sid, what will happen to those Citi Bank’s customers who already holds three (03) Axis Credit Cards since Axis allows only three credit cards to it’s customer? Will Axis increase the number of cards ( Axis + Citi ) or will merge/ increase the limit ( Axis + Citi)?

    1. Sumit Pahwa

      I, too, have the same query. But as far as I believe they’re going to merge the limits as they have already done with previous cards. This will be a blow to the overlapping customers. I really hate the idea of axis bank taking over Citibank business.

  16. Jupe

    Had one of those really old Citibank Shoppers stop cards which I have been trying to give up (don’t go to SS at all) and twice in last 18 months, they’ve offered me money to continue with the card. Took it both times since it’s my 2nd oldest card (helps with my high credit scores) and I’m a loyal Citi customer but just dont have space in my wallet anymore.

    One small help: Now that cinemas are open, am back to watching lots of movies so what’s the best LTF card with attractive movie offers for BMS/Paytm movies or PVR/Cinepolis near me. Thanks in advance.

    1. Abhi

      RBL Insignia… LTF… upto 500 instant discount on BMS once a month, whether you book 1 or 2 tickets.

        1. Abhi

          Not much, its issued only if you have Insignia relationship with RBL (usually 25L AMB), but once issued it remains with you LTF.
          Few features:
          – 5 RP on domestic and 10 RP on international spends. Value is low, about 1% and 2% resp.
          – Once you spend 8L in a year you get vouchers worth 8000 (choose from amazon/myntra/croma/MMT etc). There the value goes up 1%.
          – Flat 500 off on BMS every month, whether you buy 1 ticket or 2. That’s 6K value per year.
          – Other benefits are domestic lounge 2 per qtr, international via PP 6 per year (self plus all companions but total 6), Golf lessons, and free golf rounds, Dining benefits, Fuel fee waived, last minute exclusive event bookings, some hotel programs with room discounts, upgrades, hotel credits, free extra night, etc.
          So it’s LTF, tangible benefits of about 2.5%, plus few intangible benefits, that’s all.

          1. Varun

            Thanks for the info. Does 500 BMS offer cover convenience fee too?

          2. Abhi

            @Varun, convenience fee is extra and payable using same Insignia card only. So if your ticket costs 400, you get 400 off but have to pay 47.2 fee. Also the offer is valid only once a month, so you can’t use any unused portion of the 500 benefit later in same month.

  17. Phani

    Curious to know, not sure anyone has experience in this. I have Citi card with longest credit history in my credit report, since Axis is now holding Citi, What if they offered me an equivalent Axis card to replace my Citi card (saying these cards no longer valid etc.), So, if I upgrade as per Axis request will this new card contains my Citi payment history in Cibil (like we used to have everything whenever we do same bank upgrade) or it will be like closing the card and opening the new account (in this case, I lost all credit history associated with my Citi card any weightage associated with it). Since, whole point of Cibil is to build long history, I’m not sure what if because of bank personal decision, out of sudden – I lost my credit history and Cibil score with it. Any thoughts?

    1. Sumedh

      I have the exact same question, as my Citi card is also the oldest.

  18. balaji

    Just noticed that review for Axis Airtel CC is missing. Any thoughts on it Sid ?

  19. Ashutosh

    Axis Bank CC called me to tell that they would be replacing my Citibank Rewards card and asked to choose between FK, IOCL and ACE. Any recommendations?

    PS: Citibank Rewards is LTF and so are the other other options given by Axis Bank.

    1. Siddharth Post author

      That’s probably spam/fake call, as they can’t call 2 million cardholders.

      Moreover, Axis recently launched a “rewards” card probably to swap these Citi rewards cardholders.

      So see to it if they ask for sensitive info for the swap.

      1. Rohit Bahl

        Hi Sid,
        I hold Citi rewards card and spoke to Citi care a day before, they are now employees of Axis bank. I got my RP’s redeemed to cashback as vouchers conversion is pretty bad. They informed as if now, there is no change for Citi customers towards annual fee charges or spend based reversal.
        Axis has launched Axis Rewards CC exactly the same like Citi Rewards but the catch is annual fee reversal spends limit which is 30k for Citi and 2L for Axis which is a big difference. How they will move all Citi customers to Axis rewards without sorting out the Annual charges issue(for those who have chargeable card?
        Axis30 coupon code is also introduced for Swiggy for Axis Rewards card customers. It applies on Citi Rewards too.

      2. Ashutosh

        Thanks Sid. I don’t think it was Spam as they didn’t ask for any sensitive details and instead since I am an existing Axis customer, they asked to use the Axis Mobile App to make the selection. Nevertheless will call their customer care over weekend and double check. As always, thanks for the tip about the new rewards card from Axis Bank

  20. Mangesh

    Got a call replacement of Citi Bank card thought it was fraud so asked for all the details on email surprisingly received the same.

    Still not sure why are they offering Ace and Flipkart instead of recently launched reward card.

    Mine is LTF Reward Card from Citibank.

    1. Arumugam

      Any update ?
      What about annual fees on ACE and Flipkart card.
      Which one you choose.

      1. Ashutosh

        I would recommend everyone to be cautious. The first experience with Axis Bank is continuing to be worst wherein they offered a LTF ACE card as a replacement for my current LTF Citibank Rewards Card.
        However, they have charged joining fees + GST on the Axis Card and denying that it was a LTF card.
        Continuing to fight it out with Axis.


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