The head of the world's biggest credit card issuer says digital wallets will kill off the piece of plastic

Michael Corbat, CEO of Citigroup. Photo: David A. Grogan/CNBC via Getty Images

Citigroup CEO Michael Corbat says the end is coming for credit cards and the bank is now positioning itself for a slice of the action in digital wallets.

While he didn’t put a deadline on their demise when speaking to the AFR, Corbat said “at some point, cards are going to go away”.

Just as Australian banks are racing to embrace fintech and products such as wearables, with Westpac launching its own “tap and go” wristband this week, Citi is also focusing on digital wallet and payments and trying to address the issue of “how do we make sure that we embed ourselves in whatever the wallet of the future is?”

The bank is also developing partnerships with the likes of Alipay, Amazon and WeChat, Corbat told The Fin.

The company is also positioning itself in China and says the biggest issue for the country is managing its debt levels and tougher capital controls meant companies working in China need Citigroup even more.

“A lot of our business in China is the inbound Fortune 500 multinationals, as well as the outbound Chinese champions, that we’ve got the ability to service. And from the consumer perspective, we’re focusing on the emergent affluent Chinese with a combination of wealth management and card products,” Corbat said.

You can read more from his interview with the AFR here.

NOW WATCH: Money & Markets videos

Want to read a more in-depth view on the trends influencing Australian business and the global economy? BI / Research is designed to help executives and industry leaders understand the major challenges and opportunities for industry, technology, strategy and the economy in the future. Sign up for free at