Notice: Outdated Information. The information published here is outdated as of 10 March, 2014.
This question was so popular when PayPal stopped permitting Indian users to do online transactions using the balance in their PayPal account. Many of us, including me, contacted banks for getting credit cards as this was the only option for making payments to non-Indian merchants. So far I’ve tried many credit cards available from various top most banks in India and here is the review and standard procedure to get it.
In this review, I’ll be covering credit cards of ICICI Bank, Canara Bank, SBI and HDFC.
Requirements for getting Credit Cards
A Bank Account:- The very basic requirement. You must have a bank account with the bank. Most of the banks won’t give you credit card if your account is less than 3 months old.
Salary Slip:- This is required if you are a salaried person. The credit limit will depend on your salary which can be increased later by requesting via customer care phone number for most of the bank. I found SBI increases it automatically every 6 months if you have some good number of transactions.
Income Tax Return Receipt(ITR):- This is required if you are a self-employed person.
ICICI offers various types of Credit Cards both VISA and MasterCards powered. At present, they do not offer Credit Cards based on Salary Slip or Tax returns to their customers in Kerala. They offer this only in select cities such as Bangalore. But luckily, you will be able to get ICICI Credit Cards against Fixed Deposit(FD), that is called Instant Credit Cards. As the name suggests, it is an instant credit card with the name “INSTANT CREDIT CARD” embossed on it. To get it, you need to have an account with ICICI. Walk into any branch of ICICI with at least Rs.20,000/- and open a Fixed Deposit. Walk out with your Instant Credit Card. The benefit of this instant credit card is the low interest fee. If I remember correctly, the interest rate is 2.49% per month which is quite lower than other credit cards based on Salary Slip or Tax Return ( which ranges anywhere from 3% to 4% ).
Instant card has 3 flavors, Gold/Platinum/Titanium Credit Card. Note that you will be getting 9.25% interest for your Fixed Deposit. The card comes with 85% of the Fixed Deposit account as credit limit. More over, when you spend Rs.100 using this card, you will be getting 3 reward points which can be redeemed at www.payback.in for stuffs like computer, mobile, camera accessories and petrol card( this is my favorite). ICICI has tie up with PayBack, and PayBack has tie up with a lot other shops such as Big Bazaar. So you also will be able to redeem these points at Big Bazaar and get some items free of charge. You can’t cancel the FD without cancelling the credit card first. For cancelling credit cards, you must clear all the dues in it. That’s the catch in this Credit Card against FD System. I must say, bank is quite safe in this case as they don’t have or have minimal risk of repayment issues from customers. ICICI Bank has award winning internet banking facility, using which you will be able to see the transactions online and pay the due amount instantly. You can also set auto-debit facility so that your ICICI Account will be debited at the end of due date to avoid late payment fees.
Edit:- I was informed by ICICI Bank that we can get a new credit card instead of the card in which INSTANT CREDIT CARD as the name printed on it, with our name printed on it by applying for a duplicate card which will cost you Rs.100 + service tax ( Rs.110.30 Total ). So if you need your name printed on it, just go for it.
SBI Credit Cards:- SBI offered credit cards based on Salary Slip or Income Tax upto a few years back. But they do not offer it right now. However, you will be able to get a credit card against Fixed Deposit of minimum Rs.20,000/- with 70 or 75% credit limit. It is VISA powered. This card is not an instant card, and will take 7-14 days to deliver it. You will see your name printed on it. As a SBI Card user for the past two years, I find it quite expensive to keep as their charges are high. SBI also offers reward points. 1 Point for every Rs.100 spent. This point can be redeemed at www.sbicard.com website. They only have few items on their website for buying with the points. SBI has internet banking facility, using which you will be able to see the transactions online and pay the due amount online from any other banks, as they use BillDek gatway. The repayment is not instant, and you will have to wait 2-3 days for the paid amount to get credited in your credit card.
Canara Bank:- Canara bank credit card is mostly a joke. They have introduced credit cards just one year back. Getting a credit card approved is really a tough job. You will have to submit Income Tax Return(ITR). They don’t accept Salary certificate for credit card. Only ITR is accepted. Once submitted every documents required, it will take at least 2 months to process the cards. Your name will be printed on it. It is VISA powered credit card. As they have recently introduced credit cards, they don’t have a website where you can see the transactions done using the credit card, which really sucks in my opinion. You also won’t be able to pay online from your canara bank account in similar way other banks provide. Another fact is that, you won’t get monthly statement either via Email or by post. You will be in such a dark if you take this card. I’ve received Canara bank card before 4 months. However, I didn’t receive a monthly statement. They often forget to respond to your emails, and I don’t think they are planning to introduce a website for viewing transactions online in near future.
However, Canara Bank credit card has a couple of feature which other bank credit card lacks. One feature is the zero interest fee for Cash Withdrawals through ATM if paid within the due date. For more information about card features, refer Canara bank website. They also offer reward program, in which you’ll get 1 points for every Rs.100 purchase and every point is equal to Rs.0.50.
I dare to use my Canara bank credit card as there is no website for viewing due amount and make payment, and if I forget to make payment before due date, I may get late payment interest as well.
HDFC Credit Cards:- HDFC is famous for their high fee for banking. The same is with their credit cards as well. Getting a credit card from HDFC is just easy. Open a savings account with HDFC. Keep a quarterly average balance of Rs.20,000. Please don’t mistake that it is the minimum balance, but quarterly average balance(QAB). So, for calculating QAB, your account must be 3 months old. Once you keep QAB above 20k, just goto HDFC Bank and apply for the credit card. You will get the card within 7-14 days. If you have a salary account in HDFC bank, all you’ve to do is to submit the salary certificate to the bank and they’ll provide you credit card. In that case, there is no need to maintain QAB. HDFC bank also has reward program but I don’t have more details about it as it doesn’t seem very popular. I cancelled HDFC Bank Credit Card after two months because of the excessive markup fee they charge for foreign currency transaction. As most of my transactions are in USD, HDFC Bank charges a currency conversion fee which they call as MarkUp fee which is somewhere 3%-5% of the transaction amount. This is in addition to the Currency Conversion Fee charged by VISA Credit card processor. HDFC has internet banking facility, using which you will be able to see the transactions online and pay the due amount online from your HDFC bank account.
So, these are the biggest players in Credit Cards as of now. Have you decided to go with a bank for credit card ? Let me give you some hints
If you have Rs.20k to deposit as Fixed Deposit, go with ICICI Instant Credit Cards. You’ll get 3 reward points for every 100 Rs you spent which can be redeemed to buy Petrol. Another plus point with ICICI Instant Card is that, it is MasterCard powered, not VISA. The advantage is that MasterCard has less or almost no charges for currency conversion, which means, you won’t be charged extra money for foreign currency payments like you get charged for VISA cards. If you do not have money to deposit, go with Canara bank credit card. For this you must have ITR. You must also have some spare time for playing hide and seek game with Canara Bank. If you can show some good transactions and keep Rs.20k QAB for the first 3 months and Rs.10k QAB for the rest, and you do not have many foreign currency transaction, I recommend you to go with HDFC credit cards.
My Card:- So far I’ve used or inquired about cards provided by various banks in India and my favorite card is my ICICI Credit Card. I get few hundreds of rupees worth Petrol free every month by redeeming the reward points collected and I don’t have to pay extra amount as markup fee for foreign currency transaction. As a member of ICICI Privilege Member club, I also enjoy priority service at ICICI Branches!. So my vote goes for ICICI.
Decided now ? Let me know which one is good in your opinion.!