Having a credit card has its benefits since you do not always need to have ready cash to buy goods and services at both online and brick-and-mortar shops. A credit card is safe as long as you are careful about how you give out your information. In India, there has been an interest in credit cards and we are going to go through some of the best credit cards in India for the year 2017.
Best Credit Cards for 2017 in India | Rewards and Offers
In summary, here is a glimpse of the best credit cards in India arranged according to issuer and not necessarily their value.
- ICICI Instant Platinum Card
- HDFC Regalia Credit Card
- Citibank Cashback Credit Card
- Citibank Premier Miles Credit Card
- Standard Chartered Manhattan Credit Card
- Standard Chartered Super Value Titanium Credit Card
- Standard Chartered Platinum Rewards Card
- Amex Platinum travel Credit Card
- Amex Gold Card
- SBI Simply Click Credit Card
- SBI Signature Credit Card
Now let us take a look at some of the finer details of the credit cards listed above
ICICI Instant Platinum Card
It is very difficult to get a credit card when you do not have a credit history; you need to show that you are good at managing your credit to qualify for most cards. Thankfully, the ICICI Instant Platinum Credit Card does not require you to have a credit history at all. All you have to do is have some money deposited in a savings account at the ICICI bank, and they will issue you a card against that deposit. All you have to do is log into your ICICI online bank account and then apply for the card. If you are concerned about your CIBIL score, and you do not know whether you qualify for a traditional credit card, then try the ICICI Instant Platinum Credit Card.
Annual fees: Nil
Best Applicants: This card is best suited to people who do not earn a regular salary, such as housewives and students. A deposit with the bank is preferred.
Benefits of the ICICI Instant Platinum Credit Card
- You get Global Emergency Assistance and the Card will be replaced easily no matter where you are
- Go to movies and get Rs. 100 off your ticket, twice a month
- You get 2 payback points whenever you spend Rs. 100
- When you refuel and HPCL fuel stations, you can get access to a 2.5% fuel surcharge on a transaction of Rs. 4,000 on the card.
- You can get 15% savings when you pay for food at restaurants spread over 10 cities in India.
Note: The approval of your ICICI Instant Platinum Credit Card will depend on the money that you have deposited with the bank. This is one way of the bank ensuring minimum risk from giving credit cards to first-time credit card users.
HDFC Regalia Credit Card
This is a great card from HDFC, given that it offers a wide array of rewards to the customers on almost every purchase made on the card; this includes when you pay for flights and also buy airtime for your mobile phone. This is a card that is considered to be a status symbol, since it is only issued to high-value customers; you must have a great banking relationship with HDFC and have a good credit history.
Annual Fees: These vary for every individual, based on their spending habits and their portfolio with HDFC.
Best Applicants: People who have earnings of more than 10 Lakh annually and have a good relationship with HDFC
Benefits of the HDFC Regalia Credit Card
- Earn and redeem points at a rate of Rs. 0.60 for every point when you use the card to purchase exclusive lifestyle products and services.
- Get 8 points for all purchases made through the HDFC Regalia website
- Get 6 points for every Rs 150 your spend in any eatery
- Get 4 points for every other purchase that you make outside the above specified places
- Benefit from a free Taj Epiculture Plus Membership Card
- Benefit from a free Priority Pass Membership
- Benefit from an accident cover of 1 crore and you can get access to emergency hospitalization when traveling to a maximum amount of 15 Lakh
NOTE: Note that HDFC is no longer giving out the regalia Card to all its members. There is a low-tier card which is called the Regalia First available to people who earn less than 10 Lakh annually, which offers fewer benefits to the card holder.
Citibank Cashback Credit Card
This is a great card for those who make payments online for services such as paying bills and buying movie tickets. The card comes with savings of 5% every month and this adds to its appeal.
Annual Fees: Rs. 500.
Best Applicants: People who transact online a lot and have a good credit history.
Benefits of the Citibank Cashback Credit Card
- Earn 5% cashback when you pay your electricity, water and telephone bills
- Earn 5% when you pay for movie tickets online
- Earn 0.5% for every other transaction that you charge to the card
NOTE: Citibank declines up to 80% of applicants since they are very strict on the credit history issue; if you do not have a reputable credit history, then you should not apply for this card. They also give you a very challenging and lengthy online application form, so read through it carefully and fill it fully and patiently.
Citibank Premier Miles Card
This card gives you miles whenever you make an online purchase or book a ticket using the card. You get access to premium airport lounges whenever you are traveling internationally and locally. Citibank Premier Miles Card and the Amex Platinum Travel card are the best credit cards for people who travel a lot. They are only issued to people who spend at least 2 to 3 Lakh on travel expenses.
Annual Fees: Rs. 3,000
Best applicants: People who travel a lot and have a good credit score
The Benefits of the Citibank Premier Miles Card
- Once the card is approved and activated, you get 1000 miles instantly
- Earn 10 miles for every Rs 100 that you spend on flights, and other online partner merchants
- Earn 4 miles for every Rs 100 that you spend on other transactions
- Over 100 airlines globally allow you to redeem points earned and you can do so 3 hours before you have to travel.
- Preferred partners will redeem points at a rate of Rs 45 for every 100 miles earned
Note: You should have owned another credit card in order to qualify for this card, since they only offer them to people with a good credit score.
Standard Chartered Manhattan Credit Card
This is one of the most popular credit cards in India, and people save a lot on rewards points and cashback. You can get up to 5% cashback from exclusive shops and malls and this makes it a great deal; note that it is the only card that gives cashback on grocery purchases.
Annual fees: Rs. 999
Best Applicants: This is a card suited to everyone wishing to own a credit card and has a salary.
Benefits of the Standard Chartered Manhattan Credit Card
- Earn 5% cashback for every purchase that you make at departments stores and supermarkets
- Earn 5 times the rewards whenever you use the card to dine, buy fuel pay for a flight of pay for hotel accommodation
- Get up to Rs. 500 as cashback per month or Rs. 150 for every transaction you make.
Note: You can actually get up to Rs. 6000 per year, with 50% coming from cashback and 50% coming from points earned.
Standard Chartered Super Value Titanium
Most of the best credit cards in India provide 5% cashback on fuel purchases. You do not have to apply for a separate credit card when you hold some of these cards, although you will have to have great credit to be approved. Now, if you are a first-time applicant, and the bulk of your purchases are composed of utility, phone and fuel bills, then the Standard Chartered Super Value Titanium Card is the best for you.
Annual Fees: Free for the first year and Rs 750 from the second year onwards. This fee can be waived if you transact Rs 60,000 within the first year.
Joining Fees: Rs 499, which can be waived off if your spend Rs 30,000 within the first year.
Best Applicants: People who make purchases of more than Rs. 5,000 per month on fuel, phone and utility bills.
Benefits of the Standard Chartered Super Value Titanium Credit Card
- 5% cashback on all your phone, utility and fuel transactions
- Get 1,000 additional points if you make a transaction within 60 days
- If you register through their online bank, you get 500 bonus reward points.
Note: You must make a minimum transaction of Rs. 750 to earn any points; no points for purchases such as Rs. 500.
Standard Chartered Platinum Rewards Card
This is a great alternative to the Manhattan card offered by the same bank since it does not have any annual fees. You may not get some of the benefits offered by the Manhattan card, such as the 5% cashback on groceries, but the rest remain the same. The reward ratio is also identical. If you have a salary, then you stand a high chance of getting approved on the Platinum card after which you can upgrade to the Manhattan, after you have used it for a while and created a good credit history.
Annual fees: NIL
Joining fees: NIL
Best applicants: Salaried people who do not want to pay annual fees on a Manhattan Card. This is an all-round card and is quite flexible.
Benefits of the Standard Chartered Platinum Rewards Card
- You get 500 points when you register for an online account
- When you make a transaction within the first 60 days, you get 1,000 reward points
- You get 20% cashback for money spent on Uber rides
- You get 5 points for sending money on fuel and dining
- You get 1 point for all other transactions
American Express Platinum Travel Credit Card
This is one of the best credit cards in India for people who love to travel; it acts like an IndiGo or Taj voucher.
Annual fees: Rs 3,500 for the first year and 5,000 from the second year plus tax applicable.
Best applicants: People who spend more than 2 lakh per year in expenses.
Benefits of the American Express Platinum Travel Credit Card
- Get IndiGo Vouchers of more than Rs. 7,500 when you spend about 1.9 Lakh per year
- Get IndiGo Vouchers of more than Rs. 11,800 and a Taj Voucher worth Rs. 10,000 when you spend about 4 Lakh per year.
- When you sign up, you get 5,000 Milestone Bonus Membership Points, which you can redeem for IndiGo vouchers worth Rs. 4,000
- The more you spend on the card the higher your credit limit goes
- A single user can have up to 3 cards at one go
Note: People who travel on IndiGo stand to bet the most from this card, since IndiGo partners will also redeem the points.
American Express Gold Card – The American Express Membership Rewards Credit Card
This is a card that comes with exceptional rewards since you can get 1,000 bonus points when you make transactions of Rs. 1,000 and above every month for the first 4 months. The card will also give you 3% cashback on all your fuel purchases, although very few stations take this card in India.
Annual fees: Rs 1,000 in the first year and Rs. 4,500 from the second year onwards plus taxes.
Best applicants: People looking to get exceptional rewards points.
The Benefits of the American Express Gold Card – The American Express Membership Rewards Credit Card
- You get 4,000 Membership Rewards Points when you charge the card 3 times within the first 60 days.
- When you use the card 4 times in a month you get 1,000 Membership Reward Points
- You get a Membership Rewards Point for every Rs. 0.5 that you spend on other items other than cash withdrawals, and paying for your insurance, fuel and utility bills.
- You can get up to 20% discount at selected restaurants
- There is no predefined spending limit on the card
- When you renew your card for the second year, you get 5,000 Membership Reward Points
Note: This is best when used in conjunction with another cashback credit card.
SBI Simply Click Credit Card
This is one of the best credit cards in India since people love it because it does not have any annual fees for life. There is an annual fee, but it is waived off after you have spent 1 Lakh within the first year of use. The card also offers a lot of great deals on websites such as Amazon, MakeMyTrip, Flipkart, Cleartrip and a lot more.
Annual fee: Rs. 499, which are waived after spending 1 Lakh in the first year
Best applicants: Almost everyone goes for this card
Benefits of the SBI Simply Click Credit Card
- You get a bonus Rs. 500 voucher from Amazon
- You get 10 times rewards when you transact online at places such as BookMyShow, FoodPanda, FabFurnish, Amazon, Zoomcar, OLA, and Lenskart among many others.
- Get 5 times rewards for all other online transactions
- You get a 2.5% fuel surcharge on all purchases above Rs. 500
- When you spend 1 Lakh on the card you get an e-voucher worth Rs. 2,000 from Cleartrip.
Note: This is not a card for first-time applicants since you need a good credit history in order to get approved.
SBI Signature Credit Card (Elite)
This is another of the best credit card in India, and it is one of those that are issued by government banks; this is quite unexpected and hence the addition to this list as the 11th card. The card has a lot of deals and offers from online stores and also gives decent reward points to the card holder.
Annual fees: Rs 4,999, which may seem steep, but you also get gifts worth the same amount as a welcome package.
Best applicants: People who have a salary and a good credit history.
Benefits of the SBI Signature Credit Card (Elite)
- Welcome gifts worth Rs. 5,000 and also benefits worth Rs. 30,000 annually
- You get 2 free movie tickets a month when you use BookMyShow to buy tickets
- You earn 10 points when your spent Rs. 100 on groceries, dining, departmental stores and international purchases
- You earn 2 points for all other purchases and transactions
- You earn 10,000 points when you spend between 2 to 4 lakh per annum
- You earn 20,000 points when you spend more than 5 lakh per annum.
- Redeem points at a rate of Rs. 0.25 for every point earned.
When deciding on the best credit cards in India, one has to look at the rewards and benefits and also consider the eligibility criteria. You will find that the cards that are easy to get do not give back too much, and are just a way of ensuring that you make safe and convenient purchases online. However, for people who are serious, there are a variety of cards included in the list, and each is targeted at a particular section of the consumer base. There are those that are great for traveling, while others are best for fuel purchases. You simply have to decide which you want and then make the application.