When choosing the best credit card, there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’. You need to identify your financial needs and narrow your choices by asking the right questions. Thus, choosing from a limited pool of options would be easier.
In India, the credit card user base in 2019 reached 47 million, and the market is anticipated to increase more than 25% during 2020-2025. This is mainly because of the ‘buy first and pay later’ attitude prevalent in younger generations.
Hence, it helps to choose a credit card that gives you the best perks based on your financial situation. It will no doubt play a vital role in building your creditworthiness and overall financial health.
Let’s make this easy for you by sharing our top-picks:
1. Best Credit Card for Beginners
If you are new to the world of credit cards, then HDFC’s MoneyBack Credit Card is the right pick for you. Using this card is a great way to start building your credit score while saving money. With its cashback benefits, you will save money for every penny you spend.
Here is how it works; for every ₹150 spent, you will receive 2 reward points and twice if it’s online. You can then redeem these reward points as gifts or air miles from the exclusive rewards catalog. But remember that you will need a minimum of 2500 points to be eligible to redeem it.
What’s even more interesting is that anyone with a monthly income of more than ₹15,000 per month can apply for this card, making it perfect for a young adult who has just started earning.
Joining fee: ₹500 + GST
Annual fee: ₹500 + GST
2. Best Premium Credit Card
This credit card is the whole package for high-end spenders with unlimited global lounge access and competitive bonuses. The HDFC Diners Club Black Card has a credit limit of ₹4 lakhs, making it the ideal premium credit card.
It has been dubbed as the best international credit card, and rightfully so. It offers one of the lowest foreign currency exchange rates at 2.0%. Moreover, you will have access to six complimentary golf games per quarter.
What makes it even better is that you will earn up to 3.33% on every retail expenditure (excluding fuel). And for every ₹150-transaction, you stand to receive 5 reward points. Plus, you automatically have access to ample lifestyle and travel benefits along with the reward points.
Joining fee: ₹10,000 + GST
Annual fee: ₹10,000 + GST
3. Best Zero Annual Fee Credit Card
The IndusInd Bank Pioneer Legacy Card has the highest reward rate among all lifetime free credit cards in India. You’ll be able to bag a 1% rewards rate on all your weekday expenditures (1 point per ₹100 spent) and an even better 2% on the weekend.
Moreover, as part of their anniversary bonus, you shall receive an additional 6000 points if you spend ₹6,00,000 within a year. As a sign-up bonus, you will receive exclusive gift vouchers for Oberoi Hotel groups and a Luxe Gift Card – one card for several indulgences.
Joining fee: ₹45,000 + GST
Annual fee: NIL
4. Best Lifestyle Credit Card
Dubbed as the best credit for utility bill payments, SBI Card PRIME comes with a priority pass for 4 free international and 8 free domestic airport lounge visits.
It comes with welcome e-gift vouchers worth ₹3,000. This can be used to purchase from the following brands, like Pantaloons, Yatra, Bata/Hush Puppies, Shoppers Stop, etc. The annual fee is waived off for cardholders with at least ₹3 lakhs worth of expenses. This card is available in both MasterCard World and Visa Signature variants.
SBI Card PRIME is the most valuable credit card in the market. For instance, the card earns a rewards rate of 5%, which is 20 points per ₹100 spent, the highest rewards for utility bill payments in India. The only downside would be that the general spending rewards rate is 0.50%.
Joining fee: ₹2,999 + GST
Annual fee: ₹2,999 + GST
5. Best Credit Card for Travel
The American Express Platinum Travel Credit Card is the perfect pick for a frequent traveler. Along with complimentary lounge access, this card offers additional travel gift vouchers worth ₹17,000 and a Taj Hotel gift card worth ₹10,000 if you spend 4 lakhs in a year.
It’s all about reaping those milestone benefits. You will receive a welcome gift of 5,000 points as a Milestone Bonus Membership Reward Points., which is redeemable for travel vouchers worth ₹3,500. On top of that, you will receive travel vouchers worth ₹6,360 by spending ₹1.9 lakhs in a year.
Not only does this card improve your overall travel experience, but it also comes with added benefits such as frequent discounts and offers at MakeMyTrip and other redemption offers. Moreover, you will get 1 reward point for every ₹50 spent. It doesn’t get better than this.
Joining fee: ₹3,500 + GST
Annual fee: ₹5,000 + GST
Annual fee: ₹749 + GST
6. Best Credit Card for Online Shopping
The Standard Chartered DigiSmart Credit Card is meant for anyone who prefers online shopping. You can get up to 25% discount for travel, clothes, food, groceries, movie tickets, or cab rentals. With this credit card, you save up to ₹3,450 per month.
However, you can only use this card for certain online platforms to avail of the discount offers. You get a 20% discount on Myntra for every purchase, 20% off domestic flights booked on Yatra, and 25% off on domestic hotel bookings.
Moreover, you will also get a 10% discount for online food orders on Zomato and grocery shopping on Grofers. Along with a 15% discount on Ola cab bookings. The cherry on the top would be the Buy One Get One (BOGO) offer on movie tickets at Inox. Annual fee: No annual fee. Instead, it charges a monthly fee of ₹49, which is waived off on spending ₹5,000 or more.
7. Best Credit Card for Students
College student looking to manage their expenses can consider the SBI Student Plus Advantage Credit Card. This is an exclusive card for customers who have taken an educational loan with SBI. You can get your card against a fixed deposit, making it a secured credit card that doesn’t require an annual fee.
This credit card comes with added perks, such as a 2.5% cashback for every grocery and departmental store purchases. You also get the same for all of your international expenses, which is ideal if you are studying abroad.
Joining fee: NIL
Annual fee: ₹500, only if total purchases on the card are less than ₹35,000 in the preceding year.
8. Best Credit Card for Grocery Shopping
A massive chunk of our monthly expenses goes into grocery shopping. As per a survey, grocery shopping took almost 28% of the average Indian’s entire budget.
The Kotak Mahindra Essentia Platinum Card is your best cashback option when it comes to grocery shopping. It is the top pick because you get 10% cashback on every grocery or retail expenditure. So, if you spend at least ₹1500 on grocery transactions, then this card is your best option.
Apart from that, as part of their anniversary bonus, you can get 12,000 points if you spend ₹1.25 lakhs in 6 months, which is up to 24,000 or 6 free PVR tickets in a year.
Joining fee: ₹1499 + GST
Annual fee: ₹749 + GST
9. Best Credit Card for NRIs
This credit card comes with a no-fee policy for the first year. If you spend a minimum of ₹40,000 in a year, the annual fee of ₹500 will be waived off for the subsequent years.
The bulk of the credit card’s value is earned with an outstanding 1.6% value back on all transactions except fuel. That means you get 8 reward points for every ₹200 spent. You will also receive 2 lounge visits in a quarter across five major cities in India, with additional dining benefits.
All in all, if you are an NRI, this card would give you the highest value for your expenses in almost every category.
Joining fee: NIL
Annual fee: ₹500, only if total purchases on the card are less than ₹40,000 in the preceding year.
10. Best Business Credit Card
ICICI’s Business Advantage Black Card is one of the best business cards out there. This exclusive card aims to drive businesses safely. You stand to receive up to 1% cashback on both domestic and international expenses. This card does it all, from air travels to car rentals to professional services, such as accounting services, advertising, marketing, etc.
The highlight of this card would be that the cashback is based on the overall spending. Which means the higher the amount spent, the higher the cashback. Besides allowing cash back on business expenses, users can also avail of cashback when the bills are paid.
Joining fee: ₹1,500 + GST
Annual fee: ₹1,000 + GST
Remember that no single credit card comes with all the perks you are looking for. Every credit card is unique and comes with its own set of pros and cons.
Additionally, you have a better shot of finding a credit card catered to your needs after comparing it with other cards. A detailed comparison will help you choose the best option.