New credit card applications at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in April 2020 had dropped to a mere 5% of the level of applications in 2019. They picked up again, jumping to 61% in July and August of 2020. In October of 2020, they had risen even higher, as Diwali was approaching, and the lockdown was being lifted in Indian states. Reasons cited for the choice of credit cards used or applied for are largely linked to the potential rewards they yield. Depending on use and preference, users compare credit cards in India before selecting the ones they want.
TransUnion CIBIL is a credit card information processing corporation that collects data, and reports on credit card inquiries and usage. In one of its reports, it was stated that inquiries for new credit cards in November 2020 had jumped to 106% more than the previous year at the same time. What is interesting to note is that new applicants are gradually originating from smaller Indian towns. Applications from such places exceed those from large metros, though the usage in large metros is more than in smaller cities.
Applying for a credit card in India
You can apply for a credit card through your bank in India. Most Indian banks, private and public, offer different types of credit cards according to the cash limits you want or are eligible for. Financial organizations also offer credit cards. Documents required for a credit card application are the following, though some requirements may vary.
- Identity/age proof (Aadhaar card, PAN Card, passport, or driver’s license)
- Proof of residential address (Aadhaar card, passport, electricity bill, etc.)
- Financial documents such as IT returns (proof of financial standing as credit companies wish to ensure you can pay bills on time)
Credit card rewards and customer loyalty
Customer rewards have been related to credit cards since their inception, and more and more companies are jumping on the bandwagon to offer rewards to customers. Airlines tied to credit cards offer frequent flier miles, restaurants offer points to guests, and stores and e-commerce portals are related to credit cards they endorse, offering discounts and bonuses when you shop. Organizations are spending crores in developing and implementing rewards programs. Companies are justified in doing this; rewards can and do encourage the loyalty of customers. On premium credit cards like HDFC Regalia, customers with a higher line of credit get lower interest rates than those who have lower-incomes, and are eligible for low-end credit cards.
The growth of credit card use
India’s credit card user base stands at more than 50 million active users. As Indians become more upwardly mobile in the salaries they earn, as well as the exposure they get, they tend to prefer premium credit cards, offering more rewards than basic ones. Becoming eligible as they climb career paths, and are ready to make the switch, they carefully compare credit cards in India and choose the ones that have no joining fee, and offer the best rewards according to their needs. In 2019, when India experienced a slowdown economically, with banks and lending institutions reeling from the effects of NPAs, frauds, and scams, credit card users were alive and kicking, as they are now.
Pointers on picking credit cards
Here are some things to consider before you apply for a credit card:
- Not everyone can get a “premium” credit card as stringent criteria of income apply for such cards.
- Some cards have a huge joining fee, such as cards like the Standard Chartered Platinum Rewards Card, though the rewards you get are more than those offered by other similar cards.
- Check the annual fees that some cards charge; they may be high as compared to the cashback and rewards you get in return.
- Check interest rates on EMIs with the card, as well as rollover interest rates and minimum amount due figure percentages for bills generated.
You can avail of one of the best cards in the market today, the Bajaj Finserv RBL Bank SuperCard, offering you a cashback of 5% on down payments of products, as well as loans for up to 90 days with low-interest rates of 1.16% per month. You get reward points on every purchase, as well as great deals, while the card can also be used as an ATM card.