These days credit cards are a must-have financial tool as they offer easy and secure financial transactions. But, a plethora of credit cards are available in the market today, and choosing the best one out of them is a daunting task. While applying for a credit card, make sure that the card aims to match your needs.
Most Common Types of Credit Cards in India
Secured Credit Card
Secured credit cards are for those who do not have a steady income and/or a low credit score.
Secured credit cards are designed for those who intend to create a credit profile. To apply for a secured credit card, you don’t need to produce proof of your income or credit history. Instead, you need a fixed deposit in the bank that acts as collateral. The credit limit of your secured credit card will be equal to the amount in this fixed deposit. The approval of a secured credit card is quick compared to its unsecured counterparts as it’s issued only based on collateral.
Reward Credit Cards
Reward credit cards usually offer more bonus points, cashback, and travel miles on credit card purchases compared to other types of cards.
Reward cards also provide a rebate for making a certain number of transactions. You can accumulate these rewards and redeem them later to avail of gift coupons or discounts on merchandise. Travel cards, cashback cards, fuel cards, etc., are different types of reward cards.
Interest rates of reward cards are pretty high compared to other kinds of cards. Hence, reward cards are suitable for those who make full payment of their credit card bill every month. If you frequently roll over the balance to next month, you may end up paying more on interest than the rewards you collect on purchases.
Reward cards are suitable for frequent fliers and those who pay for their everyday shopping through credit cards.
To qualify for a reward card, you need a decent credit score. Hence, check whether your credit score meets the eligibility criteria before applying for a reward credit card. Simply applying for several credit cards can also harm your credit score.
Free Credit Cards
As the name suggests, free credit cards are free from joining and annual fees. Yet, free credit cards offer many rewards, gift coupons, and cashback for transactions through them. A few free credit cards offer sign-on bonuses as well as accelerated reward points for selected categories.
The benefits and features of a free credit card vary from issuer to issuer. Hence, before deciding, compare various available options, and select the one that matches your needs.
Student Credit Cards
Designed exclusively for college students, student credit cards have a lower interest rate and annual fee. Also, you don’t need to pay a joining fee to get a student credit card. Usually, the credit limit of student credit cards is much lower than regular cards, and they come with a validity of five years. The fascinating feature of student credit cards is that they offer many perks and rewards for each rupee you spend. If managed properly, a student credit card helps you to build a good credit score.
You don’t need to produce any income proof to secure a student credit card, but several issuers insist on a security deposit. Different card issuers follow various processes to issue students credit cards, there are no standard eligibility criteria to apply for a student credit card. However, any student above 18 years of age can apply for a student card.
Co-Branded Credit Cards
A co-branded credit card is designed for a particular usage. They are issued by credit card companies in association with a specific merchant. Apart from the issuer’s logo, you can see the merchant’s logo as well on the card. Shopping credit cards, airline credit cards, hotel credit cards, etc., are examples of co-branded credit cards.
Usually, co-branded credit cards offer a bundle of rewards for their customers. Even certain co-branded cards offer freebies for making transactions beyond a specific amount within a particular period. However, the rewards you receive from co-branded cards are limited to one brand only. Normally, co-branded cards don’t charge transaction fees from their customers and, at the same time, offer a surcharge waiver.
Co-branded credit cards make sense if you’re a loyal customer of a particular brand as it allows you to deal directly with the merchant and take advantage of the rewards to its maximum.