Most people are familiar with credit cards and the convenient access to cash that they provide. However, there are often confusing views on the benefits of owning a card. Some financially conservative individuals might view it as an unnecessary debt burden but may overlook the fact that a card can help one build a credible credit history and an enviable credit score. It’s a tool that when used well, can bring in a lot of benefits. In fact, given the competitive market scenario, credit card companies and banks today, provide all kinds of cards to suit a customer’s requirement and individual taste.
- Convenient Usage: Whether you are online or offline; in your home country or abroad, credit cards are a convenient way to carry out transactions compared to traditional debit cards, given their wide-spread accessibility.
- Interest Free: Coming back to the myth of credit cards being a debt burden and a leak of income via interest- the key is to use it well to one’s advantage. If a customer always pays by the due date, a credit card essentially becomes an interest free loan.
- Emergency Back-Up: Another key benefit is the role of a credit card as an emergency back-up. In times when one might have invested money in various instruments or a home and there is a sudden need of liquid cash for a medical emergency, a credit card is a handy help.
- Safer Than Cash: Like a debit card, a credit card is a lot safer to hold instead of cash. In case of loss or theft, one can simply inform the round-the-clock call centre and have the card blocked.
- Financial Discipline:Given the fixed upper limit on card usage and the availability of detailed statements, one can use a credit card to instil financial discipline and manage monthly expenses well by restricting usage to a card only.
- Reward Programs:To boost customer engagement and usage, credit card companies come up with a number of reward programs where one can exchange points on usage to redeem a variety of benefits like discounts at restaurants, free movie tickets and invites to special events.
Most credit card companies use the credit score and credit report to screen applicants while processing credit card applications. While some banks may willingly offer a credit card based on the individual’s bank balance and monthly income, this might come with their own clauses. Either way, it is best to maintain a healthy credit score so that you can avail a credit card of your choosing instead of picking what has been offered to you.
People who are not comfortable with online methods of credit card application canvisit the bank branch directly to apply for the same.Just visit the branch and communicate about the type of credit card you need.The representative will tellyou about thecredit cards that matchyour needs.Then,you will have to fill
the credit card application form and provide some KYC documents such as identity proof,address proof, etc. Youwill also be required to provide proof of income and two passport sized photographs.
There are credit cards available for all kinds of customers with varying income and credit history. One can avail minimum benefit credit cards starting with a monthly income of Rs. 25,000. Of course, higher the income, higher the availability of credit card limit and more the rewards & benefits.
While the full list of documentation might vary from company to company, the basic list comprises of a statement of income such as Income Tax Returns, Salary Slip or Form 16 and identity proofs with photo and an address proof. An applicant would also need to submit his pan card number and in most cases, his Aadhar number.
- Basic Credit Cards: These are starter level credit cards which offer a fixed amount of credit to be paid back by a fixed date, usually within a 45-day cycle. Given their basic function, the interest rates on these cards are lower than other cards and these cards are easier to avail.
- Secured Credit Cards: Most often these credit cards are advised to those with a lower credit score or no credit history. They are issued by using a fixed deposit as an underlying asset and the credit limit is set to about 80% of the amount in fixed deposit.
- Reward Cards: Designed to delight, the reward cards are perfect for those who are heavy users of credit cards because points can be earned on every usage. Depending on the card, the rewards include segment specific schemes such as purchase of petrol or purchase at a department store or can be applied across the board on food bills, movie tickets etc. depending on the offer of the month. One can even redeem points for winning exciting merchandise.
- Cash Back Cards: These are a kind of reward card wherein you get a cash back on purchases made against the card. The card company might either credit it back to the card or may give it as benefit in lieu of charging an annual fee.
- Co-Branded Cards:They are company specific cards which can be co-branded with an airline or motor fuel company. For example, against usage, points can be earned in the form of frequent flyer points or petro miles which later can be exchanged for tickets or fuel.
- Credit Cards For Women: These are credit cards designed especially for women, keeping in mind their usage behaviour. Most of these cater to salaried women who are financially independent and have high disposable income with a propensity to spend.