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Best Credit Cards for first timers in India (2020)

Pranav Pranav Follow Apr 27, 2019 · 10 mins read · 0 comments
Best Credit Cards for first timers in India (2020)

Many a times I have been asked which credit card is best for someone who has just started his/her career? The main problem for beginners is that they lack credit history and hence banks have very strict norms for issuing them credit cards. Hence I have compiled a list of best credit cards of 2020 which are issued very easily and have minimal joining or renewal fees.

1. Flipkart Axis Bank Credit Card

Flipkart Axis Bank Credit Card

Flipkart Axis Bank Credit Card provides 5% cashback on Flipkart, Myntra and 4% cashback on preferred partners. The main highlight of this card is default cashback rate of 1.5% with no capping which directly gets credited to the card account in next billing cycle. Another notable feature is complimentary domestic airport lounge access which is uncommon in this category.

  • Eligibility:
    • Salary account with Axis Bank: Net Monthly income > Rs. 15,000
    • Salary account with other Banks: Net Monthly income > Rs. 25,000
  • Self Employed: Net Monthly income > Rs. 50,000 or ITR > Rs. 6 Lakhs
  • Joining fee: Rs. 500 + GST, Flipkart voucher worth Rs. 500 provided
  • Renewal fee: Rs. 500 + GST, waived off on annual spends greater than Rs. 2 Lakhs
  • Reward Rate:
    • 5% cashback on Flipkart, Myntra and 2GUD
    • 4% cashback on Preferred Partners (MakeMyTrip, Goibibo, Uber, PVR, Curefit and UrbanClap)
    • 1.5% cashback on all other merchants
  • 4 complimentary Domestic Airport Lounge access per year using Mastercard India Lounge Program

2. HDFC Diners Club Clubmiles Credit Card

HDFC Diners Club Clubmiles Credit Card

HDFC Diners Club Clubmiles Credit Card has decent reward rate of 1.3% and with HDFC SmartBuy 10X program it peaks to 13%. This card also features a Mile Exchange Program through which you can convert your reward points to air miles in 1:1 ratio. Below are the main highlights of this card:

  • Eligibility: Net Monthly Income > Rs. 30,000 per month
  • Joining Fee: Rs. 1,000, usually free
  • Renewal Fee: Rs. 1,000, usually waived off
  • Reward Rate: 1.3% (normal spends) - 13% (spends on HDFC SmartBuy portal)
  • Miles Exchange Program: Convert reward points to Air Miles in 1:1 ratio for following airlines
    • British Airways Executive Club (Avios)
    • InterMiles
    • Singapore Airlines (KrisFlyer Miles)
    • Club Vistara
  • Lounge access : 6 lounge access per year including domestic and international
  • Apply here

You can make this card lifetime free by opting for one of the follwoing while applying:

  • SmartPay
  • OneAssist
  • 4 transactions in a month for first 3 consecutive months (minimum transaction value Rs. 500)

3. American Express SmartEarn Credit Card

American Express SmartEarn Credit Card

American Express SmartEarn Credit Card provides 10X Membership Rewards Points on Flipkart and Uber and earn 5X Membership Rewards Points on Amazon, Swiggy, BookMyShow and more. Amex keeps on running lucrative merchant offers from time to time. However note that acceptance of Amex is still not that great and you should always carry a backup Visa/MasterCard.

  • Eligibility:
    • Salaried: Annual income > Rs. 4.5 Lakhs
    • Self Employed: Annual income > Rs. 6 Lakhs
  • Annual Fee: Rs. 495 + GST, waived on spending Rs. 40,000 or more in previous year
  • Reward Rate:
    • 10X Membership Rewards Points on Flipkart and Uber, 5% reward rate
    • 5X Membership Rewards Points on Amazon, Swiggy, BookMyShow, PVR, Myntra, Jabong, Grofers, Big Bazaar, 2.5% reward rate
    • 1 Membership Rewards Point for every Rs. 50 spent on other merchants

4. HSBC Cashback Credit Card

HSBC Cashback Credit Card

HSBC Cashback Credit Card provides unlimited cashback of 1.5% on online transactions and 1% on offline transactions. The only caveat is HSBC issues credit cards only to salaried personnels residing in Bangalore, Chennai, Gurgaon, Hyderabad, Mumbai, New Delhi, Noida and Pune.

  • Eligibility: Salaried only, annual income > Rs. 4,00,000
  • Joining Fee: Nil
  • Renewal Fee: Rs. 750, reversed on annual spends on Rs. 1 Lakh
  • Introductory Offers:
    • 20% off on Swiggy orders above Rs. 400 (Discount up to Rs. 100, valid once per month per user)
    • 5% discount on Amazon spends of Rs. 1,000 or above (Maximum discount of Rs. 250 per card per month, no restriction on number of transactions)
  • Welcome Benefits:
    • 2 Airport Lounge Access to Domestic and International lounges or 2 Meal vouchers of INR400 each for use at Airport restaurants
    • Rs. 250 Swiggy voucher within 60 days of completing first transaction on the HSBC Credit Card
  • Reward Rate:
    • 1.5% cashback on online spends, excluding wallet load
    • 1% cashback on offline spends
  • 15% off dining at over 1,000 restaurants across major cities

5. Amazon Pay ICICI Bank Credit Card

Amazon Pay ICICI Bank Credit Card

Amazon Pay ICICI Bank Credit Card gives 5% cashback on Amazon if you’re a prime member which is a sweet deal if you spend a lot on Amazon. Recently Amazon has extended invitation for this credit card to majority of Amazon India customers.

  • Eligibility: Invite only
  • Joining Fee: Nil
  • Renewal Fee: Life time free
  • Reward Rate:
    • 5% for Amazon Prime customers and 3% for others on Amazon
    • 2% on paying through Amazon Pay
    • 1% on other spends
  • Rewards are credited as Amazon Pay cashback each month after statement generation

6. Ola Money SBI Credit Card

Ola Money SBI Credit Card

Ola Money SBI Credit Card provides 7% cashback on Ola rides and 1% cashback on all other transactions. Currently this card is available only by invite and you can apply for this card in Ola app after getting invitation.

  • Eligibility: Invite only
  • Annual Fee: Rs. 499, reversed on annual spends of Rs. 1 Lakh
  • Reward Rate:
    • 7% cashback on Ola rides
    • 1% cashback on all spends
    • 5% cashback on flight tickets at Cleartrip
    • 20% cashback on payment via Dineout, limited to Rs. 200 per month
  • 1% fuel surcharge waiver, up to Rs. 100 per month

7. SBI SimplyCLICK Credit Card

SBI Simply Click Credit Card

SBI SimplyCLICK provides 2.5% back on online spends with their exclusive partners and 1.25% on other online spends. This is a very good card if you spend a lot online.

  • Eligibility: Nothing mentioned explicitly on website, however you can get easily if you are salaried
  • Joining Fee: Rs. 499, get equivalent amount of Amazon voucher
  • Renewal Fee: Rs. 499, reversed if annual spends for last year >= Rs. 1,00,000
  • Reward Rate:
    • 2.5% back on online spends with exclusive partners - Amazon, BookMyShow, Cleartrip, Foodpanda, Lenskart, Netmeds, Rentomojo & UrbanClap
    • 1.25% on other online spends
    • 0.25% on offline spends
  • 1% fuel surcharge waiver for each transaction between Rs. 500 & Rs. 3,000

8. Paytm First Credit Card

Paytm First Credit Card

If you love cashback then this card is for you. Paytm First Credit Card provides 1% cashback for all spends which automatically gets credited to card account. Only caveat is this card is invite only and you can apply only when option is enabled in Paytm app.

  • Eligibility: Invite only
  • Annual Fee: Rs. 500, waived off on spending more than Rs. 50,000 in a membership year
  • Reward Rate: 1% cashback on all spends
  • Other benefits:
    • Paytm First Membership worth Rs. 750
    • 15% discount at Partner Restaurants
    • Buy 1 Get 1 on movie tickets every Friday at Paytm

9. RBL Bank Shoprite Credit Card

RBL Bank Shoprite Credit Card

RBL Bank Shoprite Credit Card provides 5% reward rate on groceries and 2.5% reward rate on fuel spends. One thing I would like to point out that the customer support of RBL Bank is average and takes a lot of time to resolve the queries/issues.

  • Eligibility: Salary > Rs. 25,000
  • Annual Fee: Rs. 500, reversed on spends of Rs. 1 Lakh in previous year
  • Welcome Benefit: 2,000 reward points, ~Rs. 500
  • Reward Rate:
    • 20 reward points per Rs. 100 spent on grocery shopping, 5% reward rate
    • 10 reward points per Rs. 100 spent on fuel, 2.5% reward rate
    • 1 reward point per Rs. 100 spent on other categories, 0.25% reward rate
  • Other Benefits:
    • 10% discount on movie tickets at BookMyShow
    • 1% fuel surcharge waiver, maximum Rs. 100 per month for transactions between Rs. 500 to Rs. 4,000
  • Apply here

10. Standard Chartered DigiSmart Credit Card

Standard Chartered DigiSmart Credit Card

Standard Chartered generally issues cards very easily and their approval rate is quite high. Standard Chartered DigiSmart Credit Card provides instant discounts and cashbacks on online spends on Myntra, Yatra, Ola, Zomato, Grofers and Inox.

  • Eligibility: Annual income > Rs. 4 Lakhs
  • Fee: Rs. 49 per month, waived off on spending Rs. 5,000 in previous month
  • Reward Rate:
    • 20% discount on Myntra, limited to Rs. 700 per month
    • 20% discount up to Rs. 750 on Yatra for domestic flights, once per quarter
    • 15% cashback on Ola, limited to Rs. 600 per month
    • 10% discount on Zomato, max. discount Rs. 150 limited to 5 times in a month
    • 10% discount up to Rs. 1,000 in a month on Grofers, limited to 5 transactions
    • Buy 1 and Get 1 on movie tickets for shows on Saturdays and Sundays at Inox, limited to 2 times in a month
  • Special Offers

Bottomline

For beginners, it’s easiest to get their first credit card from the bank where their salary account is. As they progress in their career, once they build a good credit history, they can pursue other cards with better reward rates and features.

What other credit cards would you suggest for beginners? Let me know in comments.

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Pranav
Written by Pranav Follow
Hi, I am Pranav! I love to acquire, review and earn reward points/cashback from Credit Cards. Guiding people about benefits and optimal utilization of credit cards for years.
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