A credit card offers you finance at your fingertips: you can tackle a cash crunch quickly, pay for expenses abroad, redeem reward points on regular spending, and even boost your credit score. While looking for such features is beneficial, you may also consider the annual maintenance fees. This adds to your cost and eventually reduces the benefits you earn.
  • Therefore, consider applying for a credit card with no annual fees. While this is helpful, you must maintain other features.
  • To ensure you strike the right balance, follow these 5 tips to choose the best credit card in India.

Check the interest rates and applicable fees.

Annual fees are just a part of the credit card costs you incur throughout the year. So apart from nil annual fees, ensure that other fees are minimal. Look for the lowest credit card interest rates, as this will be the charge applicable to any outstanding balance. Similarly, look into late payment penalties, ATM cash withdrawal fees, and the cost of a balance transfer. This way, you will know the total cost of owning the credit card.

Opt for the most extended grace period.

An outstanding amount continuously carried forward to the following billing cycle results in a build-up of credit card interest charges. Look for a lengthy grace period to keep this to a minimum and make payments comfortably. This period tells you how long you have before the amount accumulates interest. So, if your billing cycle is set to the 4th of every month and your issuer offers you a 16-day grace period, you will incur interest post the 20th of the month if you don't pay the bill in full.

Take note of bonuses.

Review the bonuses for crossing milestones since you will use this card frequently. These may include free air miles on credit card renewal, a complimentary travel voucher on making purchases up to a certain amount, or reward points accredited to you on spending a certain amount in a year. Also, evaluate sign-up bonuses, either in the form of a lower APR or significant reward points.

Look for discounts and cashback on regular spending.

To further lighten the burden on your wallet, apply for a card that makes recurring expenses more affordable. For example, if you dine out regularly, look for discounts at restaurants. Likewise, if you travel via vehicle, gaining cashback and fuel surcharge waivers at fuel stations will serve you. Some cards even offer discounts on basic everyday needs such as groceries, allowing you to pay utility bills more cost-effectively.

Consider reward point redemption.

There are varying reward point schemes as there are different types of credit cards in the market. However, the common factor is that you can redeem reward points for items or services listed on your issuer's catalog once earned. The key to maximizing your reward points is to look at this catalog beforehand. For instance, if having the latest gadgets is essential, look for a rewards program that allows you to use the points to buy electronics. Similarly, if you fly often, opt for a scheme that converts points into air miles.

Also, remember that sometimes, choosing a card with an annual fee makes more sense when the benefits outweigh the nominal maintenance costs. Further, cards with zero annual may demand a high income as part of the eligibility criteria, so keep this in mind.

How to apply for a credit card online?

Whether buying groceries, home appliances, or personal gadgets, a credit card is the perfect solution to fund your lifestyle, as it does not give you access to a hefty credit limit and other benefits and rewards.

But before you apply for the credit card, you must compare different issuers that offer you the choicest benefits, such as reward points on every transaction, zero-fraud liability cover, interest-free cash withdrawal from ATM for up to 50 days, and even an emergency loan of up to 90 days without any interest. Using this card as an example, take a look at all you need to know about how to apply for a credit card.

Credit card eligibility criteria

To apply for a credit card, you must conform to the following eligibility criteria.
  • Your minimum credit score should be 750
  • Your age should be between 25 and 65 years
  • Your past payment record must be free of defaults
  • You must be an existing EMI Cardholder and an existing customer
  • You must reside in a location where the SuperCard is live
  • Documents required to apply
You must submit the following documents to apply for a credit card to prove your eligibility.
  • Proof of identity such as passport, driver's license, PAN card, voter ID, and Aadhaar card
  • Proof of address such as voter ID, electricity bill, telephone bill, post-paid mobile bill, Aadhaar card and passport
  • Passport size photograph

Steps to apply for a credit card

  • You can apply for a credit card online when you meet the eligibility criteria. To submit an online application, you must visit the issuer's website and enter basic details like your name, email ID, phone number, and income.
  • After submitting your credit card application, complete a quick KYC procedure, after which your application will be confirmed. 
  • After that, you will also receive the login details for the customer portal through which you can manage your credit card.
  • You can log on to their website to apply for a credit card.
  • You can check your pre-approved offer online to get instant approval on your credit card application.
Since a credit card affects your credit score, it is best to check the eligibility criteria before applying.