I will tell you how to get the approval of Best Credit Card in India even if your salary is low
I got my first credit card in 2006 (just after getting my first job) and since then I am reaping the benefits of credit cards.
I thought of sharing the strategy to pick the best credit card so that you can get benefits on shopping, travel and fuel.
Let’s look at the portfolio of my own credit cards (including the cards on the name of my wife)
#1. Standard Chartered Titanium Credit Card
#2. Standard Chartered Manhattan Credit Card
#3. Standard Chartered Ultimate Credit Card
#4. ICICI JetAirways Saphiro (Amex & Visa)
#5. American Express Gold Card
#6. American Express Membership Rewards Card
#7. American Express Travel Platinum
#8. American Express JetAirways (To be closed)
#9. Citibank Premier Miles
#10. SBI Simply Save (Upgraded to SBI Prime Credit Card)
#11. HDFC Regalia (First & Regular)
#12. Yes Bank Preferred Credit Card
I will explain why I keep so many cards and how I get the best ROI. Actually, I want to apply for more credit cards in 2019 and here is my plan.
#. Axis Bank Credit Card (Not yet decided which one)
#. HDFC Diner Black Credit Card
#. Kotak Royal Signature Credit Card
Select Your Favorite Section
- Major Benefits of Credit Cards
- Your Credit Profile Matters for Credit Card Approval
- Approval Strategy for Credit Cards
- Tip to improve your credit score & history
Major Benefits of Credit Cards
Credit card benefits fall majorly into 4 categories
#1. Reward Points on Credit Cards
Most of the credit cards give you reward points when you spend online or offline stores. The reward points can be redeemed for a gift, shopping voucher or statement credit.
For example, I redeemed Standard Chartered Reward points for Amazon Shopping Vouchers worth Rs. 9,000.
Last Year I have redeemed American Express Rewards for Amazon shopping vouchers of 22,000 rupees.
And HDFC reward points for an airline ticket worth Rs. 16,000.
#2. Cashback to credit card statement
Some credit cards offer cashback on a particular type of shopping and you can find new offers time to time to avail cashback.
For example, standard chartered manhattan card gives 5% cashback on groceries, that comes back into your credit card statement.
A few months back, I bought MacBook Air with Rs. 10,000 cashback using my Citibank credit card. The actual cost of the MacBook was Rs. 62,000 and after cashback that cost me only Rs. 52,000.
#3. Miles for air travel
You can apply for an airline co-branded credit card to earn Airmiles and redeem for air tickets once you have sufficient miles in your pocket.
For example, my ICICI Saphiro credit card is co-branded with JetAirways. I earn JPMiles whenever I shop using my credit card. I also earn JPMiles when I travel through JetAirways. There are 7 other ways to earn JPMiles that we will discuss in another post.
I redeemed air ticket using my JPMiles after accumulating miles from different channels.
#4. Discounts on Online Shopping
You can find big discounts when you spend money on online shopping, grocery, movie, food and travel portals (like Amazon, BigBasket, BookMyShow, Zomato, MakeMyTrip, Uber)
Some offers are available for long-term, for example, 20% discount on Uber rides with Standard Chartered Credit Cards.
And some offers are for limited time, for example, Amazon keeps on giving 5 to 10% discount on credit cards during shopping festivals. I have seen great offers on SBI, HDFC, ICICI and Citibank on Amazon shopping festivals.
Your Credit Profile Matters for Credit Card Approval
You can get a credit card approved based on
- your current salary
- credit score
- some internal banking factors (relationship value with the bank)
It would be difficult to get the approval for a credit card if you are a student, housewife or self-employed. But I have the approval strategy for everyone, just read carefully.
If you are a salaried person, working in a metro city, with a salary of around 5 lakh per year, then you can easily get the approval of the basic credit card from any bank.
Suggested cards for salaried people as their first credit card
- Standard Chartered Titanium (for fuel & utility bills)
- Standard Chartered Manhattan (for groceries)
- American Express Membership Rewards Credit Card (for shopping)
You can pick a suitable credit card for your needs from this list of best credit cards in India (Updated for 2019)
If you are a salaried person and already have a basic credit card then aim for the premium credit cards.
Suggested premium credit cards for salaried people as their second credit card
- American Express Travel Platinum (for travel)
- Citibank Premier Miles (for travel miles)
- ICICI JetAirways Saphiro (for JetAirways JPMiles)
- HDFC Regalia (for forex transaction & travel)
- SBI Prime or Elite Credit Card
The last category is super premium credit cards (which are difficult to get approved)
- Standard Chartered Ultimate Credit Card (3.3% cashback)
- HDFC Diner Black (3.3% cashback – 33% cashback on special categories)
- HDFC Infinia (similar benefits like Diner’s Black)
Yesbank, Kotak, IndusInd and Axis bank has to level up their credit card game. I am trying their services & card benefits and update you once I am fully satisfied.
So far, I loved the service of American Express and Standard Chartered. The approval of standard chartered is much easier as compared to American Express.
ICICI has improved their customer service recently. The phone call gets connected within a few seconds. ICICI is providing personalised support and they really follow up on the issue. I received call back once they resolved the issue.
HDFC is below average in providing support. I hope they will learn & improve the support in 2019.
Approval Strategy for Credit Cards
There is a lot of debate on the process of credit card approval. I can share the strategy that worked for me (being salaried and being self-employed).
Honestly, no one knows what are the exact factors on the credit card approval. I collect the details of the process whenever any of my friends got an approval for a premium credit card. I am sharing the knowledge gathered from the friend circle, that may or may not work for everyone.
Please let me know in the comments what worked for you so that we can keep the strategy updated here.
Credit Card Approval For Salaried Person
You can get easy approval if your salary is above 30,000 per month and you are working in any private limited company in a big city.
If you are first time applicant, then apply for 4-5 credit cards at the same time. Every bank has different criteria for approval. You would get the approval for 2 or 3 credit cards. Nurture your credit profile with these credit cards for the next 12 months. Don’t apply for another credit card in the next 6 months.
Note: Your credit score may get impacted negatively in the short run when you apply for many credit cards. But that’s okay as it’s your first credit card.
Better credit cards & higher credit limit would actually improve your credit profile. Read the last section of the article.
If your salary is less than 30,000 then you can apply and check the conditions of the bank. Sometimes they approve based on your relationship with the bank (if you have salary account with them).
Credit Card Approval For Self Employed
Banks love salaried people and give a hard time to self-employed for approving loans and credit cards. Banks feel safe with salaried people because they see a guarantee of income every month.
If possible, show yourself as an employee rather than self-employed. Take a salary from your own company rather than taking a profit share. You can take the salary if you have your own private limited company or partnership firm.
You can’t take a salary from your proprietorship firm. In that case, apply as self-employed.
If you are self-employed then there are 3 ways to get the approval of premium credit cards
- Apply based on your last year Income Tax Return. Most credit cards expect to see 6 lakh to 12 lakh return.
- Open your business current account and personal saving account with the same bank. They can check your business revenue and approve the credit card.
- Open premium saving account with the bank. You have to maintain 1 lakh or above average balance in your account but your credit card would be approved.
The above methods would definitely work for bloggers, marketers, freelancers and small business owners.
If you still could not get the card then apply against a fixed deposit.
Credit Card against Fixed Deposit works for Students, Housewives, Self-Employed and Salaried people in small cities.
Powerful Tips To Get Approval (For Everyone)
#1. Don’t ever mention yourself as a Freelancer anywhere in the banking forms. Freelancers have no credibility in the eyes of banks because their income is not consistent.
#2. Always keep a reputable designation for yourself and get a decent looking visiting card.
#3. Don’t mention the same location as your home & office address. Work from a co-working space and provide that address as your business address (if they allow).
#4. Fill up landline number for home & office. That may avoid the physical verification and you would get the card quickly.
#5. Apply second credit card application based on your first credit card. Banks approve the credit card based on the credit limit of your existing card.
— Is there any tip that I missed? Please write that in the comments and I would update here by mentioning your name —
Tip to improve your credit score & history
Your credit history & score is the most important factor to get the approval of premium credit cards. You can start with basic credit cards and keep improving your credit history & score.
#1. Always pay your credit card bills before the due date. Pay at least 48 hours before the last date because sometimes bank transfers may take time.
#2. If you miss any payment then call the bank to apologise. Clear your bill immediately. They would waive off your late fees as well.
#3. Don’t keep on applying for the same credit card if you get rejected once. Give a gap of at least 6 months, preferably 12 months.
#4. Take a higher credit limit whenever offered by the bank. The bank would see you creditworthy when you manage high credit responsibly.
#5. Don’t keep the balance for the next month. Always pay full before the due date.
I am waiting for your thoughts in the comments.