It’s almost the end of the year. And, I was just checking my credit card statements where I got excited about how much cashback I earned during the year.
I earned more than 10,000 rupees cashback from credit cards. (Including the direct cashback and rewards)
There is no fixed formula for using credit cards because everyone has their different spending patterns.
Let me explain about how I use my credit card for shopping, travel, fuel and bills and earn a good cashback.
Read my reviews on best credit cards in India for travel, shopping and cashback.
You can later decide what suits you best.
Credit Card for Phone, Internet, D2H and Utility Bills
I have to pay bills of my phone, internet and D2H every month. I do not pay bills directly with my credit card but, prefer to use mobile wallets.
PayTm and Freecharge are my favorite wallets because of their awesome user interface and offers on mobile recharge and bill payments.
At the start of every month, I add money to my mobile wallets using the American Express Gold Charge Card.
I earn 1000 bonus points of Amex Gold card with 4 transactions of 1000 rupees each.
Depending upon the current balance of my wallets, I add money in blocks of 1000 rupees.
1000 Amex Points worth 400 rupees every month. (If redeemed for Indigo Tickets)
Cashback of 2% on bill amounts every month.
Credit Card for Online Shopping and Kindle Books
I buy a lot of books online and I love to read books on my Kindle.
I buy gift cards from Amazon. Many times Amazon offers 5% discount on buying gift cards and I never miss the chance to grab my free money.
I either use Amex Gold Card or Standard Chartered Manhattan Card for buying the gift cards from Amazon.
I prefer buying online stuff from Amazon or PayTm. Most of the times I find great deals on PayTm.
If the prices are same on PayTm and Amazon, then I always buy from Amazon because PayTm cannot match the customer service with that of Amazon. In 99% cases I find the best products with the cheapest prices on these websites.
Each website has something unique to offer, and one should be smart enough to find what matters to them other than the cheap price while buying something online.
I applied for SBI Simply Click for online shopping but they denied my application because SBI do not provide credit cards at my address. I heard from other applicants that SBI rejects a lot of applications based on weird reasons.
I use my Standard Chartered Manhattan card for all my online shopping needs. I get rewards like 1% cash back from my online shopping.
Credit Card for Groceries & Shopping
No doubt that Manhattan Card is the only card that offers 5% cashback on groceries in India. I buy my groceries from superstores and get cash back in my account.
Snapshot from my Standard Chartered Rewards Statement (Earned 150+144 cashback on groceries)
I save at least Rs. 300 cashback on groceries of Rs.6000 rupees every month. Standard Chartered offers up to Rs.500 cashback every month, so you can earn cashback of Rs.6000 (12*500) every year on just groceries.
Credit Card for Fuel, Travel & Dining
I do not spend much money on travel.
- I do not travel frequently by air so any airline credit card does not make sense to me.
- I work from home so I do not spend much on fuel either.
And, that does not mean that I do not travel.
When I travel, I do not spend money directly with my credit cards.
Rather, I pay using wallets like PayU to get 1% cashback, and I use my Standard Chartered Manhattan Credit Card to load money into PayU wallet to get additional 1% as reward points.
The offers keep on changing but my process remains the same.
That is my way of using credit cards. If you do not have a lifestyle like me then you should find a credit card that matches your requirements.
After interacting with my readers and friends, I suggest you the following credit cards.
Credit Card for Students, housewives and non-salaried people
Finding a good credit card for these people is difficult.
Sorry, but it’s true. Banks do not prefer to give credit cards to people who have high-risk profile.
The easiest way to get credit card is having it against a fixed deposit. ICICI, HDFC and SBI offers credit cards to their customers with a security of fixed deposit. The minimum amount that one needs to deposit is 20,000 rupees. Nothing to worry, you will get interest on your fixed deposit.
You can start building your credit history once you have your first credit card. It will be easy for you to apply for the second one based on your first credit card. I suggest you to get as much credit limit as you can by opening a fixed deposit of high amount.
If you have PAN card and already have any loan on your name – then you can apply for Standard Chartered Platinum Credit Card which is free for life and comes with the best offers for first time users.
Credit Card for Frequent Travellers
Do not apply for any branded credit cards like Yatra, MakeMyTrip, AirIndia, Emirates and so on…
These kind of companies want to bound people to shop on their portal or fly with their airline only. You will also get biased once you have their branded credit card in your pocket.
These cards are helpful only to those people who get reimbursement for the travel expenses from their company. They can stick with a single brand but not you.
Always find a best deal on your flight by comparing prices on all portals.
There is no other better card in India for benefits on travel.
Three points to be noted before you apply for any premium travel cards.
- You must have one credit card in your pocket. There are very less chances of getting premium cards approved if you are applying for the first time.
- You must have excellent credit history and credit score.
- You should not apply for travel cards unless your annual travel expense is 200,000 rupees.
If you don’t want to spend 5000 rupees annual fees for premium credit cards, then you can apply for CitiBank Indian Oil Credit Card. (Good for fuel only)
If you frequently travel by train, then you have only one option – SBI IRCTC Railway Credit Card.
(SBI rejects a lot of applications, so make sure you already have a credit card)
Credit Card for Online Shopping
Do not apply for branded credit cards like Snapdeal from HDFC.
You can pick SBI Simply Click for online shopping to get 10X reward points. Apply only if your annual expense on online shopping is more than 1,00,000 rupees. You must have excellent credit history to get approval of SBI bank’s credit card.
- 10X rewards on – Amazon / BookMyShow / Cleartrip / Foodpanda / FabFurnish / Lenskart / OLA / Zoomcar
- 5X rewards on online shopping
- A welcome e-gift voucher worth Rs.500 from Amazon
- 2.5% fuel surcharge waiver (on 500+ transaction amount)
- Cleartrip e-voucher worth Rs.2,000 on an annual online spending of Rs.1 Lakh
Credit Card for a regular guy like you and me?
I know what are you thinking of right now. You do not spend a lot of money on a single category. You have a mixture of expenses, like
- 2000 rupees on phone, landline and internet bills
- 3000 rupees on electricity, water, gas bills
- 2000 on fuel every month
- 5000 on groceries in super markets
- 2000 on dining/movies every month
- 20,000 on travel every year including train and air
- 20,000 on life and health insurance per year
- 2000 on online/offline shopping every month
This is the profile of a person who is earning 40,000 to 50,000 every month and has a decent lifestyle.
Ideally you should have 3 to 4 credit cards to get maximum benefits. But, do not apply for all the credit cards at once.
The purpose is to get 5% cashback on all categories and for this, you would have to mix and match credit cards and wallets to meet your requirements.
If you are first time applicant who is looking for a lifetime free credit card, then simply apply for Standard Chartered Platinum Credit Card. It’s easy to get approved for the salaried people.
If you can pay for annual fees of Rs.499 then apply for Standard Chartered Titanium Card to get 5% cashback on fuel and bill payments. The annual fees can be waived off easily when you start using the credit card.
Standard Chartered provides the best in class service for its credit card customers. Another good bank that has a good customer service is American Express.
If you already have any credit card from any company, then just apply for Manhattan Credit Card to get 5% cashback on groceries. You can get your platinum card upgraded to Titanium or Manhattan after using for few months.
Once you have your first and second credit card and then think about applying for the third one.
In the long run, you should have credit card from all popular banks. I recommend you to get cards from SC, HDFC, Amex, Citi and SBI.
Don’t get credit cards from PSU banks, Axis, Kotak or IndusInd. They are not yet the matured banks that deal in credit cards.
Think twice before applying for a credit card with annual fees. Here are my tips to get waiver on annual fees of credit card.
Do your mathematics and check if you will be able to earn sufficient cash back to cover the cost of annual fees.