A few months ago, at a get-together dinner, I noticed one of my friends insisting on using his credit card to pay the bill as it would fetch us a 20% additional discount via EazyDiner. Out of curiosity, I questioned and learned that he owns a co-branded dining credit card to save on his major spending category of food delivery and dining.
Though I was aware of the many benefits that credit card companies promote every now and then, I had always been apprehensive, thinking all these benefits were just to entice people. Also, I had heard too many stories about how people got into debt traps using credit cards, which had instilled a fear of credit cards in me. However, after learning about the substantial amount that my friend had saved using the right credit card, I started researching more about credit cards.
To my surprise, I found that credit cards are truly valuable if used with discipline. Reading several articles about credit card debt helped me understand that it is not credit cards that create debt; reckless use and missed payments are the reasons for debt. To make the most of your credit cards, it is also important to choose the right one. For this, I visited Paisabazaar.com – an online marketplace to compare and apply for loans and credit cards.
Thus, based on this understanding, and keeping in view my upcoming financial goals for the next few years, when I might need to borrow a loan, I decided to get a credit card without any further delay. By this point, I had clarity about a few things:
- I needed to begin my credit journey, for which a credit card seemed the most practical option.
- I make most of my purchases online, so a card that offers additional benefits on online spending could be a better choice for me.
- Rs. 1,000 is the highest amount that I would be willing to pay towards the annual fee.
I began with the process of credit card application by providing my mobile number, and basic income, and background details. As per my eligibility, I was shown pre-approved and handpicked credit card offers.
While I was eligible for around 25 credit cards, I wanted one that matched best with my spending preferences. Thus, I set the filter to shopping and chose top providers- HDFC, SBI, Axis, and ICICI. As per the filters I set, I was offered these cards – HDFC Millennia, SBI Simply Click, Cashback SBI, and Flipkart Axis Bank Card. To my advantage, Paisabazaar’s portal shows comparable features and details of the offered cards, such as prominent co-branded features, applicable fee, reward value, pros & cons, etc.
I compared the offered cards based on the following features to find the best one for me:
- HDFC Millennia Credit Card: 5% cashback on Amazon, BookMyShow, Cult.fit, Flipkart, Myntra, Sony LIV, Swiggy, Tata CLiQ, Uber and Zomato
- Cashback SBI Credit Card: 5% cashback on online spends
- Flipkart Axis Bank Credit Card: Unlimited cashback on Flipkart
- SBI Simply Click Credit Card: 10X rewards on selected brands like Apollo 24×7/BookMyShow/ Cleartrip/ Dominos/ Eazydiner/ Myntra/ Netmeds/ Yatra
Now amongst these, I opted for the HDFC Bank Millennia Credit Card, as I spend a lot at the associated brands. Also, even when Cashback SBI offers a similar range of cashback on all online brands, it doesn’t offer any domestic lounge access, which I think was a bonus point for HDFC Millennia, as I also travel via airlines once in a while. Further, over the Flipkart Axis Card, I chose Millennia since my spending is not limited to Flipkart but across Amazon and Myntra as well.
On finalizing my card, I moved forward with the application by providing my personal and professional details. Within the next 24 hours, I got a call from the HDFC representative, and the next day I closed my KYC application at home with a bank representative. On successful application, my card was delivered in the next 7 days.
Now, I have been using my credit card for 4 months and have been saving on my day-to-day spends like online food delivery, grocery, and apparel shopping. I earn around 2,000 cash points each month and get an equivalent value back of Rs. 2,000 by redeeming them against the statement balance for a 1:1 redemption value. Putting most of the expenses on this card also helps me earn a voucher of Rs. 1,000 per quarter, as per the milestone benefit criteria on spending Rs. 1 lakh or above in a quarter. Besides, I get to avail myself of up to a 20% dining discount via Swiggy dine out.
Had I not known of the marketplace or directly applied through the lender, the search for the right card would have been difficult. Researching across multiple lenders becomes extensive and time-consuming but still remains incomplete. With Paisabazaar, the comparison became easier, as I got to compare multiple cards from different lenders on a single tab. Thus, I got my first credit card, hassle-free, in no time, and, fortunately, the first credit card I chose was also the right card for me.
If you are someone looking for a credit card or planning to apply for one, I suggest you rely on an online marketplace, compare multiple options, check features, and, most importantly, be aware of your spending patterns and the credit card market in general.