Getting my first credit card
When I first applied for Credit Card in 2013, it was rejected saying I’m not over 23 to apply.
As soon as I turned 23, on the same day I applied for my first credit from HDFC. It was an HDFC MoneyBack Credit Card, I had no clue on reward points, lounge access or Insurance. I just had it for the feeling of holding one.
In 2014, I quit my job to build my start-up DoPartTime.com and whenever I had a cash crunch I just used my Credit Card and paid only my minimum balance.
Using reward points for the first time
My first ever experience of making use of my reward points was, when I was not earning (while running my start-up) and my sister wanted me to buy a mobile phone case for her. I accidentally made use of my ICICI debit card reward points and redeemed PayBack Points while paying on an eCommerce site.
Current Credit Cards that I hold
Fast-forwarding to 2016, I upgraded my HDFC MoneyBack Credit Card to HDFC Regalia Credit Card and then to HDFC DinersClub Black Credit Card.
As of now, I hold the following credit cards and use them for specific purposes.
|Credit Card||Renewal Fee||Spend Target||Purpose|
|HDFC Diners Black||Waived off||5,00,000||10X reward points|
|IndusInd Sigature Legend||Nil||6,00,000||2% flat on weekends|
|AMEX Platinum Travel||5,000||4,00,000||Insurance, International|
|AMEX Membership Rewards||Nil||48,000||eWallet top-up|
|RBL ETMoney LoanPass||Waived off||1,00,000||Instant cash withdrawal|
The template of the above credit card management sheet is available for download.
Day-to-day use of credit card
Credit Card for Family and Daily-use
I always carry my IndusInd Signature Legend Credit Card because it is on the VISA network and the acceptance is almost everywhere in India. But I try to make use of my PayTM Wallet wherever possible.
I have also taken a few add-on cards for my parents and family members from IndusInd Legend Credit Card and have instructed them to plan their spending only on weekends.
Credit Card for eWallets
I always top-up 1,000 X 4 times using my Amex Membership Rewards Credit Card to my PayTM Wallet at the beginning of the calendar month. This is my least budget for any mysterious purchases. If my wallet balance is less than 1,000 before the end of the month I try to top-up it using my IndusInd Signature Legend Credit Card on a weekend.
Credit Card for Airport Lounge Access
Since all my family members have the add-on card on VISA Signature variant, they are eligible for two free airport lounge access per card per quarter on VISA empaneled lounges.
Since I also hold Diners Club Black Credit Card, I also have unlimited access to around 750+ airport lounges in India and abroad.
I also hold a MasterCard World debit card from IndusInd Executive Account always on my mobile case, just in case the airport lounge is not on VISA or Diners Club network.
Credit Card for Online Shopping
I almost try to do my shopping online and using credit cards. I also try to shop only from Amazon, Flipkart or Myntra using my DinersClub Black credit card to avail the 10X reward points using HDFC SmartBuy portal.
Even if the cost is higher by 2-3% compared to other eCommerce sites, I still go with Amazon and Flipkart as I’ll be getting 33% as reward points during the 10X reward points offer.
Credit Card for Travel
I always book my flight using the DinersClub Black Credit Card using the HDFC SmartBuy portal, as it gives you 10X Reward Points and Free Travel Insurance.
I think it’s been a year since I stopping paying for Flights, Hotels & Experiences instead I just redeem my reward points on HDFC SmartBuy portal.
Credit Card for Saving Tax
Interestingly my IndusInd credit card allows me to use my reward points as cash credit (Pay my credit card bill) and the only asset class in India that allows using a credit card to invest is National Pension Scheme (NPS).
I have a practice of not redeeming my IndusInd reward points though out the year and use them to invest in NPS in lumpsum. NPS gives tax benefit and that is how I grow my reward points too.
Credit Card for Insurance
I have moved my Medical Insurance to AMEX and pay the Life and Critical Insurance using the Credit Cards. Insurance is one of the high premia, when paid using a credit card helps us in meeting the target spending limit.
Credit Card to Withdraw Cash
Basically, I do not use a credit card to withdraw money to a bank account. But I got the ETMoney LoanPass which gave instant cash at zero % interest up to 30,000 INR. After that, Withdraw money available at 13% interest rate on EMI. Compared to available credit cards, this seems lesser but of course higher than the personal loan of 10.99%.
Having a line of credit from a credit card is a good feeling. If you are stuffing to build up your emergency fund at least have a line of credit approved, to help you in emergency needs between your next payday and today.
Credit Card for Utility Bill Payments
I used to pay my bills using PayTM and IndusMobile All-in-One App before PayZapp was added into the 10X reward offer. Currently, I’m paying all utility bills such as postpaid mobile, broadband, electricity, and gas bills using PayZapp Mobile App.
Credit Card Bill Payment
I have moved to CRED mobile app to pay my credit card bills. The feeling of getting reward points for paying credit card bills is a dream come true.
I used to make use of my debit cards to make the credit card bills via CRED mobile app to leverage the reward points. It’s like, you spend using a credit card to earn reward points, and pay via CRED mobile app to get reward points using a debit card to leverage reward points.
People who don’t use credit cards smartly are really missing out on a lot of privileges for being loyal and creditworthy.
Best Practices for Using Credit Cards
- Always pay the credit card due in full and on time
- Get credit cards only up to your yearly expense needs
- Use the credit card only for what you need not for what you want
How do you use your credit cards? Please share them in the comments.