Last updated: Dec 19, 2017
I am a credit card freak. I often do research on credit cards and keep an eye on the best available credit cards in India.
Last year I have reviewed more than 20 credit cards but it became difficult for readers to pick the best choice for them. Following credit cards will going to be best in 2018 for salaries professionals.
At a glance, best credit cards in India for 2018
- Standard Chartered Platinum Rewards Card
- ICICI Instant Platinum Card
- Standard Chartered Manhattan Credit Card
- SBI Simply Click Credit Card
- Citibank Cashback Credit Card
- Standard Chartered Super Value Titanium Credit Card
- American Express Gold Card
- Amex Platinum Travel Credit Card
- Citibank Premier miles Credit Card
- HDFC Diner Credit Card
- SBI Signature Elite Credit Card
Based on your usage you can select one of the best credit cards from my list of top 11 credit cards offered by Indian banks.
Best Credit Cards In India At No Annual Fees
#1. Standard Chartered Platinum Rewards Card
I have reviewed all credit cards with zero annual fees in India in a separate article.
But.. the winner is StanC Platinum Rewards Credit Card.
No annual fees or joining fees
(Note: Application link may say joining fees of Rs. 250 but that will be waived off when you use your credit card within first 90 days — Actually it’s a ZERO Annual fees only)
Personally my favorite credit card is StanChar Manhattan Credit Card (Reviewed at #3) but Platinum is best is you are applying for the first time and looking for a No Annual Fees credit card for lifetime.
If you already have any credit card from any bank, then skip to the Review of Manhattan Credit Card.
You have high chance of approval of Platinum card if you are a salaried employee. You can request for upgrade to Manhattan card whenever you need in the future (approval based on your salary & credit card usage)
Best for : Salaried people who want to own all rounder credit card.
Quick Application Link for Platinum Credit Card (Approval rate is good if you have salary from Private or Government job)
- Get additional 1000 rewards points if you transact within 60 days
- Bonus 500 points for registering for online banking
- 20% cashback on Uber rides
- 5 points on spending 150 rupees on dining
- 5 points on spending 150 on fuel
- 1 reward points on spending 150 on any other category
…but there are some more choices for you.
Wait for the approval of your Platinum card and apply for your second credit card after 6 months. I will tell you how to save more than 20,000 rupees just by using credit cards.
#2. ICICI Instant Platinum Card
Apply for ICICI Platinum card in case you get denied for Standard Chartered Platinum.
It is not easy to get your first credit card in India. ICICI bank offers you instant credit card against fixed deposit if you have a saving account with ICICI bank. You can simply log on to ICICI online banking and apply for the card.
If you worry for your CIBIL score just because you want to apply for a credit card, you must try ICICI Instant Platinum Credit Card.
Annual fee: Nil.
Link for ICICI Bank Platinum Card (Be aware that approval rate is bad without Fixed Deposit)
Who should apply?
ICICI credit card is a good option for Students, Housewives and Non-Salary people if they want to apply for credit card against a Fixed Deposit.
Salaried people must apply for Standard Chartered Platinum Rewards Card(Free for Life)
- 3 payback points for every Rs.100 spent.
- Global Emergency Assistance and Card replacement service available.
- Get ₹ 100 off on movie tickets twice a month.
- Enjoy delicious treats at minimum 15% savings at over 800 leading restaurants across 10 cities in India.
- 2.5% fuel surcharge waiver can be availed on fuel transaction of maximum ₹ 4,000 at HPCL pumps.
ICICI bank will offer you credit limit based on the amount you keep in the fixed deposit. You will earn regular interest on your fixed deposit. The bank just want to secure itself against the risk of fraud by first time credit card user.
Best Credit Card For Salaried Person in 2018
#3. Standard Chartered Manhattan Credit Card
Standard Chartered Manhattan card is my all time favorite card and I spent almost 90% of my expenses and saved a lot of money through cashback and reward points.
Everyone spend money on grocery and most people in metro cities buy groceries from Reliance, Easy Day, More, Spenser’s or Big Bazaar.
This is the only card that offers 5% cash back on your grocery spends.
Annual fee: Rs. 999 (but you can get it waived off)
Quick Application link for Standard Chartered Manhattan (Good credit card for Salaried people with a spend of 1L to 2L per annum)
- 5% cashback on credit card expenditure at supermarkets & department stores
- 5x rewards when you use your credit card to pay for Hotels, Dining, Airline ticket reservation and Fuel
- You can earn up to Rs. 500 as cashback every month and Rs. 150 per transaction.
I use Manhattan Credit Card for my online shopping, below is the snapshot of my Standard Chartered card statement.
You can easily earn 6000 rupees every year (3000 in cashback and 3000 after redeeming points). I explained everything in a detailed review of Standard Chartered Manhattan credit card (and tips on how to get approved quickly)
If you already loving my favorite card then..
you can directly Apply for SCB Manhattan credit card by clicking here
Best Credit Card For Online Shopping & Rewards
#4. SBI Simply Click Credit Card
Simply Click Credit Card is best for online shopping. There is small annual fees that will be waived off if you spend 1L amount per year from the date of approval.
But SBI approves Simply Click for salaries people only. If you get salary in SBI bank account then you can easily get the approval.
If you love to shop online then you will find a lot of offers from Amazon, Flipkart, Makemytrip, Cleartrip and many more vendors. The details have been provided in key benefits.
Annual fee: 499 (waived off by spending 100,000 in one year)
Bonus: Rs 500 voucher from Amazon
Link to Apply for SBI Simply Click Credit Card (You should have excellent credit history for getting approval of this card — Not for first time applicants)
- 10X rewards on online spends — Amazon / BookMyShow / Cleartrip / Foodpanda / FabFurnish / Lenskart / OLA / Zoomcar
- Earn 5X rewards on all other online shopping
- A welcome e-gift voucher worth Rs 500 from Amazon
- 2.5% fuel surcharge waiver (on 500+ trasaction amount)
- Cleartrip e-voucher worth Rs.2,000 on annual online spends of Rs. 1 Lakh (one more 2000 e-voucher on another 1Lakh milestone)
#5. Citi Bank Cashback Credit Card
Best for you if you watch movies and pay your bills online.
Saving 5% regularly every month is so sweet.
Annual fee: Rs.500
I hate their application process because it’s very difficult to fill up details in the online form. I don’t know why don’t they make the application easy like other banks.
But anyways, you will get following benefits with Citibank. (You can also apply for Citibank IOC Fuel Card)
- 5% cash back on movie tickets
- 5% cash back on telephone bill payments
- 5% cash back on Utility Bill Payments
- 0.5% Cash Back on all other spends
- You must have excellent Credit History before applying.
- 80% Citibank card applications decline because people do not have credit history.
- Online form is complex and lengthy, be patient and fill the information.
#6. American Express Gold Card
The American Express Membership Rewards® Credit Card
Earn 1,000 Bonus Membership Rewards Points for simply using your Card 6 times on transactions of Rs. 1,000 and above every month.
Annual fee: First Year Rs. 1000 (Second year onwards Rs.4,500)
Quick Application Link for American Express Gold Card
- Welcome gift of 4,000 Membership Rewards Point after first 3 spends in 60 days.
- 1000 Bonus MR Points for using your Card 6 times every month.
- Earn 1 MR point on Rs.50 spent on all spends except for spend on Fuel, Insurance, Utilities and Cash Transactions.
- Up to 20% off at selected restaurants.
- Redeem from 18 carat and 24 carat Gold Collection.
- Earn 5000 MR Points on renewal for second year.
I applied for this card and got approved in 2016. I am loving the benefits so far.
You can learn my hacks with Amex Gold card for online shopping.
(best, if you already have any other cashback credit card. Use it for earning 1000 bonus points worth 400 rupees every month)
Best Credit Card For Frequent Travel and Free Lounge Access
#7. Citibank Premiermiles Card
You can earn extra mile on your ticket booking and online shopping through this card. Citibank Premier Miles card comes with access to premium airport lounges across India and world.
There are two best credit cards for travel — Citibank PremierMiles and Amex Platinum Travel. You can not go wrong with either. Apply for both if you can afford the annual charges. Best for people who have 2–3L of annual spend on travel.
Annual fee: Rs.3,000/-
Note : You must have another credit card beforehand. It will be approved only if you have a great credit score.
- Get 10000 Miles on activation.
- Earn 10 Miles for every 100 spent on airlines.
- Earn 10 Miles per Rs.100 spent with online partner merchants.
- Earn 4 Miles for every 100 of all other spends
- Redeem your miles at over 100 airlines.
- 100 Miles = Rs.45 with preferred partners.
- Redeem your miles up to 3 hours before take off.
#8. American Express Platinum Travel Credit Card
American Express Platinum Travel Card offers great benefits for frequent travelers (like vouchers from Indigo and Taj)
Annual fee: First Year Rs. 3,500 (Second year onwards 5,000 Rs.)
- Welcome gift of 5,000 Milestone Bonus Membership Rewards Points redeemable for IndiGo Vouchers worth Rs. 4000.
- Spend Rs. 1.90 lacs in a year and get IndiGo Vouchers worth more than Rs. 7,700.
- Spend Rs. 4 lacs in a year to get IndiGo Vouchers worth more than Rs. 11,800. Also, get a voucher worth Rs. 10,000 from the Taj Group.
- You can have upto 3 Amex cards at a time.
- Your spending habit will increase your credit limit for this card.
You can reap out maximum benefit if you travel by IndiGo because most of the redemption can be done with IndiGo partners only.
Go for this credit card if your annual expenses are more than 2 lakh.
Best Credit Card for Fuel and Utility Bills
#9. Standard Chartered Super Value Titanium
There are many credit cards which provide 5% cashback on fuel. If you are holding any premium credit cards like SBI Elite or Regalia then you don’t need to apply for a separate card for cashback on fuel.
But, if you are first time applicant and your most of monthly expenses happen on fuel, phone and utility bills then you must apply for Standard Chartered Super Value Titanium Credit Card
Annual Fees — Free for First Year, 750 rupees from Second Year Onwards (Waived off if you spend 60,000 in first year)
Joining Fees — 499/- rupees but it will be waived off if you spend 30,000 in first year.
Clearly, you should apply for this credit card if your monthly expense is at least 5,000 rupees (12*5K = 60K per year).
Benefits of SVT Credit Card
- 5% cashback on fuels
- 5% cashback on phone bills
- 5% cashback on utility bills
- Transact within 60 days to get additional 1,000 Reward Points
- 500 bonus reward points on registering for online banking
Note: Minimum transaction amount for cashback eligibility is Rs750
Alternatively, you can apply for an exclusive Fuel card — CitiBank Indian Oil Credit Card
Premium Credit Cards in India
#10. HDFC Diner Premium Credit Card
HDFC launched Regalia and Diner with similar set of benefits but degraded the benefits of Regalia credit card. Now Diner credit card offer better benefits than Regalia, so I dropped Regalia from my list.
Diner Premium Credit Card came with complimentary access to Golf lessons but HDFC removed that benefit now. It’s only available with Diner International credit card that comes at the annual fees of Rs. 10,000.
While Diner premium comes at annual fees of Rs. 2500 only but of course with limited benefits.
- Earn 4 Reward Points for every Rs. 150
- Air Accident Cover of INR 1 Crore
- Emergency Medical Expenses Cover of up to INR 25 Lakh
- Credit Liability Cover of up to 9 Lakh
- Travel Insurance Cover of up to INR 50,000 on baggage delay/loss
- Complimentary access to airport lounges
- Foreign transaction fees 2%
#11. SBI Signature Credit Card (Elite)
Being the big brother of Indian government banks SBI has made a space in this list which is not expected from any other govt. banks in India.
SBI Signature Card comes with a bunch of offers from the online shopping portals with decent bonus reward points.
Annual fee: 4,999 (+Welcome Gifts worth 4,999)
Quick Application Link for SBI Signature Elite Card
- Benefits worth Rs.30,000 every year.
- Welcome gift worth Rs.5,000.
- 2 Free movie tickets every month from Bookmyshow.
- 10 points per Rs.100 spent on Dining, Departmental stores, Grocery & International Spends
- 2 points per Rs.100 spent on others.
- Signature Contactless Advantage.
- Earn 10,000 bonus Reward Points on achieving annual spends of Rs. 2 lakhs, 3 lakhs and 4 lakhs
- Earn 20,000 bonus Reward Points on crossing annual spends of Rs. 5 lakhs.
- 1 Reward Point = Rs. 0.25.
Who is the winner?
I trust and love Standard Chartered Manhattan card which is my favorite for last 7 years. I make more than 20,000 cashback and get annual fees waived off every year.
If you are first time applicant and looking for life time free card, then apply for Standard Chartered Platinum Credit Card. (No brainer that it’s best reward credit card without any fees. Good for shopping and regular expenses)
If you are online shopping freak, then SBI Simply Click would be better. For fuel surcharge waiver, any premium credit card would waive off surcharge. If you spend a lot on fuel, then consider Citibank Indian Oil Credit Card.
Let me know in the comments or drop me an email if you have any questions.