Zero Annual Fee Credit Cards are a great choice for anybody starting out with credit cards. Lifetime Free Credit Cards might not have some of the perks that the premium credit cards carry but they come with great rewards and savings. If you are looking to use your credit card occasionally and don’t care much for the additional perks like Lounge access at the Airports or concierge services, you are better off going with a zero annual credit card over premium credit cards.
Best Free Credit Cards
Indusind Bank Platinum Aura Credit Card
You can choose to get higher reward points on spending categories of your choice. E.g. If you plan to use your credit cards in departmental stores, you can choose the shopping plan, if you purchase groceries you can choose the home plan.
Similarly you can choose out of the four available options: Shopping, Home Purchases, Travel and Party
You save about 2% on the chosen category spends, which is what makes this our favourite card.
Read our full review of Indusind Bank Platinum Aura Credit Card
Indusind Bank Platinum Select Credit Card
If you like watching movies in theatre, then look no further. With Indusind Platinum Edge Credit card you get one free movie ticket each month. When Booking via Bookmyshow.com or Purchasing a ticket on Sathyam Cinemas you can get one ticket free on purchase of one ticket.
The card falters on Reward points in comparison to Indusind Bank Platinum Aura Credit Card. Indusind Platinum Select Card is low on reward point value and only offers a reward rate of 0.5% (1 Reward point on Rs. 150 spent worth Rs.0.75)
Read our full review of Indusind Bank Platinum Select Credit Card
Indusind Bank Payback Credit Card
Payback Credit Card is generous on rewards and offers a 5% savings on movies, 1.25% on Dining, Shopping and Groceries and 0.5% on everything else (except Fuel)
The points are redeemable only on Payback.com which offers a value of Rs.0.25. The card is high on rewards points but the only downside is that the points can be redeemed via payback. On the Plus, you can earn points from both Payback and Indusind if you shop on payback partner.
Read our full review of Indusind Bank Payback Credit Card
HSBC VISA Platinum Credit Card
This card is value for money; However, you look at it. HSBC gives a Sign up bonus worth Rs. 2250 assured on signing up for the card and Rs. 2000 cashback on making 9 or transaction (totalling 10,000/- or more) within the first 90 days, an average of 3 transactions a month, seems very doable.
The card offers 2 Reward points on spends of Rs. 150, which isn’t great in comparison to other cards in the list specially “Card Link”. If you are looking to spend 30,000 or more each month on your card, this card should be your first choice. Upon spending Rs. 400,000 annualy (33,333/- each month), the card offer 5X reward points on subsequent purchases. If you are looking to spend over 400,000 each year on the card, there are plenty of other options, that come loaded with lots of perks. This card is only a good option if you plan to spend a lot on the card; However, for some reason you don’t qualify for the premium cards.
Read our full review of HSBC VISA Platinum Credit Card
MakeMyTrip ICICI Bank Platinum Credit Card
If you happen to be making a lot of purchases on Makemytrip then this card is for you. The Card has zero annual fee and you get sign up bonus worth 2500/- (Rs. 500 on MMT and Rs. 2000 on LemonTree Hotels) and you get MMT Black membership. MMT black membership is only offered to regular customers of MMT and with this you can MyCash on MMT on achieving spending milestones.
You get some exclusive discount offer with this card on Makemytrip. Like Extra 1250 cashback on non EMI transaction on purchases made on Monday between 4 PM to 10 PM.
This card comes with generous sign up bonus and some generous offers for regular MMT customers but lacks on reward points.
Read our full review of ICICI Bank Platinum Credit Card
Bank Of Baroda Prime Credit Card
With a reward value of 1%, BOB Prime Card becomes the best secured card in the list. More to that, the card can be availed with a fixed deposit amount of as low as Rs. 15,000 at BOB, making it easier to access.
Complimentary Family Insurance Cover and better reward value, makes it superior to any other secured card on the list. However, you would still miss perks like discounts on dining applicable on Axis Credit Cards available on the list.
Read our full review of Bank Of Baroda Prime Credit Card
PNB Rupay Platinum Card
The PNB Rupay Platinum Card comes with 0.50% reward value. With an annual interest rate of as low as 19.56%, it can be your go to card if you are looking for a low interest secured credit card. Whereas, the unsecured version of the card is costlier.
Perks like Personal Insurance protection cover of up to Rs. 2 Lacs that covers you across the globe, makes it the second best secured credit card on the list. However, the no annual fee criteria makes it quite catchy since you must need to swipe the card at least once in every quarter to avail it for free. Moreover, you must be an existing PNB customer in order to eligible for the card.
Kotak Fortune Gold Credit Card
Kotak Fortune Gold doesn’t carry any reward points; However, it offers what no credit card does. With Fortune Gold Credit Card you get 48 Interest Free period on Cash Withdrawals via any ATM. You pay a Rs.199 Fee with cash withdrawal fee for every 10,000/- but no interest on the amount.
If you are unable to pay the credit card bill you have to pay an APR of 42%, which is higher than any other credit card.
You can check Credit Card interest rate here
Best Free Travel Credit Card
Axis Bank MyZone Easy Credit Card
The card is available with an Axis Bank FD account worth minimum Rs. 20,000.
My Zone credit card cuts back on the rewards rate but delivers well on other perks. You get 25% cashback on movie tickets booked on paytm and one complimentary lounge access every quarter and additional rewards points Worth Rs. 800 on spending 30,000 every quarter.
The card is really low on value in comparison to other cards on the list but scores on perks specially airport lounge access.
Read our full review of Axis Bank MyZone Easy Credit Card
MakeMyTrip ICICI Bank Signature Credit Card
Similar to MMT ICICI Bank Platinum Card, the MMT ICICI Bank Signature Card only serves you right if you are a regular MMT customer.
The card comes with zero annual fee, and welcomes with signup bonus worth Rs. 5,500 (1500 My Cash Points, Lemon Tree voucher worth Rs. 2,500 and MMTDOUBLEBLACK Membership worth Rs. 1,499) in exchange for joining fee.
You earn reward value of 2% on holiday and hotel bookings on MMT, and 1% reward value on MMT flight bookings. On non-MMT transactions, you earn 0.75% on international purchases and 0.62% domestic transactions.
You receive monthly movie ticket benefits worth Rs. 300 from BookMyShow and INOX Cinemas, each. Furthermore, if you regularly use your card for Ola bookings, then every 6th Ola rides come free of cost to you. Additionally, if you are an Airtel Postpaid user, then you can also get an Airtel international roaming worth Rs. 3,999.
Read our full review of MakeMyTrip ICICI Bank Signature Credit Card
LIC Signature Credit Card
LIC Signature Card is more suitable for LIC customers than a generic credit card user. This card delivers 0.50% reward value (2 reward points on spending Rs. 100 worth Rs. 0.50) on payment of LIC Insurance Policies and international transaction registered in foreign currency.
Apart from that, this card generally give you reward value of 0.25%. The only downside of the card is that you must be earning a gross monthly salary of Rs. 1.25 Lacs to qualify for it.
Read our full review of LIC Signature Credit Card
LIC Titanium Credit Card
LIC Titanium Card is similar to LIC Signature Card in terms of reward value. You get 0.50% reward value on all of your foreign currency transactions as well as payments of LIC Policies.
Furthermore, you get 0.25% reward value on regular purchases. Whereas, you don’t receive any complementary protection cover on the card unlike LIC Signature Card.
LIC Platinum Credit Card
LIC Platinum card is a best suitable for LIC Insurance customers. It offers 0.50% reward value on paying LIC Insurance Premiums using the card. You also get equal benefits on all of your international spend.
Furthermore, you get 0.25% reward value on other purchases. Apart from the reward benefits, being a primary cardholder you get a complimentary personal accidental cover worth upto Rs. 3 Crores and air accidental death cover of up to Rs. 1 Crore.
LIC Gold Credit Card
LIC Gold Card is similar to LIC Platinum card, with reward value of 0.50% on payment of LIC Insurance Premiums and international purchases along with 0.25% on other purchases.
Although, you don’t get any complimentary personal accident protection cover or air accidental death cover on the card.
Free Secured Credit Card
SBI Card Unnati
SBI Unnati Credit Card offers a reward value of 0.25% against any purchases made on the card (except fuel, cash withdrawals, card loan and balance transfer). Moreover, you earn Rs. 500 cashback on completing transactions worth Rs. 50,000 in a year.
Although, unlike other cards in the list, Unnati card comes at a zero cost for only the first 4 years. After that period, you would have to pay an annual card fee of Rs. 499. The card can only be availed against a SBI FD amount of Rs. 25,000 or above.
Read our full review of SBI Unnati Credit Card
Axis Bank Insta Easy Credit Card
Axis Insta Easy Card offers best value to an international traveller, giving reward value of 2.40% on all international purchases. Whereas, on the transactions made in India, you only get 1.20% on reward value.
Zero Annual Fee Cards for Existing Bank Customers
Indusind Bank DUO Card
Indusind Bank DUO Card is a perfect choice for a first time credit card holder since it gives you the freedom of usage as both, Debit Card and Credit Card. The card saves you 0.50% usually through reward points.
Additionally, you save upto Rs. 250 on movie ticket purchases.
Check your eligibility for credit cards here
Credit Card Companies, often charge a fee for offering perks like Free Movie tickets, Lounge access etc. Credit Cards with low annual fee carry less perks while as the annual fee increase so do the perks.
Credit Card annual fee in most cases gets waived after a certain spending threshold is met. It would vary from 30,000 annually in case of “Credit Card Name” to 600,000 in case of SBI Card or even higher in some cases.
Credit Card companies make money each time you swipe your credit card at the POS. So the bank if willing to offer you additional perks like priority pass membership or free movie tickets or free Golf lessons, so as to attract high spenders to sign up; However, they expect you to spend a certain amount of money each year in lieu of all the services and if you don’t you have to pay an annual fee to cover the cost of the perks that the credit card offers.
Fee waivers varies from Card to card and company to company.
Another way of looking at it is that. the credit card companies expect you to spend a certain amount of money each year in lieu of all the perks the Credit cards offers.
If you wish you to use your credit card occasionally.
If for some reason you don’t want to use your credit card too often and just want to use it occasionally to get additional discounts on online spendings or just for an occasional purchase, you might be better off with a zero annual fee credit card.
Carry a spare credit card
If you already use another premium credit card and are looking to sign up for another credit card only for a certain category spending or offers, then zero annual fee credit cards is the right choice for you.
First time credit card users
If you are signing up for your first credit card for the first time, it is advisable for you to start with a zero annual fee credit card. You should sign up for a basic credit card card and measure how much you spend each month on your card and what observe your spending patterns. This will help you find a better card for yourself based on the amount you spend and where you use your card the most.
Building Credit Score
If you are looking to build your credit score, then again going for a zero annual credit card would be a great idea. They help you add points to your credit card as much as premium credit card and banks are lenient in offering lower end credit cards. They would carry low credit limit but you can always get that upgraded by submitting your annual income documents and paying off your dues on time.