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What is a Credit Card?

Credit cards are useful payment tools that allow you to purchase goods and services from a large number of vendors on credit and pay the outstanding amount at the end of the month. It allows you a means of revolving credit and short term low cost loans that provide you with purchasing power even when you do not have enough cash in the bank.The credit cards from some of the larger networks like Visa and MasterCard are widely accepted all over the world and by almost all merchants, big or small. Moreover, credit cards protect you in cases of fraud and card theft where your card company may not hold you liable in case fraudulent purchases are made on your card, provided you inform them before any fraudulent purchases are made on the card.

How do I use a Credit Card?

Credit cards are extremely easy to use and almost all of them have the same steps to be followed. Depending on the type of card issued to you, the merchant may swipe the card into the point of sale machine in case of the magnetic strip type cards or insert it into the machine in case of smart chip enabled cards. Following this, the merchant will enter the amount to be charged into the machine and give you the machine for verification and to enter the PIN code for the card. On successful verification from the bank, the amount is subtracted from your credit balance and the transaction is completed.The way the card works is that your bank provides you with a rotating account and a certain amount of credit subject to a maximum limit that depends on a variety of factors like your salary, credit score and others. You can use this line of credit to purchase goods and services from vendors and your bank pays the merchants at that time. At the end of your billing cycle, you are expected to pay back the amount borrowed. It is highly recommended that you do not leave any amount pending, although if you do it can be pay back later with interest

What are the features of a Credit Card?

Different cards from different banks will have different features, depending on the plan you purchase and the types of facilities being provided to you. Some of the more common features are:

  • Credit cards from most of the larger networks are globally accepted and can be used at thousands of merchants all over the world. This makes it very easy for people who travel regularly to have access to funds easily.
  • Credit cards allow you to buy expensive items when you may not have enough funds in your account to cover the entire cost all at once and allow you to complete the repayment over a period of time with by paying some small percentage of interest. This allows you to use the credit card as a form of low interest short term loans.
  • Some banks allow the users of credit cards with their banks to avail loans at attractive rates as they can verify your credit score and spending habits.
  • Credit cards often allow you to pay utility and other bills at one go and usually club utility payments with some attractive schemes and cashbacks.
  • Credit cards receive regular sms and email alerts to pay bills as well as when the card is used, allowing you to immediately identify fraudulent usage of your card.
  • Credit cards allow you to download statements of your usage from the online portal of the bank to get a history of your spending habits and behaviors.
  • Banks will usually charge you a joining fee when you apply for a new credit card. This is typically a onetime fee and some banks do not charge them on certain types of cards.
  • Some banks take a lost card liability, which means that you are not liable for any fraudulent activity that is done using your card after you report the card as lost or stolen. The card provider undertakes the liability in case of such an event.

What are the benefits of a Credit Card?

Credit cards also often have great incentives in the form of rewards and cashback offers on using your card for activities like shopping, flights, movies, dining out, fuel, online purchases and many more, depending on your card provider and this can be extremely useful if you use such products and services regularly. Some benefits provided by many card providers are as follows:

  • Most credit cards have some sort of joining reward that is provided to you as rewards points or gift vouchers that you get for applying for the card.
  • Most credit cards also subscribe to some sort of rewards system that awards you with points for certain types of transactions and these points can be redeemed by you for all kinds of gifts and prizes that are usually listed by the provider on their online portal.
  • A lot of credit cards also provide their users with added benefits on purchase of fuel subject to some minimum amount in a month.
  • Cashback benefits are provided to holders of certain credit cards on the purchase of certain products or services if the bank has a scheme or deal with the merchants or service providers. This depends on the banks and different cards may be eligible for different types of offers.
  • Airline miles are usually offered to card users as rewards for different types of transactions and can be availed to fund your travelling expenses through partner airlines. They may also provide additional travel benefits for local transport, hotel stays, local tours and sightseeing trips and others.
  • Some cards provide added rewards and offers on activities like shopping, spa treatments, eating at restaurants, movies and theater ticket bookings and other services.

What is a Credit Card Grace Period?

Credit cards provide you with credit upto a certain upper limit without any additional interest being charged on that amount for a certain amount of time. You are expected to repay the amount before this period ends. This period for which you are not being charged interest on your charges is called the grace period. Most grace periods last from between 20 days to 50 days, depending on the bank and the card you are a holder of.

What do I need to be eligible for a Credit Card?

As such the eligibility requirements for different types of cards are highly subjective to the conditions placed by the issuing bank. However the standard eligibility criteria requires that you are above the age of 18, have valid documents to prove your identity and residence and have a steady monthly income above a certain minimum limit.

Credit Card Application Checklist (Depends on the bank you choose)

This section covers the basic documents and proofs that you will require for applying for a credit card in most banks. Be advised that while we try to cover the most common types of documents, your bank may have additional requirements that you need to be aware of so contact them beforehand to check:

  • Keep your credit card application form handy and ensure all the details are filled in neat and legibly.
  • Have a Government issued Identity proof like a passport or a driving license with you.
  • Proof of Residence for your address as filled into the form.
  • Proof of Income like a salary slip from your employer or a bank statement.
  • 2-4 passport sized photographs.
  • Your Account statement from your bank.
  • Disclosure documentation about any debts that you may already have.

Why should I choose BankingOnTips for selecting my Credit Card?

We at BankingOnTips are committed to helping you find the credit card that suits you best from a wide range of possible offers based on various factors like credit eligibility, salary range, city of residence and so on. We use these details and show you the cards that you may be eligible for and help you to compare and contrast them to find the one that suits you best and once you zero in and decide to purchase one, we will direct you to the concerned partners website for registration and further formalities.

  • We provide you with all the details regarding the credit cards you are browsing through on our portal and are committed to keeping the most up to date information on our website, so what you see is what you get.
  • Comparison of different financial products is a huge hassle and used to require going through the websites of multiple providers and pour over pages of terms and conditions to find the best one for you. We try to simplify this process as much as possible by giving you an easy way to compare the products across multiple different providers and letting you find the best card for your needs.
  • Our easy apply process allows you to choose the card you like and then directly take you to the website of the bank to complete the online application process and get your card.