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List of Best Lifetime Free Credit Cards in India 2021

Updated on: 14 Dec 2021 // 48 min read // Credit Cards
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Indian credit card users are spoilt for choice. Many leading financial institutions in the country offer credit cards with a plethora of features and benefits. Low interest rates, higher credit limits, rewards, teaming up with retail giants and offering additional discounts are some tactics they use to woo customers. 


Traditionally credit cards users were levied an annual fee that translated into huge outflows over a period of time. But with changing times offering a lifetime free credit card has emerged as a vital tool for lending institutions to attract customers and strengthen their market standing.


Best Lifetime Free Credit Cards In India with No Annual Fees

The list of lifetime free credit cards with no annual fee is not exhaustive. Numerous banks have ventured into this domain and offer lifetime free credit cards with no annual fee. But there is more that makes them the best in the league. Listed below are the 10 best lifetime free credit cards in India with no annual fees:

 

ICICI Bank Instant Platinum Credit Card

ICICI Bank Instant Platinum Credit Card is a zero annual fee credit card. It is issued against a fixed deposit at ICICI Bank and is therefore without any joining fee. Other than being a free annual fee credit card, the numerous benefits linked to the card are:

  • It features built-in, contactless technology that enables quick and secure payments
  • Earn reward points and redeem for lucrative offers and attractive gifts
  • Enjoy exclusive dining offers through ICICI Bank Culinary Treats Programme.
  • Earn interest on your Fixed Deposit.
  • Use a card at a low-interest rate of just 2.49% per month.
  • Instant over-the-counter card issuance.

 

HSBC VISA Platinum Credit Card

Besides being a lifetime free credit card with no joining fee or annual fee, HSBC VISA Platinum Credit Card offers a flurry of benefits, rewards, and cash backs that make it the best pick in the category. Its other exclusive privileges include:

  • Introductory benefits of up to Rs. 2,250 with three complimentary airport lounge access at domestic & international airports or 3 AirDine vouchers
  • Air miles conversion available on InterMiles, British Airways and Singapore Airlines
  • 5X rewards points on usage beyond Rs. 400,000 with a maximum 15,000 accelerated reward points in an anniversary year
  • Annual savings on fuel surcharge of up to Rs. 3000
  • Welcome e-gift voucher of Rs. 250 from Amazon
  • Zero liability for card lost.
  • Emergency card replacement

 

IDFC FIRST Classic Credit Card

IDFC FIRST Classic credit card is one of the most attractive among the best lifetime free credit cards in India as it offers an entire spectrum of benefits and rewards. Loaded with features, it's a must-have for every shopaholic. The exclusive features include: 

  • Lifetime free credit card with NIL over limit fee
  • Lowest finance charges ranging between 0.75% - 2.99% per month
  • 10X reward points on all spends above Rs. 20000
  • 6X reward points for online spends
  • 3X reward points on offline spends
  • 10X reward points on spends done on the birthday
  • No expiry of reward points
  • Cash conversion of reward points @ 1 reward point = Re. 0.25
  • No reward redemption fee

 

SBI Unnati Credit Card

State Bank Of India, India's largest public-sector bank, made inroads into the zero annual fee credit card category with its SBI Unnati Credit Card. The key features of the card include:

  • Zero card fee for the first four years of use.
  • A subsequent fee of Rs.499 per annum
  • 1 Reward point is given for every Rs.100 spent
  • Cashback of Rs.500 on achieving annual spends of Rs.50,000 within 15 days. Applicable for all membership years.
  • 1% fuel surcharge waiver
  • Issued against a fixed deposit of Rs.25,000 or more
  • Contactless card

 

Axis Bank Select Credit Card

Specially designed for its 'Burgundy' customers, Axis Bank Select Credit Card offers no joining fee and is a zero annual fee credit card. The SELECT range of credit cards offers exclusive privileges to confer maximum lifestyle benefits. These include:

  • Complimentary Amazon membership.
  • Gift voucher of Rs. 2000 from Amazon on the first card spend within 90 days of card set up.
  • BigBasket offers up to Rs. 500
  • Easy EMI conversion option
  • Complimentary Priority Pass visit

 

HDFC Moneyback Credit Card

HDFC bank offers numerous benefits on HDFC Moneyback credit card. The card is lifetime free for HDFC bank account holders. Non-HDFC bank account holders who wish to apply for the same have to pay an annual fee of Rs. 500 per year. The benefits of the card include:

  • 2 Reward Points given for every Rs. 150 spent
  • 4 Reward Points given every Rs. 150 on online spends
  • 1% fuel surcharge waiver on a minimum transaction of Rs 400.
  • Option to redeem Reward Points for the statement credit

 

ICICI Amazon Pay Credit Card

If you regularly shop on Amazon, ICICI Amazon Pay Credit Card will come across as the best, zero-annual-fee credit card in India. However, only existing ICICI bank credit cardholders can apply for the ICICI Amazon Pay Credit Card. The application process can be initiated only through Amazon Mobile App. The benefits include:

  • Prime members save up to 5% on every shopping on Amazon
  • Non-prime members get 3% cashback as Amazon Pay Balance.
  • 2% cashback when selected as a preferred payment method
  • 1% cashback on all other payments outside Amazon
  • 1% fuel surcharge waiver

 

Standard Chartered Manhattan Credit Card 

Standard Chartered Manhattan Credit Card is a one-of-kind credit card that promises 5% cashback on grocery purchases at member supermarkets. The credit card has a fee waiver clause, and the annual fee is waived off once the spending on the card crosses Rs. 1.2 lakh per annum. The key benefits of the card include:

  • 5% cashback on grocery purchases.
  • Three rewards points for every Rs. 150 spent on all other spends
  • Welcome gift of Rs. 2000 BookMyShow voucher on the first transaction done within 90 days of card setup

 

SBI Simply Click Credit Card

SBI Simply Click credit card is best suited for online shopping needs. When used on Amazon, BookMyShow, Foodpanda, Lenskart, Cleartrip, and UrbanClap, one can enjoy 10X Reward points. The card comes for an annual fee of Rs499, which is waived on an annual spend of Rs 1 lakh. Other benefits of the card include:

  • Welcome voucher from Amazon.in worth Rs. 500
  • Cleartrip e-voucher worth Rs. 2,000 on annual online spending of Rs. 1 Lakh and an additional voucher worth Rs. 2000 on an additional spend of Rs. 1 Lakh
  • 10 reward point for every Rs. 100 spend at the partnered outlets
  • Five reward points for every Rs. 100 spent on other online transactions.
  • Get one reward point every time you spend Rs. 100 on all other spends
  • Redeem reward points for cash @ Rs. 0.20 per reward point
  • 1% fuel surcharge waiver

 

Kotak Royale Signature Credit Card

Kotak Royale Signature Credit Card is the best no annual fee credit card to suit all your lifestyle needs. Head on to hotels, restaurants, airport lounges and get unending benefits on every swipe. The card comes with an annual charge of Rs. 999, which is waived off completely on an annual retail spend of Rs. 1 lakh. The key features of the card are:

  • Travel with comfort and earn 4X reward points on every Rs. 150 spent on travel and hotels
  • Complimentary access to Airport lounges in India twice every quarter
  • Fuel surcharge waiver on transactions above Rs. 500 to a maximum of Rs. 3500 per calendar year.
  • Railway surcharge waiver
  • Security cover of Rs. 2.5 lakh against fraudulent usage up to 7 days of reporting card theft.


 

What does No Annual Fee Credit Card mean?

A no annual fee credit card allows you to enjoy limited period credit that is free of cost. On top of it, rewards, cash backs, and discounts can actually be the icing on the cake. But the catch remains - if used prudently.  

To understand how a 'no annual fee credit card' or a 'lifetime free credit card' works, it is important to know about the typical charges that one is required to pay while owning and using a credit card.

  • Annual fees: Traditionally, all credit cards came with a joining fee followed by an annual fee for each subsequent year of continuation. Regular and credit-worthy credit card users who cross their minimum spend limits each year can have their annual fee charges waived off. Some co-branded cards which do charge an annual fee may compensate you with a welcome bonus and other privileges.
  • Better still, a few credit card companies now offer a lifetime free credit card, which means there is no outflow of cost in terms of joining fee or annual fee.
  • Finance charges: The finance charge, commonly known as the interest charge, is the main reason why the bank is into the credit card business. A bank typically charges as high as 4% of the unpaid amount every month. But a credit card user can avail of free credit until the end of every billing cycle. Every credit card company gives 25 to 50 days of interest-free credit. If card users pay off the entire outstanding/billed amount on or before the due date, no finance charges are levied.
  • Other charges: These are the late payment charges, duplicate statement charges, cash withdrawal charges, and credit limit charges, among others. These charges come into play based on how you use your credit card.
  • In the case of a lifetime free credit card, the credit card user is not required to pay the annual fees. However, other charges, namely finance charges and other charges, stay in the backdrop and will be charged depending upon card use.
  • For such cards, banks earn revenue from merchant fees, i.e. whenever you initiate a transaction on your lifetime free credit card, a percentage of its value goes to the card-issuing bank.
  • But if you happen to use your 'free annual fee credit card' prudently and smartly, i.e. only carry out online and offline purchases and settle your card dues before the due date, your credit card can actually be totally free of all charges.


How to Choose the Best Credit Cards with no Annual Fee in India?

Numerous banks and financial institutions have ventured into the credit card business. Their cards are strategically designed to offer features that are likely to woo many. But how exactly should one choose the best credit card with no annual fee in India? Let's look at a few pointers that can come in handy while choosing a credit card:

 

No annual fee or usage-based waiver of fees: 

While some cards may come without any joining fee or annual charges, there may be a 'usage-based waiver of fees' rider in others. Understand clearly what exactly the card offers.

Finance charges and other charges: 

The rate of interest charged in case a revolving credit facility is availed is something that needs to be understood clearly. Also, in addition to finance charges, the bank may charge a series of penalties under various circumstances like late payment charges, duplicate statement charges, cash withdrawal charges, etc. Assess, evaluate and compare before making a choice.

Credit limit: 

A credit card comes with a predetermined credit limit which depends upon your credit history, age, and salary, among other factors. Different banks may offer different credit limits for the same credentials. So before applying for your credit card, speak to the bank representative to know your maximum credit limit.

Card Privileges linked to card category: 

Nowadays, a credit card is not just merely a credit instrument. It offers a bundle of privileges that can be availed at one's convenience. So searching for the perfect category of credit card is the key. Lifestyle cards, cashback cards, reward cards, travel cards, fuel cards, business and professional credit cards – one may choose from the endless categories of credit cards to get the best fit for your personality and requirements.

 

How to Apply for Best Credit Card in India with No Annual Fee?

Applying for the best credit card in India, which comes with a no annual fee rider, is actually easy and simple. At MyMoneyMantra, we offer a comprehensive list of the best credit cards in India with no annual fee. All you need to do is to compare and evaluate the features of every card to get your best pick.

  • Visit the official site of MyMoneyMantra @ https://www.mymoneymantra.com
  • Click on the link' Credit Card' in the header bar.
  • Enter the required details to find the best credit cards with no annual fee that meets all your requirements.
  • Check eligibility for the preferred card and click on the 'Apply' button.
  • Enter the required details and submit.
  • The issuing bank will ask you to upload the documents for the successful processing of the application.
  • Upload the required documents.
  • On successfully submitting the application and the mandatory documents, an Application ID will be issued to you.
  • Track your application status using this Application ID


FAQs

✅How do I know if my credit card is lifetime free?

Lifetime free credit cards will be listed as LTF in the application form. While some credit cards do not charge any joining fee or annual fee and therefore are LTF, others will waive off the charged fee subject to the minimum spending clause. The minimum spending clause differs from bank to bank.

✅Can I get a credit card without submitting any income proof?

By default, credit cards are issued to persons who have a regular source of income. Therefore submitting income proof is mandatory for getting a credit card. However, nowadays, certain banks like ICICI and SBI offer no annual fee credit cards, which are set up against a fixed deposit account already opened in the bank. One can get a no annual fee credit card against such fixed deposit accounts without submitting any other income document.

✅What is the credit limit of a credit card?

The credit limit is the maximum limit of the credit card. A credit cardholder cannot initiate a transaction higher than the sanctioned credit limit. But once the card is put to use, the credit limit reduces to the unused amount of credit. It rolls back again to the pre-set limit after the outstanding dues are paid.

✅ What is the minimum salary requirement for a no annual fee credit card?

The minimum salary clause is different for different banks and lending institutions. Certain banks approve credit card applications for a salary/business income as low as Rs. 15,000 per month. Such cards come with a low credit limit too. But no annual fee credit cards or lifetime free credit cards are usually issued to pre-existing bank customers who have a high net-worth and credit score.

✅ Are lifetime free credit cards really free?

Lifetime free credit cards are a category of credit cards that do not charge an annual fee for as long as you continue to use the card. But charges like finance charges and other charges are levied as per the decided terms and conditions. So, if used prudently, a lifetime free credit card can actually give you free credit if you pay the outstanding amount before it becomes due. This period usually ranges between 25-50 days.