In the current age it is no longer practicable to carry a thick stack of bank notes and rolls of coins in one’s wallet not only from the security perspective, but also from the point of view of convenience. With respect to these issues, credit cards, also known as plastic money, provide a viable alternative and its use is on the rise. Apart from providing much needed alternative to cash, credit cards also reward you expenses made using them. As a result of the huge demand for plastic currency, there are options aplenty available from leading banks.
There are a host of credit cards in the credit cards market having different features and benefits linked to them. The most popular credit cards on the offer include, entertainment credit cards, fuel credit cards, co-branded credit cards, cash-back credit cards, student credit cards, women credit cards, travel credit cards, lifetime free credit cards, premium credit cards, Business credit card, Global credit card and low interest credit cards.
The Difference between Credit Cards and Debit Cards
The basic difference in a credit card and a debit card is that in case of a debit card, the money that is used while making purchases or payments is your own money, while in case of credit cards, the money you spend is money that you have borrowed, which you are required to pay back to the bank before the stipulated due date. Using a credit card is not unlike taking short term, zero interest loans (if repaid before the due date). Another difference between credit cards and debit cards is that the use of a credit card also helps credit card holders build up a credit history, which can add to or negatively affect your CIBIL score, based on your payment history.
How do you use a Credit Card?
A credit card company enters into agreements with various merchants for them to accept their credit cards. The credit card issuer issues a credit card to their customer. When a bank issues a credit card, a revolving credit line is created for the customer and this line of credit may be used by the card user to make purchases or to get cash advances (using your credit cards as ATM cards)when using the card. The card holder then receives a monthly bill that can be paid off before the due date without incurring any interest for using the credit provided by the card issuer. When a purchase is made, the cardholder is basically agreeing to pay the card issuer the amount that has been incurred, at a later date.
While making a purchase, the card holder has to either swipe the magnetic strip of the card on a card machine at the shop. The merchant copy of the receipt generated needs the card holder’s signature for validation. Newer cards feature the more secure chip and pin system, where the chip on the card is read by the merchant’s card machine and a four or six digit pin is required to complete and validate the transaction.
Apart from using the card through physical presentation, as discussed above, the booming online shopping industry has also benefited hugely through the ubiquitous availability of credit cards. Key details required for completing an online transaction using a credit card include the card number, the card expiry date, the CVV number on the back of the card and a special transaction password or one time password sent to your registered mobile number.
Add-on cards mostly enjoy the same credit card reward programs as the primary cards. This however, may vary with each issuing bank, but the basic benefits are
- Use : Most credit cards allow the card holder to use these cards in India as well as in foreign countries for conducting various transactions like shopping. Supplementary credit cards too offer card holders the same benefits. Both online and offline shopping can be done with add-on credit cards.
- ATM facilities : The withdrawal limit set on a supplementary card may be the same as the primary card, or it might be less. But supplementary cards too have the option for cash advance. This implies that the card holder can withdraw cash from the ATM at anytime of the day.
- Reward points : Reward or bonus points are added to your account each time you swipe a credit card. After you have accumulated a certain amount of reward points you can avail a benefit or a boost from your bank. All supplementary credit cards also have the same features, the same amount of reward points are given for subsequent swipes, as is the case with the primary card.
- Monitor Usage : Monitoring the usage, spending habits and transactions made via a supplementary card is very easy as all cards are basically under the same account.
- Independence : Supplementary credit cards given to children or even parents provide them with financial freedom. These cards are also very useful in case of emergencies.
- Easy tracking : All transactions of supplementary cards and primary cards are recorded in the same statement. This can help the card holder in easy tracking.
The eligibility for a credit card differs from provider to provider. However, the basic criteria are as follows
- You should be at least 18 years old
- Whether salaried or self-employed, you must have a regular source of income to pay back your credit card bills (minimum income bracket differs from one card to another).
- You should have a savings account in your name
- You must not have a bad credit history
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Required Documents For Credit Card Loan
The documentation requirement also varies from issuer to issuer, some of the key documents required to apply for a credit card are as follows
- Identity and signature proof-Passport, PAN card, Driving License, Voter ID card, Aadhaar card, employee identity card in case of government employees.
- Address Proof-Bank statement, Rent Agreement, Voter ID card, Ration card, Passport, Driving License, telephone/ electricity/ water/ credit card bill or Property tax.
- Age Proof-Voter ID card, Secondary School Certificate (class 10), birth certificate, Passport, Aadhaar Card, pension payment order or receipt of LIC policy.
Income proof for Salaried Individual :-
- Latest 3 months’ salary slips
- Salary account bank statement for six months
Income proof for Self-employed businessmen / professionals :-
Latest IT Returns with computation of income and other certified financial documents Business continuity proof.