IDFC Credit Card Review – Should you get it?

Mani Karthik

In my pursuit of getting better & smarter in life,
I share everything I learn, on this blog, so you can make use of it.

If you’re reading this you would’ve heard the good news already. IDFC credit cards are here. Yay!

IDFC banking has been exceptional since the start and ever since IDFC merged with Capital First, one of the most awaited products was their credit cards.

In January 2021, IDFC First Bank launched a new line of credit cards with an industry first feature of variable interest rates.

IDFC First Bank offers four credit cards. In this article, I’ll review them in detail.

First of all, let’s see what are the eligibility criteria for IDFC credit cards.

IDFC Credit Card Eligibility

There are four IDFC credit cards currently and each of them has different eligibility criteria, as follows.

For individuals with annual income under 12 Lakhs – IDFC First Millenia

For individuals with annual income between 12 – 15 Lakhs – IDFC First Classic

For individuals with annual income between 15 – 35 Lakhs – IDFC First Select

For individuals with annual income above 35 Lakhs – IDFC First Wealth

If you are trying to get an IDFC credit card, you must have good CIBIL scores and potentially a good history with the bank.

A minimum CIBIL score of 700 is recommended.

Next, let’s look at IDFC credit cards fees.

IDFC First Bank Credit Card Fees

Currently, IDFC Credit Cards does not have a joining fee or an annual fee. They are free for a lifetime. They also have a welcome voucher of 500 Rupees if you spend 15,000 Rupees in the first 90 days.

By giving “free for lifetime” credit cards, IDFC has lowered the entry bar for everyone. In India, many people dislike the annual fee for credit cards and they did the right thing in removing the annual fee.

Having said that, it is a standard feature in all popular cards (especially premium cards) and credit card enthusiasts look at such features as “gimmicky”.

What if this is a business strategy to offer credit cards for free in the first year and then add an annual fee later? Quite possible.

Anyways, for now, a “no annual fee card” sounds good.

IDFC Bank Credit Card Interest Rates

The low-interest rate on revolving credit card balances is IDFC credit cards highlight.

For example, IDFC says it may provide 9% interest rates dependent on the profile. 9% interest rate for a credit card is super low.

But, as we all know, this is usually the “promised interest rate” and never the actual interest rate.

This is the typical “false discount offer strategy”.

Just like how those shops advertise discount sales “of up to 50% on all products”. 50% discount will be applicable only for one product and most other products will have lesser discounts. Also, notice the “up to”. 50% is not the actual offer but the “possible” offer.

So the 9% interest rate on IDFC credit cards is just the promise.

Most cardholders do not fall into this category. You are likely to get a 20% – 30% interest rate credit card in reality.

Now, let’s look at the fun part. IDFC First bank credit card features & benefits.

IDFC Credit Card Features & Benefits

IDFC Credit cards follow the typical point reward system, where you earn points for each spend and then you convert the points into benefits. And IDFC first has the same reward points system for all their credit cards, irrespective of the category.

1 reward point earned on an IDFC credit card = 25 Paisa.

And here’s how the IDFC credit card rewards system work.

  • On all online spends you get 6 reward points per 100 Rupees spent.
  • On all offline spends (grocery, petrol etc) you get 3 reward points per 100 Rupees spent.
  • For all spends above 20,000 Rupees you get 10 reward points per 100 Rupees spent.
  • For all birthday spends, you get 1o reward points per 100 Rupees spent.

Do IDFC Credit Cards offer lounge access?

Yes. Even IDFC debit cards offer lounge access (for Rs.2 fee and a limit of 2 visits every month maximum per card).

Other benefits for IDFC credit cards

  • Golf benefits: Complimentary Golf rounds on IDFC First Wealth Credit Card (top variant).
  • Buy 1 Get 1 Movie Benefit: Upto Rs.250 cashback on IDFC Select Credit Card (this is available on IDFC debit cards also).
  • Buy 1 Get 1 Movie Benefit: Upto Rs.500 on IDFC Wealth Credit Card.
  • Forex Markup Fee: 1.99% on IDFC Select Credit Card.
  • Forex Markup Fee: 1.5% on IDFC Wealth Credit Card.
  • Free Road Side Assistance(RSA) worth ₹1,399 on all cards, except Millenia.

Summary

Overall, IDFC credit cards are a good choice just for the fact that they don’t have annual fees. As far as benefits go, it’s probably not a great match to HDFC credit cards or American Express, but for a regular reward card, it is a “good to have”. I find it interesting that many of the features are available on IDFC debit cards anyways.

To apply for IDFC credit cards, use the application form on their website or contact the branch manager.