Before we apply for a credit card it is always better to know what type of credit card is best suited to our profile. Catering to different type of consumer needs, credit card companies issue several types of credit cards. Each type has its own benefits. Here we present a brief description of popular types of credit cards issued banks and financial institutions in India.
Regular Credit Cards
This is the most basic type of credit card. It has a low credit limit and the most basic status among various credit cards. Credit card companies can club various other reward programs like travel rewards, cashback offers etc to enhance its value and appeal to customers.
Silver Credit Cards
Silver credit cards have higher eligibility criteria than regular credit cards. They bring more card member benefits to the customers, and have higher credit limits than regular credit cards. For example the ICICI bank Silver credit cards have the following income requirements Rs. 60,000/- p.a. for salaried individuals and Rs. 50,000/- p.a. for self-employed persons. The credit limit on these credit cards range from Rs. 40,000 to 80,000.
Gold Credit Cards
Gold credit cards have a higher status and credit limits than silver credit cards. Needless to say these types of credit cards have higher income requirements as their eligibility criteria. For example ICICI Bank Gold cards have income requirements as Rs. 1,20,000/- p.a. for salaried individuals and Rs. 1,00,000/- p.a. for self-employed people, while HDFC bank gold card are issued to those with a minimum income of Rs 2,00,000/- p.a. if you are salaried and Rs. 150,000/- p.a. if self employed. In addition to the regular benefits banks extend special privileges to their gold credit card holders.
Platinum or Titanium Credit Cards
These types of credit cards bring more benefits to credit card holders than regular, silver or gold credit cards. These credit cards generally have platinum or titanium hue and are issued to a select class of clients who have excellent financial background and good income levels. Platinum credit cards have personal concierge services, in addition to exclusive platinum benefits.
Signature Credit Cards
A league of its own, The Signature Credit Cards usually have no pre-set spending limits, personal concierge service, signature travel, lounge and membership benefits. Offered to a very elite group these credit cards, requires an excellent financial status. On June 9, 2007 ICICI bank introduced the Visa Signature Card and became the first credit card issuer in India to launch a premium credit card. This credit card has a joining fee of 25000/- and an annual fee of 2500. The exclusivity of this signature card is exemplified by the statement "The ICICI Bank Visa Signature Credit Card allows the card member to experience a life like no other, the Signature life. Card members can enjoy an exclusive bouquet of offers and benefits valued in excess of Rs. 50,000/- including an attractive Tag Heuer watch or travel vouchers for destination of your choice, besides a Rs. 3 crore air travel insurance cover".
Credit Cards by Invitation Only
The elitest of the elite, no one can apply for these credit cards. For example, the American Express Black Credit Card, popularly called the Centurion Card, is issued by invitation to the most exclusive and elite, to those who spend a certain minimum amount (which can run into crores of rupees). These cards have huge annual fees and minimum spending levels. In fact these credit cards are so exclusive, that they have an aura of mystery surrounding them and are considered as status symbols.