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Some of the Top Credit Cards in India with No Annual Fee

Credit cards with no annual fees, also known as “lifetime free credit cards”, offer the unique benefit of zero joining fee and zero annual fee on your card. This essentially means that you don’t have to pay any extra charges in order to keep your credit card active year-over-year. 

Since you won’t have to pay any fee, lifetime free credit cards are the perfect option for first-time card users. Although the rewards offered by such cards may not be as comprehensive as high-end credit cards, they’re still very comprehensive and offer great value to users. 

Depending on the kind of free credit card that you opt for, the features, benefits and rewards on offer may vary. Cash back cards, rewards cards, lifestyle cards, fuel cards, travel cards and shopping cards are a few of the more popular categories of lifetime free credit cards that are available in India. 

Here’s a list of some of the best credit cards in India that come with no annual fee:

Credit Card

Features

IndusInd Bank Platinum Card

Fuel, entertainment, travel and golf

YES First Preferred 

Shopping, travel, dining and entertainment

Kotak Fortune Gold Credit Card 

Movie tickets, fuel and a high cash limit 

HSBC Visa Platinum Credit Card 

Shopping, dining and fuel

YES Premia Credit Card

Shopping, travel, dining and entertainment

YES Prosperity Reward Plus Card

International usage and online shopping

Axis MY Zone Easy Credit Card

Entertainment, dining and travel rewards

YES Prosperity Edge credit card

International and online spends

 

Top 10 Lifetime Free Credit Cards in India, 2023 

Below listed are some of the best free credit card options you can choose from:

Card Name

Joining & Annual Fee

Best Suited For

Benefits Covered

Axis Bank Select Credit Card

Nil for Burgundy programme clients

Shopping and lifestyle benefits and airport lounge access

  • ₹2,000 Amazon voucher on first transaction

  • 20% off on BigBasket

  • 40% off on Swiggy

  • 6 complimentary airport lounge access each year

Amazon Pay ICICI Bank Credit Card

Nil

Online shopping cashback on Amazon and partner store discounts

  • 5% cashback on Amazon spends for Amazon Prime members

  • 3% cashback for non-prime members

  • Cashback on other expenses at partner stores

SBI Card Unnati

No joining fee, no annual fee for 1st four years

Fuel surcharge waiver and rewards

  • Reward points

  • Cashback on spends

  • 1% fuel surcharge waiver

IndusInd Bank Platinum Card

Nil

Movie tickets and insurance cover

  • Buy 1 Get 1 movie ticket on BookMyShow

  • Comprehensive insurance benefits

  • Higher reward points

Axis Insta Easy Credit Card

Nil for Burgundy programme clients

Higher withdrawal limits and longer credit period

  • 50-day free credit

  • High cash withdrawals

  • Fuel surcharge waiver

HSBC Visa Platinum Card

Nil

Shopping using EMI and dining benefits

  • Amazon voucher worth ₹5,000

  • Easy EMI conversion for spends over ₹2000

  • Discount on 1000+ restaurants

ICICI Bank Platinum Chip Credit Card

Nil

Higher reward points and benefits for eating out or food delivery

  • 2x reward points on every ₹100 spent

  • Dining and food delivery discounts across chains

  • Fuel surcharge waiver

Kotak Fortune Gold Credit Card

Nil

High cash withdrawals, longer credit cycle, and reward on milestone spending

  • Milestone program that offers 4 PVR tickets or 1 Indigo flight ticket

  • Free add-on card with same spending limit

  • 48 days interest free cash withdrawal

IDFC FIRST Select Credit Card

Nil

Personal accident cover, attractive lifestyle benefits

  • ₹500 gift voucher on spending ₹15,000 in first 3 months

  • Personal accident cover up to ₹10 Lakhs

  • Complimentary lounge and golf access

Bank of Baroda Prime Credit Card

Nil

Shopping

  • 2x reward points on every ₹100 spent

  • Personal accident cover

  • Fuel surcharge waiver

 

Disclaimer: Bajaj Markets does not offer lifetime-free credit cards. Readers are advised to visit the respective bank websites for lifetime-free credit card applications.

Features and Benefits of Lifetime-Free Credit Cards 

  • No Annual Fee: Naturally, one of the foremost benefits of a lifetime-free credit card is that you do not need to pay any annual fee for using it.

  • Quick Approval: The income requirements of most free credit cards are usually low, and other eligibility requirements are relatively straightforward. This is why you can expect a quick approval of your application and issuance of the card.

  • Rewards and Cashback: Almost all the best free credit cards offer rewards and cashback on spending in different categories and as per different spending ranges. These rewards can be redeemed to shop for products or converted into cash, depending on the terms of your chosen card. 

  • Lifestyle Benefits: Many credit cards with no annual fee offer other benefits as well, such as airport lounge access, discount on dining or food delivery, online shopping, free movie tickets etc. It is advisable to compare these benefits to get the card that best suits your lifestyle.

  • Fuel Surcharge Waiver: It is common for free credit cards to offer a fuel surcharge waiver of usually up to 1%. With continuously rising fuel prices, this can result in a big saving overall.

  • Welcome Offers: Due to the presence of several free credit cards, the deal can be sweetened by the inclusion of welcome offers such as shopping vouchers, bonus reward points, complimentary OTT subscription etc. Don’t miss to look out for such offers while choosing a card for yourself.

Eligibility Criteria & Documentation of a Lifetime Free Credit Card

The eligibility criteria to apply for any credit card with no annual fees differs from one bank to another. However, there are certain basic eligibility criteria that must be adhered to. These include:

  • Age: You must be in the age group of 21-60 years.

  • Employment: You must either be salaried or self-employed.

Note: In most cases, you would be asked to show income proof such as salary slips, bank statements, and/or income tax returns. However, these eligibility criteria may change based on individual bank’s policies.

1. Documentation for Lifetime Free Credit Card

If the eligibility criteria are fulfilled, the following credit card documents can be submitted to initiate the application process.

  • Identity Proof: Aadhaar card, PAN card, government-issued identity card, etc.

  • Address Proof: Passport, driving Licence, Aadhaar card, PAN card, electricity bill, etc.

  • Income Proof: Recent salary slips, ITR documents, bank statements, etc.

Lifetime Free Credit Cards Without Income Proof 

Almost all banks ask you for a proof of income when you apply for a credit card. Even with lifetime free credit cards, it is imperative to have proof of income. This will help the bank to know whether or not you have sufficient resources to pay your credit card bills.

However, in case you don’t have verifiable proof of income, you may find it difficult to obtain a credit card. For this purpose, several banks have come out with lifetime free credit cards that are issued without proof of income. These credit cards are secured against a fixed deposit. You can simply open a fixed deposit with the concerned bank and apply for a credit card against it.

How to Apply for a Lifetime Free Credit Card

In order to apply for a credit card with no annual fee, you can visit the respective bank and fill out an application form or apply online through the bank’s official website.

Here are the steps for no annual fee credit card application: 

  • Step 1: You can browse through the credit card section and choose a ‘no fee credit card’ from the bank’s lifetime-free credit card list as per his/her requirement.

  • Step 2: Make sure to check the eligibility criteria listed by the respective bank for an annual fee-free credit card application.

  • Step 3: If you meet the eligibility criteria, you can click on the ‘Apply’ button.

  • Step 4: You must provide details such as name, age, income proof, etc.

  • Step 5: Next, you need to submit the requisite documents, including income proof (salary slips, Form 16, etc).

  • Step 6: Once all the details are entered, click ‘Submit’.

Is a Credit Card with No Annual Fee Truly Free?

Credit cards that do not charge an annual fee are free in the sense that they do not attract any membership charges. This means that you are not required to pay only the annual membership fees. However, you will still be required to pay interest, forex markup fees and withdrawal charges, among other operational charges sought for a credit card.

FAQs on Lifetime-Free Credit Cards

✔️Which banks offer lifetime-free credit cards?

A number of leading banks in the country offer lifetime free credit cards. Some of these popular banks are SBI, ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank, Axis Bank, IndusInd Bank, Kotak Bank, YES Bank, etc.

✔️Which are some of the best ‘no fee’ travel credit cards?

Some of the best travel rewards credit cards with no annual fees include:

 

  • IndusInd Bank Platinum Card

  • YES First Preferred

  • Axis MY Zone Easy Credit Card

  • YES Premia Credit Card

✔️Which are the best cashback credit cards with no annual fee?

The best no-fee cash back rewards’ credit card list includes:

 

  • HSBC Visa Platinum Credit Card

  • SBI Card Unnati

  • Axis MY Zone Easy Credit Card

✔️Can free credit cards be used overseas?

Yes. A lifetime-free credit card offers a number of travel benefits and can be used overseas. For instance, the HSBC Visa Platinum credit card offers air miles conversion on InterMiles, British Airways, and Singapore Airlines. However, there might be some overseas banking charges involved in the case of foreign transactions as per the respective banks’ policies.

✔️Are there any other hidden charges if I use a lifetime free credit card?

The card issuer is usually very clear about the terms and conditions associated with the credit card, including the charges. A free credit card, typically, does not entail any other hidden charges. However, it is always recommended to read the terms clearly to avoid any unpleasant surprises later on.

✔️What will happen if I utilise a lifetime free credit card and don't clear the bill on time?

As with all kinds of credit cards, if you fail to clear all your outstanding dues on or before the due date, you will be charged a penalty in the form of a late fee. Additionally, your total outstanding amount would also start to accrue interest at an interest rate applicable for your card till the time you clear the dues. Your card issuer may also deactivate the card if your dues remain uncleared for a long time. Meanwhile, your credit score would also take a huge hit due to this. 

✔️How might I find lifetime free credit cards?

You can find different types of lifetime free credit cards from various partner banks on Bajaj Markets. Also, if you have an existing relationship with a bank, you may also get in touch with them to check if you can apply for any free credit cards.  

✔️How do I waive the annual cost of my credit card?

Some lifetime free credit cards tend to waive off the annual fee upon registering spends of a certain specified amount in a year. In that case, you can use your card to make purchases and payments up to the specified amount to automatically waive off your annual fee for the next year. 

✔️Is a lifetime free credit card completely free?

For a lifetime free credit card, only the joining fee and annual fee are not charged. The other fees and charges applicable on a typical credit card such as the finance charges, foreign currency conversion charges, late payment fees and cash advance fees, among others would continue to be charged.