Best Zero Annual Fee Credit Cards in India in 2022

The annual fee is an essential factor to be considered when you look for the best credit card for yourself. Almost everyone wants to have a credit card that can provide maximum benefits to with the minimum charges.

Some people even look for credit cards that are lifetime free as they don’t want to pay anything for a credit card. Keeping such requirements of the individuals in mind, almost all the card issuers issue some lifetime free credit cards.

Now, you might have understood what are lifetime free credit cards? As the term suggests, a life time free credit card is a card that comes with no annual fee, i.e, no don’t need to pay any annual charges on these cards. Many individuals start their credit journey using a free credit card as these seem to be the most affordable and risk-free to them. Also a no-annual-fee credit card might help you lower your expenditure and help you get more value out of your credit card. Owning zero annual fee credit cards could be a good proposition in terms of the value you derive from the welcome bonuses, additional benefits, and special privileges. Thus, these cards not only help you save money by avoiding the annual fee, but you can also save a lot on your spends as almost every credit card comes with some rewards/cashback program through which you can save every time you spend.

All the major card issuers in India do have some credit cards with absolutely no annual fee charged. But, these credit cards generally have fewer features and benefits as compared to credit cards with an annual fee. But you still get some benefits for sure, such as reward points/cash back, fuel surcharge waivers, zero liability protection, etc.

Some card issuers even provide airport lounge access with their lifetime free credit cards and such credit cards can be the best choice for lots of individuals out there. Not only this, but the no annual fee credit cards can have a lot more advantages. These cards are easier to be approved for as their income requirements are not really high.

But, you can manage them easily without worrying about your annual fee getting deducted every year from your credit card account. Therefore, if you are a person who wants to earn the maximum credit card benefits with the minimum or no charges at all, you should definitely go for a lifetime free credit card.

As there are many such credit cards in the Indian market, you might be confused about which card you should choose as all the cards have their own benefits and privileges. To help you out in choosing the right card for you, we are here with the list of the top lifetime free credit cards in India. You can compare different cards and then go with the one that seems to be the best for you and your requirements. Read on to know more about the benefits of lifetime free credit cards:

 

Lifetime Free Credit Cards – Features & Benefits

Like every other type of credit card, lifetime free credit cards also have their own advantages. The following are some of the general benefits of having a credit cards with a zero annual fee:

Highly Affordable – As you don’t need to pay any joining/annual fee for the lifetime free credit cards, these cards can be considered pocket-friendly and anyone who wants can have them without worrying about the charges.

Easy Approval – Getting approved for the no annual fee credit cards is comparatively easier than the other premium cards. It is because the income requirements for lifetime free credit cards are generally low, which are really high for the premium cards that have a high annual fee. Moreover, you can get some of these cards even with an average credit score, but that is not possible in the case of premium cards.

Other than these general benefits, the following is a list of privileges that you can get with your lifetime free credit cards. However, these cards generally don’t come with a lot of benefits, but you can still avail of the following with some or all of the no annual fee credit cards:

Welcome Bonus – Not all, but some of the best life time free credit cards provide you with a welcome bonus when you join the card membership. These welcome benefits can be in the form of reward points, cashback offers, complimentary premium subscriptions of any platform, or anything.

Reward Points/Cashback – You will definitely get some type of reward points/cashback on almost all your purchases/transactions that you make using your credit card. These rewards can be more on a few particular categories and fewer on others, so you should choose a credit card that provides the maximum rewards on a category on which you spend the most.

Fuel Surcharge Waiver – All the top lifetime free credit cards provide their customers with a 1% fuel surcharge waiver on all their fuel transactions. As the prices of fuel as increasing day by day, this benefit provided by credit cards might seem to be really great to you. But, you should be aware of the fact that this fuel surcharge waiver is generally capped at a certain price and you can avail of the benefits only up to that in a month.

Zero Liability Protection – All the major card issuers provide zero liability protection against a lost card, no matter whether your card is lifetime free or a premium credit card, According to this, you will not be liable for any loss on your credit cards if your card is lost or stolen and you have reported the loss to the bank in a timely manner.

Airport Lounge Access – This is a benefit that is generally provided by credit cards with an annual fee, but there are some best lifetime free credit cards that come with the feature of complimentary airport lounge access.

Other Benefits – Other than all the features mentioned above, your no annual fee credit card can come with some additional benefits, which may include insurance benefits, dining a7 movie benefits, milestone benefits, and many more.

List of Best Lifetime Free Credit Cards in India 2022

As there are plenty of lifetime free credit cards in the market, it might be really confusing for you to choose one out of them. Some of you may also find it difficult to find out the best no annual fee credit cards, and hence might miss out on the best offer sometimes. Keeping this fact in mind, we are here to help you with a list of all the top lifetime free credit cards in India. You can go through the features & benefits of all of them and then compare all the cards. Keep all your requirements and spending habits in mind and then go with a card that seems to to best suited for you

Amazon Pay ICICI Bank Credit Card

Welcome Benefits

Rs. 300 to Rs. 600 Amazon Pay Balance (keeps changing)

Rewards Rate

5% cashback on Amazon India for Prime members and 3% cashback for Non-Prime members, 2% cashback on partner merchants, 1% cashback on all other payments except fuel purchases

Joining Fees

NIL

Rewards and Benefits

Movie & Dining

A minimum of 15% discount on dining bills at restaurants participating in the Culinary Treats program

Reward Redemption

Reward Points earned transferred to Amazon Pay balance at the end of the payment cycle. 1 Reward Point = Re. 1

Insurance Benefits

N/A

Zero Liability Protection

Cardholder not liable for any fraudulent transaction made with the card post reporting the loss of card to the bank

Amazon Pay ICICI Bank credit card is a card launched in collaboration with Amazon that provides you special cashback on your shopping spends. Prime members can get up to 5% cashback on shopping at amazon and non-prime members get up to 3% cashback on their spendings. Some of the important details of the Amazon Pay ICICI Bank credit card are listed below:-

  • 5% cashback on your purchases through Amazon for prime users
  • 3% cashback on purchases through Amazon for non-prime users
  • 2% cashback on all transactions using Amazon Pay at partner merchants
  • 1% cashback on all other transactions made using your Amazon Pay ICICI Bank credit card
  • Up to 15% off on dining with the ICICI Culinary Treats program.
  • 1% fuel surcharge waived on all petrol pumps across India. 

HSBC Visa Platinum Credit Card

Welcome Benefits

Amazon Voucher worth Rs. 500, 3 complimentary lounge access/3 meal vouchers, 50% discount (up to Rs.100) on the first transaction on google pay, and 10% cashback (upto Rs. 2,000).

Rewards Rate

Earn 2 reward points on every Rs. 150 spent on this card.

Joining Fees

NIL

Rewards and Benefits

Movie & Dining

Get a “Buy 1 Get 1” offer on booking movie tickets through BookMyShow on Saturdays.

Reward Redemption

Redeem your reward points for gift vouchers, cosmetics, home appliances, donations, etc. 1 RP = up to Rs. 0.37

Insurance Benefits

N/A

Zero Liability Protection

Zero liability protection up to Rs. 3,00,000 in case of fraud or loss of card.

HSBC Visa Platinum credit card provides you with exclusive lifestyle and travel benefits and privileges on your spendings. With this credit card, you could earn up to a 5x accelerated reward rate on your spendings. You can earn up to 15000 reward points in a year using your HSBC Visa Platinum credit card. Moreover, as a signup bonus, you can enjoy 3 complimentary domestic and international lounge visits. Some of the important details of the HSBC Visa Platinum credit card are listed below:-

  • Earn 5x reward points on annual spending of Rs 4,00,000 or above.
  • Get 3 complimentary domestic and international lounge access visits, Amazon voucher worth Rs. 500 and up to 10% cashback on your spendings as a sign-up bonus.
  • Buy 1 get 1 offer on booking movie tickets through BookMyShow
  • 10% discount on Tata CLiQ on a minimum transaction of Rs. 1000
  • 10% discount on electronics on a minimum transaction of Rs. 3000
  • 10% discount on the Tata CLiQ luxury website on a minimum transaction of Rs. 5000

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IDFC FIRST Millennia Credit Card

Welcome Benefits

5% cashback on first EMI Transaction within and gift vouchers worth Rs. 500.

Rewards Rate

3 Reward Points on every offline spend of Rs. 100, 6 Reward Points on every online spend of Rs. 100, and 10 Reward Points on every Rs. 100 on spends above Rs. 20,000.

Joining Fees

NIL

Rewards and Benefits

Movie & Dining

Up to 20% discount on more than 1,500 Restaurants across India. Avail 25% discount on movie tickets once a month (up to Rs. 100).

Reward Redemption

NA

Insurance Benefits

Personal Accidental Cover worth Rs. 2 Lakhs on all active cards. Lost Card Liability Cover of Rs 25,000.

Domestic Lounge Access

NA

Zero Liability Protection

Zero Liability protection upto Rs 25,000. Not valid on PIN Based transactions.

Travel

Complimentary Railway lounge access 4 times in a quarter.

IDFC FIRST Millennia credit card is a top trending beginner-level credit card that provides you with a host of lifestyle and travel benefits on your spendings. You get up to 10x accelerated reward points on your spendings of Rs 20,000 or above. The reward points accumulated on this credit card do not expire and can be carried forward to another term. Besides that, you get 4 complimentary railway lounge access. Here are some important details of the IDFC FIRST Millennia credit card mentioned below:-

  • Gift voucher of Rs 500 on the spending of Rs 15000 or above as a signup bonus.
  • 10x Reward Points for every Rs. 100 spent on purchases above Rs. 20,000.
  • 10x Reward points on every Rs 100 spent on your birthdays
  • Low interest rate (0.75% – 2.99%)
  • 25% discount on movie tickets once every month
  • 4 complimentary railway lounge visits every calendar quarter
  • Personal Accidental Cover worth Rs 2 Lacs

Kotak 811 #DreamDifferent Credit Card

Welcome Benefits

500 bonus Reward Points

Rewards Rate

1 Reward Points on every spend of Rs. 100 and 2 Reward Points on every online spend of Rs. 100.

Joining Fees

NIL

Rewards and Benefits

Movie & Dining

Up to 20% discount on more than 1,500 Restaurants across India. Avail 25% discount on movie tickets once a month (up to Rs. 100).

Reward Redemption

NA

Insurance Benefits

NA

Domestic Lounge Access

NA

Zero Liability Protection

You will not be liable for any unauthorized transactions made on your card once you report the loss to the bank.

Travel

NA

This is a secured credit card issued by Kotak Mahindra Bank. With this credit card, you get up to 2 Reward Points on every Rs 100 spent online. Moreover, you also get up to 500 bonus Reward Points as a signup bonus. On annual spending of Rs 75,000, you get cashback of Rs 750 and 4 free PVR tickets. Here are some important details that you might like to know about Kotak 811 #DreamDifferent credit card.

  • Sign Bonus of 500 reward points on the spending of Rs 5,000 or more
  • 2 Reward Points for every Rs. 100 you spend on online purchases
  • Cashback of Rs 750 or 4 PVR tickets on the spending of Rs 75,000.
  • 1% fuel surcharge waiver on all transactions Rs. 500 and Rs. 3,000
  • Credit Shield cover up to Rs 50,000

How To Apply For No Annual Fee Credit Cards Online?

The process of applying for a credit card is very similar to that of the other credit cards. All the major card issuers provide their customers with various ways to apply for a credit card online as well as offline. To apply for a credit card online, you will just need to visit the official website of the bank/card issuer from which you want to get your card issued. On their official website, you can easily find the option to apply for a credit card under the personal banking section. Sometimes the option is given on the home page itself to make it easy and convenient for the customers. You can also find the customer care numbers on the official website and contact them in case you need any assistance. Just make sure to keep all the required documents, including identity proof, address proof, and income proof handy.

However, some people don’t prefer online methods and want to get their works done offline if possible. Keeping this in mind, banks also allow you to apply offline for a credit card by visiting the nearest branch of your respective bank.

Lifetime Free Credit Cards Without an Income Proof

Almost all the card issuers ask you for income proof when you apply for a credit card. It is because they want to be assured that you have a source of income that can be used to repay your credit card bills. And if you are someone who doesn’t have a source of income, you may find it really difficult to get approved for a credit card. But there are some lifetime free credit cards in India that you can get even without income proof and a credit score, such as Kotak 811 #DreamDifferent Credit Card and SBI Unnati Credit Card. These cards can be issued without income proof because there are secured credit cards that are issued against a fixed deposit. You need to make an FD at the bank which is used by the bank as a security amount that they can use if you fail to make your credit card bill payments.

Credit Cards with No Annual Fee

All the lifetime free credit cards come with their own features and benefits. Some cards provide exclusive cashback offers and others provide rewards, lounge access, and many more. The following table shows all the top no annual fee credit cards with their most exclusive benefits and key features:

Lifetime Free Credit Cards
Credit Cards Annual Fee Key Feature
Amazon Pay ICICI Bank Credit Card Nil 5% Cashback on Amazon
HSBC Visa Platinum Credit card Nil Welcome Bonus and 5x Accelerated Reward Points 
IDFC FIRST Millennia Credit Card Nil 10x Accelerated Reward Points
RBL Bank Edition Classic Credit Card Rs. 500 plus taxes (presently being offered as lifetime free credit card) 5 Edition Cash per Rs. 100 on Zomato
ICICI Bank Platinum Chip Credit Card   Nil Earn up to 2 Payback points on your retail transactions 
Kotak 811 #DreamDifferent Credit Card Nil Milestone Reward Benefits
Lifetime Free Credit Cards Based on Spends
HDFC Bank Millennia Credit Card Rs. 1,000 (plus taxes), waived off on spending Rs. 1 lac in a year 5% cashback on Amazon, Flipkart, Myntra, BookMyShow, Uber, Zomato, Swiggy, Sony LIV, Tata CliQ and Cult.fit
Axis Bank ACE Credit Card Rs. 500 (plus taxes), waived off on spending Rs. 2 lacs in a year 5% cashback on mobile/DTH recharges and bill payments (electricity, broadband, water, gas, LPG) via Google Pay
SBI SimplyCLICK Credit Card Rs. 499 (plus taxes), waived off on spending Rs. 1 lac in a year 10x Reward Points on Amazon, Cleartrip, BookMyShow, Dineout, Lenskart, Apollo24x7, and Netmeds and 5x Reward Points on other online spends
American Express Membership Rewards Credit Card Rs. 4,500 (plus taxes). 50% fee waived off on spending between Rs. 90,000 and Rs. 1,49,999 and 100% fee waived off on spending more than or equal to Rs. 1.5 lacs 5,000 Membership Rewards Points (MRPs) as renewal benefit on the realization of the annual fee, 1,000 bonus MRPs on spending Rs. 20,000 in a given month, 1 MRP per Rs. 50 and 2x MRPs via Reward Multiplier 

No Annual Fee Credit Cards Reward Points/Cashback Benefit

Many people wrongly assume that lifetime free credit cards don’t provide any benefits, not even reward points. But, it is not true. There are a lot of no annual fee credit cards that come with a reward rate of up to 2.5%, which is not bad. Refer to the following table to know more about the reward rates of some of the most popular lifetime free credit cards in the country.

Lifetime Free Credit Cards
Credit Cards Reward Rate
Amazon Pay ICICI Bank Credit Card
  • 5% cashback for Prime members and 3% cashback for non-Prime members
  • 2% cashback at Amazon partner merchants
  • 1% cashback on other transactions made with Amazon Pay ICICI Credit Card
HSBC Visa Platinum Credit card
  • 2 Reward Points per Rs. 150 spent
  • 5x Reward Points on crossing annual spends of Rs. 4 lacs
IDFC FIRST Millennia Credit Card
  • 1 Reward Point per Rs. 100 on normal spends
  • 6x Reward Points on online purchases
  • 3x Reward Points on offline purchases up to Rs. 20,000
  • 10x Reward Points on spends above Rs. 20,000
  • 10x Reward Points on your birthday
RBL Bank Edition Classic Credit Card
  • 5 Edition Cash per Rs. 100 on Zomato
  • 1.5 Edition Cash per Rs. 100 on food purchases on any platform other than Zomato
  • 1 Edition Cash per Rs. 100 on other spends with the card
ICICI Bank Platinum Chip Credit Card  
  • 2 PAYBACK Points per Rs. 100 on retail spends
  • 1 PAYBACK Point per Rs. 100 on insurance and utility categories
Kotak 811 #DreamDifferent Credit Card
  • 2 Reward Points per Rs. 100 on online purchases
  • 1 Reward Point per Rs. 100 on offline purchases
Lifetime Free Credit Cards Based on Spends
HDFC Bank Millennia Credit Card
  • 5% cashback on Amazon, Flipkart, Myntra, BookMyShow, Uber, Zomato, Swiggy, Sony LIV, Tata CliQ and Cult.fit
  • 1% cashback on all other spends with the card
Axis Bank ACE Credit Card
  • 5% cashback on mobile/DTH recharges and bill payments via Google Pay
  • 4% cashback on Zomato, Swiggy and Ola
  • 2% cashback on all other spends with the card
SBI SimplyCLICK Credit Card
  • 10x Reward Points on online merchants including Amazon, Cleartrip, BookMyShow, Dineout, Lenskart, Apollo24x7, and Netmeds
  • 5x Reward Points on all other spends with the card
American Express Membership Rewards Credit Card
  • 1 Membership Rewards Points Rs. 50.
  • 2x Membership Rewards Points via Reward Multiplier

Lifetime Free Credit Cards Reward Redemption

Earning reward points is as easy as purchasing something with your credit card. But, you can earn benefits with a reward credit card if you are aware of how you can redeem your earned reward points. All the card issuers have an option to redeem their reward points through net banking or they have their own rewards portal. Moreover, all the card issuers can keep different values of their reward points. The following table shows the value of reward points for different free credit cards.

Lifetime Free Credit Cards
Credit Cards Reward Type Value of 1 Reward Point
Amazon Pay ICICI Bank Credit Card Cashback N/A
HSBC Visa Platinum Credit card Reward Points Rs. 0.37
IDFC FIRST Millennia Credit Card Reward Points Rs. 0.25
RBL Bank Edition Classic Credit Card Reward Points Re. 1
ICICI Bank Platinum Chip Credit Card   Reward Points Rs. 0.25
Kotak 811 #DreamDifferent Credit Card Reward Points Rs. 0.25
Lifetime Free Credit Cards Based on Spends
HDFC Bank Millennia Credit Card Cashback 1 CashPoint = Re. 1 for redemption against cashback, 1CP = Rs. 0.30 on other redemption categories
Axis Bank ACE Credit Card Cashback N/A
SBI SimplyCLICK Credit Card Reward Points Rs. 0.25
American Express Membership Rewards Credit Card Reward Points Up to Rs. 0.50

Lifetime Free Credit Cards With Lounge Access

Lounge access is considered one of the most exclusive benefits provided by credit cards and generally the premium cards come with this privilege. But, some of the top no annual fee credit cards also provide railway/airport lounge access to their customers. These cards are as mentioned below in the table:

Lifetime Free Credit Cards
Credit Cards Lounge Access
Amazon Pay ICICI Bank Credit Card N/A
HSBC Visa Platinum Credit card N/A
IDFC FIRST Millennia Credit Card 4 Complimentary IRCTC lounge access per quarter
RBL Bank Edition Classic Credit Card N/A
ICICI Bank Platinum Chip Credit Card   N/A
Kotak 811 #DreamDifferent Credit Card N/A
Lifetime Free Credit Cards Based on Spends
HDFC Bank Millennia Credit Card 2 complimentary domestic airport lounge access per quarter
Axis Bank ACE Credit Card 4 complimentary domestic airport lounge access every year
SBI SimplyCLICK Credit Card N/A
American Express Membership Rewards Credit Card N/A

 

Is a Lifetime Free Credit Card Really Free?

A lifetime free credit card implies that a card for which you don’t need to pay an annual fee, renewal fee, or membership fee every year. The short answer is, yes, the lifetime free credit cards are really free as they don’t charge any annual fee. 

But, this doesn’t mean that you can avoid all the other charges as well. A no annual fee credit card only allows you to avoid the annual membership fee, but you will still be charged other fees if required, which can be as follows:

Interest Charges: 

Like every other credit card, you will have to pay the interest if you are having an outstanding amount on your credit card. However, no interest is charged on your balance if you pay it fully by the payment due date, but if you only pay the minimum amount due, or if you miss the payment, the interest will start accruing on your outstanding balance from the very next day of the payment due date.

Late Payment Fee –

If you fail to pay your credit card bill by the payment due date, a late payment fee is charged on your credit card account and you can’t avoid it even if you are using a lifetime free credit card. However, even if you only pay the minimum amount due, you can avoid the late payment charges.

Cash Advance Charges –

 If you withdraw cash using your credit card, then a cash advance fee is charged to your account. It is generally 2.5% of the withdrawn amount, subject to a minimum amount. So, it is advisable not to withdraw cash using your credit card until it’s really an emergency.

Foreign Currency Markup Fee – 

If you do  transactions in a different currency with your credit card, a forex markup fee is charged on your account. It is generally 3.5% of the transaction amount and can be different depending on different card issuers.

Is it worth it to pay an annual fee for a credit card?

Yes, paying an annual fee for a credit card can be beneficial for you since you get exclusive benefits and features. These special benefits and privileges provided with annual fees do make it useful. Given below are some factors that essentially make a credit card with an annual fee worthwhile.

Welcome Bonus

  Several credit cards come with special welcome benefits that help you trade off your annual fee cost. These features might not be available on your no annual fee credit card.

Reward and Bonus– 

Credit cards with an annual fee provide you with a higher reward rate than other credit cards with no annual fee. You can accumulate more rewards points on your credit card with an annual fee.

Special Perks and Benefits-  

You get unique perks and benefits that might not be available on your credit card with no annual fee. These special privileges include airport lounge access, golf privileges, insurance benefits, etc.

Who should apply for a no annual fee credit card?

New Credit Cardholders-:  If you are a first-time applicant and searching for the right credit card that fits your needs well. A no annual fee credit card is a great way to begin your credit card journey

Build Credit Background-: No annual fee credit card may be a suitable option for a low credit score or limited credit history. As it is easier to avail of a no annual fee credit card than other credit cards.

Cardholders Looking to Diversify-:  Any premium cardholder looking to diversify may benefit from the no annual fee credit cards.

Occasional User-  A no annual fee card is a cheaper and more economical option for the occasional credit card user.