How rewarding credit & debit cards can be

By Vinit Maniar


June 9, 2012 0 Comments

The title makes you remember those long lost reward points you earned on your cards? I won’t blame you because for most people reward on credit/debit cards mean reward points they earn after a purchase and which they forget quite easily! While that is true, now a days there’s much more to card based reward programs.

The basic concept behind selling credit/debit cards is to entice consumers with rewards so that they’ll shop using cards. In fact since a long time banks are offering reward points on each transaction, which can be later on redeemed for goodies. As a kid I remember asking my dad to always pay by his credit card when we used to go out in order to earn points which can be redeemed in future. I specifically recollect being rewarded twice — once with a pair of Reebok shoes & once with Big Bazaar vouchers. But the sad truth is we were rewarded only after spending a fortune. Though I don’t remember how much my dad actually spent using his card & worth of gifts, I am pretty sure the ratio wasn’t good. In fact during our analysis of this sector we have found that on an average reward to spend ratio is only 0.5%, which means you get a Rs. 500 gift voucher after you have spent Rs. 1,00,000! Too bad, no?

But things are surely changing for good. Banks have realized consumer is king and have therefore started offering a much better deal, in terms of offers on cards! Though the reward/spend ratio remain the same you at least get to avail amazing offers using your credit/debit cards. To give you a perspective, Citi bank credit & debit cardholders are entitled to over 1,000 dining deals alone. Then there are deals on shopping, entertainment & travel. Interestingly, these deals are not reward points based. These are pure discount offers, like 15% off or 25% off. Most of the time you get instant discount of upto 25% and sometimes cashback of equal amount. In addition to this you earn reward points which gets you goodies once in a while. What is even more interesting is that in order to avail these offers all you have to do is settle the bill by card instead of cash. That’s all — no pain only gain! At this point are you recollecting the old saying, “when something is too good to be true, it probably ain’t”? But believe me it is true. I put these deals on redanar day in, day out so I can actually say this is true.

And Citi bank is not alone in enticing consumers with amazing offers. All leading banks in India including SBI, HDFC, ICICI, Kotak, American Express, HSBC, Standard Chartered, IndusInd, Axis, etc. now have a special “deals” program. On top of that there are deals by Visa & MasterCard, applicable across all banks. To give you a number, there are over 9,500 card based deals on redanar at this moment, spread over multiple categories including dining, travel, beauty, entertainment, shopping, etc. and applicable across India. Interesting point to note here is these deals are applicable at our everyday merchant stores, not only at 5 star hotels & expensive shops. When you go through the list of stores running offers, more often than not you’ll see name of merchant stores you visit often. So just think how much money you can save during everyday shopping and dining by paying with cards instead of cash. Again to give you a perspective, here’s name of few merchants where you can avail discounts using credit/debit cards – Domino’s Pizza, Subway, Pizza Hut, Cafe Coffee Day, Barista Lavazza, Mocha, The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, Guardian Pharmacy, Apollo Pharmacy, Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces, Lemon Tree Hotels, Starwood Hotels & Resorts, Big Bazaar, more Supermarket, Sia Art Jewellery, Gili Jewllery, Snap Fitness, Fastrack,,, Fame Cinemas, Cinemax, PVR,, eBay, Croma, eZone, Reliance Digital, etc.

I am pretty sure you regularly go to at least one or two places mentioned in the list, so imagine getting 15% or 20% off, just for paying by card instead of cash. If you ask me it certainly makes sense to avail these offers. In fact a while ago I myself availed of an amazing offer by Standard Chartered Bank at eZone. On the occasion of Republic Day back in January eZone had a nice offer — buy any product & get 6% cashback if you pay using Standard Chartered cards. As I was thinking of buying a digital camera, I immediately went to eZone and purchased a Canon digital camera, and paid using my brother’s Standard Chartered credit card and got 6% discount (cashback was credited to my brother’s account after a month or so). Just by using a card I was able to save around Rs. 600. It was amazing!

Lets take another example. If you go to Cafe Coffee Day often then there are three deals which you can avail of — Free Choco Rocks drink above bill of Rs. 150 by MasterCard, Free Choco Latte above bill of Rs. 200 by Standard Chartered, and Free Tropical Iceberg above bill of Rs. 125 by Loop Mobile. So if you happen to have these cards and go to CCD often imagine how much money you can save by availing these offers.

These were just two examples, but as I mentioned earlier there are over 9,500 deals to be availed of in our day to day shopping, dining, entertainment & travel. So no matter which banks’ card you have there are amazing offers to be availed of. And the best thing is, you don’t lose anything. Just pay by card and save money. Simple.

Seems logical? If you ask us then it is really amazing for people who use their cards for almost everything and people who use their cards occasionally.

Who says credit/debit cards can’t be rewarding? So go ahead and enjoy offers on cards (do use redanar to discover offers :) ), but keep in mind the following note.

Note: When using a credit card always use it carefully and only when needed. Don’t over do just because it is on credit as at the end of the day you will have to foot the bill. And always pay your bills on time to avoid interest payments and hassles.