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Different types of credit cards

Credit cards can be an easy and convenient alternative to cash when paying for things. You'll find there are plenty of cards to choose from.

How will you know which one will suit your needs? Here's a quick look at the features of some of the most common credit card types so you can decide for yourself.

Rewards cards

Some credit cards offer cashback or other rewards programmes for everyday spending. When you're comparing rewards cards, it's good to consider their annual fees, how to earn and redeem your reward points (and whether they expire), and transaction fees for overseas purchases. 


Cashback cards are easy to use. Every time you spend money, you'll get a percentage of cashback from all your transactions. Some cards offer accelerated cashback in different categories, such as online spending, groceries, bill payments and travel.


There are cards that give you points for every rupee you spend with them. You can then convert these points into airline, hotel and travel rewards or redeem for gift and shopping vouchers. Depending on your card, you can even donate your reward points to charity. 

With the HSBC Visa Platinum Credit Card, you can earn both air miles and accelerated reward points. There are no joining or annual fees, and the card comes with attractive welcome offers.

Premium cards

Many premium credit cards come with exclusive lifestyle privileges and offers. While credit limits may be higher, you may be expected to maintain a minimum account or total relationship balance. The benefits of a premium card can include:

  • Online fraud protection and lost card liability
  • Complimentary unlimited airport lounge visits
  • Emergency services and international travel insurance
  • Overseas education support
  • Global concierge and medical assistance

For information about premium cards, explore our HSBC Premier Credit Card.

Equated monthly installment cards

More of a convenient repayment feature than a card, equated monthly installments (EMIs) allow you to pay your credit card balance back over a period of time – usually between 3 and 24 months. Keep in mind that there may be an annual fee; interest rates can vary based on the number of payments you'll make; and not all transactions can be converted into EMIs. 

HSBC offers a few different types of credit card EMI facilities for eligible HSBC credit card holders. 

Instant EMI

You can turn your credit card purchases into instant monthly installments with participating merchants. The list of merchants can change without notice, so it's best to contact your bank if you'd like to use the instant EMI repayment feature.

Balance Transfer-on-EMI

Balance transfer allows you to transfer the outstanding balance from one or more bank credit cards to another with a much-lower interest rate. By lowering the interest rate, your EMIs will be lower, too. 

Balance transfer rates are temporary. Ideally, try to clear your debt before the interest rates go up. If you think you might still be carrying debt on the card after the grace period, be clear about what the rate will be in the longer term.

Perpetual Balance Transfer

This feature is similar to Balance Transfer-on-EMIs. However, interest rates may be slightly lower and the repayment term is not pre-defined.

Cash-on-EMI (COE)

With this feature, you can withdraw cash from your credit card and pay back in monthly installments at a lower interest rate. If you have an HSBC credit card, you can apply for Cash-on-EMI via the HSBC India Mobile banking app. 

Important note

Taking out a credit card is a big decision. Read the terms and conditions carefully to be sure you're aware of all the benefits and trade-offs of any cards you're interested in. 

You might also be interested in 

We outline some of the ways in which you can boost your score for better borrowing.
Put your extra cash – whether it's from a tax refund or your annual bonus – to good use with these tips.
If used wisely, transferring your credit card balance can be a good way to manage your debt.


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