The convenience brought about by credit cards is hard to ignore. Recent demonetization and booming e-commerce marketplace have increased the penetration of credit cards in the country, especially among the youth.  It is no more considered a privilege of the elite to own credit cards.  

However, as you know, every savings bank account comes with a debit card, but the same is not the criteria for a credit card. The reasons for which are obvious.  

A credit card is issued to an individual only after all conditions listed by the bank are met and not before a thorough analysis is carried out. After all, which bank would like to issue a credit card to a "not so creditworthy" person. Among many of the parameters that go into deciding whether you get a credit card or no, the important ones are: 

  • Your salary/income 

  • Credit score 

Additional reading: 6 things not to do while applying for a credit card 

Not all can boast of a fat income. So, would people with low income have no chance of getting a credit card? Absolutely not! We bring to you various credit card options available for individuals with low income.  

Basic Credit Cards 

Various banks have now come up with basic cards for those with low salary/income. The minimum salary requirement could be as low as Rs. 1 Lakhs to Rs. 2 Lakhs per annum. These cards may not come with fancy features like airport lounge access but work well for those with low salaries. 

Often, these cards come with nominal joining charges or may have a requirement of opening an account with the issuing bank. They may also come with a fixed usage limit within the overall credit limit.  

Some of the low-income credit cards options that individuals can consider applying for are: 

  • Vijaya Bank Global Chip Credit Card is offered to its account holders with minimum Gross Income of Rs. 1,20,000 p.a. for salaried class & Rs. 1,00,000 p.a. for self-employed or anyone with Term Deposit of Rs. 1,00,000 for two years & above or anyone enjoying satisfactorily credit facility of Rs. 5 Lakhs & above 

  • Andhra Bank Platinum Rupay Credit Card comes with the Income Eligibility of Rs. 1,80,000 per Annum. While the business class should produce 2 years I.T. Returns with computation sheets, the salaried class requires Form 16 / ITRs with latest Salary slip. 

  • Canara Bank Visa Classic/Mastercard Standard Global is offered to individuals with a minimum annual salary of Rs. 1,00,000 and the card limit is generally set at 30% of the annual income. The maximum card limit is set at Rs. 3,00,000.  

Cards against a fixed deposit 

This is another option that works well for those with low salaries/income.  If your income is on the lower end, you can consider going in for a credit card backed by a fixed deposit. Certain banks are now issuing credit cards against fixed deposits.  

The credit limit for these cards is fixed at a percentage of the amount of fixed deposit you have with the bank. This seems like a good option to go for those who would like to use a credit card but are faced with low-income issues and also for those who are compulsive spenders and cannot seem to set limits to their credit card spending.  

Some of the banks that offer credit cards against fixed deposits are: 

  • Andhra Bank's Signature Credit Card is issued at against a fixed deposit with 25% margin. 

  • ICICI Bank offers Instant Platinum and Instant Coral Card against a fixed deposit of Rs 20,000. 

  • SBI's Unnati Credit Card comes with a condition of minimum fixed deposit of Rs 25,000. 

Prepaid credit cards 

We are aware that credit cards often act like double-edged swords. While they give you the convenience to pay, it is very easy to overspend when using a card. With a low salary/income, it would become very difficult to pay those exorbitant interest rates charged by credit card issuers if you miss your payments.  

Hence, prepaid cards help you restrict your spending to the amount prepaid. At the same time, it gives you the convenience of a credit card. An added bonus here would be that you would be eligible for a prepaid card even with a low credit score.  

Prepaid credit cards could also come in the form of Gift Cards, Corporate Payroll Cards, Forex Cards, Meal Cards or general all-purpose use card.  

Additional Reading: Tips on how to compare credit cards 

While these were some of the options for various kind of credit cards an individual with low salaries could go in for, we would also like to let you in on a few pointers that could help you make the best use of these cards. 

  • Choose a card with a low rate of interest and joining fee  

  • Depending on your usage like travel, fuel, etc., go in for an appropriate co-branded card 

  • Use your reward points sensibly so that you can save some money 

  • Understand that just paying the minimum amount due will not clear your outstanding 

  • Resist the temptation to withdraw cash using your credit card.  

Key takeaway 

Above all, be regular about your repayments. This will help you build your credit health and make you eligible for credit cards/loans when you need them.