Why Financial Planning?

Planning is bringing the future into the present so that you can do something about it NOW.

Credit cards are one of the safest and most secure ways to make payments globally – be it online or offline. As the card companies and banks have their own money on the line, they ensure that transactions using these cards are not only convenient but also safe.

Not only can you make purchases in India or abroad, but you also get access to emergency funds in case of need, especially while traveling overseas. It becomes easier to track and manage expenses using detailed credit card statements. Moreover, with an add-on card for family members, you can give them freedom.

nri credit cards

Many Indian banks offer international credit cards with superb privileges to Non-Resident Indians (NRIs). NRI Credit Cards have many added advantages over regular credit cards. National/International travel & hotel booking, fine dining, entertainment, lounge access, online shopping, and international transactions on these cards are often more rewarding.

Must Check – Best Bank for NRI In India

Benefits of using NRI Credit Cards in India 

As NRIs, as a class, are considered to be well-off and big spenders, the banks offer extra benefits to attract new customers.

Reward Points

Making purchases with an NRI credit card can get you 1.5x to 2.5x reward points compared to a regular card.

Cash Back

One of the most gratifying offers, cashback on bill payments, purchases made at partner stores, flight & hotel bookings, and sometimes on refueling makes it a USP for many cards.

Avoid Forex Charges

With NRI credit cards, you can avoid paying foreign exchange conversion charges and save a substantial amount.

Surcharge Waiver

Many merchants do not bear the card processing charges, but with an NRI credit card, the bank may offer a surcharge waiver, in the form of reward points or cash backs.

Revolving Credit Facility

You can avail a revolving credit facility on your NRI credit card, to help you in financial emergencies. You can repeatedly borrow money – up to a pre-defined limit, interest-free – and pay it back later. (but it should be avoided)

Must-Read – Issues NRIs Face With Their Banks

ATM Access

Credit cards for NRI offers ATM access at most International ATMs, operated by MasterCard or VISA, to withdraw cash in local currency.

Add-on Credit Cards for NRIs

With add-on cards for your family members, they can share your credit limit and avail the benefits irrespective of their credit score.


Must Check – NRI personal loan

Easy Payments

You can easily make payments from anywhere in the world using online banking with your linked NRI bank account. More importantly, you can make payments in INR or an international currency.

Points to Remember when applying for an NRI Credit Card in India

Like any financial instrument, credit cards for NRI need precaution, and awareness on your part. Therefore, before you sign the dotted line and start using the card, check the following points thoroughly.

Card Fees & Charges

Different fees are applied to a credit card – annual fee, processing fee, joining fee, cash withdrawal charges, cancellation fee, etc. Be sure that you understand each of these components completely, and never forget to ask if these could be waived. Most companies and banks offer fee waiver in case you spend beyond a limit in the first few months of joining.

Finance Charges/ Interest

As credit cards extend an unsecured credit, there are heavy finance charges or interest applicable, if you fail to pay the dues even by a day. You cannot claim that you were traveling, or did not understand the timezone differences and missed the deadline. The card company has already given you 15-25 days to pay your card bill.

The finance charges could range upwards of 36% pa (3% pm). Cash withdrawals are charged from the day of withdrawal, so double-check the interest rates on a cash advances by different banks.

International Acceptance

If you travel often and to many parts of the world, then more than anything, you need that your card is accepted at most of the countries your visit. Get a detailed list of all the countries and country-wise limits before you apply for the card.

Card Protection

Check all the protection mechanisms that your bank offers while you are traveling against lost or stolen cards, card jacking, and card replacement services.

Foreign Currency Markup Fee

If your card is issued in INR but allows your international transactions in foreign currency, then check for a foreign currency markup fee on your international transactions.

credit cards for nri

Check – All About Mandate Holder In Bank Account – by NRIs

Payment Process

You must know all the possible modes of card bill payment, including from abroad. You may link your bank account to the card for direct debit of the monthly bill, but it can also lend you in trouble if the balance is insufficient.

Banks that offer credit cards for NRI

The following banks offer NRI Credit Cards from Mastercard, VISA, and American Express networks.  The Mastercard network has recently been prohibited by the RBI to take on new customers, though their existing customers remain unaffected.

  • Axis Bank
  • HDFC Bank
  • ICICI Bank
  • Kotak Mahindra Bank
  • State Bank of India
  • Yes Bank

Eligibility Criteria to apply for an NRI Credit Card

Check the following point to see if you are eligible to apply for an NRI Credit Card:

  • An operational NRO, NRE, or FCNR account with the bank.
  • Some banks require a minimum balance in the linked account.
  • For some cards, banks may require you to make a term deposit with them.

Documents Needed

You can apply through online mode or by visiting the branch. You should read the following documents before you apply.

Identity Proof

  • PAN Card
  • Aadhaar Card
  • Passport
  • Voter’s ID Card
  • Driving License
  • Ration Card
  • Arms License
  • Freedom Fighter’s ID Card
  • Photo ID proof certified by a Judicial/Gazetted Officer.

Address Proof

  • Passport
  • Voter’s ID Card
  • Ration Card
  • Driving License
  • Property Documents
  • Lease/Rent Agreement
  • Recent Utility Bills

Income Proof

  • 3-months’ Salary Slip, if salaried
  • 6-month’s Bank Statement
  • Latest ITR/Form-16

Must Read – Wealth Planning Checklist for NRIs

How to Apply for Credit Cards for NRI in India?

Apply Online

  • Visit the official website of the preferred bank and fill the inquiry form with your details including name, email, contact number, income, address, etc.
  • Once the email and phone are verified, you may be directed to an online application form. A bank executive may also call you to guide through the process.
  • Upload the documents online for verification.
  • Bank executives may visit you for In-person Verification and collect your documents.

Apply Offline

  • Visit the bank branch where you operate your NRO, NRE, or FCNR accounts as the process would be must faster. You can always go to another bank, but they will first have you open an NRI bank account with them.
  • Fill the offline application and submit the original documents and their copy for verification. Originals would be returned back to you.

Your application would process and approve in a few days, and you would receive the card and instructions at your home.


Credit Cards give you a high credit limit, secure transaction facility, and international access to products and services of your choice. Their exclusive offers can also help you get bargain deals and exclusive access. International travel necessitates that you carry an NRI credit card on you.

But unruly credit behavior can also be the reason for your financial problems. Use the card as if you are using cash – ultimately, today or 50 days from now, you have to pay for the bills.

Please share your experience of using an Indian Credit card as an NRI. If you have any questions add them in the comment section.


nri credit cards
Published on February 18, 2022

Hemant Beniwal

Hemant Beniwal is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER and his Company Ark Primary Advisors Pvt Ltd is registered as an Investment Adviser with SEBI. Hemant is also a member of the Financial Planning Association, U.S.A and registered as a life planner with Kinder Institute of Life Planning, U.S.A. He started his Financial Planning Practice in 2009 & is among the first generation of financial planners in India. He also authored Bestseller book "Financial Life Planning". 

    • Hi Preetham,
      As per notification No. FEMA21/2000 RBI , NRI or PIO cannot acquire agricultural land or plantation (property or farmhouse) in India.

    • Hi Priti,
      The process to apply for an NRI Credit Card is simple. Individuals can apply for the card on the bank’s official website.

  • I am an NRI based in Kuwait I have NRO and NRE account in Federal bank ….how can I apply for a credit card in india

  • Your Email is always interesting with many useful articles on specific issues for NRIs. Please do include some information related to PIOs / OCIs also. Information for this category of non-residents is difficult to find.
    I would like to add some points regarding Eligibility for Credit Cards in India: –
    1. Indian banks do not issue credit cards to PIOs whatever their income or financial status in India. This is strange as high networth PIOs are a safe category for banks.
    2. Banks do not issue Credit cards to seniors above 65 years. This bar is also illogical as banks abroad do issue cards to all seniors. Many seniors are better off financially than younger generation.
    3. Some banks and do not issue credit cards if you don’t have Indian address even if you have NRO / NRE account.
    4. Most difficult part is that some banks do not respond at all for months for on-line customers. SBI (atleast my branch) responds only if you register a complaint through Customer service, which is not easy, considering that their complaint form does not have any options for subject for your problem.
    Please correct me if I am mistaken in any of the above comments.

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