By Ankur Mittal

Launched by NPCI (National Payment Corporation of India) on RBI’s recommendation in March 2012, RuPay is India’s answer to likes of Visa, MasterCard and American Express. In 2009, the Reserve Bank of India entrusted NPCI with the task of conceptualizing an Indigenous payment network on the lines of Visa and MasterCard that would process card-based digital payments in the country. RBI felt the need for a domestic payment network as the transactions of Indian cardholders had to be processed overseas and a high transaction fee was charged by the international payment networks.

RuPay Credit Cards

The RuPay scheme was launched on 26th March 2012 and was dedicated to India by the then President Pranab Mukharjee on 8th May 2014. Ever since its launch, RuPay has witnessed unprecedented growth. As of February 2021, over 60 crore cards (including both debit and credit cards) had been issued on the RuPay payment network, and with a market share of around 60%, RuPay is the market leader in the card-based payments business (both debit and credit cards combined) today.

Initially, only debit cards were issued on the RuPay payment network, however, starting June 2017, many card issuers also started issuing credit cards on the RuPay network. Although RuPay is the market leader in the overall card-based payments business, it is not the case if only the credit card business is considered in isolation. Out of the total of over 60 crore cards issued on the RuPay platform, the number of credit cards issued is fewer than 10 lacs.

Recently, particularly after RBI restricted MasterCard and American Express from onboarding new domestic customers, many card issuers have started partnering with the RuPay payments network for the issuance of new credit cards.

Partner Card Issuers

As mentioned earlier, the majority of cards issued on the RuPay network are debit cards, however, changing trend can be seen among the card issuers as more card issuers are now tieing up with NPCI to launch new credit cards, and sometimes to even issue an existing credit card (which was earlier issued on some other network), on the RuPay payment network. Recently, the Bank of Baroda launched new credit cards on the RuPay platform. LIC also launched co-branded credit cards on the RuPay payment network in collaboration with the IDBI Bank a couple of months ago.

Most of the credit cards issued on the RuPay network are by public sector card issuers (PSU Banks), however, private players have now also started joining hands with NPCI to issue their credit cards on the RuPay platform. HDFC, for example, has now started issuing its Millennia credit card, which is one of the most popular credit cards by the bank, on the RuPay platform (Visa variant of the card is also available). This change, for the most part, can be attributed to the moratorium imposed by RBI on MasterCard and American Express prohibiting the card issuers from onboarding new domestic customers.

Currently, RuPay Credit Cards are issued by the following card issuers in the country- SBI Card, Union Bank of India, HDFC Bank, SBM Bank, Punjab National Bank, IDBI Bank and Federal Bank. Union Bank of India in November 2018, came up with a unique combo card on the RuPay payment network– the card acted as both credit as well as a debit card and had two separate magnetic stripes, microchips, PINs and CVD (one card, two sets of credentials).

Some of the popular credit cards issued on the RuPay payment network include Union Bank RuPay Combo Debit Cum Credit Card, HDFC Millennia Credit Card (also issued on the Visa network), IRCTC SBI RuPay Credit Card, Bank of Baroda Premier and Easy RuPay Credit Cards (launched recently).

RuPay Credit Cards Variants

RuPay Credit Cards come in three variants- Select Credit Cards, Platinum Credit Cards and Classic Credit Cards. The features and benefits that each of the three categories of cards offer are as under-

RuPay Select Credit Cards

It is the most premium category of RuPay Credit Cards. RuPay Select credit cards offer a plethora of value-added benefits to the card members like complimentary lounge access, gym access, golf program, etc. Some of the benefits that one gets with RuPay Select Credit Cards are-

  • Complimentary airport lounge access: You get complimentary access to lounges at select domestic and international airports across the world with RuPay Select Credit Card. RuPay Select Credit Cards entitle you to 2 complimentary domestic airport lounge access per quarter and 2 complimentary international airport lounge access every year. You can see the list of airport lounges where you get complimentary access on the official RuPay website. Although RuPay Platinum card members also get complimentary airport lounge access, certain lounges are exclusive for RuPay Select cardholders only.
  • Complimentary Fitness Sessions: RuPay Select credit cards also entitle you to complimentary fitness and meditation sessions at your home.
  • Complimentary Gym Access: You also get a 15/30 day free gym membership trial with your RuPay Select Credit Card.
  • Golf Program: You get complimentary access to 20+ premium golf courses across the country with one complimentary golf game/lesson every year with your RuPay Select Credit Card.
  • Comprehensive Insurance Cover: You also get comprehensive personal accident insurance and permanent disability cover worth up to Rs. 10 lacs with your RuPay Select Credit Card.
  • Health Cleck-ups: Rupay Select credit card membership also entitles you to free routine health check-ups every year.
  • Concierge Service: You also get a 24×7 concierge service with your RuPay Select Credit Card for travel assistance, hotel reservations, and many other consultancy services.

RuPay Platinum Credit Cards

RuPay Platinum Credit Cards is the second most premium category of credit cards issued on the RuPay platform. RuPay Platinum Credit Cards entitle you to the following benefits-

  • Comprehensive Insurance Cover: RuPay Platinum Credit Cards entitle you to a complimentary insurance cover worth up to Rs. 2 lacs against accidental death and permanent disability.
  • Complimentary Airport Lounge Access: Just like RuPay Select Credit Cards, RuPay Platinum Credit Cards also entitle you to 2 complimentary domestic airport lounge access per quarter and 2 complimentary international airport lounge access every year.
  • Concierge Service: Just like RuPay Select Credit Cards, you also get a 24×7 concierge service with your RuPay Platinum Credit Card for travel assistance, hotel reservations, and many other consultancy services.
  • Exclusive Merchant Offers: You get exclusive offers at partner merchants including some of the popular brands like Amazon, Uber, BigBasket, Lakme, and many more with your RuPay Platinum Credit Card. To see a detailed list of all the offers available on RuPay Credit Cards, you may refer to the official offers page on the RuPay website.

The following infographic gives a quick comparison between RuPay Select and RuPay Platinum credit cards:

RuPay Select vs RuPay Platinum Credit Cards

RuPay Classic Credit Cards

RuPay Classic Credit Cards are the most basic category of RuPay credit cards. Apart from the offers on partner merchants, you do not get any value-added benefits with RuPay Classic Credit Cards. To see all the offers available on RuPay credit cards, you may refer to the official offers page on the RuPay website.

Best RuPay Credit Cards

Here we have compiled some of the best RuPay credit cards currently offered in the Indian credit card market based on popularity, reward rate and the other value-added benefits that they offer-

PNB Select RuPay Credit Card

The Select RuPay Card by Punjab National Bank, as the name suggests, is issued on the Select variant of the RuPay Payment network. The card comes with a joining fee of Rs. 500 plus GST (no annual fee to be paid every year) and offers the following benefits to the cardholders-

  • 300+ Reward Points as a welcome benefit on the first usage of the card.
  • 2X Reward Points on retail merchandise purchases.
  • 2 complimentary domestic airport lounge access every quarter.
  • 2 complimentary international airport lounge access annually.
  • Exclusive cashback offers on utility bills, restaurants and eateries.
  • Comprehensive insurance coverage worth up to Rs. 10 lacs against personal accident or permanent disability.
  • 24×7 concierge service for assistance regarding travel and hotel bookings.
  • Exclusive offers from over 300 domestic and international merchants.

PNB Platinum RuPay Credit Card

PNB RuPay Platinum Credit Card

Welcome Benefits

300 Reward Points

Rewards Rate

1 Reward Points per Rs. 100 spent

Joining Fees

Rs. 500

It is RuPay Platinum RuPay credit card by Punjab National Bank. The card comes with zero joining/annual fee (lifetime free credit card). You get the following benefits with the PNB Platinum RuPay Credit Card-

  • 300+ Reward Points on the first usage of the card as a welcome benefit.
  • Exclusive cashback on spends on utility bill payments, restaurants/eateries bill payments.
  • 2 complimentary lounge access every quarter at domestic airports across India.
  • 2 complimentary international airport lounge access.
  • Comprehensive insurance plan with a complimentary cover worth Rs. 2 lacs against accidental death or permanent disability.
  • Exclusive offers from over 300 domestic and international merchants.

Union Bank Select RuPay Credit Card

Union Select RuPay Credit Card

Welcome Benefits

NA

Rewards Rate

You can earn a maximum of Rs. 50 cashback per month on utility bill payment. You can earn a maximum of Rs. 50 cashback per month on a minimum transaction of Rs. 500 in your mobile wallet. You can also cashback of Rs. 25 on spending a minimum of Rs. 300 spent on IRCTC transactions. You can earn 4 reward points on every Rs. 100 spent on this card.

Joining Fees

Nil

Union Bank Select RuPay Credit Card is issued by Union Bank of India on the Select variant of the RuPay payment network. Union Bank charges an annual fee of Rs. 499 per annum for the RuPay Select Credit Card. Some of the key features of the Union Bank RuPay Select Credit Card are as under-

  • Complimentary life insurance cover worth Rs. 10 lacs against loss of life in an air accident and worth Rs. 8 lacs against loss of life in an accident other than air accident.
  • Four complimentary airport lounge access every year in over 300 cities across the world.
  • Cashback (max Rs. 50 per month) on utility bill payments.
  • Cashback on mobile wallet reloads (max Rs. 50 per month) on a minimum transaction of Rs. 500.
  • Cashback on train ticket bookings via IRCTC- max cashback capped at Rs. 25- on a minimum transaction of Rs. 300.

Union Bank Platinum RuPay Credit Card

Union Paltinum RuPay Credit Card

Welcome Benefits

NA

Rewards Rate

You can earn a maximum of Rs. 50 cashback per month on utility bill payment. You can earn a maximum of Rs. 50 cashback per month on a minimum transaction of Rs. 500 in your mobile wallet. You can also cashback of Rs. 25 on spending a minimum of Rs. 300 spent on IRCTC transactions. You can earn 2 reward points on every Rs. 100 spent on this card.

Joining Fees

Nil

Union Bank Platinum RuPay Credit is a toned-down version of the Union Bank Select RuPay Credit Card. The card comes with an annual membership fee of Rs. 299 and offer the following benefits to the cardholder-

  • Complimentary insurance cover worth Rs. 8 lacs against loss of life in an air accident and worth Rs. 5 lacs against loss of life in an accident other than air accident.
  • Cashback of up to Rs. 50 per month on utility bill payments.
  • Cashback on mobile wallet reloads- maximum cashback of Rs. 50 in a month on a minimum transaction of Rs. 500.
  • Cashback of up to Rs. 25 on a minimum transaction of Rs. 300 on booking rail tickets via IRCTC.

Union Bank RuPay Combo Debit cum Credit Card

Union Banks Rupay Combo Debit Cum Credit Card

Welcome Benefits

NA

Rewards Rate

NA

Joining Fees

Rs 200 + GST

Union Bank RuPay Combi Debit cum Credit Card is a unique offering by Union Bank of India and RuPay. It is a one of its kind card that works as both a debit and a credit card. The card has two separate magnetic stripes, two microchips and two PINs- two sets of credentials, one each for the debit and the credit card. Some of the salient features of the Union Bank RuPay Combo Debit cum Credit Card are as under-

  • Complimentary lounge access at 25+ domestic and 500+ international airport lounges across the world with both Select and Platinum variants.
  • Cashback on utility and dining bill payments- cashback on utility bills applicable for both Select and Platinum variants, cashback on dining bill payments applicable only on the Select variant.
  • Exclusive offers from partner merchants.
  • A total personal accidental insurance worth Rs. 24 lacs (20 lacs on the credit card and 4 lacs on the debit card).
  • 24×7 concierge service for assistance regarding travel and hotel reservations.

As it is a combo card, you get both debit and credit card functionalities with the card. There are separate cash withdrawal limits, daily shopping limits stipulated for each of the credit and the debit cards.

Bank of Baroda Premier RuPay Credit Card

Bank of Baroda Premier Credit Card

Welcome Benefits

NA

Rewards Rate

You can earn 10 reward points on every Rs. 100 spent on travel, dining, and foreign spending and reward points on every Rs. 100 spent on all categories

Joining Fees

Rs 1,000 plus applicable taxes

It is a mid-range credit card by the Bank of Baroda. The card is also offered on the Visa payment network – until recently, BoB used to offer the Premier Credit Card on the Visa platform only, before they tied up with NPCI to come up with a RuPay variant of the card in November 2021

Bank of Baroda Premier RuPay Credit Card offers a reward rate of up to 2.5% (max 10 RPs can be earned per Rs 100, with 1 RP = Rs. 0.25) and a few value-added benefits as well, like complimentary airport lounge access and spend-based fee waiver. BoB Premier RuPay Credit Card comes with a membership fee of Rs. 1,000 per annum. Some of the salient features of the card are as under-

  • 2 Reward Points per Rs. 100 spent with the card (reward rate = 0.5% as 1 RP = Rs. 0.25)
  • 5X Reward Points (i.e. 10 Reward Points per Rs. 100) on travel, dining and international spends (reward rate = 2.5%)
  • 1 complimentary domestic airport lounge access per quarter.
  • Joininhg fee (first year’s membership fee) of the card waived off on a minimum expenditure of Rs. 10,000 within the first 60 days of the card issuance and the annual membership fee of the card is waived off (second year onwards) on a minimum expenditure of Rs. 1,20,000 in the preceding year.

Bank of Baroda Easy RuPay Credit Card

Bank of Baroda Easy Credit Card

Welcome Benefits

NA

Rewards Rate

5X reward points on every Rs. 100 spent on selected merchant categories like movies, groceries, and departmental stores. 1 reward point on every Rs. 100 spent on other categories. 0.5 % cashback on card bill payment.

Joining Fees

Rs. 500

It is an entry-level credit card by the Bank of Baroda. The card comes with an annual fee of Rs. 500 and offers a max reward rate of up to 1.25% (on grocery, departmental store and movie spends). Just like the Bank of Baroda Premier Credit Card, Bank of Baroda Easy Credit Card was also offered on the Visa platform only, until the recent partnership between RuPay and BoB. Some of the key features of the Bank of Baroda Easy RuPay Credit Card are-

  • 1 Reward Points per Rs. 100 spent with the card (reward rate = 0.25%, as 1 RP = Rs. 0.25)
  • 5X Reward Points (i.e. 5 Reward Points per Rs. 100) on grocery, departmental store and movie spends (reward rate = 1.25%).
  • Joining fee (first year’s annual fee) of the card reversed on spending a minimum of Rs. 6,000 in the first 60 days of card membership.
  • Annual membership fee of the card (second year onwards) waived off on a minimum expenditure of Rs. 35,000 in the preceding year.

IRCTC SBI RuPay Credit Card

IRCTC Rupay SBI Credit Card

Welcome Benefits

You get 350 reward points on a minimum transaction of Rs. 500 within 45 days after receiving the card. You also get Rs 100 cashback on your first ATM withdrawal within 30 days of card issuance.

Rewards Rate

1 Reward Point on every spend of Rs. 125.

Joining Fees

Rs. 500 (plus applicable taxes)

It is a co-branded credit card by SBI Card in collaboration with IRCTC issued on the RuPay Platinum platform. The card is best suited for those who travel frequently via rail as you get benefits like value back on rail ticket bookings and complimentary access to IRCTC lounges. IRCTC SBI RuPay Credit Card comes with a membership fee of Rs. 300 per annum (joining fee of Rs. 500 applicable for the first year). Some of the key features of the IRCTC SBI RuPay Credit Card are as under-

  • 350 Reward Points as a welcome benefit on making a transaction of a minimum of Rs. 500 within 45 days of card issuance.
  • 10% value back as Reward Points on AC1, AC2, AC3, AC CC train tickets via IRCTC website/mobile app.
  • 1 Reward Point per Rs. 125 spent with the card. No Reward Points earned on fuel purchases.
  • 4 complimentary access to IRTC lounges (max 1 per quarter) at select railway stations across India.

Offers on RuPay Credit Cards

NPCI has partnered with various merchants in the country to offer a number of discounts and deals on RuPay Credit Cards. Some of the partner merchants include popular brands like Amazon, Uber, BigBasket, Peter England, and many more. Some of the offers currently available on RuPay credit cards are as under-

Brand Offer Offer validity
Amazon 20% instant discount on a minimum expenditure of Rs. 129 Valid till 31st March 2022
Uber 30% off on 2 rides per user (max discount of Rs. 75) Valid till 31st December 2021
BigBasket 20% off up to Rs. 200 on an order of a minimum of Rs. 800 Valid till 31st March 2022
Home Centre Up to 60% off on purchase of household products worth a minimum of Rs. 3,999 No date specified
Croma 10% off up to Rs. 500 on a minimum purchase of Rs. 3,000 31st January 2022
Samsung Up to 25% off at Samsung online stores No date specified
OYO 40% discount up to Rs. 2,000 31st March 2022

Apart from the aforementioned offers, there are a number of other offers applicable on the transactions made with RuPay credit cards. For more information on offers on RuPay credit cards, you may refer to the official offers page on the RuPay website.

NCPI has also partnered with many international merchants as well. So, many international merchants also offer exclusive discounts and benefits on transactions made with RuPay credit cards. For more details, you may refer to the official international offers page on the RuPay website.

International Acceptability of RuPay Credit Cards

Contrary to the users’ belief, Rupay Cards are widely accepted for international transactions as NPCI has partnered with international payment networks like Discover, Diners Club, JCB, Pulse and Union Pay to process transactions with overseas merchants.

International transactions on different RuPay Credit Cards are processed by different partner networks. The logos of the payment networks supported by a given RuPay credit card are printed on the back of the card (see the image below for reference).

RuPay Credit Cards International Partners

 

Advantages of RuPay Credit Cards

RuPay credit cards come with some exclusive features and offer certain advantages over Visa/MasterCard/American Express credit cards. Some of the advantages that RuPay credit cards offer are as under-

  • Lower Transaction Fee: Since NPCI is a not-for-profit company, and transactions made with RuPay credit cards are processed locally within India, the transaction fee applicable on transactions made with RuPay credit cards is up to 23% less than that applicable on transactions made with the likes of Visa/MasterCard/American Express credit cards.
  • Faster Transactions: Since all transactions made with RuPay credit cards are processed locally, they are completed much faster than those done with Visa/MasterCard/AmEx credit cards.
  • Insurance Benefit: You get a complimentary insurance cover worth up to Rs. 10 lacs with RuPay Select Credit Card and worth up to Rs. 2 lacs with RuPay Platinum Credit Card against accidental death or permanent disability.
  • Wide Range of Offers: NPCI has tied up with a number of domestic and international merchants to offer attractive discounts and deals on payment with RuPay credit cards.

Bottom Line

India’s homegrown payment network RuPay is giving tough competition to multinational networks like Visa, MasterCard and American Express. RuPay cards are not only accepted by domestic merchants, but also by overseas merchants, thanks to NPCI’s tie-ups with international networks like Diners Club, Discover, Pulse, JCB and Uni Pay. Therefore, even if you make a lot of international transactions with your credit card, you can opt for a RuPay card without worrying about international acceptance. However, since most card issuers do not offer their credit cards in the premium or super-premium segment on the RuPay network, if you are looking for a premium credit card, you will have to go for a Visa/MasterCard/American Express credit card.

FAQs:

RuPay Credit Cards are offered in 3 different variants- RuPay Select Credit Card, RuPay Platinum Credit Card, RuPay Classic Credit Card, with the RuPay Select Credit Card being the most premium variant and RuPay Classic Credit Card being the most basic variant.

RuPay Credit Cards natively do not support international transactions. However, NPCI has partnered with international payments networks including Discover, Diners Club, JCB, Pulse and Union Pay to process international transactions.

You get 2 complimentary domestic airport lounge access per quarter and 2 complimentary international airport lounge access every year with RuPay Select and RuPay Platinum Credit Cards. You do not get the airport lounge access benefit with RuPay Classic credit cards.

Yes, since domestic transactions made over the RuPay payment network are processed locally within India, the transactions are usually faster.

RuPay Select credit cards and RuPay Platinum credit cards offer a comprehensive insurance cover worth Rs. 10 lacs and Rs. 2 lacs respectively against accidental death and permanent disability.

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