Rupay credit cards are the talk of the town because the RBI said that Rupay credit cards will be allowed on the UPI platform. What it means is when you do a UPI transaction; you can use your Rupay credit card instead of your bank account. As a user, you get the benefits of credit cards i.e. 15-45 day credit period and reward points combined with the convenience and acceptability of UPI.
This obviously brings us to the questions as to what is Rupay, which is the best credit card and should you apply for a Rupay credit card
What is Rupay?
Rupay is a payment service system owned by NPCI, which in turn is owned by a bunch of financial institutions. Rupay network is similar to what Visa/Mastercard/Diners/Amex do. It facilitates electronic payments between all banks that issue cards on the Rupay platform.
Rupay Credit Cards variants
Rupay credit cards come in 3 variants. Classic (lowest variant), Platinum and Select (highest variant).
Classic Variant – equivalent to Visa/MC Classic. You get access to merchant offers, but since this is a basic variant, not all offers will be applicable.
Platinum – equivalent to Visa/MC Platinum. Here you get personal accident and permanent disability cover of 2lakhs. Access to 24/7 concierge service on a chargeable basis, merchant offers and lounge access.
Select – This being the top-tier variant you get access to a host of features. This includes spa access, gym access, free health check-ups, access to golf games, lounge access and personal accident and permanent disability cover of 10 lakhs. You need to log in using this link to avail these services.
Do keep in mind that not all features may be applicable on your Select variant. As it also depends on the card issuing banks as to which features they pay for. Nevertheless, no harm in checking out the same in case you own a Rupay Select card.
Best Rupay Credit Cards
Though there are not many Rupay credit cards in the market at the moment. However, I am sure once the credit card on UPI thing goes live and gains some traction, more banks will issue Rupay credit cards.
Nevertheless, the good thing about banks issuing Rupay variants of their existing credit cards is that the reward rate and features remain the same. What it means is, in case you change your existing card variant to the Rupay variant, your annual fee, reward rate on spends, and milestone spend targets don’t change. For eg. In the case of HDFC Regalia, you continue to earn 4 reward points for every 150 spent, you get 10k reward points on annual spending of 5lk, an additional 5k points on spends of 8lk and of course the lounge accesses.
HDFC Regalia in my view is the best Rupay credit card as of now. I have reviewed the card here. It is now available on the Rupay platform too. Though there is no explicit mention of it on the bank’s website, there is enough chatter on the internet about how to get the same (read here). The good thing as mentioned earlier is that features, reward rates and milestone targets remain the same across variants.
There are a few more noteworthy mentions such as SBI BPCL Platinum, Axis IndianOil and HDFC IndianOil. The issue is reward rate on these cards, in general, is lower than various other fuel cards and also non-fuel cards, making them an inferior choice. To be clear, this is not because they are on the Rupay platform but because of the way product features are designed.
In addition, there was a post on twitter about ICICI Bank launching its Coral credit cards on the Rupay platform. Not that ICICI Coral credit card is great. But the indication is clear that all banks will bring their existing credit cards to the Rupay platform.
My thoughts on credit cards on UPI
My view is simply that it will take some time, maybe 6-7 months or more before Rupay credit cards on UPI is live. The reason is, that apart from tech upgrades the issue of MDR needs to sort out. As I had tweeted earlier the same is under deliberation and most likely it will be a tiered structure where transactions under 2k at smaller merchants may have lower MDR which in turn may mean a lower reward rate.
Once the MDR is finalised, the merchants need to be onboarded too. Since the merchants will have to bear the MDR, they will have the option of not accepting credit cards. The fact is, UPI is so popular because it’s free. Once you start charging MDR, at least on credit cards, we need to see how the acceptance pans out. For eg, there are many merchants where Amex/Diners cards don’t work but Visa/MC works well. Thus, similarly, we will have scenarios where merchants will accept payments via UPI but not accept credit cards via UPI.
Further, at least for me, transactions thru UPI are small value transactions mostly under 100 or under 200. That too not very often. Most credit cards don’t give reward points for transactions under 100 or 150 (in the case of HDFC). So again, doing UPI transactions using credit cards for these small values may not accrue reward points.
Additionally, once Rupay credit cards are live on UPI, very soon Visa/MC will be live too. Since, the RBI governor in his policy statement clearly said that “To start with Rupay credit cards will be enabled with this facility”. This means this feature will come for Visa/MC too.
Will I apply for a Rupay credit card?
I will not be applying for a Rupay credit card immediately and have put out the reasons for the same. I hope that this will give you a framework to decide if you need a Rupay credit card or not.
The credit cards that I hold as of now, HDFC DCB, Axis Magnus, Amex Plat Travel and Amex MRCC give me much higher reward points than the best Rupay credit card out there (i.e HDFC Regalia). Further, I have moved onto the strategy of limiting the number of credit cards I hold. This is to consolidate my spending on fewer cards and reap more benefits from them. Thus, I will wait out for the feature to roll out and see how the acceptance pans out. Before taking a call on applying for a Rupay credit card.
Photo by David Dvořáček on Unsplash
Do share your thoughts and views on whether applying for Rupay credit cards make sense? Which Rupay credit card according to you is the best credit card? and are you applying for a Rupay credit card?
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I am surprised you left out Tata Neu rupay credit card by hdfc bank. It has significantly better rewards than regalia. Also hdfc allows this card to be issued to existing credit card holders.
its a game changer, now pay any vendor using upi with rupay credit card