SBI launched the SBI Cashback credit card in Sept 2022 with a big marketing campaign and the features were truly outstanding. Straight 5% cash back on nearly all online spends. However, in less than a year, the SBI Cashback credit card has lost much of its sheen thanks to a series of devaluations from the SBI’s side. So how does this card stack up now? Read to know more.
SBI Cashback Credit Card
Fees and Eligibility
- Joining fee of 999+ taxes.
- Annual fee of 999+GST (~1180 per year) from 2nd year onwards. Waived off on spends of over 200,000.
Rewards and Benefits:
- Reward Points:
- 5% cashback on online spends
- 1% cash back on offline spends
- Exclusions – No cashbacks on following spends – Rent payment, wallet load, merchant EMI, jewellery, school/education fees, utility/insurance payments, gift cards/vouchers, train tickets. These categories have NIL cashback.
- The cashback is capped at 5000 per month/billing cycle. That is once you reach 5000 cashback in a month, online+ offline combined; no more cashback on incremental spends.
- Cashback auto credited in next month’s statement. No redemption fee.
- No lounge access.
Thoughts on SBI Cashback Credit Card
When the SBI Cashback credit card was launched, it was a very solid product. You could have thrown nearly all the co-branded cards in your wallet and kept just one. However, there was a series of devaluations for this card.
Exclusion categories expanded: The company added many categories of spending where you don’t earn any cashback. Here are the T&Cs for your reference.
Monthly cashback reduced: Earlier there was a 10k monthly cashback limit on online spending and unlimited on offline. However, now there is an overall capping of 5k per month/billing cycle.
Lounge access removed: SBI Cashback credit card initially offered 4 lounge access every year. This feature is now removed.
No double dip: Since Oct-Nov, SBI Cards has made a rule that credit cards will not accrue reward points/cashback i.e. card feature, during instant discount/cashback offers offered on any platform. For example, during an Amazon sale, you will only get the instant discount but not the 5% cashback.
Despite the numerous devaluations, the SBI Cashback credit card remains a very formidable credit card package; provided you use it exclusively for online spending. You can still shop on Amazon, Flipkart, Myntra, Nykaa, Zomato, Swiggy, Bigbasket etc and get a flat 5% on all purchases. Further, you get 5% cashback on all flight and hotel bookings done online. SBI has mentioned that there are no merchant restrictions (outside of the ones mentioned above) means that as long as the merchant MCC is not in the exclusion category you will earn a 5% cashback.
Pro-tip: Use the SBI Cashback credit card on Tata Neu to shop on BigBasket. You will get 10% off. 5% cashback + 5% Neu Coins.
That’s not all, you sort of get around 1% cashback for all forex spends too. Typically on foreign spending, one has to pay 3.5%+taxes i.e. ~4.1%. however, if you use an SBI Cashback credit card for foreign spending online, you get 5% cashback. Effectively, ~1% cashback on all online foreign spends.
Is the SBI Cashback credit card the only card you ever need?
The answer is No! While the 5% cashback on all online spending seems very exciting. When we run the numbers and include other spending such as utility, fuel and offline spending; the reward rate comes at ~2.1%, which is very good but not mouth-watering. Nonetheless, with the right strategy, you can easily earn 5% on nearly all spending every month.
Like the way I mentioned in my Axis Airtel review, if you prefer cashback to reward points/air miles then a pack of SBI Cashback, Axis Ace, Axis Airtel and Amex MRCC is the combo for you. You may further reduce this to 3 cards depending on your spending pattern.
What should be the strategy with this card?
As I mentioned earlier, while the 5% cash back on the SBI Cashback card is exciting; however, the overall reward rate on all spending is not mouth-watering. Thus if you have 4 cards, SBI Cashback, Axis Airtel, Axis Ace and Amex MRCC, you can earn ~5% on all nearly all spends.
Use the SBI Cashback card for all online spending straight 5% cashback. Axis Ace credit card for all utility bill payments thru the GPay app – 5% cashback. Amex MRCC at HP petrol pumps and insurance payments. As long as your Amex MRCC spends 20k+ a month on 4+ transactions you will earn 2000 points worth anywhere between 750-1200 bucks.
Despite a series of devaluations, the SBI Cashback credit card is simple and powerful. For someone looking for a simple cashback card for online spending, this is likely one card you need. Further, If you use the SBI Cashback credit card in combination with Axis Airtel, Axis Ace and Amex MRCC you can easily earn 5% cash back on all your spending. So the answer is very clear.
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