Scapia Federal Credit card is a co-branded credit card by the Federal Bank in partnership with a fintech firm Scapia. The Scapia credit card is primarily targeting young travellers. Keeping in mind its target audience the Scapia credit card offers zero forex markup on international spending and unlimited lounge access within India. Let’s review the card and see if it’s really worth it.
Scapia Credit Card Review
- No joining and no annual fees. It’s a Lifetime free card
Rewards and Benefits:
Joining & Recurring Benefits:
- No joining or recurring benefits
- 2 Scapia coins for every 20 spent i.e. 20 coins for every 100 spent. 1 Scapia coin = 20p. Thus a 2% reward rate.
- 4 Scapia coins for every 20 spent on travel on the Scapia app. Overall a 4% reward rate on travel spends thru Scapia app.
- Exclusions: Cash withdrawal, wallet load, fuel spends, rent payment, government payments, education and school fees, forex spends and gift cards.
- No milestone benefits.
- Unlimited lounge access provided you spend at least 5000 in the previous billing cycle.
- Currently, the Scapia credit card offers lounge access to 54 lounges in 31 cities across the country.
- A list of participating lounges can be accessed here.
Positives of the Scapia Credit Card
Decent reward rate – 2% on normal spends and 4% on travel spend
The Scapia credit card offers a 2% reward rate for daily spending, which is quite decent in my opinion. What it means is that one can get a flat 2% on utility bills, insurance payments etc. by using the Scapia credit card.
On travel spends done through the Scapia app, one gets Scapia coins worth 4% of the total spend. The good thing is you get a 4% reward rate even if you choose to redeem your Scapia coins. Just that the 4% rate will be calculated on the net amount. However, you get only the 2% reward rate if you choose to book directly with the hotel or airline. Effectively forcing you to book your travel only through the Scapia app.
Unlimited lounge access
The Scapia credit card offers unlimited lounge access. The only criterion is that you need to spend 5k in the previous billing cycle. At the moment the card allows access to some 54 lounges across 31 airports in the country. A list of participating lounges can be accessed here.
The unlimited lounge access is definitely a strong positive for the card. Especially during times like these when most entry-level credit cards are either reducing the number of free lounge visits or are just reducing their tie-ups with the lounges.
Truly zero forex markup
The Scapia credit card offers zero forex markup on international spending. However, one doesn’t earn any reward points for the same. Which is okay I believe. Further, as discussed later in the post, the forex conversion rates that Scapia offered me on my recent travel to Mauritius were nearly equal to what I saw on Google. A truly a zero forex markup credit card I would say.
Flight and hotel fares on the Scapia app are competitive
Since the reward points of the Scapia credit card can be used only on the Scapia app, it’s fair to compare the prices on the app with the prices on other websites and booking platforms. The way I have done this is, I took one domestic and one international flight and a hotel and compared the prices across the Scapia app, Makemytrip.com, Axis Travel Edge portal and HDFC SmartBuy platform. Below are the results of the comparison.
The dark green colour indicates the cheapest fare and the dark red colour indicates the most expensive fare. In the sample comparison, the fares on the Scapia app are competitive with the other platforms. However, for MMT, I didn’t take into account any card offer. Thus the MMT fares would come down further depending on the card used. Nonetheless, as mentioned the pricing on the Scpaia app is competitive and you will get a further 4% reward as Scapia coins on the amount spent.
Redemption is only for travel and on their app only
I believe the big drawback of the Scapia credit card is that it restricts redemption only on the Scapia app. The good thing is as of now there are no reward redemption fees or convenience fees, but, they can come up in no time.
Further, I personally don’t like credit cards that allow reward redemption only on their platform. The cards that I frequently use all have the option to transfer reward points to other partner or take a cashback, maybe at a lower conversion rate in addition to redemption on their own platform. It simply gives flexibility to the cardholder.
Another way to think about it is, given that the Scapia credit card is targeting travellers still it does not have any hotels or airlines, as a transfer partners seems very odd.
Eligibility is any issue
Federal Bank issues the Scapia credit card and the bank has a weird policy. If you have an existing credit card from Federal Bank, which could be from its fintech partners such as Fi(Apply Now) or OneCard or its own or have a loan from the bank, you will not be approved for the Scapia credit card. Thus, be mindful of this before applying for this credit card
Weird referral system
You get only 10 invites and not referrals. That means if I refer someone and the person is rejected for any reason my one invite is wasted. Don’t get the logic behind this thing. Further, the 10 invites seem to be a lifetime number and not something that is reset every month or year. Better not to have a referral system than to have a weird system in place.
No add-on cards
The T&Cs clearly mention that Scapia doesn’t offer add-on credit cards. This seems like an issue with the Federal Bank rather than Scapia. The reason is that Federal’s other co-brand partner Fi credit card, also doesn’t issue add-on credit cards.
T&Cs not in sync
One strange thing that I noticed is the T&Cs on the Scapia website (here) and the Federal Bank’s website (here) are not in sync. Though both documents say that they were last updated on 15th June. The discrepancy is also a big one. The document on Scapia’s website says that Scapia coins are valid for 36 months and the one on Federal Bank’s website says that Scapia coins don’t expire. Which one to believe?
Comparing Scapia with other credit cards
Comparing the Scapia credit card is a tough task simply because there are no pure travel-focused LTF credit cards. One could say that Axis Atlas(Apply Now) and Amex Platinum Travel(Apply Now) are travel-focussed credit cards, but to be honest these cards don’t compete with a Scapia credit card.
Anyway, I think the Axis Airtel, SBI Cashback (Apply Now), Axis Ace and Amex MRCC (Apply Now) would be comparable to the Scapia credit card. Below is the dynamic Excel that compares the reward rates of these credit cards.
Assuming you spend 20k every month just on travel, the Scpaia credit card will give you a 4% reward rate on the annual spending of 2.4lk. However, the SBI Cashback (Apply Now) and Amex MRCC (Apply Now) credit cards will give 5% and 4.8% respectively on the same spend. Thus giving a better reward rate than the Scapia credit card.
However, if you use the Scpaia card for spending on other categories too, the reward rate will come down to 1.8% against 4% with Axis Airtel, over 2% with SBI Cashback (Apply Now) and Axis Ace and 4.5%+ with Amex MRCC (Apply Now).
Personal experience using the Scapia credit card
Recently I compiled a list of the best zero forex credit cards in India. One reason for making that list was to help me identify the credit cards that I should take on my trip to Mauritius. I planned to carry my HDFC Diners Black(Apply Now) credit card and Niyo DCB debit card for any cash withdrawal needs. However, as I have highlighted in the zero forex credit card article, if your primary credit card is a Diners card like me always carry a Visa/Mastercard credit card with you. Thus, I decided to get a Scapia credit card before my travel.
As luck would have it, my HDFC Diners Black(Apply Now) credit card was not accepted anywhere in Mauritius. Not in Sofitel, not in Le Meridien, not in any tourist places and not even in McDs. The one thing I noticed was that Mauritius Commercial Bank (MCB) has a near monopoly in PoS machines in that country and all the places mentioned above had MCB’s PoS machines. Not that I didn’t try my HDFC Diners Black credit card on other PoS machines but it wasn’t accepted anywhere.
This is where my Scapia credit card came in handy. I was able to use the Scapia credit card without any issues across Mauritius. Further, the forex rate it offered me was almost the same as what I could see on Google for that day. Below is the table that compares the rate mentioned on Google for a particular day and the conversion rate I actually paid on my Scapia credit card. The difference is only in the third decimal, i.e. less than a paisa difference between the rates on Google and the rates I paid.
Overall, my experience with the card and the app has been good so far. It surely saved me 100s of rupees on my recent vacation and I really liked it. However, this card will take a rest until my next forex swipe.
Overall, I feel the Scapia card is just an average credit card. However, the unlimited lounge access on spending just 5k in a month could be a strong reason to apply. Given that most other credit cards that offer free lounge access are either putting restrictions on the number of visits or are just cutting down the number of lounges that you can access. Further, the zero forex markup is really helpful and one may consider applying this card for this feature too.
Featured Image Source: http://www.scapaia.cards The article was published/last updated on 2nd October 2023.
In the interest of full disclosure, Credit Cardz may earn a referral bonus for anyone that’s approved through some of the links in this post. However, opinions and views expressed here are of the author's alone and not those of the bank, credit card issuer, or anyone else and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.