Credit Cards for Senior Citizens in India – Eligibility, Challenges & Popular Options

Family after family in India can attest to this fact - older adults have made financial prosperity and security possible for two generations that came after them.

Those who are seniors today had once hunkered down for decades, worked hard in their jobs, and saved up financially for themselves and their posterity. But what can retired seniors and grandparents across India do when they face a sudden monetary need, and they don’t have enough savings, or they don’t want to touch their Fixed Deposits?

Many banks are thankfully offering new products that make it easier for seniors to avail of credit card and personal loan services.

Credit cards offer credit for a short duration and are often are used for transactions, especially when you do not want to part with cash-in-hand. When used cautiously, credit cards can be of great benefit, especially when you wish to protect your liquidity. Some senior citizens also choose to keep the loom running after retirement by being self-employed or offering consultancy services. For such industrious folks, credit cards can prove to be a blessing that helps meet capital expenses or sudden business needs.

Why Is It Hard for Senior Citizens to Get Credit Cards?

  • Credit Scores - It is a no brainer that your credit scoring affects your eligibility for credit cards. As a majority of senior citizens do not necessarily have a steady source of income, availing the facility of plastic money becomes difficult due to the risk of default.

  • The Age Factor – Most credit cards are offered to the customer segment in the age group of 18 years to 60 years. Card issuers perceive older applicants as financial dependents and often take business decisions accordingly. This makes it difficult for those above 60 years to enjoy the benefits of credit.

Yet, thanks to the booming financial services industry in India, even customers with low-income as well as seniors with non-consistent income are being covered and are offered credit cards with attractive features and benefits.

How Can Senior Citizens Become Eligible for Credit Cards?

  • Show Proof of Income from Other Sources – Most card issuers have a problem when the applicants do not possess employment details. However, if you show sufficient alternative sources of income – like freelance work, regular dividends from mutual funds, or professional fees - you may be issued a standard credit card. Plan ahead of time to present financial statements, Income Tax Return (ITR) documents that can prove your repayment capacity.
  • Show Investments in Fixed Deposits (FDs) – Upon presenting FD investments, a secured credit card may be issued against the fixed deposits. The credit limit is usually 80-90% of the deposit amount and cash withdrawals are up to 100%. Compared to standard credit cards, the secured credit card offers more flexible eligibility for applicants.
  • Apply for a Supplementary/ Add-On Credit Card – You can avail this option if you have neither proof of income nor proof of investment. You can apply for an add-on credit card only if someone in your family (spouse or children) already has a primary credit card. Note that the primary card holder’s credit score is linked to the supplementary card.
  • Remember that credit card applications are commonly not filled online, you should visit the nearest credit card service provider after talking with them over the phone to confirm the exact documents needed.

    Choosing the right credit card that caters to your needs and has suitable eligibility criteria is the first step.

    So, which are the best credit cards for senior citizens? Let's explore some popular credit card options after retirement.

    1. ICICI Bank

    - Platinum Card

    Eligibility Criteria: FD deposit of ₹ 20,000

    With low interest on overdrafts and zero joining fees, this card offers attractive offers on movies and payback points against various products including lifestyle, travel, and appliances. You can easily get this card over the counter against your fixed deposit (FD).

    - Coral Credit Card

    Eligibility Criteria: Joining fee of only ₹ 500

    No income documents are required for this card; only a joining fee would be enough. Offers against movie tickets and other lifestyle products.

    2. Andhra Bank

    - Visa Signature Card

    Eligibility Criteria: An FD of ₹ 10,000, Annual Proven Income of ₹ 1.80 lakhs. The age group covered is 21 - 70 years, with a minimum income of ₹ 10 lakhs per annum.

    This card is ideal for those who meet the annual income requirements currently. Offering a free credit period ranging from 21 to 50 days, you can avail of an add-on card, and enjoy cash withdrawal up to 60% of the sanctioned limit.

    3. Bank of India

    • Bank of India Credit Card for Pensioners:

    Exclusively tailored for retired employees who are pensioners, you can get credit equivalent to three times your monthly pension. It has low interest rates, and the billing cycle is from 16th of the current month to the 15th of the next month.

    4. State Bank of India

    - Unnati Credit Card

    Eligibility Criteria: FD of ₹ 25,000

    Get zero fees for the first four years, avail reward points and other attractive features such as contactless card payment with high security, and repayment in EMI.

    - Advantage Plus

    Eligibility Criteria: FD of ₹ 25,000, and a one-time annual fee of ₹ 500

    All you need to do is fill the form of credit card along with the fixed deposit (FD) form and you can enjoy 100% withdrawal and global acceptance.

    5. IDBI Bank

    - Imperium Platinum Credit Card

    Eligibility Criteria: FD of ₹ 20,000

    With a joining fee of ₹ 499, which can be waived off on a minimum spend of ₹ 75,000, you can enjoy credit of 85% of the fixed deposit and cash withdrawal up to 70%.

    India already has priority banking services and senior citizen cards that make financial life easier for people after retirement. Now credit card services also seem to be rising to the occasion.

    Need more motivation to apply for that credit card?

    Remember - Some of these credit cards come with an offer of lounge facilities at domestic airports, making travel fun and more comfortable. Additionally, carrying plastic money is always safer than carrying cash.

    Apart from the credit cards mentioned above, you should explore websites such as BankBazaar to explore and compare the variety of credit cards for retirees, based on your age, location, income and other criteria. You can also contact your financial advisor or get in touch with a credit card service provider today for further information.