Changes to HDFC CC Reward Points from July 2017 and Why it shouldn’t bother You

By | June 27, 2017

There has been lot of buzz lately related to HDFC credit card reward points program changes from July. These are very minor changes for most of them and is primarily made to stop few people from abusing the system. Here are the changes as per HDFC:

  • EasyEMI and e-wallet loading transactions will not accrue Reward points.
  • Reward points accrued will be reversed if a retail transaction is converted into SmartEMI.
  • Reward points accrued for Insurance transactions will have a maximum cap of 2,000 per transaction.

Lets put it in easy words and see why these changes are happening. Before that, check out this article to brush up some basics: Credit Card Reward Points and Cashback Demystified

Changes to HDFC Reward Points Program from July 2017

#1 E-Wallet Loading Transactions

It looks like a lot of people were gaming the system by doing Manufactured Spends, especially on Paytm wherein a person can load upto 1 Lakh from his credit card and then take it to bank without loosing a dime (now they seems to charge a bit, it was free during demonetization). This maybe to meet the yearly spend milestone, or maybe to earn a lot of reward points or just to get some free money while revolving the balances on credit card.

This affects both Paytm and the bank, as Paytm absorbs some ‘X’ amount when you load your wallet. The banks are also loosing as you keep the funds revolving forever without any interest. Hence Paytm decided to charge 2% extra on credit cards and then reverted that as everyone was against it. Now it seems Paytm has asked the bank to give them lowest TDR (to reduce their loss) which results in this new rule as banks can’t give them low TDR and also reward us at the same time.

Note that only “Wallet Loading” txn’s are affected. You can still use Paytm payment gateway to make payments and get reward points for them as usual. I hardly load 1k or 2k to Wallets for some emergency recharges. Hence it doesn’t affect me much and hope for the most.

#2 EMI Transactions

I’ve been thinking about it quite sometime as to how HDFC was able to allow reward points on EMI txn’s. This is because, if you’ve availed 2x/5x/10x rewards on a txn and convert to EMI, the reward rate offsets the interest rate and even ends up in profit most times. My dad had used this opportunity a couple of times and was able to revolve the credit for couple of months and also get some reward points.

Now you can no more do it. However, it doesn’t matter as most people who take EMI’s aren’t even aware of the reward points system. Anyways its a whole different topic as EMI’s shouldn’t be an option in your life if you’re planning to SAVE money using credit cards.

Tip: You can still bypass this by taking Insta Loan or Insta Jumbo Loan rather than availing SmartEMI/EasyEMI. If you don’t have Insta/Jumbo Loans enabled, you must check out this article: Secret is out: How to Enable HDFC Credit Card Loan offers

#3 Insurance Transactions

I remember HDFC was running 2x Points on some insurance payments for a while and i was wondering what the hell they were doing. Maybe that was a short offer, or maybe they just want us to get used to the system before they put such limits. The reason for limit is more like the #1 thing we talked about.

Higher the txn volume = Lower the TDR Merchant wants = Lesser the Bank Earns = Low Rewards to End Users

That being said, Insurance payments are bulky ones that can burn bank’s profits if they keep giving us a lot of reward points. Hence the limits.

So with these changes initiated by HDFC, i believe all other banks too will follow the same in coming days. Lets see!

Are you getting affected by these changes to HDFC Credit Card reward Points program? Feel free to share your thoughts in comments below.

35 thoughts on “Changes to HDFC CC Reward Points from July 2017 and Why it shouldn’t bother You

  1. Amitabha Sarkar

    Hi Siddarth,
    Understood the ‘wallet loading’ reasoning for e-wallets. But did not understand how to get reward points using paytm gateway. Please advise.
    Thanks,
    Amitabha

    Reply
    1. Siddharth Post author

      Just remember not to “load” Paytm wallet. everything else gives you RP’s.

      Reply
      1. Vijay

        Hi Siddharth – I do not think the above statement is correct for earning RP’s using Paytm gateway. Here is an example. I always use Paytm at Shell Fuel station for payment because HDFC does not give RP for fuel transactions. When I scan the QR code and make the payment, I see that the amount is first added to Paytm wallet and then deducted for the payment made – which means that even though I am paying for Fuel and not a mere wallet load, Paytm still considers it as a wallet load, which means no reward points.

        Thaknks,
        Vijay

        Reply
        1. Siddharth Post author

          Maybe. I haven’t tested it.
          Does the txn description also show like “Paytm wallet” ?
          If yes, then its a trouble!

          Reply
          1. Vijay

            Yes indeed, it does show as wallet load and immediately you will see another debit line item for the actual payment. I will no longer be able to get RP for Fuel transaction. This was the only trick which worked after HDFC stopped RP for Fuel transactions.

      2. Doney

        Hi Sid, I have got reward points on payment of fuel transaction through Paytm gateway. Thanks – seems the trick is working !

        Reply
    2. Arul

      When you enter payment gateway you have choice like Bank, credit card, wallet. When you choose PayTM as payment method, PayTm Auto load money into walled and pay the requested amount . In this case you will get Point for Txn.

      Reply
  2. pal

    hi Do you know if adding money to slonkit card will be treated as e-wallet loading? I used to do it as diners card is not accepted at many location. So it acted as backup if diners card is not accepted.
    Also do you know if we get reward points for making payment at govt sites.

    Reply
    1. Siddharth Post author

      We can know only by trying. As long as the wallet loading is marked differently, yes it will. But i doubt HDFC would ever bother about slonkit as i believe its not so popular to general public.

      Reply
  3. Mohit

    Does this apply for diners cards also? Any news or expectations of what might happen post 31st July?

    Reply
  4. Majumdar

    Sidhartha,

    Good article explaining the rationale of HDFC changes but a few points.

    wherein a person can load upto 1 Lakh from his credit card and then take it to bank without loosing a dime

    I dont think this is correct, AFAIK. Paytm charges 2% for cash to bank, Mobikwik and Jio 4% and Oxigen 1.5%. Only Freecharge gives free tx to bank facility but they insist on a 45 days moratorium. Now if you have access to high yield cards like Diners or Infinia or some other high mileage yielding card, you may still make a profit but paying 1.5-4% for getting 2.5-4% yield is against the rules of manufactured spending!

    On Insurance, actually HDFC is far less restrictive than AMEX which doesnt give any RPs at all,(since Oct 2014) except that insurance can meet spending milestones on milestone based cards such as PLAT Travel. Besides, most insurance payments are in the range of 10-30 K, which is well within the target for 2000 RPs. (Unless you are investing in large sized ULIPs)

    Regards

    Reply
    1. Siddharth Post author

      Yes, i’ve updated that part now. Thanks for the note. Well said about MS & insurance payments!

      Reply
    2. Ebin

      For amex gold charge card and mr credit card u will get 1000 mr points if u can make 4 transactions of 1000 or more. I am regularly doing insurance transactions (business related) and getting this.

      Reply
  5. Captain Bishuddha Bharatiya

    Its very sad but there is one good thing that can come out of this. If digital wallets has to pay less TDR to banks than they will provide us free wallet loading and than to bank transfer. We can also enjoy free money.

    Reply
  6. Anil

    Intermingling of close ended wallets with merchants like Bookmyshow, Ola etc. also added to this.
    Same has been severely misused, it seems as the largest card issuer has finally pulled the plug.

    Reply
  7. Arul

    It seems there is fee for PayTM to Bank Txn, I have seen in few weeks back.

    Reply
    1. Siddharth Post author

      Arul,
      Yes, i’ve updated that part, thanks for noting that.

      Reply
      1. Arul

        I think other wallets (like citrus wallet) won’t charge fee for Bank transfer.

        Reply
  8. PK

    Are you sure that payments made on paytm will still get reward points? How will they differentiate amongst wallet loading transactions and payments?
    They show up as the same on the statement dont they?

    Reply
    1. Siddharth Post author

      Yes. You’ll get points on usual Paytm txn’s. They’re reported differently from wallet loading txn’s.

      Reply
      1. ALAUKIK

        hiii
        payments done directly through paytm gateway(not loading money to paytm wallet) are also not eligible for reward points.
        i made a transaction ON PAYTM OF 9000 AND I DIDNOT GET ANY REWARD POINTS
        I USE REGALIA HDFC CREDIT CARD

        Reply
  9. Abhishek Roy

    Point to note is whether Amazon Pay balance will also considered to be a wallet or not. If it is the case then people will not get 10X rewards for filling up Amazon pay balance. They have to directly transact with the card.

    Reply
    1. Siddharth Post author

      I don’t think they’ll do anything here as the limits are low and anyways it’ll end up in some retail purchase or other unlike Paytm wallets.

      Reply
  10. Mojifur Rahaman

    Sir I want to know the minimum credit limit of Sbi simply click card.

    Reply
  11. Sat

    Will I receive reward points on loading money in payzapp wallet.

    Reply
  12. Rush

    The SmartBuy offer conditions have revised. One one line it’s written its applicable on Smartbuy but the TnC page says that’s its applicable on Smartbuy categories as well as payzapp. So would utility bill payments through payzapp considered for 10X rewards? Also do we have to wait for 90 days to figure out how many reward points would my transaction earn?

    My Diners black card is recently approved, I am yet to receive it though. Your articles are really informative.

    Reply
  13. Vineet Verma

    The diners rewards and premium point value has been reduced by more then half effective 15 August.

    Regards,
    Vineet

    Reply
  14. Vikas

    I paid for iphone ordered from Paytm App (without loading money in wallet) and directly through card. The reward points got reversed. I asked customer care why this happened, they said you used the app! If you use website, you will get RP’s but not for any transactions on the app itself! That’s really weird. Mine was a genuine purchase!

    Reply
  15. Amit

    I am a Diners Black Customer. Diners Cards are not acceptable in most of Online Websites I shop, So I used Paytm Wallet and Load it from Diners Credit Card. Sad for the decision by HDFC. Now I will use more of Visa Card (Stan Chart ) and Master (Yes). Also the points revised and restrictions put on lounge programmes recently is disheartening

    Reply
  16. hemang shukla

    hdfc bank is being unfair in reducing monetary value of regalia reward point – that to twice; from 70p to 50 p. And, this is applicable also on the points accumulate earlier when the value was 70p.

    Reduction is banks prerogative but reducing even for earlier balance is unfair.

    I complained to them they are not agreeable to compensate for the points earned @ of 70p

    Reply

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