I’ve grabbed multiple credit cards as Life time free and maybe you could have too. So you might think that credit card will be free for the rest of your life and there is no need to think about annual fees of the card. So good to be true isn’t it? The real fact is it’s not lifetime free as you might be thinking. Here’s why,
3 Reasons why your LTF card is NOT actually Life Time Free
#1 Benefits Keeps Changing:
if you had been having any good rewarding credit credit for few years, you can see that the card benefits has got changed or, usually devalued in 3-5 yrs of card issuance. A good example is Hdfc Moneyback card – which has got devalued by close to 50% in ~3 years.
This happens because of changing needs of people and their usage pattern. Back in time not everyone were transacting online. But now due to faster internet penetration and ecommerce boom, the online usage surged, leading to more online txns.
Hence, banks has to alter the benefits to make sure they’re not running in loss. Same with regalia and others where lounge access made the difference.
#2 Upgrades are Essential:
I’ve recently got Yesbank Preferred Card as lifetime free. Does this mean I’ll stick to it for the rest of life? Ofcourse not. To get maximum benefit, I need to upgrade it to Yes Exclusive variant sooner or later. And by doing so, I “may not” get LTF Offer on that.
Hence, your LTF is not transferable on upgrade.
Not just that, every year new cards are introduced with better reward rates and benefits as banks compete with each other to get better market share. When it comes to credit cards, it’s all about getting maximum value out of it.
Will you stay with your existing 3 year old devalued LTF card or upgrade to the new card by paying the fee? Most will prefer the latter as long as it gives a good value back.
#3 Your card maybe Discontinued:
Every credit card you hold bears a validity. There is a reason for that. Most banks discontinue their cards after 3-5 yrs of issuance. For ex: hdfc discontinued their platinum credit card and replaced them with moneyback credit card once the old card gets expired.
New card maybe LTF too or sometimes issued as first year free only and maynot be having same benefits as old one. Sometimes it can be better, while most times it’s not.
While the above points are very important for most of the crowd who had grabbed a lifetime free credit card, there is other side too. There are situations when grabbing LTF card is a best thing to do. Here’s why
3 Reasons why you SHOULD opt for lifetime free card:
#1 Super Premium cards:
Super premium cards comes with excellent benefits and when you’re offered for free, just go – grab it. This is because super premium cards are usually not devalued that easily as the needs of super premium card users remains same for many years – in most cases.
Those who get hands on with super premium cards are very less, hence banks won’t see any potential loss for them to reconsider the offering. Moreover, these ppl are usually HNI and tend to spend a lot which gives banks enough money to keep the card benefits untouched.
- Must Read: 5 Best Super Premium Credit Cards in India
Lucky are those who grabbed Yes First Exclusive Credit card on Lifetime Free Offer. It comes with an immense value.
#2 American Express Cards:
All American Express cards carries a fee and when it’s issued for LTF, you should never miss the opportunity. Most of the American Express cards donot have great reward rate by default. However, what makes the Amex card work is – their incredible merchant offers that pays back multiple times.
Hence, even if your American Express LTF card gets devalued 5 yrs down the line – you can still have access to their offers and services for the rest of your life, which makes it no brainer to opt for one.
#3 Just for Credit Line:
Many credit card users hold a card for the credit line or for the EMI facility. There are hell a lot of people in this category, though they may not be reading this article.
If at all you just need the credit line with EMI facility for basic usage that’s less than 1L a year and never bother about the offers and benefits- you can very well take the LTF card from any bank, as it may just serve your purpose.
So, when you’re issued a LifeTime Free credit card, do remember above points to make a wise choice!
Do you have LTF credit card? What’s your experience with it? Feel free to share your views in comments below.