What are the reasons to consider adding on Credit Cards? Check out the benefits and features

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Credit cards are among the most beneficial financial instruments because you can not only take advantage of an interest-free short term loan but also earn rewards for shopping with your credit card. (Read our review of the differences between debit and credit cards).

However, as the balance on your credit card is essentially an unsecured credit, banks need you to meet certain conditions before you can request one. Two of the main requirements used by banks to determine your eligibility for credit cards are the steady flow of money into your bank account, and having a high credit score (usually greater than 775). Due to these eligibility criteria, financially dependent individuals, students, and even those who are first-time workers aren’t able to get credit cards. This is where credit cards with add-ons can come in.

Table of Contents
What exactly is an Add-on Credit Card?
Add-on Credit Card Features
Add-on Credit Card Benefits
Keep these points in mind
Add-on Credit Cards Fee
Who can apply?
How do I apply?

What are add-on credit cards?

Additional credit cards, often referred to as supplementary credit cards are credit cards that are issued under the credit line of the primary cardholder. They share all the benefits of the primary credit card. The total credit limit on the card is split between the primary and the add-on credit card(s), i.e. spending on the primary card and all add-on credit cards contribute to the credit limit total of the card. The primary cardholder, however is able to limit spending on credit cards with add-ons.

The advantages of adding credit cards

When more than one credit card is issued add-on credit cards are tied to the primary credit card. They share the credit limit of both the primary and any other add-on cards. Additional cardholders can also receive the same cashback and reward points as primary cardholders. Following are some of the key features of credit cards that are added-on

Shared Credit Limit

The credit limit on the card is shared between the primary cardholder and all add-on cardholders. The credit limit for an add-on credit card is similar to that of the credit limit of the primary card. However, the primary cardholder has the option to limit the credit limit of the add-on card per month.

Reward Points/Cashback

A majority of add-on cardholders earn rewards in cash or reward points at the same rate and in most cases, like the primary cardholder. The Reward Points or cashback earned by add-on cards is transferred to the primary cardholder’s account . They are also considered towards the maximum cap (if appropriate) on the cashback or Reward Points.

Lounge Access

Many credit cards offer complimentary access to lounges at the airport or railway station. This lounge access benefits are typically not applicable to additional credit cards. Some premium credit cards like HDFC Infinia Credit Card, HDFC Diners Club Black Credit Card, ICICI Emeralde Credit Card however, provide lounge access benefits for add-on cardholders, too.

Consolidate Card Statement/Bill

The issuer of the card creates a consolidated statement/bill that includes both the primary and any add-on credit cards. The credit card statement contains all transactions on the primary as well as the additional credit cards within the statement cycle.

Advantages of Credit Cards with Add-ons

It may be beneficial to consider applying for an additional credit card to relatives. There are many reasons. Here are some benefits that you enjoy if you sign up for a credit card that is supplementaryfor your family members.

Minimum or Zero Membership Fee

Most card issuers in India including two of the biggest card issuers – HDFC Bank and SBI Card, issue add-on credit cards to family members (spouse, children parents, siblings, and spouses) above the age of 18 for free. Because of this, using credit cards with add-ons for family members is cheaper than every family member owning a separate primary credit card that typically has an annual membership cost.

Similar Benefits, with no additional cost

With the exception of airport lounge access access Add-on cardholders get the same benefits as primary cardholders. The reward rate for the primary and add-on credit card is also identical.

Keep track of the spends on credit cards that are added-on

Since the primary and all other add-on credit cards are reported on a single statement the primary cardholder is able to monitor the expenditures of add-on credit cards. Parents who wish to monitor their children’s spending habits are able to use this feature.

Limit the spending on add-on Credit Cards. Limit the amount you spend on Add-on Credit

The credit limit is shared by the primary and add-on cardholders. However the primary cardholder has the ability to restrict the amount that can be made on add-on credit cards in every statement cycle. This feature gives the primary cardholder full control over add-on credit cards. It is also a valuable feature for parents.

Receive Credit Card Offers

The credit card offers on the various online shopping portals and retail stores can also be used on add-on credit cards, thereby allowing add-on cardholders to take advantage of the discounts. If there are immediate discount deals the cardholders with an add-on will be able to buy the item at the discounted price. Reward Points and Cashback provide cashback and will be credited to the primary credit cards account.

Things to Remember

Although add-on credit cards offer numerous advantages but there are a few things to keep in mind before applying for an credit card that is an add-on.


Transactions made on both primary and add-on cards will be billed in one consolidated statement. This means that the primary cardholder will be responsible for all transactions made on add-on cards.

Credit Score and its Impact

Since add-on credit cards are linked to the primary credit account, it’s the duty of the primary cardholder to clear the outstanding charges on the additional cards in time. Any late payment will affect the primary cardholder’s credit score and credit history.

This is not a credit builder card.

Because an add-on credit card is issued on the credit line of the primary cardholder it will have no impact on the credit score of the add-on cardholder. Thus, add-on cards aren’t suitable for people who are not eligible for a primary credit card due to a poor credit profile and want to boost their credit score. In order to improve credit score you should think about an secured credit card.

Additional Credit Card Fee

Most card issuers in India including major companies like HDFC Bank, SBI Card, Axis Bank and Kotak Mahindra Bank issue add-on credit cards to their customers at no cost.

ICICI Bank has an Rs. one-time charge for card. 250 for cobranded credit cards. American Express on the other hand offers up to four additional credit cards (numbers vary for different credit cards) Free of charge, but a Rs. 250-Rs. 1,500 can be used for credit cards with supplementary.

Who can apply?

Family members of the cardholder over the age of 18 are eligible to apply for an additional credit card. The family members eligible for an add-on credit card include spouses, children (18 or older) parents, siblings and parents-in-law. The application to an add-on credit card must be made by the principal cardholder for the applicant.

How do you apply for an Add-on Credit Card?

All card issuers use the same application process to apply for a credit card. Most card issuers allow you to apply for an add-on credit card via online banking, either by making an application on the internet or by calling the customer support number.

Additional Credit Card Applications: Documents Requirements

While no proof of income is needed when applying for an add-on credit card (since add-on cards are issued against the credit line of the primary cardholder) You will need to submit the KYC documents for the person applying for the card that include:

  • Identification Proof- Aadhar card Voter ID card, Driving licence, PAN Card Passport, Student ID Cards, etc.
  • Proof of Address- Aadhar Card, Voter ID Card, Passport, Driving license, Electricity/Telephone/Gas/Water bill, LIC Premium receipt, etc.

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