Its pouring credit cards, but be careful!

Once there was a time when I didn’t have a single credit card. I never felt the need for any card. My dad still doesn’t have a single one. Everytime someone offers him a card, he says “I don’t want any credit!!” 🙂

I applied for my first HSBC credit card 4 years back and paid 2K as annual fees!! Times have changed and now I have 6 credit cards and all are free. 😀 The first HSBC card has also become free now, I have 1 more HSBC card, 1 SBI and 3 ICICI cards.

I had applied for ICICI card almost 6 months back and when nothing came, I thought my application is lost somewhere. But I was surprised to receive, not 1 but 3 cards after such a long time. First week of September was pretty hectic! 😀 Everyday there was some mailer from the ICICI – 3 cards, 3 pins, site password and some other miscellaneous mailers! They kept coming in from ICICI.

Some days back I received yet another marketing call, this time from Citi Bank, offerring me a lifetime free credit card. I asked whether its VISA or MASTER? Caller said its MASTER. Out of the 6 cards that I have 4 are VISA, 2 are AmEx. So I agreed for 1 more card. I was told that they only need a copy of my PAN card, LIC premium receipt and my autograph 😉 on their form.

I “granted my permission” for their “executive” (actually a peon) to visit me. When I saw the form, I was surprised to see that not a single free card was mentioned in the options. On top of it there was a term mentioned that I have to spend at least 5,000 in a year through that card or pay the annual card fees. I refused to sign on that form because no one ever told me about that condition on the phone! The executive gave a couple of “missed calls” 😆 on a number. But when no reply came, he used my office phones to speak to his superior (head peon?? :lol:).

Here’s the conversation with that person, mostly in Hindi because he was funbling in English:

Me: I was told on the phone that the card is free for life.
Citi Executive: Yes sir, it is!
Me: But I can see a condition on the form to which I cannot agree! It says that I have to spend at least 5K in a year through that card.
CE: Yes sir but the card is free.
Me: But what about that condition?! I don’t want to agree to it. No one told me about it on the phone!!
CE: Yes sir, the card is free 🙄
Me: But what about the condition? There is no guarantee that I will spend 5K. I may spend 50K with it, I may spend nothing.
CE: Its ok sir, that condition is no longer applicable.
Me: Then why is it there on the form?
CE: We are using old stationery which has this condition. We will use new stationery after the old is over.
Me: But then why should I sign on old stationery and agree to something I don’t want?
CE: Sir, let me speak to my senior.
Me: But I will not sign it even if your senior tells me to.
CE: But let me speak to my senior.
Me: But as I said, I will not sign on old stationery. He is your senior not mine. (I was losing patience now!)
CE: Sir, if you want the card, all these things don’t matter.
Me: Excuse me!! Its not me who asked for it, its you who offerred it to me through a marketing call and I will not sign on this to save your stationery costs.
CE: Sir, do you want this card or not?
Me: Its you who offerred me the card. I have not called you to give me one! I will not agree to stupid conditions to save your stationery costs.
CE: Yes sir, but we have to use the old stationery.
Me: Sorry, I won’t sign on this form. If you want to give me a card send a new form. Don’t waste my time.

I don’t know how many people must be signing without reading a form and then land up paying these fees because they are not aware of the conditions!! In my opinion, this is cheating! And I have heard some really notorious things about Citi bank’s recovery department! One can’t take chances when even eunuchs are sent to recover dues! 😐 I have a very good payment history and therefore HSBC made my card free last year and also offered another free one. But I can’t trust Citi bank’s staff any more.

A few months back I had received a call from another such call center offerring me a free credit card of any bank that I want. All that I was suppose to give was a copy of last card statement with front and back copy of my card 😆 How can anyone give front and back copy of the card? It will then straight be used online for some purchase that will reflect in my bill.

Its really pouring credit cards now! To be precise, I have half a dozen cards now 😆 But we need to be careful with these guys. Don’t sign anything without reading and read the fine prints first! Big prints give and fine prints take away!


  1. It is really important to read the fine print carefully. I prefer to use only popular beneficial credit cards, such as Blue from American Express, because such deals have clear terms and conditions. And I appreciate rewards programs most of all.

  2. Well i dont know about you guys, but i have been with 2 Citibank past 6 odd years. Never had any issue with them whatsoever…. however ICICI has given the most pain past one year… it takes over 10 days to get my cheques release the credit limit on the card…gosh… Citi takes 2 ..max 3 days…. Plus… Citibank has the most amazing online banking system i have seen… and guys…never take ABN Amro cards… you will regret every part of their service…

  3. I recently signed another blank from asked me to sign by a person ostensibly from the HDFC Bank, Man he said that he would give me a Titanium Card with 3..8 lakh limit. oh god can I ever stop my self from sinking into this quick sand!?

  4. It’s a very funny story indeed! There are so many peopel silly enought to sign something they don’t even bother to read. of course, these terms and conditions are difficult to understand but many people don’t even try.

  5. Once upon a time i was denied a card……….. because i was tooo young that time but did not like it, so then onwards tried to collect as many cards as possible.

    and then the problem of tracking the cards…. some banks are good and some bad.

    i like hdfc bank.. there is transparency in their trading

    standard charted bank is the worst, they won’t send you statements….. then add odd looking charges unnecessarily which takes a fight to get them reversed.

    citibank has these extra-strict privacy policies….otherwise ok

    icici has best online service . got a 1% interest card.

    hsbc totally online… once by mistake i clicked the online statements only then onwards i do not get any paper or email statements. have to go to their web site to check the statements.

    oh! i got only 4 cards 🙁

    need mo

  6. Good questions 😀 But when the cards are available for free, you wouldn’t mind having them.

    Secondly instead of one card with larger limit, I will prefer few cards each with a lower limit. If due to some problem, one of the card doesn’t work in a situation you always have options.

    Third, you can easily use one of the cards online without worrying too much. The card that I use for net transactions have a limit of only 20,000. So my risk is limited to 20,000. 🙂

  7. Uhh… after reading all this I just had one question ringing in my mind why would anyone have so many credit cards.

    And that call center call of card of any bank might be some fraud

  8. Aswin said:
    Made a mistake?

    No. A blunder. 😀 Thanks for pointing out. I corrected it.

    If you don’t give any documents, they offer you a low credit limit. So at times, it is advisable to offer some documents. However, I haven’t offerred any documents to SBI and therefore the card limit is only 20K 😀 I use it for all my online purposes 😉 and so my max risk is 20K 🙂

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