Credit Card for NRIs: Reviewed and compared

Aman Saxena

A NRI credit card can be handy when spending internationally or in India. How do you decide which one to get? Here’s a quick and easy guide to the best credit cards for Non-Resident Indians.

Most banks in India offer credit cards for residents, but may not have non-resident credit cards available or are no longer issuing them. Below are some of the best credit cards for NRIs in no particular order:

  • HDFC Visa Regalia or Infinia Credit Cards
  • Axis Bank Neo Credit Card
  • SBI Elite Credit Card
  • ICICI Coral and Sapphiro Credit Cards
  • Kotak NRI Royale Signature Credit Card
  • Standard Chartered Priority Visa Infinite and Manhattan Credit Cards
  • American Express® Platinum Travel Credit Card

Here is a quick table to see how the NRI eligible cards at each bank compare:

Credit CardFeesInterest rateMarkup rateTop benefits
HDFC Visa Regalia or Infinia Credit CardsAnnual fee, renewal fee3.6%2%Access to premium lounges and memberships Reward points on transactions
Axis Bank Neo Credit CardAnnual fee, joining fee3.4%3.50%Discounts on Zomato, Grofers, Paytm, Myntra and BookMyShow Cashback on utility payments through PayTM
SBI Elite Credit CardAnnual fee and renewal fee3.5%1.99%Globally accepted Exclusive concierge services
ICICI Coral and Sapphiro Credit CardsJoining fee and annual fee3.4%3.50%Discounts on lounges and movie tickets Complimentary insurance and golf experiences with Sapphiro
Kotak NRI Royale Signature Credit CardAnnual fee3.10%3.5%2x rewards on international transactions Easy to make purchases in India
Standard Chartered Priority Visa Infinite and Manhattan Credit CardsAnnual fee3.75%3.5%5% cash back at the supermarket with the Manhattan Platinum card Priority Pass membership
American Express® Platinum Travel Credit CardJoining fee and annual fee3.50%3.50%10,000 Membership Rewards Points as a welcome gift 8 free lounge visits per year

NRI credit cards are required to be linked to an NRE account if used internationally, or an NRO account if used within India. You can only apply for a credit card with one of the above-listed banks once you have either an NRE or NRO account with them.

HDFC Visa Regalia or Infinia Credit Cards

HDFC RegaliaHDFC Infinia
  • NRIs have the option of Visa Regalia or Infinia
  • 2% on foreign currency transactions
  • Annual fee can be ₹2,500 or ₹10,000, respectively

The 2 HDFC NRI credit cards, Visa Regalia and Infinia (invite only), can be used either internationally or domestically. Although they have a high annual fee, the card does come with rewards, free memberships, and lounge access perks.¹ ²

Axis Bank Neo Credit Card

  • Discounts on dining and delivery in India
  • Low joining and Annual fee of ₹250
  • Cardholder must be between 18-70 years old

The Axis Bank Neo Credit card is one of the only credit cards for NRIs at the bank. If you want to use it abroad, there is an international transaction fee of 3.5% on purchases in a foreign currency. But there is an easy-to-use app and card perks with Zomato, Grofers, and dining within India.³

SBI Elite Credit Card

  • Access to 1 million ATMs globally
  • Low foreign transaction markup of 1.99%
  • Elite rewards and welcome gifts with card

The SBI Elite Credit Card is a premium credit card available to Indian citizens. It has extensive travel rewards, milestone privileges, and lounge access which is great for luxury travelers. But card owners can find the near ₹5,000 annual fees high.⁴

ICICI Coral and Sapphiro Credit Cards

ICICI CoralICICI Sapphiro
  • Credit cards are designed exclusively for NRIs
  • Only for domestic purchases in India
  • Only for existing NRI customers at ICICI

ICICI has the NRI Coral Credit Card and the NRI Sapphiro Credit Card on offer for NRIs that are visiting India. Both cards offer lounge access and reward points, but the Sapphiro card offers additional premium benefits for travel and golf experiences.⁵

⚠️ Starting in 2021, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has put a restriction that stops new domestic Indian customers from getting a new MasterCard. Due to this, ICICI bank is not taking new domestic Indian customers for ICICI bank credit cards for Mastercard. However, existing customers will continue to be able to use their cards.

Kotak NRI Royale Signature Credit Card

  • Can be used for international and domestic purchases
  • No joining fee
  • Complimentary lounge access at airports in India

Kotak offers the NRI Royale Signature Credit Card to NRE and NRO account holders, which can be used for Indian Rupee and international purchases. The card comes with one of the lowest interest rates out there and discounts on fuel and railway in India.⁶

Standard Chartered Priority Visa Infinite and Manhattan Credit Cards

Standard Chartered Priority Visa InfiniteStandard Chartered Manhattan
  • The Visa Infinite is a virtual credit card
  • High 3.75% interest rate on both cards
  • Instant approval available with virtual KYC

The UK-based bank, Standard Chartered, offers Priority Visa Infinite which is for Priority Banking customers, and the Manhattan credit card for all those who qualify. While there are perks and rewards with both credit cards, the interest rate is one of the highest.⁷

American Express® Platinum Travel Credit Card

  • Extra reward points for overseas spending
  • Income requirements must be met
  • Cards can only be issued for residents of 25 cities

American Express® Platinum Travel Credit Card is suited for those that travel internationally and domestically. The card comes with attractive perks and benefits for high spenders and travelers, but the annual fee increases after the first year.⁸

⚠️ Due to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) advisory, American Expressis no longer issuing new credit cards in India. Existing credit cardholders can continue using their cards.

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What to consider when choosing a credit card for NRIs

With so many credit cards to choose from, it can feel tricky to select the best one for you. Here are a few ways to decide on a credit card if you are an NRI:

Benefits and perks

Whether you are looking for lifestyle rewards, travel rewards, or cashback points, there are different options out there. Benefits and perks can also make travel more luxurious for those on the go, or help save money with cashback locally.

Interest rates

The interest rate kicks in when you are not able to pay your balance in full every month and can make a dent in your wallet. So read the fine print and make sure you are comfortable with the interest rate before moving forward.

Card fees

Most NRI credit cards have annual fees or joining fees, but they can be waived often with sufficient spending. Other fees can add up, including processing fees, ATM withdrawal fees, and overseas transaction fees. The fees are typically tucked into the terms and conditions, so it is important to read them carefully.

Currency conversion markup

If you are an NRI, international transactions may be a part of your spending. Check how much extra, or at all, overseas transactions may cost you on the exchange rate. Many cards have a currency conversion markup that takes a cut out of every transaction that is converted to your home currency.


  1. HDFC Credit cards
  2. HDFC Credit cards brief
  3. Axis bank neo credit card
  4. SBI credit card
  5. ICICI credit cards
  6. Kotak credit card
  7. Standard Chartered credit card
  8. American Express

All sources checked as of 28 March, 2022

This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication. The information in this publication does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from Wise Payments Limited or its affiliates. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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