To that person who told you that getting a credit card was easy – lied to you! And the ones who cold call for credit cards? Yep, them too. Let me burst your bubble. Not because I’m a sadist, but it will keep you prepared for what’s coming your way. Well, getting your first credit card is an uphill task for demographics that match mine. In fact, opening a demat account, investing in stocks or starting an SIP was easier than getting my hands on a credit card.

Before you believe this story has a happy ending let me tell you: it doesn’t!

So what’s the deal with credit cards and why are they so difficult to get? A credit card is a mechanism that lets you spend money before you pay for it. You then get a credit period (approximately a month) after which you need to pay the bill. If you’re late on the payment, there is an interest charged on the amount due which in turn becomes one of the routes how the companies that issue credit cards earn money. 

On the other hand, credit cards offer stellar rewards, cash backs and coupons to their clients on their spends. If you’re a diligent financial planner, a credit card is a win-win for both.

Reading about all these benefits and rewards with credit cards and also watching my friends reap the benefits with these cards, my FOMO was real! I had to get my own credit card.

But here’s the catch
– My parents didn’t own a credit card so I had no footsteps to follow 
– I don’t have a credit score currently
– I work at a start-up. This means salary slips are a thing of the past

So I began the process of trying to get a credit card
And it’s the most rejection I’ve ever faced in my life. 

My competitive exams bore better results than credit card companies. And this is an insight into the banking systems of India in 2021.

One of the key requirements while getting a credit card is a salary slip. It’s a trustworthy document to show that the customer has a recurring source of income from one organization and won’t default on the payments. But how do I explain to banks that I work at a start-up, I don’t have a salary slip but I still receive timely monthly payments.

Another issue was that they wanted me to mention my office address and details. Umm, hello 2020-. Plot twist: I don’t have an office address because my workplace doesn’t have an office and we all WFH.

So my best bet is, I tell them I’m a freelancer and come under the category of self-employed. That’s it. I’ve ruled out half of the credit cards I could essentially own.

The above is a screenshot of an amazing credit card offered by HSBC which has zero joining and annual fees with swell reward points. The catch? Only for salaried individuals…

The other half have hefty joining and annual fees, around 4000 INR annually and I definitely didn’t want to jump on to getting an expensive credit card as my first card.

After a while, I just waited by the phone and answered every spam caller in the hopes that it’s a random Anil, Sneha or Faizal offering me a credit card. Eventually, an Anil called, I said yes yes yes, I want a credit card, told him that I’m self-employed… and he cut the call. Rejected, once again.

If you’re any one of the below
– freelancer/consultant
– have no credit score
– don’t have a designated workplace address
Spoiler alert: it’s going to be difficult to get your first credit card. Maybe we could start a group?

So now instead of surfing for more credit cards and facing straight out rejection, I penned down my thoughts. Manifesting to the universe and the credit card Gods to issue a credit card to me. I solemnly swear to pay my bills on time. I really do!

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