Best Credit Cards for Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) 2019

As a Non-Resident Indian (NRI), you may want a credit card to use while traveling to India to avoid foreign transaction fees and access funds quickly in case of an emergency. Notably, Axis Bank has the most NRI credit cards. We've picked out our favorites across all financial institutions with NRI offerings.

Best Credit Cards for NRIs
Our Top PickAxis Pride Signature1.6% back on all spend (except fuel), lounge access
DiningAxis Bank My Zone Card8% on weekend dining, 4% on weekend shopping
ShoppingAxis Neo Card10% off select Myntra styles, redBus, Freecharge, BookMyShow
MoviesICICI NRI Coral CardUp to 2 free movie tickets monthly; lounge access
SecuredKotak NRI Royale0.45% outside India, 0.23% in India, Rs. 100,000 deposit

Best NRI Credit Card: Axis Bank Pride Signature Credit Card

Consider this if you want great value back on almost all your spending

Age Requirement 18-70
Annual Income Requirement None listed by issuer
Bonuses
  • Monthly Bonus: 100 points (Rs. 40 in Yatra vouchers) on spend of Rs. 5,000

The Axis Pride Signature is the best general spending credit card for NRIs. There is no fee in your first year as a cardholder, but you would be charged Rs. 500 in subsequent years if you do not clear Rs. 40,000 in annual expenditures. The bulk of the credit card's value is earned on everyday spend, with great 1.6% back on all transactions except fuel (8 point per Rs. 200 spent; 1 point = Rs. 0.40 Yatra vouchers). You will also receive 2 airport lounge visits a quarter across 5 major domestic cities, and the card comes with additional dining benefits. Bottom line, get this NRI credit card if you want the highest value for your spend on almost every category.

  • Available to Residents of India or Non-Resident Indians
  • Annual Fee: None 1st year; Rs. 500 beyond 1st year, waived on annual spend of Rs. 40,000
  • Earn Rate: 8 points per Rs. 200 spent except on fuel
  • Point Value: 1 point = Rs. 0.40 Yatra vouchers
  • Perks: Access to 10 lounges across 5 cities in India, 2 visits/quarter; dining benefits
  • Fuel Surcharge Waiver: Transactions Rs. 400 – 4,000. Max Rs. 400 per month
  • Available to Residents of India or Non-Resident Indians
  • Annual Fee: None 1st year; Rs. 500 beyond 1st year, waived on annual spend of Rs. 40,000
  • Earn Rate: 8 points per Rs. 200 spent except on fuel
  • Point Value: 1 point = Rs. 0.40 Yatra vouchers
  • Perks: Access to 10 lounges across 5 cities in India, 2 visits/quarter; dining benefits
  • Fuel Surcharge Waiver: Transactions Rs. 400 – 4,000. Max Rs. 400 per month

Best NRI Credit Card for Dining: Axis Bank My Zone Credit Card

Consider this if you eat out a lot on the weekends

Age Requirement 18-70
Annual Income Requirement None listed by issuer
Bonuses
  • Welcome Gift: 100 points on first online transaction

Both NRIs and Indian residents will love the Axis My Zone for its excellent return on weekend dining. Cardholders will earn fantastic 8% back (40 points per Rs. 200 spent; 1 point = Rs. 0.40 Yatra vouchers) on this category, with no limit to how many points you can earn. You'll also get a great return of 4% back on weekend shopping (20 points per Rs. 200 spent), and solid 0.80% back (4 points per Rs. 200 spent) on other categories, excluding fuel. Last, you'll get 1 free visit each quarter to MasterCard airport lounges in India. Overall, if you spend a lot on dining while visiting India as an NRI, this is the best card you can find.

  • Indian Residents or NRIs
  • Annual Fee: Rs. 500 (in first year, waived on spend of Rs. 5,000 within 45 days)
  • Reward Earn Rate: 40 points/Rs. 200 weekend dining; 20 points/Rs. 200 weekend shopping; 4 points/Rs. 200 all else except fuel and movies; 25% cashback on movie tickets (max 1,000 cashback/year)
  • Point Value: 1 point = Rs. 0.40 Yatra
  • Perks: 1 free visit to domestic lounges/quarter (10 lounges, 5 cities)
  • Fuel Surcharge Waiver: Transactions Rs. 400–4,000, max Rs. 400 waived/month
  • Indian Residents or NRIs
  • Annual Fee: Rs. 500 (in first year, waived on spend of Rs. 5,000 within 45 days)
  • Reward Earn Rate: 40 points/Rs. 200 weekend dining; 20 points/Rs. 200 weekend shopping; 4 points/Rs. 200 all else except fuel and movies; 25% cashback on movie tickets (max 1,000 cashback/year)
  • Point Value: 1 point = Rs. 0.40 Yatra
  • Perks: 1 free visit to domestic lounges/quarter (10 lounges, 5 cities)
  • Fuel Surcharge Waiver: Transactions Rs. 400–4,000, max Rs. 400 waived/month

Best NRI Credit Card for Shopping: Axis Bank Neo Card

Consider this if you want discounts on shopping, mobile recharge, bus tickets and movies

Age Requirement 18-70
Annual Income Requirement None listed by issuer
Bonuses
  • Welcome Gifts: Rs. 300 BookMyShow voucher; Rs. 250 Amazon voucher on 1st spend within 30 days

The Axis Neo Card is the best NRI card in the market for shopping. You'll get 10% off select Myntra styles through March 31, 2019 (min purchase Rs. 500), and we are waiting to see if the promotion will carry forward afterward. You'll also get 10% off redBus tickets (max Rs. 100 discount monthly), Freecharge mobile recharges (max discount Rs. 30 monthly) and BookMyShow tickets (max discount Rs. 50 monthly). On all other spend, you'll earn a below average 0.40% rupee value back (2 points/Rs. 200 spent; 1 point = Rs. Yatra travel vouchers). Get this NRI credit card for great value on Myntra, as well as on bus tickets, mobile recharges and movies.

  • Available to Residents of India or Non-Resident Indians
  • Annual Fee: 250 (in 1st year, spend Rs. 2,500 in 45 days to waive)
  • Discounts: 10% off Myntra select styles (min purchase Rs. 500), redBus (max Rs. 100 discount/month), Freecharge (1 transaction & max discount Rs. 30 per month), BookMyShow (max discount Rs. 50 per month); valid till Mar 31, 2019
  • Reward Earn Rate: 2 points/Rs. 200 spent on all
  • Point Value: 1 eDGE Reward Point = Rs. 0.40 Yatra voucher (many other options in reward store)
  • Available to Residents of India or Non-Resident Indians
  • Annual Fee: 250 (in 1st year, spend Rs. 2,500 in 45 days to waive)
  • Discounts: 10% off Myntra select styles (min purchase Rs. 500), redBus (max Rs. 100 discount/month), Freecharge (1 transaction & max discount Rs. 30 per month), BookMyShow (max discount Rs. 50 per month); valid till Mar 31, 2019
  • Reward Earn Rate: 2 points/Rs. 200 spent on all
  • Point Value: 1 eDGE Reward Point = Rs. 0.40 Yatra voucher (many other options in reward store)

Best NRI Credit Card for Movie Tickets: ICICI Bank NRI Coral Credit Card

Consider this if if you want airport lounge access in India

Age Requirement None listed by issuer
Annual Income Requirement None listed by issuer
Bonuses
  • Welcome Gift: Rs. 300 Uber vouchers
  • Monthly Bonus: Max 2 free movie tickets monthly via BookMyShow Buy One Get One offer (valued up to Rs. 250 per ticket)

The ICICI NRI Coral is a great option if you want free movie tickets. The first year's annual fee is Rs. 1,000, and it decreases to Rs. 500 thereafter. Each month, you're entitled to a maximum of two free movie tickets from BookMyShow under its Buy One Get One program. Valued at up to Rs. 250 per ticket, you could save a lot on movies if you go frequently enough while visiting India. Last the card provides 2 free airport lounge visits per quarter in India via the MasterCard program. Overall, get this card if you value its movie benefits and lounge access more than its annual fee.

  • Annual Fee: Rs. 1,000 in 1st year; Rs. 500 beyond 1st year (waived on annual spend of Rs. 150,000)
  • Perks: 2 free MasterCard lounge visits per quarter in India
  • Fuel Surcharge Waiver: HPCL transactions on ICICI merchant services machines (max Rs. 4,000 per transaction)
  • Annual Fee: Rs. 1,000 in 1st year; Rs. 500 beyond 1st year (waived on annual spend of Rs. 150,000)
  • Perks: 2 free domestic MasterCard lounge visits per quarter
  • Fuel Surcharge Waiver: HPCL transactions on ICICI merchant services machines (max Rs. 4,000 per transaction)

Best Secured Credit Card for NRIs: Kotak NRI Royale Signature Credit Card

Consider this if you have poor or limited credit history

Age Requirement 18-75
Annual Income Requirement None listed by issuer

The Kotak NRI Royale Signature is a credit card against fixed deposit available to Non-Resident Indians. It comes with a high Rs. 100,000 fixed deposit amount as well as an annual fee of Rs. 1,000. You'll earn 0.45% rupee value back on spend outside of India (2 points per Rs. 200; 1 point = 1 JPMile = Rs. 0.25) and half that within India (1 point per Rs. 200). Last, you'll get two free airport lounge visits per quarter valid across 20 cities in India (through March 31, 2019). It is likely that only high spenders will charge enough on the card to outweigh the annual fees, so we only recommend the NRI Royale Signature to those such consumers.

  • Minimum Fixed Deposit: Rs. 100,000
  • Annual Fee: Rs. 1,000
  • Reward Earn Rate: 2 points/Rs. 200 spent outside India; 1 point/Rs. 200 spent in India; no points on fuel or rail if surcharge waived
  • Estimated Point Value: 1 point = 1 JPMile = Rs. 0.45
  • Perks: Visa Lounge access (2 free visits/quarter; 29 lounges across 20 cities in India) - valid through March 31, 2019
  • Fuel Surcharge Waiver: Transactions Rs. 500 – 3,000 (max Rs. 3,500 waived per year)
  • Rail Surcharge Waiver: Max Rs. 500 waived per year
  • Minimum Fixed Deposit: Rs. 100,000
  • Annual Fee: Rs. 1,000
  • Reward Earn Rate: 2 points/Rs. 200 spent outside India; 1 point/Rs. 200 spent in India; no points on fuel or rail if surcharge waived
  • Estimated Point Value: 1 point = 1 JPMile = Rs. 0.45
  • Perks: Visa Lounge access (2 free visits/quarter; 29 lounges across 20 cities in India) - valid through March 31, 2019
  • Fuel Surcharge Waiver: Transactions Rs. 500 – 3,000 (max Rs. 3,500 waived per year)
  • Rail Surcharge Waiver: Max Rs. 500 waived per year
Dan Grossman

Dan is a Senior Research Analyst at ValueChampion India, focusing on credit cards. He holds a B.S. in Mathematics & Economics from the University of Michigan, and previously worked in the financial services industry at Capital One and Moelis & Company.