Are lifetime free credit cards really free?

Is "lifetime free" credit card really free?

Lifetime free credit cards

You must have heard of a bank or a credit card company offering a lifetime free credit card. This usually means that they have waived off the “annual fee” charged on it. This is exactly why it is also called a “zero annual fee credit card.”

A credit card annual fee is a cost you will be charged every year from your account. You pay this fee to keep using the card.

The phrase “Lifetime free credit card” sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it? But is this claim legit? Let’s find out if it is really a “no strings attached” benefit.

Two types of life time free credit cards

    1. Credit cards with a “minimum spend in a year” rule
      The annual fees on these cards are waived off if you spend a minimum amount in a year that is specified by your card issuer.
    2. No condition attached lifetime free credit card.
      In these cards, there is no minimum amount that you need to spend and no annual fees would be charged.

      6 charges you should look out for before getting a credit card
    • Interest rate
    • Joining fee
    • Cash advance
    • Transaction fee
    • Late payment charges
    • Overlimit charges
    • Card replacement fee

5 benefits you can get out of a lifetime free credit card

    1. As we saw earlier, you don’t need to pay annual fees.
    2. You can buy anything you want and pay later without extra charges as credit cards provide up to 60 days of the interest-free period.
      Some credit cards give reward points for every transaction. These can redeemed to get exciting offers.
    3. Some credit cards also offer a certain percentage of your spends as cashbacks on every transaction.
    4. It also improves your credit score when you pay back on time.
    5. Many card providers offer attractive insurance, travel and shopping benefits.

3 tips to help you choose the best credit card

    1. Don’t believe the sales people blindly
      There are instances when sales people sell credit cards over cold calls and lie about the card being lifetime free. Never take a credit card without understanding the terms & conditions clearly. Because If you refuse to pay the extra charges later, it will negatively impact your credit score.
    2. Choose a card on which the reward points never expire
      This will ensure that you can spend your reward points without worrying about them expiring. Ensure that there are no fees to redeem your reward points. Ideally, you should never choose a credit card which requires you to pay extra charges to redeem reward points you have earned unless the rewards are worth are worth spending the extra money on.

2 things you should know about lifetime-free credit cards

A lifetime free credit card might start charging an annual fee in the future.
After mid-2021, HDFC started charging annual fees on its MoneyBack credit card which used to be a lifetime free credit card until then.

The lifetime free benefit of your credit card might not be applicable when you upgrade the card. When your credit score increases, you might want your bank to upgrade your lifetime free credit card for a higher limit and more privileges. Make sure you confirm with your bank that the upgraded card is also lifetime free.


Lifetime free credit cards may be an attractive option as you could avoid annual fees, but it’s important to compare different options, read the fine print and understand the terms and conditions before signing up.

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