In March 2022, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) lifted the ban it had imposed on HDFC Bank from launching new credit cards. Since then, the bank is adding new cards to its portfolio. Recently, the Tata Group and the HDFC Bank teamed up to launch co-branded credit cards in two variants, Tata Neu Plus HDFC Bank Credit Card and Tata Neu HDFC Bank Infinity Credit Card. The ‘plus’ variant is an entry-level card for new-to-credit (NTC) customers and the ‘infinity’ variant is the premium card with benefits across different categories.
Both cards offer good cashback/rewards while spending on Tata-partnered brands using the Tata Neu, the super-app launched by the conglomerate in April this year. Here is a review of these cards.
What does it offer?
Tata Neu Plus HDFC Bank and Tata Neu HDFC Bank Infinity cards offer 2 percent and 5 percent cashback, respectively, when used at Tata partner brands online and offline in the form of NeuCoins. You get an additional 5 percent cashback as NeuCoins on both variants of the card while shopping through the Tata Neu app. NeuCoins are the reward points that customers can earn and use with the Tata Neu app.
Some of these Tata partner brands are online pharmacy 1mg, grocer BigBasket, electronics store Croma, AirAsia, apparel and lifestyle outlet Tata CliQ, Indian Hotels (Taj, SeleQtions, Vivanta and others), retail fashion chain Westside, premium food delivery service Qmin, Tata Play, Tata Digital-backed fitness and wellness chain Cult.fit, and so on.
“The credit card is for digitally savvy customers who are looking for a rewarding experience on their shopping and lifestyle needs. These cards cater to shopping categories which range from groceries to electronics, travel, fashion and healthcare,” said an HDFC Bank spokesperson.
The minimum income eligibility for the Tata Neu Plus card is Rs 3 lakh a year for salaried and Rs 6 lakh for self-employed persons. For the Tata Neu Infinity card, the minimum income eligibility is an annual Rs 12 lakh for both salaried and self-employed persons.
The joining and annual fees for the Tata Neu Plus and Tata Neu Infinity cards are Rs 499 and Rs 1,499, respectively. As a welcome benefit, 499 and 1,499 NeuCoins are offered to Tata Neu Plus and Tata Neu Infinity card users, respectively. The value of one NeuCoin is equal to one rupee. “These credit cards are beneficial if you are a loyal customer of Tata brands,” said Shavir Bansal, founder and CEO of Kifaayat.com, a financial advisory firm.
You can apply for the cards through the Tata Neu app as well as the HDFC Bank website. Both variants of the card are available on RuPay and Visa networks.
These cards are a good option for those who frequently travel domestically by air as the user gets complimentary access to airport lounges on both variants of the card.
The Tata Neu Infinity card offers a 10 percent unlimited cashback on AirAsia and Indian Hotels bookings with no capping. “This unlimited 10 percent cashback offering on flights and hotel bookings through Tata Neu app is a useful offer. If someone travels often and prefers Tata brands, for them having this credit card will be favourable,” said Bansal.
There are insurance benefits to Tata Neu Infinity cardholders with a cover of Rs 1 crore against accidental air death, emergency overseas hospitalisation cover of Rs 15 lakh and lost card liability cover worth Rs 9 lakh. However, other card issuers also offer similar protection on premium credit cards.
What doesn’t work
“The primary app, i.e., Tata Neu, itself is in the evolving stage. There are quite a few glitches users report while encashing NeuCoins and shopping through it,” said Parijat Garg, a digital lending consultant. He added that as of now, the Tata Neu app is not too stable.
A spokesperson from HDFC Bank, however, said, “We are confident in the processes put in place between us and the Tata Group. We value customer feedback, and our constant endeavour is to take corrective actions to improve customer experience.”
HDFC Bank and Tata Group have kept the rewards programme attractive to both variants of the credit card, but it’s limited to Tata brands. “Accumulated NeuCoins can be used only for limited brands, so it’s not a great attraction for the card users,” said Garg.
“If we compare both variants of Tata Neu credit cards with some of the existing card offerings of HDFC Bank, then it seems existing credit cards of the bank are giving more value compared to these cards,” said Garg. For instance, HDFC Bank’s Millennia credit card offers 5 percent cashback on select Tata brands as well as on Amazon, Flipkart, etc. Similarly, HDFC Bank’s Regalia credit card offers discounts on dining and allows redemption of accumulated reward points via the lender’s Smartbuy platform on flights and hotel bookings.
The bank charges 3.75 percent per month (or 45 percent annually) on Tata Neu Plus credit cards as interest rates on overdue balances. “This annual interest charge is steep. Most banks in the entry level segment charge 3.5 percent per month (42 percent annually) on the overdue amount,” said Bansal.
Should you apply?
The Tata Neu cards offered by HDFC Bank seem to be a good option for those who love shopping, but more so for those faithful to Tata brands. Either variant can be a decent add-on card depending on the spending habit on Tata brands.
“It cannot be a primary credit card because there are much better cards in the market with similar pricing and providing much better features,” said Bansal, adding that on Tata Neu credit cards, the rewards are very limited while using the card on non-Tata partner brands.
If you are an NTC and keen to become an HDFC Bank credit card holder, then you can consider signing up for generic credit cards instead of these co-branded credit cards, suggest experts.“It is because you are getting better rewards/cashback offers on generic credit cards of HDFC Bank and the eligibility criteria remain similar,” said Garg.