The rising spending power of Indian Customers is making banks and credit card companies to look at the newly emerging middle-class customers to expand their market share. American Express, which has traditionally limited its offerings to the rich and upper middle customer started targeting the middle class Indian customers with its latest ‘American Express PAYBACK Credit Card’. Released into the market in June, 2013, PAYBACK Credit targets the newly prosperous middle class customers in India. The co-branded credit card is offered in partnership with the Indian arm of PAYBACK AG of Germany. American Express PAYBACK Credit Card is essentially an Indian version of the famed American Express Blue Credit Card launched in the U.S. market. American Express Blue Credit Card was targeted at young customers with low incomes and did not have any annual fee.

American Express Credit Card

However, the American Express PAYBACK Credit Card has an annual fee of Rs. 1,500 per year and a one-time joining fee of Rs. 750. The card has a host of features including a good rewards program. The card user gets 3 reward points (called Payback Points) for every Rs. 100 spent. Since it is co-branded credit card, customers also get additional reward points when they shop at the outlet of PAYBACK partner brands like Big Bazaar and Brand Factory. At the time of the receipt of the card, customers get welcome vouchers worth Rs. 3,000 that can be reimbursed with merchants like Groupon and Lenskart. Customers whose spending exceeds Rs. 15,000 in the first 60 days of card approval get additional reward points credited to their accounts. The annual fee of Rs. 1,500 too is waived if the total spending for a year exceeds Rs. 1,50,000. Applicants of the card need to have a minimum annual income of Rs. 3 lacs.


American Express PAYBACK Credit Card is a good choice for customers who want to start using the premium branded American Express credit cards. The low annual fee and income limit are the two best features of the card. American Express PAYBACK Credit Card is also being offered as a pre-approved card for people who have been using PAYBACK loyalty card for some time. Other than the regular 15 American Express card printed of the card, a PAYBACK number along with its barcode is also printed on the card’s rear. This makes it easy for customers to get PAYBACK points (not to be confused with the regular reward points of the credit card) even at the outlets where American Express cards are not accepted and in cases where the payment is made in cash.

A major disadvantage is of course the limited acceptance of the card in India. However, American Express claims that it is working to increase the acceptance of its cards. I have been using this card for the past three months and impressed with its features and excellent service from American Express. Do remember that you need to carry one more credit/debit card from Visa or MasterCard to shop at merchants where American Express Cards are not accepted.

American Express might be launching more budget credit cards targeted at the middle class customers like the ‘Amex EveryDay Credit Card’ that was recently launched in the U.S. market.

Another option to get an American Express credit card in India is to apply for the American Express cards offered by ICICI Bank. ICICI Bank offers a Visa and American Express credit card on a single account so that customers can pay a single bill for the purchases made on both the cards.