Your credit card is more than an instrument of commerce. It is an expression of your personality and what you swipe often reveals who you are.
That is the sort of balderdash banks dole out when they want you to desperately sign up for their credit cards. In reality a credit card is a fast car on the national highway to penury. Don’t let those thickly veiled freebies fool you: “Monsoon Dhamaka! Unbelievable 3% cashback on all transactions between Rs5,000 and Rs7,000 provided amount is a prime number and was billed on a bank holiday. Some more conditions apply!”
Yet, there is some truth in the marketing material madness. Your cards can be revealing windows into your fiscal state. We present a ready reckoner so that you know what your credit card says about you:
Classic: Banks also call them by names such as Budget, Regular, Smart, Freedom, Joy and Celebration. Whatever the name, it basically means that you are at the bottom-most rung in terms of creditworthiness. You are a student, intern or first-jobber. You don’t deserve a metallic element yet.
Silver: You are no longer one of the masses with regular cards. Instead you are one of the masses with silver cards. Perhaps, when the verification guy came to check out your address, you answered the door in an old T-shirt and lungi. In a few months, they’ll bump you up to gold anyway. The real fun, by which we mean insolvency, begins there.
Gold: Owners of glittering gold cards, dependable middle-management types, were at a premium just five or six years ago. Today gold cards are so 2002. They might let you in an airport lounge or two, but you’ll probably be left standing sulking in a corner without service.
Platinum: Welcome to the big leagues. Platinum is the new gold. Most platinum owners are middle-to-senior management types who have great cash flows and impressive salary slips. Your aesthetically designed card, in black with metallic flashes, sees much swiping at restaurants and shopping malls. The banks have high hopes of your continuing patronage, eventual bankruptcy and subsequent handing over of personal assets.
Titanium: Titanium is the new status symbol. This card comes with dozens of awesome benefits and several hundred pages of fine print. “The ultimate in personal luxury” is what the banks call it. The credit limit is generous and nothing stops you from spending with gay abandon. The banks, meanwhile, are licking their lips.
Beyond these lie the American Express Centurion card, simply known as the “black card” and actually made of anodized titanium, and the Signia MasterCard. But then these ultra-premium items are only for those with more than, say, a quarter of a million dollars in liquid assets. So, will we see a palladium card tomorrow? Or, maybe, the ultimate in elements: the ununoctium card?
Till then, swipe away.