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Make the most of cashback offers

Make the most of cashback offers

Retail stores are bombarding customers with cashback offers through credit card issuers. But there are lengthy terms attached.

Have you been eyeing that washing machine and oven for the auspicious festival of Gudi Padwa? Though retailers of electronic and consumer-durable goods are going slow on discounts this year, cashback offers are prominent across categories.

But there are several terms attached to the cashback offer. You may be familiar with the nitty gritties such as dipping the card in the same bank’s machine as the card’s issuer, minimum purchase value, maximum cashback amount. However, there are other things to ensure you receive the maximum benefits through these offers. Travel companies that are offering cashback for Gudi Padwa have put restrictions such as “Adult and child booking permitted. Infant travel not valid for cashback.”

If you are an online shopper then you should check your bank’s website for promo codes or special discounts. For instance ICICI Bank has tied up with Croma Retail to offer a 10% discount by using a special promo code. But just mentioning the promo code won’t suffice, you will have to pay for the transaction through ICICI banking channels.

There is also a cut-off date in terms of card issuance to be adhered to. The entire bill needs to be cleared through the bank’s card. Partial payments made through card won’t be accepted.

Online vs store purchases
Before heading to the physical stores, check whether the cashback offer is available for purchase apart from online stores too. For instance, Ezone’s cashback is applicable for both online and offline purchases, but Croma’s 10% discount is offered only on online purchases.

While heading to the physical store, note down the promo codes mentioned on the bank’s website or the communication you have received. A mistake in the promo code won’t be caught by the retailer, but would cost you the cashback.

Check exclusions
Banks have their way with words. A private bank that is offering up to Rs3,000 off on purchase of mobile phones has listed, in the fine print, that the offer in invalid if you purchase a tablet. So keep an eye for select products that may be excluded – usually the best-selling items that do not require a promotion push.

Promotion on EMIs only
Some cashback offers are valid only if you take the EMI option for purchase. And mind you, after the Reserve Bank of India came down strongly on zero interest EMIs, consumer durable goods manufacturers – as well as retail outlets – are charging as much as 13-20% interest on 6, 9 and 12-month EMIs.

Be wary of 18-month instant EMIs
Beware of Instant EMIs for 18 months that are available on mobile phone purchases. An interest rate of above 15% is applicable by way of a processing fee or a combination of the processing fee and interest charged. Paying off the entire outstanding at one go would attract a hefty pre-closure charge too, just like prepayment of a personal loan.

One cashback purchase per card
If you have received cashback on one of your purchases, don’t be under the impression that this would be repeated as card issuers are restricting cashback offers to a single instance per card.

No pending dues
Remember that cards with no pending dues alone are eligible for cashback offers. So if you have been shopping – even though your bills for last month are pending – you could be in for a rude shock.

Keep spending in check
A card company recently called for attractive gifts worth Rs10,000 to customers who spent the most in an hour. The list of winners indicates that cardholders went on a spending spree, some shopping worth about Rs3.9 lakh in merely an hour to avail the offer. So irrespective of the cashback being offered, you shouldn’t purchase items you don’t absolutely need.

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