CRED promotes itself as a premium platform that offers lucrative rewards and benefits for paying your credit card bills. But does using CRED actually provide solid value compared to other options?
This article provides an in-depth assessment of the pros, cons, and key factors to consider when using CRED for credit card payments.
What is CRED?
CRED is a Bangalore, India-based financial technology company that launched in 2018. The members-only platform aims to incentivize creditworthy actions like timely bill payments by offering rewards, cashback offers, and other perks.
Here’s an overview of how CRED operates for credit card users:
- Users first must pass a credit check to join CRED as approved members.
- CRED members can pay their credit card bills through the CRED app and website.
- When credit card bills are paid via CRED, users receive CRED coins that can be redeemed for rewards.
- Additional cashback offers and discounts from brand partners provide other incentives.
Pros of Using CRED for Credit Card Payments
Paying credit card bills through CRED provides some potential advantages:
- CRED instantly rewards credit card payments with CRED coins that members can redeem for vouchers, cashback, or other benefits through the CRED store.
- Higher rewards are offered for paying rent, utility bills, and credit card dues from CRED partners.
- CRED also grants a welcome bonus for first-time credit card payments.
Access to Deals and Discounts
- By linking your credit card and paying bills via CRED, you gain access to discounts and cashback offers from brands like Samsung, Myntra, Swiggy, and more.
- Special deals give CRED members up to 60% off at premium hotels, 30% off electronics, and other tempting discounts not available to the general public.
- Periodic CRED fest sales provide huge sitewide discounts paid as cashback directly to your bank account.
Seamless Bill Payment Experience
- CRED’s user-friendly interface allows quick and easy credit card bill payments in just a few taps.
- You can set up recurring payments and autopay to ensure you never miss a bill.
- CRED also provides payment reminders and lets you split or postpone payments if needed.
Cons of Using CRED for Credit Card Bills
However, there are also some potential drawbacks of relying on CRED, including:
Access Limited to Creditworthy Members
- The CRED platform is only open to members with high credit scores, limiting broader use. Applicants must go through an application and screening process.
- Prequalification via CRED is required before applying for certain partner credit cards to access improved approval odds and offers. This could be viewed as restrictive.
Minimal Returns for General Credit Card Payments
- The base reward rate of 1 CRED coin per ₹100 spent on credit card bills paid may not seem that lucrative for those with average monthly spends.
- For general credit card payments, the reward value is small compared to many credit cards’ native rewards programs.
Limited Payment Support
- CRED’s bill pay is currently only compatible with credit cards from American Express, HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, and State Bank of India.
- Those with cards from other issuers cannot use CRED for bill pay.
Questions About Data Security
- Some observers have voiced concerns about CRED’s security policies and use of personal financial data.
- CRED collects a significant amount of sensitive user data which gives some members pause.
Assessing the Value of CRED for Bill Pay
Determining whether CRED offers solid value requires evaluating a few key factors:
Types of Bills Paid
CRED provides higher rewards multipliers for paying rent, utilities, education fees, and credit cards from their partners. Users who frequently pay these bills through CRED gain more benefit. For general credit card bills, earnings are lower.
Credit Card Reward Synergies
Savvy credit card users can stack CRED rewards with their credit card’s native rewards program to maximize value. But this only works with compatible card issuers. Those who forfeit their credit card rewards may come out behind.
Frequent use of CRED’s special brand discounts and cashback offers adds significant incremental value for members buying those brands anyway. But you miss out if you don’t use the discounts.
Credit Profile Compatibility
Due to the membership requirements, CRED’s value is highest for those with excellent credit who actually qualify for approval and maximize available features. Those who don’t qualify miss most benefits.
Overall Bill Payment Volume
CRED rewards tend to provide greater return for users with higher overall monthly bills and credit card expenses. Large payment volume is needed to realize substantial aggregate rewards.
Is CRED’s Value Proposition Compelling?
CRED certainly provides some unique benefits, especially for Indian consumers meeting the ideal user profile of having excellent credit, paying high-bonus bills, and frequently using partner discounts.
However, for more average credit card users, the rewards may not exceed other available options like credit card-linked bill pay programs and third-party payment apps. The limited biller support also reduces utility.
That said, savvy credit card users stacking multiple reward systems can likely extract significant value from CRED, so long as they read the fine print and do the math. Its innovation and incentives for financial responsibility are positives in the Indian fintech ecosystem.
Frequently asked questions
Q. What rewards does CRED offer for paying credit card bills?
CRED provides CRED coins that can be redeemed for vouchers, cashback, and rewards in the CRED store when you pay your credit card bill through their platform.
Q. What credit cards can I pay bills for using CRED?
CRED currently only supports credit cards from issuers like American Express, HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, and State Bank of India. Cards from other banks are not compatible.
Q. Is it safe to pay my credit card bill through CRED?
CRED claims to use encryption and security measures to protect your data. However, some users have expressed concerns about their policies. Assess your comfort level before using.
Q. Can I combine CRED rewards with my credit card’s rewards program?
In some cases yes, but CRED is not compatible with all credit card issuers’ loyalty programs. You risk losing your base credit card rewards.
Q. Do I need an excellent credit score to use CRED?
Yes, CRED approval is limited to those with high credit scores. You must pass an eligibility screening to gain access to CRED’s features. Those with moderate scores may not qualify.
CRED provides a novel approach to incentivizing timely bill payments and financial responsibility through its members-only rewards platform. By paying your credit card statements through CRED, users gain access to CRED coin rewards, exclusive brand deals, and a seamless payment experience.
However, relatively low base earnings rates, limited biller compatibility, and a restrictive membership model mean CRED has limited appeal for average credit card holders.
Savvy users who maximize CRED’s bonus categories, stack rewards, and take advantage of partner discounts can extract strong overall value. But for most, traditional card-linked bill pay programs still reign supreme in ease of use and reliable returns.