What are Add-On or Supplementary Credit Cards and why are they useful?

Add-on Credit Cards, sometimes referred as Supplementary or secondary Credit Cards are Credit Cards issued against a Credit Card held by the primary card holder. These are usually issued only to family members of the primary card holder upon application. Most banks issue them free of charge i.e. there are no additional annual fees on add-on credit cards. It us usually noticed that despite the benefits of add-on credit cards, most users don’t apply for them and miss out on benefits.

They can be very handy payment instruments and RUSSH recommends the use of add-on cards after understanding how they work. Below are responses to the most frequently asked questions regarding add-on credit cards that one must understand, before applying for one.

Q> As a primary card holder, when shall I go for an add-on credit card?

A> Typically, add-on credit cards are issued to your children, spouse, parents or family members on application by the primary credit card holder. Trust is the primary factor on the basis of which the primary credit card holder must apply for an add-on card. The recipient must exhibit responsible spending habits because all the expenses incurred on the Add-on Card must be paid by the primary Credit Card holder. If your elderly parents live in another city or your child studies in a different city or if you are a frequent traveler, an add-on card can be very handy and empower your family members to spend without the need for cash. Leaving cash with family members is both risky and requires constant replenishment to avoid running out when needed most.

An Add-on card helps those who may not be directly eligible to get a credit card for themselves given their income status or credit history.

Q> What is the Credit Limit for add-on Cards?

A> The credit limit available to the primary card holder is available to all Add-on cards. Essentially, the credit limit on the primary card is shared among the primary card and all Add-on cards. This is another big advantage because family members who are given an Add-on card may not be eligible for that same credit limit as the primary card holder who is salaried. Examples could be retired parents, non-working spouse or college going kids. Some banks have provision for the primary card holder to set spending limits on Add-on cards via their online account for safety reasons.

Q> Does Credit Score matter for Add-On cards?

A> There is no requirement of credit history or CIBIL score for the recipient of an add-on card. Only the credit history of the primary card holder matters because responsibility of all payments lies with the primary card holder. It is therefore vital for the primary cardholder to be aware on the usage of the add-on cards in order to make timely payments.

Q>What are the benefits on add-on Cards?

A> Add-on cards come with various benefits. Typically all benefits on primary cards are applicable to add-on cards as well (although they are cumulative in nature). Some benefits like personal accident insurance available to the primary card holder may not apply to the Add-on card holder.

1. Rewards points are allotted for spends on the primary & add-on cards. Hence any spending done on the add-on card gets the primary card holder extra rewards points, which would otherwise have been lost if those transactions were done in cash instead.

2. The add-on card user can leverage all discounts and gifts are applicable to the primary card

3. An add-n card can be handy in emergencies where the primary card holder may not be available or out of town

4. Airport lounge access may be available to the primary card holder and add-on card holder for some specific high end credit cards

5. Billing is simple. A single bill is generated at the end of the credit cycle for the primary card holder.

6. For credit cards that allow international transactions, add-on cards can be a convenient tool for children studying abroad and are not eligible for their own credit cards in a foreign land.

Q>What is the cost of add-on cards?

A> Generally most banks allow free add-on credit cards to a maximum limit i.e. 2-3 cards per primary card. Other banks may charge a nominal fee for add-on cards.

Q> How do I apply for an add-on credit card?

A> The process to apply for add-on credit cards is usually very simple.

1. Go to bank's website

2. Fill out and submit an add-on or supplementary credit card form

3. Upload the list of documents that are listed, like Aadhar card or PAN card

4. Ensure that the listed Eligibility criteria are met by the person for whom the add-on card is being applied for

5. Submit the form online or some banks require to submit it to the nearest bank branch with supporting documents Once the application process is completed, the bank usually verifies the application and accepts or rejects the application within 15 days.

As an example, here is a link to Axis Bank that allows its existing primary user to apply for add-n credit card.

RUSSH team strongly believes in knowledge sharing and best practices with the card user community. In addition to such tips, it also shows all offers and benefits on your credit and debit cards without need for any credit card details. You can try RUSSH App or Chrome Extension at

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