2019 Cashback Credit Card Strategy

It’s been a long time since i did a check on the ins-and-outs of the world of cashback credit cards. Things have changed tremendously. For the longest time (more than a year), i’ve been relying on the OCBC 365 Credit Card, but they put a stop to the benefit i needed the most from the card and i probably have to kiss it goodbye.

Nevermind if the minimum spending was raised from $600 to $800, the 3% cashback for online transactions (unless it is travel related) was removed. There’s no way i can hit the minimum spending of $800 if i can’t accumulate online purchases towards the $800. So, what’s next?

There are two cards that look like suitable candidates for replacement: OCBC FRANK and Standard Chartered Unlimited.

OCBC FRANK gives 6% cashback for online transactions (capped at $60 which allows spending up to $1000 for these online transactions). The catch is this: you have to hit a minimum spending of $400 in card-present retail transactions (i.e. online transactions are excluded). FRANKly, i can hardly achieve that. Maybe only 4 months in a year. During these months, the FRANK card makes sense.

Standard Chartered Unlimited gives unlimited 1.5% cashback with no minimum spending required. Despite the seemingly lower cashback rate, it still beats earning zero cashback. All the other cards either have very high minimum spending required (usually at least $500) or very complicated rules designed to make you fail (like hitting a certain amount for consecutive months). When all other cards don’t work, one can always fall back to the Standard Chartered Unlimited.

For petrol, SPC with POSB Everyday or UOB works well. The Standard Chartered Caltex combination would do too (you get extra cashback for using the CaltexGo App). For Groceries, Maybank Family and Friends card is still hard to beat – 5% with $500 minimum spend, or 8% with $800 minimum spend. If you buy groceries from Sheng Siong exclusively, then the 5% from POSB is not bad too. For online spending in foreign currency, use YouTrip, or OCBC Frank (6% cashback should be able to nullify the exchange rate premium, provided you can meet the $400 minimum card-present spend). Finally, Standard Chartered Manhattan remains the best card when spending over $3k in a month – you get 3% cashback, regardless of spending category, which is fantastic.

Update 2020: The Citibank SMRT card seems like the winner, with up to 3% cashback for online transactions and to up 5% for groceries. You practically don’t need meet a minimum spending requirement, as you only lose out 0.3% of cashback if you don’t meet a $300 monthly spending.

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