Survey of Singapore credit cards

I’ve written about the best credit cards for overseas spend (one of the more popular posts on this site) and also about credit cards that earn you the most cash rebate (it is slightly outdated already). Here’s my personal take on all the credit cards in the market. Note that corporate credit cards and cards aimed at specific demographic or special-interests or tied to specific merchants are generally excluded (e.g. high rollers, students, golfers, petrol, departmental store etc.). Cards for accumulating air miles are also excluded. Let me be honest about this – i don’t believe in accumulating air miles, since i am never insistent on sticking with any particular airline for flights. Even when you use your miles, you will still be paying taxes and levies, which can sometimes amount to as much as the price of a discounted flight ticket.

In terms of the benefits you get from a credit card, there are generally two categories of credit cards – either it gives you cashback or reward points. To meaningfully compare cards from both categories, the reward points has to be converted to dollar terms. I do this by calculating the percentage you get, relative to the spend amount, when you redeem the reward points for cash credit. Usually, the reward points required for exchanging into cash credit is not as favourable as, say, restaurant vouchers, but for comparison sake, it is more objective to do so.

RankBank/CardVerdictMain FeatureProsCons
1Citibank DividendHighest cashback (8%) if you spend about $300 per month on each of groceries, petrol and diningCashback8% cashbackMinimum $888 retail spend per month, maximum $25 cashback for each of petrol, grocery and dining categories, meaning you need to spend around $300 on each of the categories
1UOB One3.33% cashback with just minimum of $500 spend per month for 3 consecutive monthsCashback5% cashback for 3 consecutive months of $2000 spent per month, or 3.33% for 3 consecutive months of $500 or $1000 spent per monthA hassle to keep track of spending so as not to exceed $500, $1000 or $2000 by too much
1OCBC 3653% cashback on dining, online, groceries and telco bills, with minimum of $600 spend. Quite a wide range of categories included for earning cashback, including S$ online spend which is rareCashback3% cashback on dining (6% on weekends), online retail transactions, groceries, recurring telco bills, medical (for Child Development Account Trustees) with minimum $600 retail spend per monthExcept fro Telco bills, recurring charges are not included in the calculation of the minimum $600 spend per month
2Citibank SMRT Platinum VisaBest for Town Council conservancy charges and groceriesCashbackUp to 7.3% rebates on groceries, 5% on Town Council Service and Conservancy Charges payment, 1% on other bill payments, 2% on EZ-ReloadRequires performing voucher redemption
2UOB DelightSimilar but not as good as Citibank SMRT Platinum VisaCashback8% cashback on groceries with $800 spend per month, otherwise 3% rebate with $400 spend, 3% rebate on payWave transactions and 3% on Telcos, Insurance (UOI and Prudential only), Town council bill with $400 spendMaximum $50 rebate per month
2UOB Visa SignatureBest card for overseas spendCashback and Rewards5% cashback on foreign currency spending (overseas and online, with minimum of S$1000 in foreign currency spent in the month) and Visa payWave, capped at S$100 of cashback per month, which allows one to spend up to S$2000 in a monthRedemption of UNI$ is in multiples of S$100. The “leftover” UNI$ can be used to redeem other vouchers (get a $10 voucher starting from $312.5 worth of spending)
2SCB Manhattan World MasterCardFantastic when you’re going to spend more than $3000 in a monthCashback3% cashback for above $3000 spending in a month, otherwise 1% for above $1000 and 0.5% for above $500 spending (capped at $200 per quarter)
3Maybank Family & Friends Platinum MasterCardGood for groceries, and if you drive into Malaysia oftenCashback5% rebate at Cold Storage, Fairprice and leading petrol stations and hypermarts in Malaysia (valid till Dec 2015) with minimum $500 spend per month (recurring charges is included in the calculation though not awarded cash rebate). Additional 3% rebate when spending more than $1000 in a month.
3Citibank M1 Platinum VisaFor M1 customers and for overseas retail spend (applicable to non M1 customers)Cashback1.5% and above rebates on M1 bill, 5% rebate on overseas retail spend with minimum of $3000 spend (no need to be m1 customer)
3Maybank Platinum Visa CardIf your monthly retail expenditure is about $300Cashback3.33% cash rebate with minimum spending of $300 (or $1000) every month in a quarter which is quite easily attainableA hassle to keep track of spending so as not to exceed $300 (or $1000) by too much, $20 service fee per quarter if there is no transaction in the quarter which is a hassle also
3CIMB Platinum MasterCardThe only card that offers cashback on insurance paymentCashback3.8% cashback on health and wellness, insurance and home furnishings and applianes (till May 2016) with $500 spend
4POSB EverydayThe only card with rebates on SP ServicesCashback5% cashback on dining, 3% on groceries (till Dec 2015) with minimum $500 spend, 2% on EZ-Reload, 1% on SP Services
4HSBC Visa Platinum5% cashback on recurring mobile/cable TV/internet bill paymentCashback5% cashback on recurring mobile/cable TV/internet bill payment, 3% cashback on groceries and 1% on dining with $400 spend/month (or 5% on groceries and 2% on dining with $800 spend/month) for all 3 months in a quarter
Citibank RewardsDon’t botherRewardsAssuming you only use the card on items that qualify for 10x rewards, then you are getting the equivalent of 2.7% cashback10x rewards only for shoes, clothes, bags, departmental and online retail stores
Citibank Clear Platinum CardDon’t botherRewardsWorks in a similar way as the Citibank Rewards Card, but with only 5x rewards, which is equivalent to 1.35% and above rebates
FRANK6% cashback for online purchases is nice but to exclude the online spend amount in calculating the monthly minimum spend is meanCashback6% cashback on online retail transactions, 3% cashback at bars, cinemas, KTVs, clubs and selected cafes (5% on weekends)Minimum $400 retail spend excluding online transactions
CIMB Visa SignatureDon’t botherCashback3.8% cashback on dining and entertainment and online spend in foreign currency (minimum $50 per transaction) and Visa payWave with minimum 3 transactions and $500 spent in the month, complimentary one-way airport transfer with $500 spent within 3 months or 90 days (quite worthwhile if you stay in the west)3.8% cashback on dining and online foreign currency transactions is already lower than the 5% offered by other cards, and there is still a requirement to spend at least $50 to earn it
OCBC PlatinumDon’t botherRewards0.286% cash rebate, lower than the industry wide minimum of 0.3%
DBS Live Fresh VisaDon’t botherRewards6% cashback for online purchases (till Dec 2015), 3x rewards for online purchases, overseas spend, EZ-reload and Visa payWaveOnly 0.5% cash rebate when accumulating 3x points, what a joke
DBS BlackDon’t botherRewards3x rewards on Visa payWave and 2x rewards on all spendSimilar to the Live Fresh card, only 0.5% cash rebate when accumulating 3x points
DBS Woman’s World MastercardDon’t botherRewards10x rewards on online retail spend, 3x rewards on overseas spend1.6% cash rebate
UOB Preferred Platinum VisaSkip this and go with UOB Visa SignatureRewardsEquivalent to 2% cashback for online retail purchases, Visa payWave and selected merchants
UOB Lady’s PlatinumDon’t botherRewardsEquivalent to 1% cashback for departmental store, overseas and online retail transactions
SCB Platinum Visa/MasterCardDon’t botherRewardsEquivalent to 0.3% cashback
SCB SingpPost Platinum VisaDon’t botherCashback7% cashback for online transactions with minimum $600 spending in a month (capped at $60)Insurance, utilities, online bill payments and such do not qualify for 7% cashback, only 2% cashback on groceries
HSBC’s RevolutionDon’t botherRewards5x rewards on online (10x on Wednesday), local dining and local entertainmentNo reward on Visa payWave, equivalent to 2.5% cashback with the 10x rewards
American Express True CashbackDon’t botherCashback1.5% cashback on all spending with no minimum spend and no capYou’re likely to gain more with the ANZ Optimum card which gives you 5% on dining and 1% on everything else (just 0.5% short of this card)
American Express PlatinumCould offer some decent F&B discountsRewardsSeemingly extensive F&B privileges programmeMost of the dining discounts are only 15% which barely offsets the GST and service fee, rewards are equivalent to only 0.6% cashback
American Express RewardsDon’t botherRewardsEquivalent to 0.48% cashback
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