Credit Cards

What to Look Out For When Choosing a Cashback Credit Card

how to choose a cashback credit card

Joanne Poh

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When you first discover that some credit cards offer you rebates when you spend money, a cashback credit card can sound like a dream. After all, who doesn’t want to receive free money?

But you can’t just sign up for any old credit card and hope to see the money rolling in.

If you want to earn meaningful amounts of cashback, you’ll have to select your cashback credit card with the utmost care.

A well chosen cashback credit card can earn enough to subsidise your mobile data bills or have a nice meal every month. A badly chosen one, on the other hand, is totally useless, except maybe as a coaster for your beer glass.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to picking the right cashback credit card for you.

 

Can you satisfy the minimum income requirement of the cashback credit card?

The good news is that there are lots of good entry-level cashback credit cards.

While fancy premium cards with high minimum income requirements tend to offer better air mile conversion rates and luxury perks, the same generally cannot be said of cashback.

You could say that cashback cards are for plebs, not that we’re complaining.

Still, you’ll have to make sure you satisfy the income requirements of whatever credit card you’re applying for.

Some of the best cashback credit cards in Singapore such as the Citi Cash Back Card and the DBS Live Fresh Card require only an entry level income of $30,000. But to be sure, make sure you check the income requirements before you start doing other research.

DBS Live Fresh Card

DBS Live Fresh Card


Card Benefits

    • 5% cashback on online shopping and when you pay using Visa payWave, Apple Pay, Samsung Pay or Android Pay through your Card
    • Additional 5% cashback for the first 6 months with S$600/month min. spend when signing up within 8 Jan - 31 Mar 2018, Cashback cap at S$60/month
    • Lazada: 20% off storewide for new shoppers with ‘DBS2017’; Valid till 31 Dec 2018
    • Expedia: 20% off eligible hotel bookings with ‘DBS10EXP’ at checkout; Valid till 31 Jan 2019, and travel till 30 Apr 2019
    • Base rate: 0.3% on all other spend

     

    Can you satisfy the minimum spending requirements of the cashback credit card?

    Just because you’ve successfully applied for a credit card doesn’t mean you’ll benefit from the fantastic cashback they’ve been advertising on their website.

    Most credit cards require you to spend a certain amount every month in order to qualify for their cashback.

    Here are some popular cards and their cashback requirements:

    • Citi Cash Back Card – In order to enjoy their 8% cashback on dining, Grab rides, petrol and groceries, you must spend at least $888 per statement month.
    Citi Cash Back Card

    Citi Cash Back Card


    Card Benefits

    • Get S$120 Cashback
    • Get 20% Cash Back on foodpanda orders
    • 8% cash back at food & beverage outlets, supermarkets, food & groceries delivery (including Deliveroo, honestbee, RedMart) and Grab rides globally (valid till 6 Apr 2018)
    • Up to 20.88% fuel savings at Esso and Shell, and 8% cash back at other petrol stations
    • Total minimum retail spend of S$888/statement month to get 8% cash back, capped at S$25 per category (Dining, Grab rides valid till 6 Apr 2018, Groceries, Petrol). For retail spend less than S$888 and/or other retail spend categories, 0.25% cash back is awarded, no cap
    • OCBC 365 Card – Get 6% cashback on weekend dining in Singapore, and 3% cashback on weekday dining in Singapore or all overseas dining, as well as 3% on online shopping, groceries and recurring telco bills. The catch? You have to spend $600 every calendar month to qualify.
    OCBC 365 Credit Card

    OCBC 365 Credit Card


    Card Benefits

    • 3% Cashback on Weekday and Overseas Dining, Grocery and Recurring Telecommunications bills, and all Online spend
    • 6% Cashback on Weekend Dining
    • Up to 23.8% Fuel Savings at selected petrol stations
    • Minimum spend of $600/month, $80 cap /month. For spend less than $600, a flat 0.3% cashback is awarded
    • UOB YOLO Credit Card – The maximum rebate on weekend dining and entertainment is a very generous 16%, while weekday dining and entertainment, as well as online fashion and travel purchases, get you a respectable 3%. But you will need to spend at least $600 per statement month.
    UOB YOLO Credit Card

    UOB YOLO Credit Card


    Card Benefits

      • 16%* cash rebate on weekend Dining & Entertainment**; 3% cashback on weekday Dining & Entertainment
      • 3% cash rebate on Online Travel^ and fashion
      • Minimum spend: S$600. Cashback cap: S$60/month
      • 1 year principal card fee waiver; no annual fees for first supplementary card
      • Base rate: 0.3% cashback if minimum spend of S$600 is not met

       

      Are the spending categories that receive cashback relevant to your lifestyle?

      While there are some cards that will offer you blanket cashback on all spending, the most generous ones will usually only reward you for spending on certain things.

      There is no point in applying for a card that gives you a ton of cashback on something you don’t spend on. If the card promises to give you 25% cashback on petrol but you don’t have a driver’s licence, it’s about as useful as a third leg.

      So do some research on what categories give you cashback.

      • If you’re a shopaholic, you might want to consider the Standard Chartered Spree Card, which gives you 3% on all online spending in foreign currency and all vPost spending, 2% on all online spending in local currency and contactless and mobile payments, and 1% on all other retail spending—with no minimum spending requirement.
      Standard Chartered Spree Credit Card

      Standard Chartered Spree Credit Card


      Card Benefits

      • Get up to S$120 cashback when you sign up and use your new Credit Card
      • Enjoy 20% cashback on your Grab Rides
      • 3% cashback on all online spends in foreign currency and vPost spends
      • 2% cashback on all online spends in local currency, contactless and mobile payments
      • 1% cashback on all other retail transactions
      • If you adore dining at restaurants, consider opting for the Citi Cash Back Card, which offers 8% cashback on dining, or the YOLO Credit Card, which offers up to 16% cashback on weekend dining and 3% on weekday dining.
      UOB YOLO Credit Card

      UOB YOLO Credit Card


      Card Benefits

        • 16%* cash rebate on weekend Dining & Entertainment**; 3% cashback on weekday Dining & Entertainment
        • 3% cash rebate on Online Travel^ and fashion
        • Minimum spend: S$600. Cashback cap: S$60/month
        • 1 year principal card fee waiver; no annual fees for first supplementary card
        • Base rate: 0.3% cashback if minimum spend of S$600 is not met

         

        Are there are any other conditions that must be satisfied before you can receive the cashback?

        Just because you satisfy the minimum spending requirements doesn’t mean you can assume you’ll walk away with the cashback at the end of the month.

        You’ll need to read the find print to figure out if there are any additional conditions that must be satisfied before you can receive the cashback.

        • Let’s take the HSBC Advance Credit Card as an example. The card promises to give you up to 3.5% cashback on all purchases with no minimum spending required. But to get the full cashback, you need to not only spend above $2,000 in a month, but also be an HSBC Advance banking customer.
        HSBC Advance Credit Card

        HSBC Advance Credit Card


        Card Benefits

        • Option 1: American Tourister Caravan 70cm TSA luggage (worth S$260)
        • Option 2: S$100 Cash Back
        • 1.5% Cash Back on all purchases with no minimum spend / 2.5% Cash Back on all purchases with $2,000 minimum spend per month. Capped at $70 per month
        • For HSBC Advance banking customers: 2.5% Cash Back on all purchases with no minimum spend / 3.5% Cash Back on all spend with S$2,000 minimum spend per month. Capped at S$125 per month
        • 1st year principal card annual fee waiver for non-HSBC Advance banking customers / Perpetual principal card annual fee waiver for HSBC Advance banking customers
        • Perpetual supplementary card annual fee waiver
        • The UOB One Card is another one with complicated requirements. To receive their maximum cashback of up to 5%, you not only have to spend at least $2,000 in a month, you have to do it every month in a quarter AND make a minimum of 5 purchases in every statement month. Sure, the cashback is generous, but for some the requirements might be too complicated and too onerous.
        UOB One Card

        UOB One Card


        Card Benefits

          • Up to 5% cash rebate on all spend for spend above S$2,000/month per quarter (up to 3.33% cash rebate for spend of $500 or $1,000 monthly)
          • Up to 10% additional SMART$ rebate with UOB SMART$ Rebate Programme

          As you can see, just like finding someone to marry, picking the right cashback credit card takes time and care. The good news is that once you have found your go-to credit cards, you can swipe away knowing that you’re getting a bit of money back each time.

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          Joanne Poh

          In my previous life, I was a property lawyer who spent most of my time struggling to get out of bed or stuck in peak hour traffic. These days, as a freelance commercial writer, I work in bed, on the beach, in parks and at cafes, all while being really frugal. I like helping other people save money so they can stop living lives they don't like.