Money

3 best cash back credit cards for different spending habits

Receiving money to shop might sound like a dream, but with these top cashback credit cards that are tailored to your spending habits, you might be able to do just that
 

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Money doesn’t grow on trees, but with the number of cashback credit cards in Singapore, it sure feels like it. Instead of the reward points system that many cards offer, cashback credit cards give you a cash rebate. Cash rebates work much better than rewards points because they usually don’t expire, and you don’t have to redeem them for vouchers that will just force you to spend more!

Strangely enough, in a market where just about every bank has a cashback credit card, some cards still come with very strange spending requirements. If a card sounds too good to be true, it’s usually because it comes with a list of terms and conditions so complicated that you require thick glasses and a crack team of lawyers and auditors to understand.

We give you a breakdown of some of the best cashback credit cards available in Singapore, and rank the cards based on how easy it is to get their rebates. We also look at some cashback credit cards that just don’t make the cut, either because of low cashback rates or a complicated cashback system.

Monthly spending of $500 and below on a cashback credit card

Case Study 1: Helena spends $500 a month.

Best cards for her:

American Express True Cashback: $7.50 cashback

ANZ Optimum World MasterCard: $25 cashback (if spent on one chosen category – dining, groceries, travel or shopping), $5.00 cashback (for all other purchases)

OCBC Frank: $7.20 cashback (assuming $100 spent on online purchases, $400 spent on all other purchases), $1.50 cashback (for all other purchases)

Worst cards for her:

POSB Everyday Card: $1.50 cashback

UOB One: $16.67 cashback (if she spends at least $500 every month on at least 3 purchases, rebate given per quarter)

Maybank Platinum Visa: $10 cashback (if she spends at least $300 every month, rebate given per quarter)

The American Express True Cashback card gets the victory here. When your credit card spending is small, the cashback amounts tend to be negligible, so you have to be more concerned about minimum spending requirements. The American Express True Cashback card and ANZ Optimum World MasterCard both do not have any minimum spending requirements or maximum rebate caps, making them most suitable for small monthly expenditure.

Monthly spending of $501 and $1500 on a cashback credit card

Case Study 2: Dinah spends $1500 a month.

Best cards for her:

American Express True Cashback: $22.50 cashback

ANZ Optimum World MasterCard: $75 cashback (if spent on one chosen category – dining, groceries, travel or shopping), $15 cashback (for all other purchases)

Citi Cash Back Card: $78.75 cashback (assuming spending on dining, groceries and petrol is $500 each), $3.75 (for all other purchases)

Worst cards for her:

UOB ONE Card/Maybank Platinum Visa: $33.33 cashback (if she spends at least $1000 every month)

Standard Chartered Manhattan: $15 cashback

POSB Everyday: $4.50 cashback

The American Express True Cashback card once again lives up to its name here, because it has no minimum spending requirement and no maximum rebate cap. The ANZ Optimum World MasterCard comes in a close second. It loses out only because you can only get 5% cashback on one of four categories (dining, groceries, travel or shopping) that you have chosen ahead of time. Furthermore, there is a $30 rebate cap for each transaction. That means you will get $30 whether you spend $600 or $1000 in a single transaction.

They both definitely beat the UOB One card and the Maybank Platinum Visa card. Those two cards have a minimum spending requirement of $1000 each month for 3 months before you can earn the rebates. What’s worse, you forfeit your rebates if you do not meet the spending requirement. Talk about getting kicked while you’re down. 

Monthly spending of $1501 and above on a cashback credit card

Case Study 3: Barbara spends $3000 a month.

Best cards for her:

ANZ Optimum World MasterCard: $150 cashback (if spent on one chosen category – dining, groceries, travel or shopping), $30 cashback (for all other purchases)

Citi Cash Back Card: $82.50 cashback (assuming spending on dining, groceries and petrol is $1000 each), $7.50 cashback (for all other purchases) (up to a maximum of $800 cash rebate a year)

American Express True Cashback: $45 cashback

Worst cards for her:

UOB One: $100 cashback (if she spends at least $2000 every month on at least 3 purchases)

Maybank Platinum Visa: $33.33 cashback (if she spends at least $1000 every month)

POSB Everyday: $9 cashback

The ANZ Optimum World MasterCard takes the clear lead here, but only if you know how to use it right. Firstly, you have to plan ahead and choose your category you expect to spend the most in. The four categories are dining, groceries, travel or shopping. Your choice is locked in for three months, so choose wisely. Transactions in your selected category will earn 5% cashback. All other transactions will earn 1%. Do note that there is a maximum rebate cap of $30 per transaction. So if you choose the travel category for example, and your airline tickets cost $600 or above, you will still only earn $30 in cashback for that transaction.

The Citi Cash Back card is great for high monthly spending, especially if you spend a lot on groceries and fuel. If you apply for the Amex True Cashback card now, you will also get up to 3% rebates on your first $5000 spent on your first 6 months!

A card that has not been mentioned thus far is the OCBC 365 Card, which just missed the Top 3 for the latter scenarios. Offering 6% cashback rebates for weekend dining, 5% for petrol and 3% for weekday dining, groceries and telco bills, it is a good all-rounder cashback cad but not the best.

The smart cashback credit card user will mix and match the above cards according to their needs. They may use the Standard Chartered Singpost Platinum Visa card for online transactions, and the Citi Cash Back card for fuel and groceries (while taking note of the minimum $50 transaction amount). Here are some more tips on how to maximise your cashback card benefits.

Of course, with all credit cards, your cashback rebates aren’t worth anything if you’re not making payment in full each month. So always make sure to spend within your means.

 

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For more credit card advice, check out the 5 things you should be buying with a credit card

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