Tuesday, 21 August 2018

How to Up Your Credit Card Game

If you're not hacking the credit card game in Singapore to get free cash (back) or miles for money that you're already spending, it is about time you got on the bandwagon.

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I'm a huge advocate of credit cards because the way I see it, it is akin to someone coming up to you and giving you freebies (whether in the form of free cash or flight credits) on money that you're already spending anyway. Of course, just remember to pay off your bills on time, because late fees on overdue credit card payments and compound interest are one of the nastiest things ever!

Whether you prefer cold, hard cash or air miles, your best strategy is to find a card that works for you. I'll cover some of them here:

For those who want CASH BACK

First, read this free guidebook to the best credit cards in Singapore which I've written just a few months ago and compare amongst the different cashback credit cards to find what works the best for your lifestyle and current spending habits. For instance,




Next, select and sign up for the cards that fit you the best while maximising the welcome gifts. While there are often different sign-up bonuses offered by the banks, my personal preference is to always go through SingSaver instead because I get more rewards that way as their model involves sharing the affiliate costs with the user (aka you and me).

This is in contrast to when you sign up with the salesperson at a bank or a roadshow, because the salesperson gets a cash commission of $60 or up for every successful application, and obviously none of that incentive goes to you (now you know why they can be so persistent sometimes!). Having said that, I'm not adverse to signing up at roadshows if the incentive is good enough (such as a free Samsonite luggage, etc)!

Make sure you compare and shop around to get the best credit card rewards for your welcome gift! There are some compelling promotions ongoing right now, such as:

  • HSBC Advance Card : get $150 cash for new customers, or $100 if you're already an existing customer
Once you've received your credit card(s) and the welcome rewards, if you need a tool to help you track and remember which cashback credit card to swipe for which category, try this free SGBB Cashback App - which I developed with fellow readers as a passion side project to manage multiple cashback credit cards and stay on top of the game! It is available for both iPhone and Android users, and no, I really don't get a single cent (nor your personal data, since none is collected nor asked from you) from this whether you decide to use it or not!


For those who want MILES

If you prefer collecting miles so that you can redeem free flights for your next holiday instead, I've reviewed some of the best miles credit cards in a previous post here with my friend, the MileLion.

Did you know that you can also bypass the exclusion clauses which dictate that you cannot earn miles for mandatory spending on your insurance and income tax? Through this nifty hack called CardUp, you can actually clock miles for paying off these bills that you cannot run away from and never got to enjoy any rewards on previously!

I'm by no means a miles expert, but as a general rule of thumb I look out for miles credit cards that do not require any minimum spend each month + offer a rate that's at least 1.2 miles per $1 spent locally. That's why I'm not the biggest fan of the Standard Chartered Visa Infinite Card, which only gives you 1.4 mpd IF you spend the minimum of $2000...otherwise, be prepared to get only $1 mpd realistically.


Instead, I prefer the the following miles credit cards:
  • Maybank Horizon Visa : 3.2 miles for each $1 spent on dining, petrol, taxi fares and Agoda hotel bookings

  • UOB PRVI Miles : 1.4 miles per $1 spent, with no minimum monthly spend or max. cap on miles earned, making it perfect as a general spending card

  • Citi PremierMiles : for its generous welcome bonus of 30,000 miles and 1.2 miles per $1 spent locally. Also get $150 of NTUC vouchers upfront.
  • American Express Krisflyer Ascend : gives you 3.2 miles for every $1 spend on Grab rides (max. $200 per month), making it the best miles card for this category. Also get $150 cash upfront when you apply!

I generally ignore the cards for overseas spending, because as attractive as 3 mpd (on SC Visa Infinite) sounds, that comes with a hefty 3.5% foreign exchange fee. No thanks, I'd rather use my DBS Multi-Currency Account (review here) for such overseas spending instead.

So go on and compare, and make sure you get on the credit card bandwagon for its world of free cash, welcome gifts and air miles! There's a lot more benefits to be claimed for money you're already spending, so don't stick to cash payments or you'll be missing out on all of these. 

Just don't forget to pay off your credit card bills on time ;)

With love,
Budget Babe


2 comments:

  1. What about BOC Family and Miles cards? Think they are pretty strong contenders too

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  2. BOC Family is fantastic! I've named them as one of the top cashback cards in my guidebook which is linked in the post above too :) and their miles card, boy oh boy! 2mpd is a real gamechanger!

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