Credit cards

Whether you are a foodie, globetrotter, or shopaholic, just having the right credit cards in your wallet can unlock savings and benefits for a fuller life and pocket. Compare the best credit cards with cashback, rewards, and lifestyle perks.

By   |   Verified by Kwok Zhong Li   |   Updated 1st August 2020

Comparing credit cards

Citi PremierMiles Card

On Citi's website

Citi PremierMiles Card

Cashback

N/A

Cashback cap

N/A

Minimum spend

N/A

Sign up bonus

N/A

Highlights

  • Earn 2 miles per $1 overseas spend and 1.2 miles per $1 local spend, miles won’t expire on you
  • Access to over 1,000 airport lounges with Priority Pass membership
  • Up to $1 mil travel insurance coverage is awesome
  • Up to 10% rebate at over 500 merchants
  • Earn miles or reward points when you pay your tax, rent, condominium management fee, school fee or electricity bill with Citi PayAll on the Citi Mobile® App

Finty Rewards

  • $10 cash upon getting your card, even for existing Citi cardholders

Bank promo

  • Receive 37,300 miles when you spend using Citi PremierMiles Card (terms and conditions apply). Promo extended until 30 September2020.
American Express Singapore Airlines Business Credit Card

On American Express' website

American Express Singapore Airlines Business Credit Card

Cashback

N/A

Cashback cap

N/A

Minimum spend

N/A

Sign up bonus

N/A

Highlights

  • Earn up to 8.5 HighFlyer points on eligible Singapore Airlines Group flights (uncapped) and earn 1.8 HighFlyer points on all other eligible spends (uncapped).
  • Fast track to KrisFlyer Elite Gold status with S$15,000 spend with Singapore Airlines Group in the first 12 months.
  • Enjoy Priority Pass membership with two complimentary visits per year for you and a guest.
  • Complimentary night’s stay every year, and up to 50% dining discounts with Accor Plus across Asia-Pacific.
  • Boost cash flow with up to 51 days interest-free from transaction date and 21 days from statement date, on all purchases.

Bank promo

  • Receive up to 50,000* bonus HighFlyer points - that's worth S$500 off your next flight! Terms and conditions apply.
  • Enjoy S$0 annual Card fee for the first year, saving your business S$299.
OCBC 365 Credit Card

On OCBC's website

OCBC 365 Credit Card

Cashback

N/A

Cashback cap

N/A

Minimum spend

N/A

Sign up bonus

N/A

Highlights

  • 6% rebate on local and overseas dining every day and for online food delivery
  • 3% rebate on local, overseas and online groceries, travel, land transport and recurring bills
  • Save up to 23% at Caltex and 20.4% at Esso on petrol, as well as 5% Cashback at all other petrol stations
  • All other purchases still get you 0.3% rebate
  • Up to $500,000 travel insurance coverage and up to $400 coverage for baggage loss

Finty Rewards

  • $10 cash upon getting your card, even for existing OCBC cardholders

Bank promo

  • $50 cash rebate
Citi Cash Back Mastercard®

On Citi's website

Citi Cash Back Mastercard®

Cashback

N/A

Cashback cap

N/A

Minimum spend

N/A

Sign up bonus

N/A

Highlights

  • 8% cashback on all Grab rides, all year long
  • 8% cashback at all F&B outlets worldwide daily (delivery counts too)
  • 8% cashback at all supermarkets worldwide daily (delivery counts too)
  • Up to 20.88% fuel savings at Esso, 22.72% at Shell, and 8% cashback at all other petrol stations
  • All other purchases still get you 0.25% rebate, no cap

Finty Rewards

  • $10 cash upon getting your card, even for existing Citi cardholders

Bank promo

  • $120 cashback
HSBC Advance Credit Card

On HSBC's website

HSBC Advance Credit Card

Cashback

N/A

Cashback cap

N/A

Minimum spend

N/A

Sign up bonus

N/A

Highlights

  • Up to 3.5% cashback on spending worldwide, no min spend
  • Yes please to exclusive retail, dining, entertainment, travel, and hotel privileges

Finty Rewards

  • $10 cash upon getting your card, even for existing HSBC cardholders

Bank promo

  • Samsonite T5 68cm Spinner Luggage worth $560 or $150 cashback ($30 cashback for existing HSBC cardholders)
Citibank SMRT Card

On Citi's website

Citibank SMRT Card

Cashback

N/A

Cashback cap

N/A

Minimum spend

N/A

Sign up bonus

N/A

Highlights

  • Up to 5% rebate at selected groceries.
  • Up to 5% rebate on fast food, movies and coffee.
  • Up to 3% rebate on online shopping.
  • Up to 2% rebate on your EZ-Reload with no convenience fee.
  • Rebates are redeemed as vouchers or offset your next purchase 

Finty Rewards

  • $10 cash upon getting your card, even for existing Citi cardholders

Bank promo

  • Enjoy waived annual fee for the first 2 years of your card. Plus, receive $120 cash back when you spend S$1,200 in the first 3 months!
OCBC Titanium Rewards Credit Card (Blue)

On OCBC's website

OCBC Titanium Rewards Credit Card (Blue)

Cashback

N/A

Cashback cap

N/A

Minimum spend

N/A

Sign up bonus

N/A

Highlights

  • Earn 10 points per $1 spend at department stores or on clothes, shoes, bags, electronics, gadgets, kid's wear, or personal care
  • Earn 10 points per $1 spend for online purchases at selected merchants
  • All other purchases still earn you 1 point per $1 spend
  • Redeem points as miles, vouchers, or cash to offset purchases on the spot
  • Save up to 14% at Esso, 16% at Caltex and 20% at Sinopec on petrol

Finty Rewards

  • $10 cash upon getting your card, even for existing OCBC cardholders

Bank promo

  • $50 cash rebate
Citi Rewards Card (Mastercard)

On Citi's website

Citi Rewards Card (Mastercard)

Cashback

N/A

Cashback cap

N/A

Minimum spend

N/A

Sign up bonus

N/A

Highlights

  • Earn 10 points per $1 spend on clothes, bags, or shoes at department or online stores.
  • All other purchases still earn you 1 point per $1 spend.
  • Enough points could get you that dream holiday, wishlist item, or vouchers.

Finty Rewards

  • $10 cash upon getting your card, even for existing Citi cardholders

Bank promo

  • Enjoy waived annual fee for the first year.
  • Receive up to 30,000 Citi ThankYou Points when you spend S$3,000 in the first 3 months.
HSBC Revolution Credit Card

On HSBC's website

HSBC Revolution Credit Card

Cashback

N/A

Cashback cap

N/A

Minimum spend

N/A

Sign up bonus

N/A

Highlights

  • Earn 5 points per $1 spend on online shopping, local dining, and local entertainment
  • All other purchases still earn you 1 point per $1 spend
  • Enough points can get you cash, items, or vouchers for dining, shopping, or travel

Finty Rewards

  • $10 cash upon getting your card, even for existing HSBC cardholders

Bank promo

  • Samsonite T5 68cm Spinner Luggage worth $560 or $150 cashback ($30 cashback for existing HSBC cardholders)
Citibank Ready Credit

On Citi's website

Citibank Ready Credit

Cashback

N/A

Cashback cap

N/A

Minimum spend

N/A

Sign up bonus

N/A

Highlights

  • Credit line with up to 4X your monthly income
  • Convert to flexible instalments of up to 60 months with a lower interest rate of 1.663% per month
  • Get 1% cash rebate on all online and retail purchases 
  • Withdraw cash at over 1.4 million ATMs locally and overseas
  • Pay anyone conveniently with your free cheque book

Finty Rewards

  • $10 cash upon getting your card, even for existing Citi cardholders

Bank promo

  • Up to $150 NTUC FairPrice vouchers
OCBC Cashflo Credit Card

On OCBC's website

OCBC Cashflo Credit Card

Cashback

N/A

Cashback cap

N/A

Minimum spend

N/A

Sign up bonus

N/A

Highlights

  • Pay over 6 months with 0% interest for transaction $1,000 and above
  • Pay over 3 months with 0% interest for transaction between $100 and $1,000
  • 1% rebate if your monthly spend is above $1,000 or 0.5% rebate if it's below
  • Save up to 14% at Esso, 16% at Caltex and 20% at Sinopec on petrol

Finty Rewards

  • $10 cash upon getting your card, even for existing OCBC cardholders

Bank promo

  • $50 cash rebate
Citi Prestige Credit Card

On Citi's website

Citi Prestige Credit Card

Cashback

N/A

Cashback cap

N/A

Minimum spend

N/A

Sign up bonus

N/A

Highlights

  • Earn 5 ThankYou points (2 miles) per $1 overseas spend and 3.25 ThankYou points (1.3 miles) per $1 local spend
  • No cap on ThankYou points and miles won’t expire on you
  • A concierge team to support your lifestyle at home and abroad
  • Complimentary 4th night stay
  • Earn miles or ThankYou points when you pay your tax, rent, condominium management fee, school fee or electricity bill with Citi PayAll on the Citi Mobile® App

Finty Rewards

  • $10 cash upon getting your card, even for existing Citi cardholders

Bank promo

  • Choose to receive either 62,500 Citi ThankYou points (25,000 miles) or a Gadget Welcome Gift (terms and conditions apply).
OCBC Titanium Rewards Credit Card (Pink)

On OCBC's website

OCBC Titanium Rewards Credit Card (Pink)

Cashback

N/A

Cashback cap

N/A

Minimum spend

N/A

Sign up bonus

N/A

Highlights

  • Earn 10 points per $1 spend at department stores or on clothes, shoes, bags, electronics, gadgets, kid's wear, or personal care
  • Earn 10 points per $1 spend for online purchases at selected merchants
  • All other purchases still earn you 1 point per $1 spend
  • Redeem points as miles, vouchers, or cash to offset purchases on the spot
  • Save up to 14% at Esso, 16% at Caltex and 20% at Sinopec on petrol

Finty Rewards

  • $10 cash upon getting your card, even for existing OCBC cardholders

Bank promo

  • $50 cash rebate
HSBC Visa Platinum Credit Card

On HSBC's website

HSBC Visa Platinum Credit Card

Cashback

N/A

Cashback cap

N/A

Minimum spend

N/A

Sign up bonus

N/A

Highlights

  • 5% rebate local grocers and on your recurring TV, internet, and mobile bills
  • Save 20.2% at Caltex and 18.30% at Shell on petrol
  • 2% rebate at local restaurants
  • Earn 1 point per $1 spend for rewards on top of cash rebate

Finty Rewards

  • $10 cash upon getting your card, even for existing HSBC cardholders

Bank promo

  • Samsonite T5 68cm Spinner Luggage worth $560 or $150 cashback ($30 cashback for existing HSBC cardholders)
OCBC Robinsons Group Credit Card

On OCBC's website

OCBC Robinsons Group Credit Card

Cashback

N/A

Cashback cap

N/A

Minimum spend

N/A

Sign up bonus

N/A

Highlights

  • 5% rebate at Robinsons and another 18 fashion or lifestyle brands
  • Get those rebates on top of existing store discounts or promos
  • No cap in your way of more cash rebate
  • Cash rebates are credited instantly
  • Earn 1 point per $2 spend outside of Robinsons and the 18 brands and 3 points per $2 overseas spend for rewards

Finty Rewards

  • $10 cash upon getting your card, even for existing OCBC cardholders

Bank promo

  • $50 Zara vouchers
OCBC Arts Credit Card

On OCBC's website

OCBC Arts Credit Card

Cashback

N/A

Cashback cap

N/A

Minimum spend

N/A

Sign up bonus

N/A

Highlights

  • Priority booking for shows by Wild Rice, The Theatre Practice, Ding Yi Music Company, Singapore Dance Theatre, Singapore Lyric Opera, and more
  • Gush over up to 20% off show tickets
  • Earn 3 points per $1 spend with Sistic
  • All other purchases still earn you 1 point per $1 spend
  • Redeem points as show tickets or invites, miles, vouchers, or cash to offset purchases on the spot

Finty Rewards

  • $5 cash upon getting your card, even for existing OCBC cardholders

Bank promo

  • Nothing at the moment
Citi Lazada Credit Card

On Citi's website

Citi Lazada Credit Card

Cashback

N/A

Cashback cap

N/A

Minimum spend

N/A

Sign up bonus

N/A

Highlights

  • Earn 10X Reward Points, thereafter (terms and conditions apply).
  • Earn 5X Reward Points on your Dining, Travel, Entertainment and Commute (terms and conditions apply).
  • Enjoy shipping rebate when you spend a min. of $50 per transaction at Lazada.
  • Indulge convenience on your transactions with the Citi Mobile® App.
  • Feel secure with this card's complimentary travel insurance.

OCBC Frank Credit Card

On OCBC's website

OCBC Frank Credit Card

Cashback

N/A

Cashback cap

N/A

Minimum spend

N/A

Sign up bonus

N/A

Highlights

  • Feel cool flashing your card with over 120 hip designs to choose from
  • 6% rebate on your online shopping, including Grab rides! Woohoo!
  • 5% rebate on local entertainment from Fri to Sun, 3% on other days
  • 5% rebate at selected cafés from Fri to Sun, 3% on other days
  • 3% rebate on your 1st 2 NETS FlashPay Auto Top-Ups

Finty Rewards

  • $10 cash upon getting your card, even for existing OCBC cardholders

Bank promo

  • $50 cash rebate
OCBC Plus! Visa Credit Card

On OCBC's website

OCBC Plus! Visa Credit Card

Cashback

N/A

Cashback cap

N/A

Minimum spend

N/A

Sign up bonus

N/A

Highlights

  • Up to 12% off at Fairprice outlets, Unity and Warehouse Club and up to 8% at Fairprice Online
  • 3% rebate at Cheers and Popular
  • Save up to 20.6% at Esso, 18% at Caltex, 20% at Sinopec
  • 1% rebate on your recurring bills with M1, Starhub, and Singtel
  • 0.22% Linkpoint rewards on all Visa spends

Finty Rewards

  • $10 cash upon getting your card, even for existing OCBC cardholders

Bank promo

  • $50 cash rebate
OCBC Platinum Credit Card

On OCBC's website

OCBC Platinum Credit Card

Cashback

N/A

Cashback cap

N/A

Minimum spend

N/A

Sign up bonus

N/A

Highlights

  • Earn 1 point per $1 spend
  • Redeem points as miles, as nifty vouchers for petrol, shopping, or dining, or as cash to offset purchases on the spot

Finty Rewards

  • $5 cash upon getting your card, even for existing OCBC cardholders

Bank promo

  • Nothing at the moment
HSBC Advance Visa Platinum Credit Card

On HSBC's website

HSBC Advance Visa Platinum Credit Card

Cashback

N/A

Cashback cap

N/A

Minimum spend

N/A

Sign up bonus

N/A

Highlights

  • Earn 10 points per $1 spend on online shopping
  • Earn 10 points per $1 spend on local dining
  • Earn 10 points per $1 spend on local entertainment
  • All other purchases still earn you 1 point per $1 spend
  • Enough points can get you cash, items, or vouchers for dining, shopping, or travel

Finty Rewards

  • $10 cash upon getting your card, even for existing HSBC cardholders

Bank promo

  • Perpetual annual fee waiver

Overview

Ever wondered what credit cards are and how they work? Let's find out.

Physically, a credit card is a piece of plastic about the same size as a business card, embossed with the cardholder’s name and containing an embedded security chip and a magnetic stripe, either of which may be used to verify electronically that the card is valid, identify the cardholder’s account details and complete payment for a purchase.

Financially , a credit card is issued to a customer by a financial institution. This gives the customer access to a revolving line of credit which he or she can use to make payments for goods and services, up to an agreed credit limit. The customer is not usually required to pay for the goods and services until a specified payment due date each month, which is usually a set number of days after the end of the monthly billing cycle. In most cases no interest will be charged on the amount of these purchases, unless the customer fails to pay off the total purchases balance on the due date. In the event of this failure to clear the balance, any remaining amount will attract interest charges at a rate very much in excess of normal bank lending rates.

The difference between a credit card and a charge card

Although charge cards are similar to credit cards in some ways – especially in giving an agreed number of days each month during which no repayment of the purchases balance is required and no interest is charged – a charge card is not a revolving line of credit. A charge card account has no option to leave a part of the balance unpaid at the end of the month, and have interest charged on the balance. A charge card's balance must be cleared in full and on time every month, and failure to do so could incur large penalty fees.

The trade-off for the lack of a revolving line of credit is that there is no fixed credit limit, a situation which delivers greater spending flexibility. However, 'no credit limit' does not mean 'unlimited credit'. The card issuer will have a figure in mind, based on your income and an assessment of your ability to repay the balance, and a sudden increase in major purchases beyond your means could result in the charge card issuer putting a temporary hold on your credit.

Charge cards also typically have more extensive complimentary benefits than most credit cards, accompanied as a result by higher annual fees.

The difference between a credit card and a debit card

You use a debit card to make purchases with your own money. The amount of your purchase is deducted from the balance in the bank account linked to your card, and if you don’t have enough money in the account the transaction will be declined.

You use a credit card to make a purchase with money you are borrowing from the card issuer, as part of an agreed line of credit. When the monthly payment due date arrives, you either make a payment into your credit card account to clear the total balance, thus avoiding interest charges, or leave part of the balance in the account and incur high interest charges.

The difference between a credit card and a prepaid card

A prepaid card is similar in some ways to a debit card, in that you are spending your own money – not a bank's money – when making purchases. But unlike a debit card, a prepaid card is not linked to a bank account. Instead, you load cash onto the prepaid card in advance to create a positive balance, and the balance reduces as you use the card to make purchases. You cannot spend more than the amount pre-loaded onto the card, but it may be possible to keep topping up the balance by loading more cash onto the same card.

Other common credit card features

Credit cards often have other features, besides being a convenient means of payment with access to a revolving line of credit. The credit card market is very competitive, and in order to make their cards attractive to a wide variety of consumers, banks tend to offer a range of cards. The range may start with a basic card with no extra features and a low or even no annual fee. Further up the range, cards with more features will have a higher annual fee.

A card's features may include some or all of:

  • Air miles or other rewards points, including KrisFlyer miles, earned on purchases
  • Discounts on petrol, groceries, or online travel bookings
  • Cash rebates (cashback) on all purchases, and possibly higher rebates on specific purchase categories (e.g. dining + leisure, or groceries + petrol, or online shopping, or local spend)
  • Complimentary travel insurance
  • Complimentary airport lounge access
  • Hotel, golfing and other leisure, travel or entertainment privileges
  • Cash or merchandise or loyalty points gift on sign-up or first spend
  • Complimentary airport limousine service
  • Complimentary hotel nights
  • Annual fee waiver for reaching a target spending amount
  • Foreign transaction fee waiver
  • A concierge or lifestyle butler service

Are there any credit card alternatives?

Yes, in some cases. Since everyone's financial situation is unique, what alternatives are available will depend on what you want to do.

  • If you just want to have access to funds for a rainy day, then a line of credit is worth considering.
  • If you want to fund a large one-off purchase and you don't care about earning points or cashback, then a personal loan is an option.
  • And if you would like to pay off your credit cards, then you should consider a debt consolidation plan to get your finances under control.
  • However, if you really do get cashback rebates and air miles on everyday spending, then there really isn't an alternative to using a credit card.

Learn about credit cards

Get helpful tips and answers to your questions about credit cards from our experts.

  • Pros & cons
  • Tips
  • FAQs
  • Glossary

User-friendly

A credit card is a fast and convenient way to make payments, particularly if you download a mobile banking or payment app so that you can use your phone for secure and speedy contactless payments.

Free use of someone else's money

Using a card gives you access to the bank's money for free, potentially for several weeks, as long as you pay off the total balance on or before the payment due date.

Extra benefits

Many cards come loaded with extra benefits, like air miles, reward points, cashback, discounts, sign-up bonuses, airport lounge access, travel insurance and hotel and golf privileges.

Greater security

Paying with a credit card is more secure than carrying cash, provided you take normal precautions like keeping the card in a safe place, not disclosing your PIN, and notifying the bank immediately if your card is lost or stolen.

Credit score improvement

Using a credit card in a responsible way will build up your credit score so that you can get a better deal for other financial products, such as a personal loan.

Spending tracker

For those who use their card for every possible everyday purchase and bill payment, a credit card statement is a perfect way to keep track of your expenditure for the purposes of budgeting – and for finding the next perfect card for your spending pattern when making a credit card comparison.

Temptation to spend

Having a credit card available can be a temptation for some people to spend more money than they can afford on things they don't actually need.

Long-term debt risk

Interest rates for credit cards are very high, and the minimum payments required are quite small. If you take the minimum payment option instead of repaying the full balance each month, you risk becoming trapped in long-term debt.

High annual fees

If your card has a high annual fee, it could work out to be expensive if you don't earn enough air miles or points to cover the fee, or don't use enough of the complimentary benefits.

Credit score jeopardy

While using a credit card responsibly can only improve your credit score, doing the opposite, or applying for too many cards in a short period of time, could see your credit score go down.

The best way to use your card

Ideally you should repay the balance on your card every month, on time and in full. This means that you can use the bank's money interest free for a while for your purchases, while avoiding both high interest charges of 15%-28% p.a. and late payment fees. You can use GIRO to set up an automatic monthly payment, to make sure you never forget to pay. If you can't pay off your balance in full, always pay off as much as you can afford.

You should also avoid taking cash advances, which come with high fees and start incurring interest from the moment you receive the cash. There are no interest-free days on cash advances.

Choose the card that will serve you best

When you compare credit cards, look for the one best suited to your own spending pattern, income and lifestyle:

  • If you're a regular overseas traveller, choose an air miles card.
  • When you need to consolidate your debts and get some relief from high interest charges, choose a card with a balance transfer offer.
  • If your spending pattern reveals that a large part of your income goes on dining, or online shopping, or groceries, or just local spend, opt for a points or cashback card that will reward your specific spending categories, preferably with no minimum spend.
  • When your budget is really tight, choose a card with no annual fee, even if it means no extra benefits.

Use all the benefits attached to your card

It can be easy to overlook some of the complimentary benefits your card may have, so be sure to read the small print and milk every benefit to the max. You can save money and make your life easier if your card confers airport lounge access, travel insurance, dining discounts, fuel savings, and even hotel, golf and spa privileges.

Take extra care when using your card overseas

When you leave Singapore and intend to use your card at your destination, there are some things you need to be aware of:

  • Unless you have one of the few cards with no foreign transaction fees, all your foreign currency spending will be hit with a foreign currency transaction fee, typically between 2.5% and 3.5% .
  • Some card issuers will expect you to alert them about your travel plans, so that you don't create a suspicious transaction alert when you suddenly start using your card overseas.
  • If your card comes with overseas travel insurance, plan to use it, but make sure you read the small print before you leave, to make sure it covers all your likely risks and that you have met the activation conditions (such as paying your fares with the card).
  • Dynamic Currency Conversion, if offered by an overseas merchant, should be avoided. It might seem like a good idea to be paying in SGD, but in fact you'll be getting a much worse exchange rate and you'll still have to pay those pesky foreign transaction fees because the merchant's processing centre is located outside Singapore.
  • Take note of your card's emergency contact details –by phone and online – before you depart. You may need them if your card is lost or stolen.

Avoid applying for multiple cards at the same time

While researching and comparing cards here at Finty has absolutely no impact on your credit score, actually applying for a card constitutes a 'hard' credit enquiry, and your credit score will dip slightly with each application you make. Banks will check your credit report when you apply for a card, and if they see you recently made lots of other applications they may think that you are struggling financially and therefore a greater risk.

Are credit cards free?

Some cards have the potential to be free if used carefully. For example, if a credit card has no annual fee, and you never miss paying off your total purchases balance on or before the due date (and therefore never incur interest charges and late payment fees) and never make overseas purchases while online or while travelling (and therefore never incur foreign transaction fees), then you could operate your credit card account free of charge.

But most cards do have an annual fee, and many cardholders do fail to pay off their balance on time, resulting in interest charges and late payment fees. In addition to the fees they charge to merchants for processing your purchase transactions, fees and interest charges are some of the ways in which banks make a profit from credit cards.

So how much will a credit card cost me in terms of the annual fee?

Anywhere from $0 for a basic card with few or no benefits (other than a line of credit and payment convenience) to $800 or more for a premium card with air miles or rewards points and heaps of high-end lifestyle benefits and privileges. The vast majority of credit cards fall somewhere in the middle of these two extremes, and $192.60 is a typical fee.

Many credit cards do feature an automatic annual fee waiver for the first one or two years. Some cards waive the annual fee when a target spending amount has been reached in the previous year.

Do all credit cards earn air miles or rewards points?

No. Some may have other benefits instead, such as discounts or cashback on specific types of spending (e.g. petrol, groceries).

What are credit card foreign transaction fees?

Most banks charge a fee for credit card purchases you make from overseas merchants, when you are travelling or when you are shopping online. This is a fee of between 2.5% and 3.5% of the purchase price when converted to SGD. You will pay this fee whenever the merchant’s transaction processing centre is located outside Singapore, even though you may have made the payment in SGD (e.g. when shopping online) and were unaware that you were making a foreign transaction.

A small number of credit cards offer a waiver of foreign transaction fees as one of the card’s benefits.

What is a credit card minimum repayment?

Although we recommend that you try to repay your balance in full and on time every month, to avoid paying interest charges, paying the balance in full is not compulsory. But it is compulsory to make a least a minimum repayment each month, on or before the payment due date (to avoid a late payment fee). For most cards the minimum monthly repayment will be either $50 or 3% of the outstanding balance, whichever is greater.

How will making only minimum payments affect my credit score?

Making only the minimum payment on time each month will certainly result in large interest bills and a debt which could take many years to repay, but it will not have a direct impact on your credit score because you are neither late in your payments nor in default (which you would be if you stopped making payments altogether). So as long as you meet the required payment amount and the due date, you won't be reported to the credit bureaux. But what may be reported is the fact that your credit utilisation is high (e.g. a balance of $8,000 on a card with a $10,000 credit limit), which may be the case if you are struggling to repay significant amounts of your balance. A high credit utilisation will have a negative impact on your credit score.

How do I make a credit card repayment?

The easiest way to make a repayment is by making a funds transfer to your credit card account using internet banking.

Other payment methods include:

  • Automated GIRO payments
  • AXS physical station, AXS e-Station, AXS m-Station mobile app
  • Over the counter at the bank
  • The old-fashioned way — a cheque in the mail (but post it well ahead of the payment due date)

What happens if I miss a payment?

Missing a payment has several consequences. First of all, you're likely to be hit with a late payment fee, This fee may be in the range $20-$60, but could be as high as $100, even if your outstanding bill is relatively modest. Secondly, you may find that your card provider lifts your already high interest rate to a penalty APR. Finally, your bank may report your late payment to a credit bureau, with a resulting downward impact on your credit score. So make sure you always meet at least the minimum payment, and do it on time.

What kind of credit card should I choose?

Compare all the options right here at Finty: air miles, cashback, dining, entertainment, grocery, instalment, overseas spending, petrol, rewards points and shopping credit cards.

Take a look at the statement for your existing credit card, debit card or bank account to see where most of your money goes. Then pick out the cards with the best rewards, in terms of miles, points, cashback or discount, for your two or three largest spending categories. Narrow down your choice by comparing the cost (annual fee) and other benefits that come with these selected cards, until you find the card that is the best fit for you.

Is there a minimum age for credit card applicants?

Yes. In Singapore you must be at least 21 to apply for a card as the primary account holder in most cases, although some banks do issue student credit cards to applicants aged 18-20. Supplementary cardholders must normally be at least 18 years old.

What level of income do I need before applying for a credit card?

For most cards you’ll need a minimum annual income of $30,000 if you’re a citizen of Singapore. Income requirements may be higher for permanent residents or foreigners. Premium and elite cards, loaded with benefits and privileges, will have much higher income requirements for all applicants.

What income proof do I need to apply for a credit card?

In order to prove that you have the required minimum income you'll typically need to supply the following documents:

  • For salaried Singaporeans and permanent residents, a copy of your latest annual CPF statement , or your last three months' computerised payslips, or your latest Notice of Assessment plus latest computerised payslip
  • For self-employed or commission-based Singaporeans and permanent residents, your last two years' Notice of Assessment
  • For foreigners temporarily resident in Singapore, your last three months' computerised payslips, or your latest Notice of Assessment plus latest computerised payslip , or a letter from your employer certifying your employment and salary

What other documentation will I need when applying for a credit card?

You’ll need to prove your identity (photocopy of NRIC or passport) and residential address (e.g. copy of utility bill).

Will I need a good credit score before I can apply for a credit card?

Having a good credit score will obviously improve your application’s chances of success, and will also affect the size of the credit limit you are given. But don’t worry if you don’t have a credit history — in this case the bank will concentrate on your income, or ask you for collateral (such as a fixed deposit bank account) as security, when deciding whether to issue you with a card.

How can I apply for a credit card?

When you have finished comparing cards and have selected the one that’s best for you, just click the green ‘Application’ button on the left of the card’s listing here at Finty. It will take you straight to the card issuer’s web page for the card, so that you can complete your application online.

Do I need to apply for a credit card using MyInfo?

No, it's not obligatory, but you will certainly find it easier and quicker to complete your online credit card application using MyInfo, and it's likely to speed up the approval process as well since it removes the need to verify some of the information you supply.

What are the easiest credit cards to get approved for?

The easiest cards to be approved for are those with a low credit limit, such as student cards or low income cards. You'll still likely to need an annual income income of at least $18,000 and be under 35 years old to apply for this kind of card, which will usually have a credit limit of only $500 and have no air miles, reward points or other benefit s attached. However, it will provide a good way to get a toe in the credit card market, and if you use the account responsibly and build up your credit score you should be able to apply for a better card after a while.

Which is the best credit card in Singapore?

It's impossible to say which are the best credit cards Singapore has to offer, because the word 'best' will have a different meaning depending on your spending pattern and your rewards and benefits expectations. For a big spender with a high income, the best card may be the one that has the most complimentary benefits (like travel insurance and airport lounge access) and the best air miles or reward points earning rate, even though it may come with a hefty annual fee. At the other end of the spectrum, the best card for a student will probably be the cheapest (preferably with no annual fee at all) and the one that's easiest to use for contactless payments via a phone app. And there's a 'best' card for everyone in between, which you'll find by analysing your spending pattern and then choosing the card that offers the best rewards (i.e. reward points, air miles or cashback) both for the total amount you spend and where your money mostly goes (e.g. dining, groceries, online shopping, foreign currency spend) or the best complimentary benefits for your lifestyle (e.g. travel insurance, airport lounge access, fuel savings), or both.

What credit card can I get with bad credit?

A poor credit score is going to make it more difficult for you to be approved for a credit card. While you may be rejected when applying for a standard card (because the bank thinks you're too risky) you can apply for a secured card instead. This means that the bank will ask you to open a fixed-term deposit account with them, and put at least $10,000 in the account, which they will use as collateral.

Another possible alternative is to have someone else guaranteeing your card account, effectively as a loan guarantor for the amount of your credit limit on the card. The guarantor will need to have a good credit score and a reasonably good income. If you default on your card payments, the card issuer will pursue the guarantor for payment.

How long does it take for a credit card application to be approved or denied?

Processing your application can take at least five business days, possibly as many as 10 days, so allow that amount of time before expecting a result. Even if you are offered 'instant approval' or 'fast approval', such approval is only conditional on the card provider being able to check that the information you have provided is correct, which takes longer. Once your application is approved it could take between three and 10 days for the card to arrive by mail.

Will applying for a credit card affect my credit score?

Applying for a credit card, just like any other application for credit, will be recorded in your credit history and will reduce your credit score slightly and temporarily. So it's best to apply for only one – or at most two – at a time. If you apply for too many cards in a short amount of time, it will look as if you had multiple rejections and your credit score may suffer as a result.

Can I apply for more than one card at the same time?

Yes you can. If you apply for more than one card with the same bank, they will probably split your credit limit between the two cards, but you'll get a separate credit limit if you apply to a different card issuer. Just bear in mind that every application will reduce your credit score a little.

What is credit card churning?

Credit card churning is the process of repeatedly acquiring new credit cards for the purpose of earning the cards' sign-up bonuses, which may come in the form of large quantities of air miles or rewards points, large amounts of cashback or a welcome gift. If there is a target spending requirement in order to qualify for the bonus, card churners use the card until the target is reached, pocket the bonus and then stop using the card – long before the next annual fee is due to be charged. Miles and points are a great way to travel for free, hence the appeal of card churning to speed up the process.

But there are some dangers attached to churning. You might find yourself spending more than you can afford, just to meet the spending target within the short time frame allowed. And if you then don't pay off your balance in full at the end of each month, you could end up paying more in interest charges than the sign-up credit card promotions are worth. Finally, you could damage your credit score, since every application for credit that you make is reported to credit bureaux and will reduce your score.

Can I increase the credit limit?

Yes. You can contact your card issuer and ask for a review of your limit. You are more likely to succeed if your income has increased since you first applied for the card and/or you have kept your card account in good order with timely payments of the full balance each month.

APR

Annual Percentage Rate. The interest rate applied to carried-over credit card balances, or to new purchases where there is an existing balance, or to cash advances, expressed as an annual rate (although it is calculated daily and charged monthly).

Cash advance

Withdrawal of cash from a credit card account, either over-the-counter or at an ATM. 

Cashback or cash back

A cash refund or rebate on credit card purchases, calculated as a percentage of the overall purchase amount during a specified period, or as percentage of the purchase amounts in several different spending categories in a specified period. The cashback is normally delivered in the form of a credit to the cardholder’s credit card account, reducing the amount owing on the card.

Charge card

A payment card that works like a credit card in many ways, except that there is no fixed credit limit and no option to carry a balance from month to month – it must be repaid in full every month.

Collateral

Cash or another asset (such as property) pledged as security for repayment of a loan, able to be seized by the lender for the purpose of recovering losses in the event of a default.

Complimentary benefits

Benefits provided free of charge to credit card account holders. Examples include travel insurance, airport lounge access, shopping privileges and discounts and a personal concierge service. 

Concierge service

Personal lifestyle assistance, available by phone or online, for travel, dining and entertainment recommendations and bookings, party and gift planning.

CPF

The Central Provident Fund, a Singapore government agency providing a social security savings plan via compulsory contributions from both employers and employees when wage and salary payment are made.

Credit bureau

A business involved in the collection of credit data about an individual or organisation, the compilation of the data into a credit report, and the calculation of a credit score or credit rating based on the data. 

Credit limit

The maximum amount you are allowed to accumulate as debt on your card.

Credit report or Credit history file

A list of an individual or organisation’s credit-related activities, compiled by a credit bureau. The credit-related activities include debt and debt repayment history, applications for credit, debt defaults, and requests for the individual or organisation’s credit report made by credit providers. 

Credit score or Credit rating

A numerical expression of a person’s credit history, based on the information in a credit report collected by a credit bureau. The higher the number, the better the score. Debit card: A type of electronic purchase card linked to the cardholder’s bank account, so that the cardholder can make purchases with the card by using cash already deposited in that account.

Foreign transaction fee

A fee charged by most credit cards in Singapore for a card purchase made in a foreign currency and/or with a merchant whose transaction processing centre is located outside Singapore. A typical fee would be 2.5-3.25% of the transaction amount.

Interest-free days

The days that elapse between the date of a purchase transaction and the date on which repayment must be made before interest charges are levied, where the card account is not carrying an unpaid balance from the previous month. 

Minimum spend

For a cashback card, this can be either:

  • The minimum amount to be spent or minimum number of purchase transactions to be made in a month before any cashback at all is earned

Or

  • The minimum amount to be spent in order to reach a higher spending tier with a higher cashback rebate percentage

Notice of Assessment

An annual statement provided by the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) detailing a company's or individual's chargeable income (submitted in their annual income tax return) and final tax payable amount.

Payment due date

The date on or before which credit card repayments are required to be made each month.

Prepaid card

A type of electronic payment card preloaded with cash, so that the cardholder can make purchases using the card for a value up to the amount loaded on the card.

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