Cashback credit cards

A cashback credit card can make life just that little bit easier and more rewarding. Earn cashback on your everyday purchases, from groceries and petrol to dining out and shopping.

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

Comparing cashback credit cards

Citi Cash Back Mastercard®

On Citi's website

Citi Cash Back Mastercard®

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

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)
OCBC 365 Credit Card

On OCBC's website

OCBC 365 Credit Card

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
American Express True Cashback Credit Card

On American Express' website

American Express True Cashback Credit Card

Highlights

  • Promo 3% rebate in the 1st 6 months
  • 1.5% rebate on all spending worldwide after that
  • Yes please to exclusive retail, dining, entertainment, travel, and hotel privileges
  • No cap in your way of more cash rebate and no min spend

Finty Rewards

  • Finty Rewards to be redeemed within 3 months after applying through Finty

Bank promo

  • Receive $80 Capita Voucher when you spend S$500 within the first month after approval (new card members), or $40 when you spend S$500 within the first month after approval (existing card members).
American Express Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Credit Card

On American Express' website

American Express Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Credit Card

Highlights

  • Earn 2 miles per $1 spend with Singapore Airlines, KrisShop, SilkAir, or SilkAir Skyshop, also overseas spend in June and December
  • All other purchases earn you 1.1 miles per $1 spend
  • Earn 3.1 miles per $1 spend on Grab rides, up to $200 each month
  • All miles are auto credited to your KrisFlyer account, sparing you the hassle
  • Up to $350,000 travel insurance coverage

Finty Rewards

  • Finty Rewards to be redeemed within 3 months after applying through Finty

Bank promo

  • Spend S$4,000 within first 3 months of Card approval and receive 8,000 bonus miles.
  • Spend another S$4,000 within 4th to 6th month of Card approval and receive another 8,000 bonus miles.
OCBC Frank Credit Card

On OCBC's website

OCBC Frank Credit Card

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
HSBC Visa Platinum Credit Card

On HSBC's website

HSBC Visa Platinum Credit Card

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 Cashflo Credit Card

On OCBC's website

OCBC Cashflo Credit Card

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
OCBC Plus! Visa Credit Card

On OCBC's website

OCBC Plus! Visa Credit Card

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
Citibank SMRT Card

On Citi's website

Citibank SMRT Card

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!

Overview

One of the best ways to reduce your everyday living costs is to have one or more cashback credit cards, which reward you with cash rebates and discounts for simply doing your normal spending. But Finty can help you maximise your benefits and reduce your holding costs by helping you understand how they work and what to watch out for.

How cashback credit cards work

Every time you make an eligible purchase with a cashback credit card, you potentially earn a cash rebate. It's not the same thing as an upfront discount. You pay the full price for your purchase, and get the cashback later. Your cashback is usually credited to your card account, so you effectively use it to pay off some or all of your account balance.

Monthly and annual cashback cap

Many cashback credit cards in Singapore have limits on how much cashback you can earn, in the form of a monthly cap (e.g. $70 in total or $25 per spending category), but there are some credit cards offering unlimited cashback.

Spending tiers unlock higher rebates

Many cashback credit cards have rebate percentages which vary depending on how much you spend in a particular period. Bigger spending earns cashback at a higher rate. For example, a cashback card may advertise 'Up to 5% cash rebate on all spend, for spend above $2,000 in each month per quarter'. What this actually means is that you must spend at least $2,000 per month in three consecutive months to earn the 5% cash rebate for the quarter. Missing the target in any single month would see you qualifying for a lower cashback percentage on all your spending.

Let's say, for example, that you spent $2,100 in Month 1 and $2,020 in Month 2, but only $1,950 in Month 3. Your whole spend amount for the quarter would miss out on the 5% rebate and would only qualify for a lower rebate, possibly a $1,000 tier which might earn cashback at 3%. And if you spent only $990 in Month 3 you might be looking at a $500 tier rebate – perhaps only 2% – on your entire quarter's spend.

But not every card has these minimum spend tiers, and a card with a flat rate rebate regardless of the amount spent might be safer for those who spend less or spend inconsistently. Flat rate rebate cards also tend to offer uncapped cashback (i.e. unlimited cashback), so they are also a good choice for really high spenders.

Some cards reward particular spending categories

While some of the best cashback credit cards in Singapore offer either a flat or tiered rebate on all of your spend, others target specific types of spending with higher rebates. So if you can see, for example, that most of your spend goes on dining and petrol, or on groceries, you could look for a card that rewards these areas of expenditure with a higher cashback rate. Another cashback card might offer higher rebates for spending with specific card partners, like Grab or NTUC FairPrice. You could even choose to have two or more of the best cashback credit cards to target several spending categories, if you're confident that you'll remember which card to use on each occasion.

Cashback vs earning air miles or reward points

If you're looking for flexibility, rewards in the form of cashback are the most flexible. The cashback to your card account means that you are getting a discount on spending where you choose to spend. When you earn air miles or reward points from your card, you will probably get a better return by using the rewards for their primary purpose, which is purchasing award flights with air miles or shopping online for merchandise with reward points, so you get less choice when it comes to spending your rewards than you do with cashback. Both air miles and reward points can, of course, usually be converted into cashback, but possibly at a lower rate than if you earned the cashback directly. And having to request the conversion produces just another hassle and delay.

So if you're a frequent air traveller, an air miles card may be your best choice, while those who enjoy shopping in person or online could choose a reward points card because they're happy to shop where their card tells them to (e.g. Amazon, or the bank's online rewards store). But for the best in flexibility and instant rewards (instead of having to save up heaps of points or miles), cashback credit cards come out on top.

Learn about cashback credit cards

Read up on how to use your cashback credit card to earn even more rebates.

  • Pros & cons
  • Tips
  • FAQs
  • Glossary

Money back in your pocket

A cashback credit card, if used in accordance with the card's Terms & Conditions, can give you a cash discount on every purchase you make. That's putting money straight back in your pocket.

Reward value is easier to calculate

It can be difficult to work out the value of rewards earned via reward points or air miles, and the value can vary depending on the type of reward redemption you choose. But with cashback, a dollar is a dollar.

A cashback card can have other complimentary benefits

As well as earning ongoing cashback, your card may have other valuable benefits attached, like complimentary travel insurance, airport lounge access and shopping privileges.

Most cashback cards have an annual fee

If you put plenty of transactions on your cashback card, you may be able to get the annual fee waived just by asking, or by meeting a minimum spend amount. But you should try to choose a card where you will be able to earn enough cashback to more than cover the annual fee, without changing your spending pattern.

Beware interest charges

It doesn't make sense to have any type of rewards card – whether it's earning cashback, reward points or air miles – if you're not going to avoid all interest charges by repaying the full balance every month, on or before the payment due date. If you don't, you'll end up paying interest charges that will totally obliterate any reward benefits you have gained, and all rewards cards (cashback cards included) tend to have higher interest rates than non-rewards cards.

Minimum spend and cashback cap

Depending on the card you choose, the amount of cashback you can earn may be limited by minimum spend requirements and a monthly or quarterly cashback cap.

Choose a cashback card that matches your spending pattern

For the best result, before trying to decide which cashback card is best for you, do a little basic research into your normal spending pattern. Where does most of your money go? If you can establish your top three spending categories (e.g. groceries, dining and travel, or petrol, entertainment and online overseas purchases) you may be able to choose a card which gives higher cashback rewards for the very areas where you spend most of your money.

Looking at the last few statements for your existing credit card may be the quickest way to do this analysis. If you don’t already have a credit or debit card, just keep a manual record of where your cash is going for a week or two.

The cashback cards listed on this page have a variety of benefits to suit most spending patterns. Above-average spenders are likely to have access to higher rebate percentages, but don’t be discouraged if your card spend is relatively small because there will probably be a card for your situation.

Double dip and be rewarded twice!

If you have a KrisFlyer account (and who doesn't?) then you can 'double dip'. Simply use a cashback credit card to shop online at KrisShop. You'll get 1.5 KrisFlyer Miles for every $1 you spend, and also earn cashback on every dollar via your cashback credit card.

Watch out for minimum spend requirements and a cashback cap

When researching cards and choosing the best cashback credit card for your spending habits, read the small print very carefully to make sure you are aware of:

  • Any minimum spend requirements in dollar amounts or number of transactions per month in order to qualify for any rebate at all
  • For tiered spend cards, the minimum spend requirements for each rebate tier
  • For tiered spend cards, whether you need to meet a minimum spend just for the month, or for every month in a quarter
  • Any cashback cap for a month, quarter or year
  • Any payment types which are excluded from earning cashback – these details can be found online in each card's Terms & Conditions or Product Disclosure Statement

Know what 'up to' means in advertised cashback rates

When a cashback card says, for example, that you can earn 'up to 5% savings on groceries', the presence of the phrase 'up to' means that you need to read the details. It could mean that 5% is the amount you can earn on transactions above $50 (to earn 4.7%, plus an additional 0.3% for a minimum spend of $300 during the month). For smaller individual transactions you might earn only 2.7%, and also miss out on the extra 0.3% if you don't spend at least $300 during the month. So be sure to read and understand all the details, and be aware that 'up to' means that some transactions will earn cashback at a much lower rate.

Work out whether it's worth paying an annual fee for a cashback credit card

Once you have chosen the best cashback credit card for your spending habits, it's time to work out whether it's worth paying for it. If it's a no-annual-fee card, you're all set to go, but if there's an annual fee involved, you need to do a little quick arithmetic to work out whether it's worthwhile paying for the card. Multiply your expected annual spend in the rebate categories by the cashback percentages promised. Ideally, your cashback amount needs to exceed the annual fee cost, unless the card comes with other complimentary benefits whose value to you makes up for the deficit.

Are there cards which give a first purchase cashback?

Yes. Some cards may give you merchandise or cash as a welcome gift. This may simply be a cashback granted on card approval, and often this is another way of effectively giving you a first-year annual fee waiver. That is, a card with an annual fee of $180 may give you a cashback of $180 once your card is approved.

Another type of welcome gift cashback is conditional on making a first purchase, and in this case the required spending may be minimal. You may receive a $60 cashback after making your first $10 worth of purchases, for example.

In some cases the spending target may be higher, with a time limit attached (e.g. $168 cashback for spending $588 in the first two months). Alternatively, the rebate may be conditional on a specific area of spending, such as a $100 cash gift for target spending on travel within the first two months of holding the card.

Can I have more than one cashback credit card?

Yes, you can maximise your benefit by holding more than one card to pursue higher rebate percentages for a larger number of spending categories. But you need to be sufficiently organised to know which card to bring out of your wallet on which occasion, and to be sure that it is worth paying more than one annual fee (unless one or both of your cards is fee-free).

For some people, a flat rate card covering all purchases may be the best solution. Although the overall rebate rate may be lower, you will reduce the time and effort spent working out which card to use.

Do all credit cards give the same percentage cash rebate?

No. The percentage will vary from card to card, and between spending categories. A typical rebate set-up may involve 5% cashback on dining, leisure, travel, petrol and groceries worldwide, plus 1% cashback on all other expenditure. Some cards may give a higher rebate percentage (e.g. 8%) on a smaller range of spending (just groceries and petrol, for example).

The rebate applicable to your card can also vary with the calendar, offering different cashback percentages on weekdays and weekends. Foreign currency purchases can also be the target of separate cashback percentages. High percentages can apply to spending with specific merchants: Grab rides, for example, are often offered at 20% cashback.

Many cards will give immediate discounts at the pump on petrol purchases — possibly as high as 20% — as well as a percentage cashback on the discounted purchase.

Do cashback credit cards come with other benefits?

Yes. In addition to cashback, many cards will offer extra benefits, which may include any or all of:

  • Onsite discounts on purchases
  • Complimentary travel insurance
  • Airport lounge access
  • Shopping privileges
  • Balance transfers from another card charged at 0% for an introductory period

How can a cashback credit card help me?

One of the best ways to reduce your everyday living costs is to have one or more cashback credit cards, which reward you with cash rebates and discounts for simply doing your normal spending. But in order to maximise your benefits and reduce the cost of holding the card, there are some tips to be aware of and pitfalls to watch out for.

For the best result, before trying to decide which cashback card is best for you, do a little basic research into your normal spending pattern. Where does most of your money go? If you can establish your top three spending categories (e.g. groceries, dining and travel, or petrol, entertainment and online overseas purchases) you may be able to choose a card which gives higher cashback rewards for the very areas where you spend most of your money.

Looking at the last few statements on your existing credit card may be the quickest way to do this analysis. If you don’t already have a credit or debit card, just keep a manual record for a week or two of where your cash or is going.

The cashback cards listed on this page have a variety of benefits to suit most spending patterns. Above-average spenders are likely to have access to higher rebate percentages, but don’t be discouraged if your expenditure is relatively small because there will probably be a card for your situation.

How much does it cost to have a cashback credit card?

Many cashback credit card annual fees fall in the range $160 to $195, although there are much cheaper cards (even cards without an annual fee) as well as more expensive cards with additional complimentary benefits. Some cards will waive the annual fee in the first year (or give a welcome cash gift equivalent to the annual fee) and others may waive the fee for two years.

There are cards which will waive your annual fee in any year in which you spend a target amount using the card. This amount can be as low as $12,000 or as high as $25,000, depending on the card.

Watch out for another possible credit card cost: the very high interest rate of between 15% p.a. and 26% p.a. which will apply to any amount unpaid after the monthly interest-free days expire and the account balance becomes payable in full.

How often will the cashback be credited to my account?

Typically, the cashback will be credited to your account quarterly, at the end of the month following the previous quarter. However, there are a few cards which deliver the cashback more regularly after the first $50 earned, in multiples of $10 as soon as your first rebate reaches $50.

Is there a limit to how much cash rebate I can earn on a credit card?

It depends. Some cards have no cap on the cash rebate you can earn. Others may have a cap on the total rebate you can earn in each monthly statement period, or separate caps on specific categories of spending (e.g. a cap of $25 per month for groceries).

Is there a minimum amount of spending in order to qualify for the rebate?

Many cards will have a target amount you must spend each month in order to qualify for a cash rebate at the advertised percentage. For example, you might need to spend $888 per month to qualify for an 8% cashback, and failure to reach this target would see the cashback percentage reduced to 0.25% for that month.

Additionally, some cards do not give a cashback on individual items of expenditure amounting to less than $10. However, there are cards with no minimum monthly spending target and no exclusions for small amounts. If your credit card expenditure is small to moderate, this would be the best type of card to choose.

Will I earn a cashback on all my purchases with a cashback credit card?

Some cards allow you to earn a cashback on all your purchases. Others may ask you to choose certain expense categories which will get a higher percentage, such as dining + leisure, or groceries + petrol. Remaining expenditure, outside the chosen categories, then qualifies for a much lower rebate percentage.

Sometimes, low amounts (e.g. an individual purchase below $10, or total monthly spending below $50) will not qualify for the rebate at all.

Will I get a cashback for my overseas purchases?

Yes. Cards will almost always include overseas expenditure, in person or online, in the rebate categories. In fact, some cards target overseas spending for a higher percentage.

Cash advance

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

Cashback cap

A limit on the amount of cashback that can be earned from a single cashback credit card in a specified period (e.g. a cashback cap of $80 per month or $250 per quarter or $1,000 per year).

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.

Cashback rate

The percentage that is applied to credit card purchase amounts in order to calculate the amount of cashback the cardholder is eligible to receive (e.g. if a spend of $1,000 were eligible for a 2.5% cashback, the cashback amount would be $25).

Cash rebate

Just another way of saying ‘cashback’. 

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.

Credit limit

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

Eligible purchases

The type of credit card transaction which qualifies for earning rewards points, air miles or cashback. Most cards exclude from points, miles or cashback earning all cash and cash equivalent transactions (such as cash advances, balance transfers, purchases of traveller’s cheques and foreign currency, card interest charges and fees, and transfers from a credit card account to another bank account). Many exclude payments to the government and similar organisations.

First purchase cashback

An amount of cash credited to a new cardholder’s cashback credit card account as soon as they make their first purchase. The first purchase cashback may be greater than the amount spent, for example a $60 extra cashback after making a first purchase of $10 on a new card. Sometimes there may be a higher spending target and higher cashback (e.g. a minimum spend of $500 in the first two months after card approval in order to earn $100 extra cashback). In other cases the first purchase cashback may be equal to the amount of the annual fee, making it another way of granting a first year fee waiver.

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

Payment due date

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

Spending category

A classification of spending types on a cashback credit card, for the purpose of allocating varying rebate percentages. For example, a cashback card might offer 6% cashback on dining, 3% cashback on groceries, 2% cashback on travel and accommodation, and 0.3% on everything else. 

Spending tier

A minimum spend which must be reached on a tiered cashback credit card in a specified period (e.g. in one month, or in three consecutive months) in order to qualify for a particular cashback percentage. For example, a card might offer 5% cashback on all spend if the total card spend reached $2,000 per month. But for card spend between $1,000 and $1,999 in a month, the rate might be only 3.3% on all spending. For spend of between $500 and $999 the rate might fall to 2.5%, while for total spend under $500 the rate might be zero.

Tier rebate

The cashback percentage applied to a particular spending tier on a tiered cashback credit card.  

Uncapped cashback or Unlimited cashback

A feature found on cashback credit cards which do not set a cap on the amount of cashback you can earn in a specified period. For example, some cashback cards may cap your earnings at $80 per month or $250 per quarter or $1,000 per year, but cards with uncapped or unlimited cashback have no such cap.

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