NTUC Membership In Singapore: A Guide To Benefits, NTUC Card And More

Image: NTUC Fairprice / Yew Tee Point

Did you grow up thinking “NTUC” was a supermarket? So did every other Singaporean.

But guess what, NTUC actually stands for National Trades Union Congress rather than Not Too Unaffordable Comestibles.

Traditionally, trade unions fight to protect the workers under their wing. People join unions because the latter have more resources than an individual to do things like negotiate higher salaries, hire lawyers and yes, organise strikes to demand better working conditions.

While unions typically have an adversarial relationship with the government and corporations, Singapore’s pro-business environment skews the dynamics considerably. NTUC operates as a tripartite partner with the Ministry of Manpower and the Singapore National Employers Federation. This means NTUC tries to work together with the government and employers, rather than against them, to find solutions for workers.

In these dreary economic times where job security is as shaky as a primary school kid’s milk teeth, we need all the help we can get. NTUC may not be able to provide the kinds of advantages that “traditional” unions are known for, but that doesn’t mean you can’t benefit from what they do offer. For one thing, you can now earn Linkpoints at over 1,000 Link partner outlets, including popular lifestyle and household brands like Skechers, Bee Cheng Hiang, and Crave Nasi Lemak!


NTUC Membership Guide: Benefits, Fees, and More

    1. What is the NTUC Membership all about?
    2. NTUC Membership fee and benefits at a glance
    3. NTUC Link Rewards Programme
    4. Comparison of Link Rewards Cards
    5. How to earn NTUC Linkpoints
    6. How to redeem NTUC Linkpoints
    7. NTUC membership benefit: Upskill with Union Training Assistance Programme (UTAP)
    8. NTUC membership benefit: Ensure workplace protection
    9. NTUC membership benefit: Free group insurance coverage with NTUC GIFT
    10. NTUC membership benefit: NTUC cash rebates and dividends
    11. NTUC membership benefit: Gain access to the U Network
    12. NTUC membership benefit: Fair Retrenchment Framework


1. What is the NTUC Membership all about?

NTUC is a confederation of trade unions encompassing over 70 unions and professional associations and organisations.

There are 2 tiers of membership:

  • Ordinary Branch: You are represented by the Union in wage negotiation and workplace issues. You also enjoy social benefits such as FairPrice rebates, NTUC LinkPoints and chalets.
  • General Branch: You are NOT represented in wage negotiations and workplace issues. However, you enjoy the same social benefits as Ordinary Branch members.

The only way you can become an Ordinary Branch member is if your employer or workplace is part of a union and your job is one that the union can bargain on behalf of. Otherwise, you can only be a General Branch member.

There are several benefits of which the more obvious tangible rewards include earning LinkPoints, dividends and cash rebates from NTUC FairPrice, NTUC insurance coverage and discounts, and so on.

“So, you’re telling me that if my employer is not a union member, all I can get out of my NTUC membership are grocery rebates?” Not exactly. That’s where other non-monetary benefits come in.

These are the career- and employment-focused benefits that try to improve your lot as a worker in Singapore. They include training benefits from the Union Training Assistance Programme (UTAP), the NTUC Workplace Advisory online service, free LawWorks legal clinics where you have 20 minutes to ask for basic legal advice, and employability programmes such as those conducted by e2i (Employment and Employability Institute).

NTUC programmes have also got your back during tough times. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the NTUC Training Fund (Self-Employed Persons) offered a training allowance of up to $10 to self-employed persons to go for training courses, and the NTUC Care Fund which offered a one-off cash payout to NTUC members who were retrenched. We don’t hope for another pandemic, but suffice to know that your NTUC membership could come in really handy in such times.

Before we go into more details, NTUC Membership does come at a fee. Let’s take a look.

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2. NTUC Membership fee and benefits at a glance

Annual subscription fee $117 ($9 per month from Jan to Nov and $18 in Dec)
Eligibility Be at least 16 years of age with a valid NRIC/FIN number. Must not be working for the Singapore Police Force, Singapore Prison Service or Auxiliary Police bodies (Cisco, AETOS and SATS), or be a foreign domestic worker
Rewards programme NTUC Link Rewards Programme
Union Training Assistance Programme (UTAP) Receive up to 50% off course fee support (capped at $250 per year, or $500 for those aged 40 and above) for eligible courses.
Insurance Complimentary group coverage of up to $40,000 under NTUC GIFT
Member perks Discounts on F&B, retail, social enterprises

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There’s nothing more Singaporean than collecting points and redeeming rewards at supermarkets. That is why the Link Rewards Programme, by NTUC subsidiary NTUC Link, is one of the best-known benefits associated with NTUC. 

Earn Linkpoints when you shop at partner merchants like NTUC FairPrice, Unity Pharmacy, Cheers, Caltex and StarHub, and then use your LinkPoints to offset your next purchase.

Linkpoints can be redeemed at a rate of $1 off your purchases with every 100 Linkpoints.

Alternatively, you can convert your Linkpoints to loyalty points or miles. For example, 100 Linkpoints = 50 KrisFlyer miles.

As part of the Link Rewards Programme, members get the NTUC Card that lets you easily earn & redeem Linkpoints.

NTUC Card. Image: NTUC Link

This is not to be confused with the nEbO(nobody Enjoys being Ordinary) card, which is for individuals aged 12 – 25 years old. 

nEbO Card. Image: NTUC Link

ALSO READ: Rewards Programmes are Evolving, and We’re Not Complaining—Trends to Expect

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4. Comparison of Link Rewards Cards: NTUC Card, NTUC Link Credit Card, Trust Link Credit and Debit Cards

There are a number of Link Rewards Cards out there, including Link Payment Cards (e.g. Trust Link Credit Card) and Affiliated Link Cards (e.g. GAMERS.SG card). Let’s compare some of the more popular or well-known ones.

NTUC Card NTUC Link Credit Card Trust Link Credit Card  Trust Link Debit Card
(with a Savings Account by Trust)
FairPrice, Unity & Cheers savings Up to 5.3% Up to 21% Up to 15% Up to 5%
Kopitiam savings 0.50% Up to 17% Up to 15% Up to 5%
Fuel savings No Up to 20% off at Caltex Up to 20% off at Caltex Up to 17% off at Caltex
Earn Linkpoints Yes Yes Yes Yes
Higher Linkpoints earn rate at NTUC Club partners Yes Yes No No
Union member career & community support No Up to 20% off at Caltex No No
Savings Account by Trust interest rate Up to 2% p.a. interest
Membership fees Yes Yes No No

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5. How to earn NTUC Linkpoints

You can earn Linkpoints at FairPrice, Unity, Warehouse Club and Cheers outlets. When shopping in-store, all you have to do is present your Link Rewards Card at checkout or tap on the “Pay / Earn” buttonon your FairPrice Group app and present the QR code at checkout. That means you don’t even need your physical Link Rewards card!

Previously, the app option only earned you Linkpoints at Fairprice, Unity, and Cheers. But as of Oct 2023, you can now use the Fairprice Group app to earn Linkpoints at over 1,000 Link partner outlets, which now include popular lifestyle and household brands outside of the Fairprice Group. These include Skechers, Bee Cheng Hiang, Crave Nasi Lemak, and more. You can even earn Linkpoints at NTUC Health Denticare.

You’ll earn Linkpoints at the following rates:

  • 0.50 Linkpoints for every $1 spent for in-store purchases, with no minimum spend required.
  • 1.33 Linkpoints for every $1 spent instead if you spend $400 and above in a calendar month at FairPrice, Unity, Warehouse Club and Cheers

You’ll be pleased to know you can also earn LinkPoints when you shop for your groceries online.

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6. How to redeem NTUC Linkpoints

You can redeem NTUC Linkpoints both in-store and online at a rate of 100 Linkpoints = $1 off your purchases.

To redeem your points in-store, just flash your Link Rewards Card at the point of purchase and let the cashier know you want to redeem your Linkpoints. If you’re using a self-checkout machine, select the Linkpoints Redemption option.

Alternatively, you can also redeem your Linkpoints in-app when using the Scan & Go or Pay / Earn feature in your FairPrice Group app, or online when checking out. To do this, you must connect your Link account to your FairPrice account.

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7. NTUC membership benefit: Upskill with Union Training Assistance Programme (UTAP)

An NTUC membership also gives you access to the Union Training Assistance Programme (UTAP), which defrays the cost of job skills training for NTUC members.

UTAP will pay for 50% of course fees (after deduction of government subsidies, and excluding GST, registration fees, miscellaneous fees and so on) of eligible courses.

The following limits apply:

  • Up to $250 per year for NTUC members aged under 40
  • Up to $500 per year for NTUC members aged 40 and above

These apply to courses attended between 1 Jul 2020 to 31 Dec 2025.

Only UTAP-eligible courses qualify for course fee support.

How do I apply for UTAP?

  1. Find a UTAP-supported course you want to attend using this Search Course tool. If the course you want isn’t eligible, you can try writing in to [email protected] to recommend it.
  2. Register and attend the course. Manage registration and other details directly with the training provider, not NTUC,
  3. Submit your UTAP claim via the U Portal account within 6 months after the end of the course.

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8. NTUC membership benefit: Ensure workplace protection

Having a dispute with your employer? NTUC will not organise a strike for you, but they do have a workplace advisory service for members. If you are experiencing a dispute at work or facing some kind of workplace issue, you can seek advice from NTUC. They even have a Workplace Advisory app so you can seek advice on the go using your smartphone.

Professionals, Managers and Executives (PMEs) can also go through a dispute resolution process with support from the tripartite partners, including NTUC. This is a cheaper and quicker way to resolve disputes than going to court.

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9. NTUC membership benefit: Free group insurance coverage with NTUC GIFT

Union members are also automatically covered by NTUC GIFT (Group Term Life Insurance For Trade Union Members), a group insurance policy those under 65 years.

The policy offers life insurance coverage of up to $40,000. That means you or your family will receive a payout of up to $40,000 if you die or suffer from total/partial and permanent disability. If you have a spouse under 65 years, he or she will also receive free insurance coverage in the event of death and total and permanent disability.

If you’re 65 or older, you can extend your GIFT insurance with a token fee of $1 to $3 per policy year.

Wanna beef up your life insurance protection? Consider NTUC Income’s LUV, a term life insurance policy exclusive to NTUC members. Members can also apply for their spouse and children. 

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10. NTUC membership benefit: NTUC cash rebates and dividends

NTUC members are eligible for up to 2% upfront cash rebates (in Linkpoints) on up to $6,000 worth of purchases a year at participating NTUC outlets. You might see “up to 4% FairPrice member benefits” floating around—on top of the upfront 4%, NTUC gives you additional patronage rebates subject to approval at their Annual General Meeting.

Additionally, you will also be eligible for NTUC FairPrice dividends, with both the rebates and dividends distributed annually.

To be eligible for the rebates and dividends, you’ll need to first register as an NTUC FairPrice member by subscribing for 20 shares at $1 each, and paying a one-time fee of $3. Should you cancel your membership, the shares will be refundable.

Alternatively, the “Join Now Pay Later” scheme lets you join without paying anything, and deducts the $23 fee later from the cash rebates you earn.

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11. NTUC membership benefit: Gain access to the U Network

U Network is a network comprising NTUC’s affiliated unions and associations and partners. The network offers members a suite of services including professional development, training, job placement and networking. These include:

  • U Associates—a networking initiative across different sectors
  • U PME—which educates PMEs about their workplace rights and obligations and empowers them with professional development programmes
  • U FSE (Freelancers and Self-Employed)—provides freelancers with resources, networking opportunities, seminars, training grants and insurance

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12. NTUC membership benefit: Fair Retrenchment Framework

As of Aug 2020, NTUC has introduced a Fair Retrenchment Framework that sets out fair and responsible retrenchment practices for employers.

The framework outlines three main principles—protecting the Singaporean core, preserving jobs and providing job support. More details here.

ALSO READHow to Handle a Layoff: A Step-By-Step Guide

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