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American Express True Cashback Card – MoneySmart Review 2018

American Express True Cashback Card

Joanne Poh

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Before you get all excited, let’s set the record straight—you cannot use your credit card to repay your home loan.

But still, it pays to sign up for a good credit card when you’re about to move in to your new home.

That’s because, apart from your home loan repayments, you’re going to be paying for a ton of stuff—furniture, appliances, renovations, an interior designer, etc. You’re going to be spending thousands, or perhaps even tens of thousands kitting out your new home, and that can translate to a ton of cashback if you pick the right card.

That’s why the American Express True Cashback Card is so useful. This card gives you cashback on virtually anything you spend on, and there is no limit to how much cashback you can get every month.

What’s more, in the first 6 months of card membership, you receive 3% cashback on up to $5,000 spending. That’s about $150 of free money.

So is this card really all it’s cracked up to be? Let’s investigate:

American Express True Cashback Card

American Express True Cashback Card


Card Benefits

    • Apply through MoneySmart from 22 Mar - 19 Apr 2018 to get S$100 worth of Grab OR NTUC Vouchers. Application must be approved by 3 May 2018. Submit your (i)Contact Details and (ii)14-digit Reference Number on the Thank You Page upon completion at this link before 19 April 2018. T&Cs
    • 1.5% Cashback on any purchase you make, anytime
    • 3% Cashback for the first 6 months up to $5000 spend
    • Enjoy first year fee waiver
    • Eligible for use with Apple Pay

     

    Pros and Cons of the American Express True Cashback Card

    Pros

    Cons

    3% cashback on everything for the first 6 months of card membership.

    3% cash rebate is offered only on the first $5,000, after which you will earn cash rebate at the base rate of 1.5%.

    1.5% base rate of cashback.

    No limit to how much cashback you can earn at the base rate on all spending.

    No minimum spending to qualify for cashback.

    First year fee waiver.

    Annual fee of $171.20.

    Entry-level annual income requirement of $30,000.

     

    Why is this card attractive for new homeowners?

    At first glance, the cashback rate of 1.5% isn’t that impressive, not when other cards are offering cashback rates as high as 6% to 9%.

    But upon closer inspection, cards that offer very high cashback rates usually only so subject to two conditions: spending in certain categories, and that you satisfy their minimum spending requirements.

    That means a certain card might limit their generous cashback rate to online purchases only, and/or require you to spend at least $600 or $1,000 a month to qualify for the cashback.

    Therein lies the American Express True Cashback Card’s real strength—their 1.5% cashback rate is offered with no strings attached. If you spend only $50 that month, you still get the cashback. If you used your card to pay for your new window grills at Ah Seng Contractor Pte Ltd, that qualifies for cashback.

    You’ll soon find that there are not many cards that offer a better cashback/rewards rate for furnishings, appliances and the like when bought offline. And the base cashback rate of most cards is in the region of 0.25% to 0.3%.

     

    What are the alternatives?

    Let’s look at some similar cards on the market to see if they’re better for new homebuyers than the American Express True Cashback Card.

    • SCB Unlimited Cashback Card – This card used to be the American Express True Cashback Card’s closest competitor and also offers 1.5% cashback with no cap or minimum spending. Their current sign-up bonus of $138 cash is actually more attractive than Amex’s 3% rebate on up to $5,000.
    • UOB One Card – This card gives generous rebates on everything, but you will have to meet their complicated minimum spending requirements. If you spend at least $500 or $1,000 a month + effect 5 transactions every month for all three months in a quarter, you’ll qualify for rebates of up to 3.33%. Yeah, it’s complicated. Swap out that $500 minimum for $2,000 and you’ll get 5% rebates. The advantage is that your rebates apply to all your spending in that quarter. If you are a big spender and can consistently ensure you meet the $2,000 minimum spending requirement, this is a more generous card than the Amex True Cashback Card. But note that not fulfilling the requirements for just one month means you don’t qualify for the rebates for all the other months in that quarter.
    • OCBC Cashflo Credit Card – Get 0.5% cashback when you spend less than $1,000 in a month, and 1% cashback when you spend over $1,000. Cashback rates aren’t as attractive as Amex True Cashback’s, so the only reason you’d want to sign up for this is if you want to take advantage of their 3- and 6-month instalment plans (for purchases below and above $1,000 respectively).
    • Maybank Platinum Visa Card – Get up to 3.33% cashback on all local spending if you spend $300 each month in a quarter. To avoid paying a service fee of $20 per quarter you need to charge your card once every three months. Overall more attractive than the Amex True Cashback Card so long as you remember to charge the card once every three months, and cancel it when you no longer need it to avoid incurring fees.

    Let’s be honest, the cashback rates offered by the American Express True Cashback Card aren’t the best. But this is a good card to have nonetheless since you don’t have to worry about minimum spending. Even if you don’t use it for all your purchases, it can come in handy for spending that you can’t find a credit card for.

     

    American Express True Cashback Card income requirements

    Singaporeans & PRs: $30,000 p.a.
    Foreigners: $60,000 p.a.
     

    American Express True Cashback Card annual fee

    $171.20 (waived for first year)
     

    What credit card do you usually use for big purchases? Share your recommendations in the comments!

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    Joanne Poh

    In my previous life, I was a property lawyer who spent most of my time struggling to get out of bed or stuck in peak hour traffic. These days, as a freelance commercial writer, I work in bed, on the beach, in parks and at cafes, all while being really frugal. I like helping other people save money so they can stop living lives they don't like.