BOC Family Card – MoneySmart Review 2019
We all know that Bank of China (BOC) isn’t exactly the sexiest bank out there — their cards don’t have fancy designs and you hardly see their ads around — but don’t knock it before you try it, right?
Well, you don’t exactly have to “try” it, but to be fair, you should at least read up about what they have to offer. The BOC Family Card is one of the bank’s most popular cards, so let’s start there.
As its name suggests, the BOC Family Card is a cashback credit card that gives you 3% to 10% cash back for spending on family-friendly categories like dining, movies, groceries and more.
Existing cardholders should also listen up: BOC recently revised the benefits for this card (2 Aug 2019). They removed the 3% cash back for telco bills and Grab & taxi rides so it’s slightly less generous than it was before, but overall, it’s still quite a decent cash back card.
Here’s a closer look at the updated BOC Family Card and who it’s suitable for.
BOC Family Card terms & conditions
|BOC Family Card|
|Annual fee & waiver||$203.30 (waived for 1 year)|
|Supplementary annual fee||$101.65 (waived for 1 year)|
|Interest free period||23 days|
|Annual interest rate||28.88%|
|Late payment fee||$100|
|Minimum monthly repayment||3% or $50, whichever is higher|
|Foreign currency transaction fee||2%|
|Cash advance transaction fee||6% or $20, whichever is higher|
|Minimum income||$30,000 (Singaporean) / $60,000 (non-Singaporean)|
How the BOC Family Card works
The BOC Family Card is a cash back credit card, which means you earn cash rebates from your purchases.
As mentioned earlier, the BOC Family Card is a great all-rounder cash back card for families, giving you 3% to 10% bonus cash rebates on categories like dining, groceries and even telco bills. Here’s an overview of what the card offers:
|Spending category||BOC Family Card cash back|
|Dining (local & overseas) and movies||10%|
|Family Club merchants (Unity Pharmacy, Watsons, Popular, BEST Denki, Welcia-BHG)||5%|
|Public transport (MRT and bus rides)||3%|
|Online shopping, groceries and hospital bills||3%|
|Grab & Taxi rides in Singapore||3%|
The most noteworthy changes from the 2 Aug 2019 revision of benefits are 1) the addition of 3% cash back for hospital bills and 2) the removal of 3% cash back for telco bills and Grab and taxi rides.
The minimum spend is $800, which is average for cards that cover this many bonus cashback categories.
Bonus cash back is capped at $100 per month, which is split into $25 per category (as defined in the above table).
That means you can spend up to $25 a month on dining/movies, up to $500 at selected merchants, and up to $1,000 on the other bonus categories.
I’m not a fan of split caps because it requires more brain power to micromanage your spending, but in general, if your expenditure is reasonably evenly spread out, you should be fine.
The selected Family Club brands are currently quite attractive — it includes Unity and Watsons, which make up their own “pharmacy” category for some other cards. But do note that these merchants are subject to change anytime, at BOC’s discretion.
Who should use the BOC Family Card?
If you couldn’t already guess… Families lah! (Or whoever needs to pay for all the household stuff.)
Although the card no longer covers telco bills and taxi rides, it still offers 3% to 10% on family necessities like dining, groceries and public transport. The 10% cash back on movies is a nice touch too, because as parents will know, it’s really expensive for the whole family to watch a weekend show.
The only thing the BOC Family Card is truly lacking is petrol perks, which is quite a big deal because petrol makes up a huge part of many families’ expenditure. I know many people — myself included — who rely on petrol to hit each month’s minimum spend requirement.
However, if you have no problems hitting $800 monthly, you can always depend on a dedicated credit card for petrol discounts.
Personally, I would pair the BOC Family Card with the POSB Everyday Card: It has no minimum spend (so there’s no pressure to spend on anything else), and you can get up to 20.1% effective savings at SPC. There is also no cash back cap, which is super rare.
If you can’t hit $800 without petrol, then you may be better off considering the BOC Family Card’s biggest competitor – the Citi Cash Back Card.
Alternatives to the BOC Family Card
Citi Cash Back Card – In terms of spending categories and high rebates, the Citi Cash Back Card is probably the closest competitor (8% on dining, groceries, petrol and more). As mentioned, the Citi Cash Back Card’s biggest advantage is that it has petrol discounts. However, it’s worthy to note that the minimum spend is higher ($888).
Maybank Family & Friends card – This card is quite close to the BOC Family Card as well. In addition to dining and groceries, this one covers telcos, TV streaming, taxi rides and petrol too. If you can’t hit $800 min. spend, you only need to spend $500 on the Maybank Family & Friends Card to get 5% cashback on those expenses.
UOB One Card – This is one of the most popular cash back cards, mostly because you can get up to 3.33% to 5% in rebates on all spend. However, the way cash back is earned is quite uhm, unique: You need to consistently spend at least $500/$1,000/$2,000 for 3 months in order to earn $50/$100/$300 cash back.
In conclusion, the BOC Family Card is a great all-purpose cash back card, but only if you don’t need perks on petrol. If you do, consider the Citi Cash Back Card instead.
If you struggle to spend $800 monthly, the Maybank Family & Friends Card may be a better option. If you’re a big spender and are confident you can blow $2,000 every month, then get the UOB One Card.