Credit Cards

BOC Family Card – MoneySmart Review 2018

boc family card

Eugenia Liew

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We all know that Bank of China (BOC) isn’t the sexiest bank out there. Their cards don’t have fancy designs and you hardly see their ads around. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t feel cool whipping out your BOC Family Card: This Plain Jane has one of the highest cash rebates in the market (5% to 10%) and a generous cashback cap of $100 per month.

Think a cashback credit card could be useful for your household expenses? Here’s a closer look at the BOC Family Card and who it’s suitable for.

 

BOC Family Card terms & conditions

BOC Family Card
Annual fee & waiver $190
Supplementary annual fee $95
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 1.50%
Cash advance transaction fee 6% or $20, whichever is higher
Overlimit fee
Minimum income $30,000 (Singaporean) / $60,000 (non-Singaporean)
Card association Visa
Wireless payment

 

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 its name suggests, the BOC Family Card is a great all-rounder cash back card for families, giving you 5% 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), movies   10%
Groceries 5%
Online shopping 5%
Unity Pharmacy, Watsons 5%
Telco bills, NETS Flashpay auto top-up  5%

The minimum spend is $700, which quite high, but considering that almost all the main spending categories are covered – dining, movies, groceries, online shopping and telco bills – you shouldn’t have much problem hitting it.

Bonus cash back is capped at $100 per month, and it is split into maximum $30 for dining and movies, $30 for online purchases and $40 for everything else. That means you can spend up to $300 a month on dining/movies, up to $600 online, and up to $800 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.

 

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.)

Dining, groceries and online shopping are super popular spending categories, so cards rarely have such high earn rates for all three. Also, not many cards offer rebates for telco bills.

So with cash back between 5% to 10%, the BOC Family Card really is pretty damn impressive in my opinion. Most cards in a similar tier only offer between 3% to 8%, and with lower cash back caps.

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.

If you have no problems hitting $700 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 20.8% effective savings at SPC. There is also no cash back cap, which is super rare.

If you can’t hit $700 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

Citi Cash Back Card


Card Benefits

    • 8% cash back at food & beverage outlets, supermarkets, food & groceries delivery (including Deliveroo, honestbee, RedMart) and Grab rides globally (valid till 6 Apr 2018)
    • Up to 20.88% fuel savings at Esso and Shell, and 8% cash back at other petrol stations
    • Total minimum retail spend of S$888/statement month to get 8% cash back, capped at S$25 per category (Dining, Grab rides valid till 6 Apr 2018, Groceries, Petrol). For retail spend less than S$888 and/or other retail spend categories, 0.25% cash back is awarded, no cap

    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 Grab rides). 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) and the split cap is lower at $25 for each bonus category.

    Citibank SMRT Card

    Citibank SMRT Card


    Card Benefits

      • Up to 5% savings on on Groceries. 4.7% (For transactions above $50. If transaction is $50 and below, 2.7% awarded instead) + 0.3% (If monthly card spend is at least $300)
      • Up to 5% savings on Fast Food, Movies & Coffee. 4.7% + 0.3% (if monthly card spend is at least $300)
      • Up to 3% savings on Online Shopping. 2.7% + 0.3% (If monthly card spend is at least $300)
      • Up to 2% savings on Health & Beauty. 1.7% + 0.3% (If monthly card spend is at least $300). Including GNC, Guardian, Nature's Farm, NTUC Unity Healthcare & Watson's
      • Up to 2% EZ-Reload Auto Top-up. 0.3% + 1.7% (If top-up more than $30. If $30 or less, 0.7% awarded instead)
      • Up to 5% savings for the following with monthly spend of at least $300. 5% at POPULAR Bookstores and Toys"R"Us, 5% at selected Town Councils for Service and Conservancy Charges, 1% savings on Telecommunication bills, 1% on selected Insurance providers, 1% on SPH Newspaper Subscriptions. If monthly spend is less than $300, SMRT$ earn rate will be 0.3% less.
      • Savings awarded in SMRT$. 1 SMRT$ = S$1 of vouchers. Vouchers available for Giant, Sheng Siong, Popular, Watsons, Shaw Theatres
      • 0.3% awarded on all other spend categories

      Citi SMRT Card – If you prefer a cash back card with no minimum spend, the Citi SMRT Card is probably a better choice. As expected, the cash back is significantly lower (1.7% to 5%). There are no petrol privileges, but there is up to 2% cash back on EZ-Reload auto top-up, which is great for those who take public transport.

      UOB One Card

      UOB One Card


      Card Benefits

        • Up to 5% cash rebate on all spend for spend above S$2,000/month per quarter (up to 3.33% cash rebate for spend of $500 or $1,000 monthly)
        • Up to 10% additional SMART$ rebate with UOB SMART$ Rebate Programme

        UOB One Card – This is one of the most popular cash back cards, mostly because you can get up to 5% to 8% 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, especially if you don’t need perks on petrol. If you do, consider the Citi Cash Back Card instead.

        If you take public transport and struggle to spend $700 monthly, the Citi SMRT 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.

         

        Decided on the BOC Family Card? Apply through MoneySmart now. 

         

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        Eugenia Liew

        I’m a 90s millennial who’s starting to realise that #adulting is more expensive than it seems on Instagram. When I’m not writing for MoneySmart, I’m usually playing with drain-dwelling stray cats or shopping at Sephora.