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BOC Qoo10 Mastercard Review 2018 – Should Singaporeans Sign Up?

BOC Qoo10 Mastercard Credit Card

Clara Lim

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Bank of China has just released a Qoo10 Mastercard that lets you earn rebates on your everyday spending… but the catch is, your rebates are in Qmoney (Qoo10 currency), not REAL money.

I’m torn about this setup, because getting Qmoney rebates essentially forces you to shop on Qoo10. There doesn’t seem to be any way to convert your Qmoney to actual cash. (If anyone hears of a workaround, let us know!).

On the other hand, where else would you get a 20% rebate on public transport spending!? As someone who spends an inordinate amount of time and money on the MRT, that was the most eye-catching feature of the credit card. I feel like I deserve some kind of reward for my continued support of SMRT. A 20% rebate sounds about right.

Let’s take a closer look at the BOC Qoo10 Mastercard and see if it’s worth signing up for.

Credit card Min. spend Bonus rebates
BOC Qoo10 Platinum Mastercard $200 10% on public transport + 3% on Grab/taxis, overseas, online spend (capped at $20)

3% on Qoo10 spend (capped at $10)

3% on dining (no cap until 31 Dec 2018)

BOC Qoo10 World Mastercard $300 3% on Qoo10 spend (capped at $40)
$600 20% on public transport + 5% on dining, entertainment, Grab/taxis, online spend (capped at $40)

15% (until 31 Dec 2018; subsequently 10%) on Qoo10 spend (capped at $40)

5% on overseas spend (no cap until 31 Dec 2018)

So, I mentioned the “BOC Qoo10 Mastercard” but it turns out there are actually 2 versions of the card – Platinum and World. They have different eligibility requirements and slightly different rewards.

In a nutshell, the Platinum is marketed to students and fresh grads, whereas the World is for working adults with higher expenditure.

 

BOC Qoo10 Platinum Mastercard specs & review

The lower tier Platinum Mastercard has a credit limit of $500, and is primarily targeted at tertiary students (min. 18 years old) with no income.

However, it’s also open to adults with a minimum income of $18,000 p.a., which is one of the lowest requirements on the market. Most credit cards start at $30,000 p.a.

With a sub-$30K income, your only other credit card options are the BOC F1RST Card and Standard Chartered Manhattan 500 Card. But honestly, their cash rebates of 0.5% and 0.25% are really pathetic compared to the BOC Qoo10 Platinum Mastercard.

If you can meet the minimum spend of $200 a month, the BOC Qoo10 Mastercard gives you an impressive 10% rebate on public transport and 3% on the other spending categories, with caps of course. Here’s a handy table to help you find the sweet spot:

Category Bonus rebate Rebate cap Don’t spend more than
Public transport 10% $20 $200 OR
Grab/taxis, overseas, online spend 3% $500 (credit limit)
Qoo10 3% $10 $333
Dining 3% None until 31 Dec $500 (credit limit)

Verdict: Provided you can hit the minimum spend of $200, this is probably the most rewarding credit cards around for low-income adults or tertiary students.

Even if you’re making enough money to qualify for a better card, I’d argue that this card is still worth considering if you commute a lot on public transport. The only other credit card with a similarly low minimum spend is the Citibank SMRT card and it only gives you a 2% rebate.

Of course, only sign up for this card if you don’t mind getting your rebate in Qmoney.

 

BOC Qoo10 World Mastercard specs & review

The “adult” version of the Qoo10 Mastercard is a more typical credit card with a minimum income requirement of $30,000 p.a.

Rebates vary with the amount of money you spend each month.

If you spend $300, you qualify for the lower tier, which to be frank is not attractive for most Singaporeans unless you’re a committed Qoo10 fan and want to use this card exclusively for shopping on Qoo10.

Category Bonus rebate Rebate cap Don’t spend more than
Qoo10 3% $40 $1,333

If you get this card, you should only do so if you’re confident about hitting the $600 minimum spend to qualify for the higher tier rebates, which are way better.

In addition to that 20% on public transport I was talking about, there’s also 5% rebate on everyday spending categories – dining, entertainment, Grab rides, taxis, online spending and overseas spending. That accounts for just about everything you spend on, doesn’t it?

Here’s a table to summarise the bonus rebates, rebate caps, and the maximum you should spend:

Category Bonus rebate Rebate cap Don’t spend more than
Public transport 20% $40 $200 OR
Dining, entertainment, Grab/taxis, online spend 5% $800
Qoo10 (until 31 Dec 2018) 15% $40 $267
Qoo10 (from 1 Jan 2019) 10% $40 $400
Overseas spending 5% None until 31 Dec

Verdict: If you want to get this credit card, you must commit to hitting the $600 minimum spend, and that might mean switching some of your regular spending to this card.

Fortunately, now’s a good time to consider switching, particularly if you’re an avid online spender (not just online shopping, but also stuff like online groceries, food delivery and travel bookings).

Why? Because the DBS Live Fresh credit card, which used to give you a really good 5% cashback on online spending, is about to change its T&Cs to cap your online spending rebate to a pathetic $20 a month. So if you’re looking for something to give you better returns on your online spend, the BOC Qoo10 Mastercard is a contender.

 

Word of caution: Never forget that rebates are in Qmoney

I’ve written this enough times to feel like a broken record. But I think it’s worth repeating once more. Your rebates are in Qmoney (Qoo10 credits that cannot be cashed out).

For now, that doesn’t sound like a real problem. After all, Qoo10 is a wondrous marketplace with just about every consumer good you can find. I’m sure most Singaporeans wouldn’t have trouble finding something to spend their Qmoney rebates on.

But you know, this credit card is a completely transparent play by Qoo10 to get you to spend more money on their platform. By locking your rebates on their system, this credit card manipulates you into shifting your spending habits.

For example, if you’ve always shopped on Lazada or Amazon, you’ll now have to buy at least some stuff on Qoo10 to use up your Qmoney rebates. Then you’ll accrue some more Qmoney from your Qoo10 purchase. Then you’ll have to find something to spend the Qmoney on. And the cycle continues.

That’s the real point of this tie-up with BOC, I think. It’s not so much a credit card as it is an extremely advanced Qoo10 rewards/loyalty programme.

Well played, Qoo10.

 

Even loyal Qoo10 supporters should be wary…

For those of you who don’t see anything wrong with this picture, think about what’s going to happen to your Qmoney rebates if Qoo10 decides to close shop, or dramatically jack up its prices.

Now you see that the potential issues go deeper than just having to find something nice to buy on the platform, right?

Remember that Qoo10 is not a regulated financial institution like a bank. Getting rebates in Qmoney is a lot riskier than getting regular cash rebates with a cashback credit card.

So, if you’re thinking about signing up for a BOC Qoo10 Mastercard, proceed with caution and do watch your statements like a hawk.

What do you think of the BOC Qoo10 Mastercard? Tell us in the comments!

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Clara Lim

I used to be MoneyDumb. I hung out at H&M every day and thought that a $50 lunch set was a good deal. These days, I spend my time researching the crap out of life and trying to maximise utility on micro-decisions. I'm not sure if that's an improvement.