Each time you open your mailbox, you cringe, because in it are not postcards from faraway lands and letters from cherished penpals, but bills, bills and more bills.
You can actually pay most of your telco, medical and utilities bills by credit card — which also means you get to take advantage of credit cards’ cashback benefits. In most cases you do need to sign up for a recurring bill payment standing instruction, but this is easy to do via internet banking or your card’s website.
Plus, with the Open Electricity Market rolling out islandwide, credit cards are now advertising rebates on boring bill payments more aggressively than ever. Let’s have a look at which cashback credit cards are best for bill payments in Singapore.
7 best cashback cards in Singapore for recurring bill payments (2020)
|Cashback card||Cash rebate on bills||Min. spend|
|UOB One Card||Quarterly flat payout of $50 / $100 / $300||$500 / $1,000 / $2,000|
|Maybank Platinum Visa Card||Quarterly flat payout of $30 / $100||$300 / $1,000|
|Maybank Family & Friends Card||5% / 8% on telco, Netflix, petrol, public transport||$500 / $800|
|OCBC 365 Card||3% on telco, electricity bills + petrol discounts||$800|
|UOB Delight Card||3% on telco, town council, SP, SPH, insurance (Prudential, UOI) bills||$400|
|HSBC Advance Card||1.5% on everything / 2.5% (with min. spend $2,000). Extra 1% for HSBC Advance customers||None|
|Maybank FC Barcelona Card||1.6% on everything||None|
I’ve lumped these cards into 3 broad categories:
- UOB One, Maybank Platinum: These quarterly payout for charging the same amount monthly
- Maybank F&F, OCBC 365, UOB Delight: All-rounded cashback cards explicitly offering bill rebates
- HSBC Advance, Maybank FC Barcelona: Cashback cards with no minimum spending requirements
UOB One Card ($500/month recurring bills)
The UOB One Card’s premise appears simple: Spend $500 (or $1,000 or $2,000) every month for 3 months straight, and you get a $50 (or $100 or $300) rebate at the end of the quarter.
Sounds really hassle-free, right? … Not so fast.
Although the UOB One Card used to be known as a “bao ga liao” card where pretty much all transactions count towards that monthly spending, UOB has started excluding a whole bunch of recurring expenses.
Notable exclusions are payments to government institutions (e.g. town council bills), charitable/religious organisations (e.g. church tithes), and educational institutions (e.g. tuition centre fees). It’s not that easy to hit the minimum spend these days.
That said, the $500 minimum spend might still be doable if you consolidate all your other bills on this card. Telco, electricity, subscriptions and public transport spending all count towards the monthly spend. Make sure you make at least 5 transactions each month as well.
Maybank Platinum Visa Card ($300/month recurring bills)
Same same, but different: The Maybank Platinum Visa Card gives you a flat quarterly payout of $30 (vs. the UOB One’s $50) when you spend $300 (vs. the UOB One’s $500) each month.
The more relaxed minimum spending requirements means the rebate is easier to attain. This is a good one for those with lower monthly recurring expenses, or if you’re charging one of your bills to another card.
Note that there are still some exclusions, e.g. payments to government institutions. However, Maybank’s T&Cs are a bit more relaxed than that of UOB’s.
Maybank Family & Friends Card (telcos, cable, Netflix, public transport)
The previous credit cards I mentioned are great if you are consolidating an entire household’s recurring bills on one card. But if you don’t have $300 or $500 worth of bills to charge on one credit card, then you might want to consider an all-in-one cashback card for all your unavoidable expenses.
Right now, one of the best all-rounders is the Maybank Family & Friends Card, which has recently been revised for the better.
Spend $500 or $800 a month on the credit card to get 5% or 8% rebate on your telco bills and paid TV (e.g. cable, Netflix) subscriptions.
Though you don’t get rebates on your utilities and town council bills, the card more than makes up for it with rebates on petrol, public transport, groceries and dining.
OCBC 365 Card (telco, electricity bills, petrol)
Another all-in-one credit card to consider, especially if you’re banking with OCBC, is the OCBC 365 credit card.
With a rather high minimum spending requirement of $800, it’s more for breadwinners paying for the whole household. You can earn the advertised 3% rebate on all telco and electricity bills.
Similar to the Maybank Family & Friends Card, it also gives you rebates on other everyday essentials: 3% on groceries, public transport, Grab; 6% on dining; plus petrol station discounts.
UOB Delight Card (telco, TC, SP, SPH, insurance & more)
Although it’s nowhere near as hyped-up as the UOB One Card, the UOB Delight Card is a workhorse of a card that deserves your attention.
It has a low minimum spending requirement of $400, and in return, this card will give you 3% rebate on all kinds of bills: Telco bills, town council S&CC charges, your Singapore Power bill, your SPH newspaper subscription, even selected insurance (Prudential and UOI only) premiums.
Set this as your default card on all those transactions and the minimum spend will be a breeze to hit. Definitely worth considering as an alternative to those “spend $XYZ every month and hope your rebate comes in” cards.
HSBC Advance Card (no minimum spend)
If you want to automate your bill payments and forget about them, then consider a no minimum spend cashback card like the HSBC Advance Card. No more worrying about silly stuff like hitting 5 transactions or scrambling to spend $X more to hit $500!
You also don’t need to be an HSBC Advance customer to get rebates on this credit card, but it does give you an extra 1% on your rebates.
Assuming you only charge your recurring bill payments to this card, you can get the lower tier rebate of 1.5% (if you’re not an HSBC Advance customer), or 2.5% (if you are).
Maybank FC Barcelona Card (no minimum spend)
There are a few unlimited cashback card “clones” in Singapore, such as the Amex True Cashback Card and Standard Chartered Unlimited Cashback Card. Supposedly, these give you a modest 1.X% cashback with no fuss at all.
I chose the Maybank FC Barcelona Card by elimination, because Amex isn’t very widely accepted in Singapore especially for bill payments, while StanChart seems to have excluded quite a lot of billing organisations from what counts as eligible spending.
Although the cash rebate isn’t super high, Maybank will give you a rebate on just about any bill, so it’s a very stress-free way to earn a bit of cash back. Plus, there’s no cap at all on this thing.
What about rent, condo MCST fees, insurance, etc.?
While the above credit cards do give you decent rebates on things like utility bills and telco subscription plans, they do not cover common (and hefty) recurring expenses such as your rent, condo management fees, season parking and insurance premiums.
If you’re willing to pay a transaction fee, it’s possible to earn miles on these expenses with bill payment facilities like CardUp and Citi PayAll. Here are the main players in Singapore and their fees:
|Bill payment service||Type||Admin fee|
|Ipaymy||3rd party||1.89% (rent) / 2.25% (others)|
|Cardup||3rd party||1.9% (rent) / 2.6% (others)|
|UOB PRVI Pay||Bank||2%|
Notice that I’ve classified them into “bank” and “3rd party” platforms? Initially, this service was something offered only by 3rd party services like Ipaymy and Cardup. But these days, banks have started offering their own services.
Bank services like Citi PayAll only work with their own credit cards, so you’re limited by whatever miles or rewards cards the bank offers.
In contrast, Cardup et. al. let you make payment with virtually any credit card, so you can theoretically charge your rent to a better miles card than whatever Citi offers, for example.
However, banks do reserve the right to not award points or miles or rebates to such transactions (we often see Cardup and ipaymy on the list of exclusions in credit card T&Cs) so it’s I think it’s safer to opt for the bank’s in-house facility.
Finally, bear in mind that, like it or not, you’re essentially paying for miles — you will be paying quite a significant percentage of the transaction in fees. You should calculate if the value of the miles you get are worth the amount you pay.
Also watch: How Much Will You Save If You Switched From SP Services?
Which credit card(s) do you use to save money on bills? Share your recommendations in the comments!