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 in 2019, 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.
8 best cashback cards in Singapore for telco, electricity & town council bill payments (2019)
|Cashback card||Cash rebate on bills||Restrictions|
|OCBC 365 Card||3% on telco & electricity bills||Min. spend $800 / cap $80|
|UOB Delight Card||3% on telco, town council, SPH, insurance (Prudential, UOI) bills||Min. spend $400 / cap $50|
|BOC Family Card||3% on telco bills||Min. spend $800 / cap $30|
|Citibank M1 Card||3% / 10% on M1 bills||Min. spend $300|
|UOB One Card||Quarterly flat payout of $50 / $100 / $300||Spend $500 / $1,000 / $2,000 x 3 months consecutively|
|Maybank Platinum Visa Card||Quarterly flat payout of $30 / $100||Spend $300 / $1,000 x 3 months consecutively|
|HSBC Advance Card||1.5% / 2.5% (min. spend $2,000) on everything (extra 1% for HSBC Advance customers)||Capped at $70 ($125 for HSBC Advance)|
|StanChart Unlimited Cashback||1.5% on everything||None|
I’ve lumped these cards into 3 broad categories: Those explicitly offering bill rebates (OCBC 365, UOB Delight, BOC Family and Citibank M1 cards), those that give you a quarterly payout for charging the same amount monthly (UOB One, Maybank Platinum) and those with no minimum spending requirements (HSBC Advance, StanChart Unlimited Cashback).
It’s pretty hard to tell how much you can actually save with these cards since they’re so different, so I’m going to use an illustration.
Let’s say you’re paying the bills for a family of 4, living in a 5-room HDB flat. For simplicity’s sake, I’ll assume you have consolidated your telco bills into a bundle (home broadband, phone line, 4 mobile lines) and it costs $200. Your monthly electricity bill with SP is another $200.
Another bills you need to pay is your town council service & conservancy charges – say it’s $85/month for a 5-room HDB flat. In total, you’re looking at $485 in recurring monthly expenses.
So, how much can you actually get in rebates if you use one of these credit cards?
OCBC 365 Card
The OCBC 365 credit card’s minimum spending requirement is $800, so you need to charge another $400 to the card in order to earn the 3% rebate on all telco and electricity bills.
It does give you a decent 6% rebate on dining and 3% on groceries, which isn’t the best in the market, but is good enough for you. So you charge $400 worth of food-related expenses to the card (not an issue with 2 growing children…) and hit the minimum spend.
Cash rebate on bills: $12 (telco + electricity)
UOB Delight Card
The UOB Delight credit card gives you 3% rebate on telco and town council bills, but not on electricity bills. However, the minimum spend is only $400, which you’ll hit by simply consolidating your bills on this card – no extra effort needed.
Cash rebate on bills: $8.55 (telco + town council)
BOC Family Card
Unfortunately, the Bank of China Family Card only lets you get a rebate on telco bills, nothing at all on electricity or town council bills.
The minimum spending is really high at $800, so it makes sense to consolidate most of your family expenses on it. It does give you a very satisfying 10% rebate on dining and movies, 5% at Popular bookstore and pharmacies, and 3% on groceries, Grab and online shopping.
Cash rebate on bills: $6 (telco)
Citibank M1 Card
Obviously a contender that only makes sense if you’re an M1 subscriber, the Citi M1 Card gives you a 3% rebate on your M1 bills if you hit the minimum spend of $300.
There’s an upper tier of 10% rebate but it requires a minimum spend of $600. Since this card doesn’t give you rebates for anything else, it doesn’t make much sense to charge other stuff to it.
Cash rebate on bills: $6 (telco)
UOB One Card
The UOB One Card’s premise appears simple: Spend $500 every month for 3 months straight and you get a $50 rebate at the end of the quarter. Sounds really hassle-free, right?
The reality isn’t quite as simple though. From Feb 2018, UOB has stopped counting payments to government bodies as part of the qualifying expenditure. That means town council payments are out, though you can still use it to pay for your telco and electricity bills.
You also need to use it on at least 5 transactions each month. Assuming you hit $400 on your telco and electricity, this means you should swipe it at least 3 more times to make up that extra $100.
Cash rebate on bills: $50 for the quarter = ~$16.67 a month (telco + electricity)
Maybank Platinum Visa Card
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.
Cash rebate on bills: $30 for the quarter = $10 a month (all bills)
HSBC Advance Card
The great thing about the HSBC Advance card is there’s no minimum spending requirement at all, so 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).
Cash rebate on bills: $7.27 or $12.12 (all bills)
Standard Chartered Unlimited Cashback Card
There are a few unlimited cashback card “clones” in Singapore – the Amex True Cashback Card and the Maybank FC Barcelona Card being the most prominent ones.
I chose the Standard Chartered Unlimited Cashback Card purely by elimination: Amex isn’t very widely accepted as a payment mode, especially for bill payments, and Maybank excludes payments to government bodies in their T&Cs.
Although the cash rebate isn’t super high, StanChart 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.
Cash rebate on bills: $7.27 (all bills)
Conclusion: Which credit card gives you the most cash rebates?
|Cashback card||Projected rebate on bills||“Leceh factor”|
|UOB One Card||$16.67 (telco + electricity)||Medium|
|OCBC 365 Card||$12 (telco + electricity)||High|
|Maybank Platinum Visa Card||$10 (all bills)||Low|
|UOB Delight Card||$8.55 (telco + town council)||Low|
|HSBC Advance Card||$7.27 / $12.12 (all bills)||Low|
|StanChart Unlimited Cashback||$7.27 (all bills)||Low|
|BOC Family Card||$6 (telco)||High|
|Citibank M1 Card||$6 (telco)||Medium|
This table shows you how much rebate it’s possible to get on your recurring bills, based on our very simplified illustration. Obviously, no 2 households or individuals are exactly the same, so your situation might differ.
I’ve included the “leceh factor” of each card, i.e. how much more effort you need to expend (after charging all your bills to it) in order to hit the card’s minimum requirements. If the card is a great fit for your lifestyle, then by all means use it as a daily card, but personally I would rather take a lower-effort card even if it means not getting the highest rebate.
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!
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Tags: Credit Cards