Credit Cards

CIMB Visa Signature Credit Card – MoneySmart Review 2018

cimb visa signature

Eugenia Liew

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CIMB is currently leading in the fixed deposits game (at 1.9% p.a., they have the highest interest rates of Dec 2018), and with the CIMB Visa Signature credit card‘s new rebate tiers (effective 23 Nov 2018), it seems like they’re looking to smash the cashback credit card competition too.

For starters, the CIMB Visa Signature credit card offers one of the highest-in-market cashback – 10% for all dining, entertainment, grocery and online expenditures. It’s also one of the rare few cards with no annual fees – so you’ll never need to “press 1 for annual fee waivers”.

Think you might be able to spare a slot in your wallet for the “new” CIMB Visa Signature credit card? Here’s an overview of the card to help you decide.

 

CIMB Visa Signature credit card terms & conditions

CIMB Visa Signature credit card
Annual fee & waiver
Supplementary annual fee
Interest free period 23 days
Annual interest rate 25.5% to 28%
Late payment fee $100
Minimum monthly repayment 3% or $50, whichever is higher
Foreign currency transaction fee 3% (1% until 31 Dec 2018)
Cash advance transaction fee 6% (minimum charge of $15)
Overlimit fee
Minimum income $30,000 (Singaporean) / $15,000 (Singaporeans above age 55)
Card association Visa
Wireless payment Visa PayWave

 

How the CIMB Visa Signature credit card works

As mentioned above, the CIMB Visa Signature credit card is a cashback card. Each time you swipe your plastic, you earn cash rebates that are deducted from your next month’s balance. Cashback is earned and credited on a monthly basis.

The CIMB Visa Signature credit card’s bonus spending categories cover most of usual stuff people regularly spend on, which makes it great for a general, day-to-day card.

Spending category CIMB Visa Signature credit card cash back
Wine and dine 10%
Online spend 10%
Groceries 10%

With the new terms & conditions, cardholders now get a cool 10% cashback on dining (including bars, lounges, clubs and caterers), groceries and online spends.

If you’ve ever owned or considered any other cashback card, you’d know that 10% is insane and way above the market norm – most cards only offer around 3% to 5%.

Previously (prior to 23 Nov 2018), the CIMB Visa Signature credit card only offered 10% cashback on dining and online transactions in foreign currencies, which wasn’t that useful. By extending the bonus rebates to groceries and online shopping, the new upgrade has really made the CIMB Visa Signature credit card a whole lot more competitive than before.

At the moment, the only card that matches this 10% cashback is the BOC Family Card, but it’s for dining & movies only, and the card has a higher minimum spend and more complex split cap system.

That said, while the “upgraded” CIMB Visa Signature credit card has become a good choice for many uses, it’s not all sunshine and roses.

The foreign currency transaction fees are very high at 3%. CIMB charges a 2% administrative fee, while 1% is levied by Visa. CIMB’s 2% used to be waived (and will continue to be waived until 31 Dec 2018), but come 1 Jan 2019, the full fee will apply.

If you’re a fan of mobile contactless payments, you’ll also be bummed to know that CIMB cards are not compatible with Apple Pay and Samsung Pay.

Additionally, the CIMB Visa Signature credit card’s minimum spend requirement was raised from $500 to $600 per month.

That said, although it is a significant increase of $100, I personally feel that $600 is still quite reasonable for an all-purpose credit card. Plus, CIMB didn’t increase the minimum spend without bumping up the cashback cap to $100 per month (it was $60 before). It’s a split cap of $50 per category though.

I feel that this is plenty. To earn maximum cashback, you’ll need to spend a total of at least $1,000, which is quite a lot (for entry-level cardholders, anyway).

 

Who should use the CIMB Visa Signature credit card

Generally, the CIMB Visa Signature credit card is a good cashback card for most family expenses like dining and groceries, plus your personal online shopping. If you’re the kind who has regular nights out with your gal pals or bloke buddies, then you’ll benefit from the nightlife categories as well.

Seeing as the 10% “wine and dine” cashback category extends to bars and clubs, I might even go so far as to loosely qualify the CIMB Visa Signature as an entertainment credit card.

All those spending categories considered, the $600 minimum spend requirement should not be difficult to meet.

The only jarring category that is left out is transport and petrol, which could be a dealbreaker for drivers without a dedicated petrol card.

With the latest round of upgrades, the transport/petrol bonus cashback category was given to the CIMB Platinum Mastercard instead. But I wouldn’t recommend that for petrol – although 10% is a lot for a cashback category, many other petrol credit cards have more attractive fuel discounts that can translate to up to 15% off upfront and 21% total savings. Read about our top 3 petrol credit card recommendations here.

Also, the foreign transaction fee of 3% may be a huge turn-off for heavy online shoppers because it’s one of the highest in the market. However, don’t forget that you’re actually earning 10% cashback for online purchases – that’s a nett 7% off, which is actually quite competitive.

 

Alternatives to the CIMB Visa Signature credit card

Citi Cash Back – The Citi Cash Back Card is popular with those who need petrol discounts and rebates. The cashback is lower though: it’s 8% for dining, groceries and petrol, and there is no bonus cashback for online spend. The minimum spend requirement is significantly higher at $888 (huat, ah!) and the split cap is lower ($25 per category).

Citi Cash Back Card

Citi Cash Back Card


Card Benefits

  • Get S$200 NTUC Fairprice OR Takashimaya OR CapitaLand Vouchers!
  • 8% cash back at food & beverage outlets, food & groceries delivery (including Deliveroo, honestbee, RedMart)
  • Up to 20.88% savings at Esso and Shell, and 8% cash back at other petrol stations
  • Total min. retail spend of S$888/month, 8% cash back capped at S$25 per category (Dining, Grab, Groceries and Petrol)
  • For retail spend less than S$888 and/or other retail spend categories, 0.25% cash back is awarded, no cap on 0.25% cash back earned

UOB One – This card is only preferable if you want to spend freely in every and any category, because there are no specified bonus cashback categories. Basically you just need to spend at least $500/$1,000/ $2,000 or 3 consecutive months to earn $50/$100/$300 cashback. That roughly equates to 3.33% to 5% in savings.

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

    BOC Family Card – This is the only card with a 10%-cashback category. However, unlike the CIMB Visa Signature, the 10% only applies to dining and movies. Groceries and online shopping lose out at 5%. The minimum spend is also $100 more. The cashback cap is the same at $100.

     

    Does the CIMB Visa Signature credit card sound like the perfect cashback credit card for your lifestyle? Tell us in the comments below!

     

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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.