Credit Cards

Standard Chartered Manhattan Card – MoneySmart Review 2018

standard chartered manhattan card - moneysmart review 2018

Joanne Poh

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The Standard Chartered Manhattan Card has been around a long time – from the days when it was too expensive for most Singaporeans to holiday in New York. It’s also one of the more attractive cashback credit cards in Singapore for high spenders, offering a 3% cash rebate as long as you meet the minimum spending requirement of $3,000.

Sadly, Standard Chartered is no longer accepting applications for the Manhattan Card. If you try to apply through their website, you’ll get routed to the Standard Chartered Unlimited Cashback credit card.

For those who already have the Manhattan card, the benefits listed in this review are still valid. If you don’t, don’t worry, we’ll also show you some alternatives to the card.

 

How the Manhattan Card works

With the Manhattan Card, as long as you hit the minimum spending requirement of $3,000 in a calendar month, you will get 3% cashback on all eligible purchases. That includes local and overseas transactions, online and offline. It also includes online bill payments and things like school fees – great for family breadwinners.

Considering that a $3,000 expense will typically burst the cap of most high cashback credit cards, the StanChart Manhattan could give you better returns on your expensive one-off purchases.

However, the cash rebate goes down significantly if you don’t hit the minimum spend. If you spend $1,000 to $2,999.99, you only get a pathetic 1% cashback. If you spend less than $1,000, it goes down to 0.5%.

The other catch is that the cash rebate is only credited to your account quarterly, and a quarterly cap of $200 applies. (To make things confusing, the “quarter” doesn’t refer to a calendar quarter, but just a period of 3 consecutive months.)

You might have no trouble spending $3,000 a month if you’re a jetsetting baller or a breadwinner trying to feed your family’s insatiable appetites. However, this quarterly cap means you will “lose” at least $70 in rebates every quarter, as this illustration shows:

Period Expenditure Eligible cashback tier Cash rebate
Jul 2018 $3,000 3% $90
Aug 2018 $3,000 3% $90
Sep 2018 $3,000 3% $90
TOTAL $9,000 $270 (but capped at $200)

Also, not everything is eligible for the 3% cashback. For example, bill payments, insurance premiums and EZ-Link card topups are not allowed.

 

Alternatives to the Manhattan Card

The Manhattan Card may have been phased out, but there are several options for you if you consistently spend a lot each month:

UOB One Card – We have a love/hate relationship with this card, but if you spend $2,000 consistently every month, you can get quarterly payouts of $300 each. That’s a great deal higher than the $200 cap on the Manhattan Card. Do check your spending religiously though, as you lose it all if you miss the mark in just 1 month in a quarter.

HSBC Advance Credit Card – Become an HSBC Advance customer by crediting a salary of at least $3,500 to an HSBC account. Then get this credit card as it consistently rewards you with 3.5% cashback every month you spend $2,000 and above. The monthly cap is $125, so per quarter you could get up to $375.

If you’re looking for a credit card for occasional major purchases, such as a Harvey Norman shopping spree or a blowout trip to Hokkaido, consider one of these unlimited cashback credit cards:

American Express True Cashback Card – One of the more popular unlimited cashback credit cards in Singapore, this card has an introductory promo that bumps the flat cashback rate from 1.5% up to 3% in the first 6 months of use, for the first $5,000 spend.

Standard Chartered Unlimited Cashback Card  StanChart’s own replacement for the Manhattan Card offers a flat 1.5% cashback with no minimum spend and no cap.

 

Oh, there’s also the $500 Manhattan Card…

To make things confusing, Standard Chartered still has another “Manhattan Card“. It’s called the $500 Manhattan Card and it’s mainly marketed as a student credit card with a $500 credit card limit.

It’s also available for working adults with a minimum income requirement of $18,000 (much lower than the usual $30,000), but the same credit limit applies. However, there aren’t any significant perks to the card, just 0.25% cashback.

Do you have the Standard Chartered Manhattan Card? Share your reviews in the comments!

 

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Joanne Poh

In my previous life, I was a property lawyer who spent most of my time struggling to get out of bed or stuck in peak hour traffic. These days, as a freelance commercial writer, I work in bed, on the beach, in parks and at cafes, all while being really frugal. I like helping other people save money so they can stop living lives they don't like.