Raising a family in Singapore is not for the faint of heart — not when it’s estimated to cost $360,000 on average to raise one child from birth to adulthood. Even dividing it by 2 decades, that’s still $18,000 a year, per child.
Multiply that by 2 or 3 or even 5 kids, and you’re basically signing up to be broke as hell for the next few decades.
Still, there are ways to get the most out of your kid-related spending, and that is to sign up for one of these credit cards that are really useful for families.
5 best credit cards for raising kids in Singapore
|Credit card||Benefits for parents|
|Maybank Family & Friends||5% / 8% cashback at supermarkets, pharmacies, petrol, kid-related merchants|
|HSBC Visa Platinum Card||5% rebate on dining, groceries, petrol + freebies for kids|
|UOB One Card||Up to 5% quarterly rebate for consistent spending|
|UOB Lady’s Card||$1 = 4 miles at supermarkets, baby/kid stores|
|OCBC Titanium Rewards Card||$1 = 4 miles at department stores, kid stores, online shopping sites|
Maybank Family & Friends Card – 8% rebate in Singapore & Malaysia
I’ve recommended the Maybank Family & Friends Card in another best credit card roundup before, but it’s worth repeating here.
This multi-category cashback card is my personal fave for getting rebates on every young parent’s favourite merchants: NTUC FairPrice, Watsons, Guardian, Popular, Toys R Us, Yamaha, plus food delivery, petrol and taxis.
You can either get 5% cashback if you spend $500 a month or 8% if you spend $1,000. Judging by how fervent parents get about assessment books at Popular, it’s probably not difficult to hit the latter if you have multiple kids.
Bonus if you drive over to JB a lot: You can also get rebates at Giant, Aeon and Tesco in Malaysia… But the real cincher is cashback at Legoland.
HSBC Visa Platinum Card – freebies and 1-for-1s to keep your kids amused
- Enjoy S$100 worth of NTUC FairPrice Vouchers when you Like, Share, and Comment on MoneySmart’s Grocery Facebook post. Be in the running to win a Dyson Supersonic Hairdryer (U.P S$599) when you fulfill the above actions and apply for your HSBC Visa Platinum Card via MoneySmart and fill up this form. More details
- 5% cash rebate on dining, groceries and petrol with min. S$600 spend/month for all 3 months in a calendar quarter
- S$250 cap per account per quarter
The HSBC Visa Platinum Card is squarely aimed at families, and it offers rebates in all the usual Singaporean categories: Dining, groceries and petrol. Unfortunately, the rebate of 5% is significantly lower.
The redeeming factor of this credit card is that HSBC has put together some exclusive perks for your kids, including free tickets to the Zoo / Night Safari, free movie tickets, 1-for-1 at Timezone, Katapult Trampoline Park, and other fun kid recreation places.
If your kids are at the stage where they’re just crazy balls of energy, you will probably get your money’s worth with these freebies.
There’s a minimum spending requirement of $600 a month, and you have to spend this consistently for an entire quarter before HSBC will release your rebates.
UOB One Card – consistent rebates for high expenditure
- 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
If you confirm guarantee chop spend $1,000 or $2,000 a month every. single. month. on rearing your brood, it’s probably more worth your while to opt for the UOB One Card for cashback instead.
This is particularly if your spending doesn’t fall neatly in the above categories; for example, if you have recurring bills at your kid’s enrichment centres and electricity and phone bills to pay.
So long as you hit that minimum consistently, you will get either a $100 (spend $1,000/month) or $300 (spend $2,000/month) payout every 3 months.
For some reason, UOB also has a truckload of credit card promotions with enrichment centres such as The Learning Lab and Adam Khoo, which I’m sure would be popular with tiger parents in Singapore.
UOB Lady’s Card – $1 = 4 miles at supermarkets & baby stores
The UOB Lady’s Card is exclusive to female customers. Presumably, a woman was involved in the making of your child(ren), so have her sign up for this card ASAP, once the prenatal tests are out of the way.
Holders of this card can choose one category in which to get 4 miles per $1, and yes, “Family” is one of them (mainly supermarkets and baby/kid stores).
With the amount Singaporeans burn on milk powder, diapers and baby food, I wouldn’t be surprised if this credit card can really get you business class flights to New York. Which would also make a pretty good story to tell your kids when they get older, huh?
OCBC Titanium Rewards Card – $1 = 4 miles on big ticket baby gear
Preparing for a new baby in your life? You should know — or will know, soon enough! — that baby gear is expensive AF.
Gone are the days of letting your child walk around naked, slinging her in nothing more than a sarong, and letting her play with the chickens in the kampung.
Just like how policemen have changed from shorts to long pants, parents now feel the pressure to spend at least few grand on clothes and shoes from Carter’s, baby carriers from Tula, prams from Bugaboo, some fancy high-tech car seat, a smart baby gate, plus the latest iPad on which to watch “Baby Shark” in HD.
Which makes it worthwhile to sign up for the OCBC Titanium Rewards Card before you completely succumb to social media/peer pressure. If you’re going to be spending a bomb, at least put the money to work by helping you earn 4 miles per $1.
As an added perk, an OCBC credit card also entitles you to discounts at kiddy amusement parks like RWS, Pororo Park and Tayo Station.
Bonus 1: Credit cards that didn’t make the shortlist
I strove for equal representation of banks in this listicle, but the truth is that not every bank has an overtly family-friendly credit card.
Some other credit cards that I considered but ultimately cut out were…
American Express CapitaCard: Lets you earn rewards points at CapitaLand malls, plus free parking if you’re a massive spender. Incredibly popular with basic Singaporeans who love to spend the whole day at the mall, but it’s not very much use for anything else.
DBS Live Fresh Card: Good for lazy parents who don’t want to over-obsess over which merchant falls under which category, since it gives you 5% rebate online and on contactless payment (Apple Pay, PayWave etc.). But you can only spend $400 in each category before you hit the cap, which is on the low side.
Citibank Cash Back Card: Very auspicious 8% cashback for supermarkets, dining and petrol, but lacking in other categories such as bookstores and online spending. Good only if you dine out quite a lot with the kids.
Bank of China Family Card: Despite its name, the BOC is more like an entertainment card for the young and single. It gives you 10% cashback on dining and movies, whereas the rebate for boring essentials like supermarkets and online purchases only get you 3%.
Bonus 2: Other membership cards that parents can get
IKEA Family Card + Smales: You’ll probably visit IKEA as a family at least once — even if it’s only to deposit your child at the free Smaland play area for a few precious hours of kid-free time). It’s a no-brainer to sign up for the free IKEA Family Card and Smales membership for your kid to earn points and get discounts.
PAssion Card: Parents of the frugal variety (a rare breed in Singapore) would appreciate the benefits of the PAssion Card, which entitles you to borrow more books at the library and get cheaper rates at community centres and PA Water-Venture activities. There’s a ton of partner discounts too, like 10% off admission at the Zoo and such. It’s also completely free if you get the PAssion Debit Card through POSB.
Watsons membership: If you’re the sort of parent who’s always buying chewy multivitamins and kiddie cough drops at the pharmacy, you should seriously consider becoming a Watsons member. It costs just $5 (for life!) and you can earn points as well as get free delivery from their online store.
WRS membership: One of the budgeting tips from this power mom of 5 is to get the Singapore Zoo & Night Safari annual “season pass”, which is called Friends of Wildlife and gives you unlimited admission into WRS parks. A family package for 2 adults + 2 kids costs $295, which takes just two visits to break even.
Kinokuniya Privilege Card: It’s probably healthier to inculcate a love of reading and learning from a young age, rather than to force your child to go for tuition nonstop later on. To encourage your young bookworm, I’d recommend signing up for a Kinokuniya Privilege Card. It costs $21.40 a year and entitles you to 10% off all books at Kinokuniya.
Do you have a parenting tip to share? Tell us your financial strategies for raising children in Singapore.