Get More Rebates For Your Grocery Spending

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Since the circuit breaker, my groceries expenses had increased significantly – I need to provide three meals a day to my family.

I have been using the NTUC Plus! Visa card happily because all the while I thought it gave the best cashback since I usually shop at the local NTUC nearby.

I mean, it says up to 12% cashback at NTUC right? I blissfully applied and trusted the marketing a few years ago and have been using it without questioning.

However, it was brought to my attention recently that I was getting nowhere near the 12%.

A Deeper Look Into The NTUC Plus! Visa Card Complicated Reward System.

The card rewards link points which can be redeemed at NTUC grocery stores. Every 150 points equals to $1. In other words, every point is worth $0.00667.

The base reward is for every $1 spend in NTUC, you get two link points. Two link points is worth $0.0133. So you get 1.33 cents for every dollar spent (1.33% rebate).

Here is the breakdown for the 12% cashback (1.33%+5.67%+1%+4%):

Base reward$1 = 2 link points (1.33% rebate)Spend in NTUC stores. Minimum $20 spend
OCBC bonus reward$1 = 8.5 link points (5.67% rebate)Require at least $400 spend outside of NTUC to qualify. Points awarded to spend in NTUC stores, minimum of $20 per spend.
OCBC starter-account bonus reward$1 = 1.15 link points (1% rebate)Credit your salary to your NTUC-OCBC starter account
FairPrice annual rebate4% rebateOnly if you are a member and a shareholder of FairPrice

So, from the start, I always knew that I do not qualify for the last two criteria (because I credit my salary to OCBC 360) and I am not a NTUC shareholder.

So at least I am getting 7% right?

It turns out, I have been consistently getting 1.33% cashback. Spending $400 outside of NTUC fairprice during circuit breaker (and subsequent phases) is very hard for me. I didn’t eat out, I didn’t travel, and I stopped shopping during circuit breaker.

The other thing is that the rebate for Fair Price online is lower.

Other Cards That Offer Better With No Minimum Spend

Citi Cash Back+ Mastercard®

The Citi Cash Back+ MasterCard offers a flat 1.6% rebate no matter where you spend. This is already much better than the 1.33% rebate from the NTUC Plus! visa credit card.

There are also several other advantages:

  • You have to spend a minimum of $20 in a single receipt to qualify for link points for the NTUC Plus! credit card. For Citi Cash Back Card, there is no minimum.
  • There is a monthly cap on NTUC link points rebate – maximum $500 spent in NTUC. For the Citi Cash Back+ MasterCard, there is no maximum cap
  • All other spend outside of NTUC gives 1.6% rebate.
  • This rebate can be used to offset anything, while the NTUC link points can only be used to offset NTUC purchases.

Apply now via SingSaver and receive attractive sign up deals:

Citi Cash Back+ Mastercard®

  • New Citibank cardholders receive $200 cash via PayNow once you made a qualifying transaction on your card. (SingSaver exclusive)
  • Existing Citibank cardholders receive $30 cash via PayNow (SingSaver exclusive)

Standard Chartered Unlimited Card

Just like the Citi Cash Back+ MasterCard, the standard chartered unlimited card offers a flat 1.5%  cash back no matter where you spend it.   This is already much better than the 1.33% I have been getting from NTUC

In Summary:

SCB UnlimitedCiti Cash Back+NTUC Plus! Visa
Cash back rate1.5% flat1.6% flat1.33% (Base)
Rebate applicable toAll spendingAll spendingOnly spend in NTUC (Spend outside of NTUC is 0.22% rebate)
Minimum SpendNo minimumNo minimum$20 spend minimum
Maximum capNo capNo capRebate on first $500 spent per month in NTUC ($6.65)

Apply now via SingSaver and receive attractive sign up deals

Standard Chartered Unlimited Card

  • New Standard Chartered cardholders receive a pair of Jabra Elite Active 75t True Wireless Earbuds (worth $318) once you activated your card. (SingSaver exclusive)
  • Existing Standard Chartered cardholders receive $30 worth of Grab Food vouchers (SingSaver exclusive)
  • New Standard Chartered cardholders receive a Jabra Elite Active 75t wireless earbuds once you activated your card. (SingSaver exclusive)
  • Existing Standard Chartered cardholders receive $30 worth of Grab Food vouchers (SingSaver exclusive)

Even If You Managed To Get 7% Rebate

Ok, let’s assume you qualify for the 7% rebate because you managed to spend $400 outside of NTUC.

You will lose out on rebates on spending outside of NTUC. Every spend outside of NTUC is equivalent to 0.22% cashback. So a $400 spend will only give you $0.88 rebate.

So, to achieve 7% rebate and max it out, you will have to spend $500 in NTUC and $400 outside of NTUC. If you do that, your effective cashback is merely 3.99%

SpendSpend AmountRebate AmountRebate Rate
NTUC Spend$500$357%
Non-NTUC Spend$400$0.880.22%
Total$900$35.883.99% (Effective rebate)

Other Cards That Offer Better Rebates For $500 NTUC spend and $400 outside of NTUC spend

Citi Cash Back Card

Get cash back up to 8% if you spend at least $888 a month for each category: Groceries, Dining and Petrol.

Note that this card has a maximum cap per category of $25, which is equivalent to $300 spend.

To get the 8% cash rebate, you will have to spend exactly $312.50 in dining, $312.50 in groceries, and $312.50 in petrol. You will have to spend equally on each category to maximize your cashback.

So, if you spend $300 each in each category, you will get a cash back rate of 8%

If you spend $300 each on groceries, dining and petrol, you will get a maximum $72 cash back (8% rebate)

Let’s use the previous example, you spend $500 in NTUC and $400 outside of NTUC (let’s use dining). Your cash back earn is $52.25 with an effectice rate of 5.81% (much better than the 3.99% which you were getting with the NTUC Plus! Visa Credit Card)

IF you spend $500 on groceries and $400 in dining

Citi Cash Back Card

  • New Citibank cardholders receive $200 cash via PayNow once you made a qualifying transaction on your card. (SingSaver exclusive)
  • Existing Citibank cardholders receive $30 cash via PayNow (SingSaver exclusive)

Maybank Family And Friends Credit Card

Maybank Family and Friends Credit card is probably even better for groceries if you buy a lot (at least $800 a month). It also offers up to 8% cash back on groceries

Maybank Family & Friends Offer 8% cash back for the following categories

It is easier to get the maximum 8% cashback compared to the Citi Cash Back Card.

If you cannot spend $800 to get 8%, you will need to spend $500 to qualify for the 5% rebate.

The cash back tier of Maybank Family and Friends

If you are already spending $900 to maximize your NTUC plus! Credit card, why not switch and get %1 more (8% rebate)?

And you can get 8% in any grocery store: Sheng Siong, Giant, Cold Storage, Jason’s Market place, etc

Additional bonus: if you love to shop for groceries in JB (who doesn’t), the cash back counts for JB groceries trip (and petrol too).

SingSaver is also having an attractive sign up reward for the Maybank Family and Friends Card:

Maybank Family and Friends Card

  • New Maybank cardholders receive $30 cash via PayNow
  • Earn an additional $100 cashback if you spend a minimum of $250 per month for two consecutive months upon card approval.
  • Valid from 17 April 2020 to 31 August 2020.

DBS Live Fresh Card

The DBS Live Fresh Card gives 5% rebate on all contactless spending and 5% on online shopping if you spend a minimum of $600 in a month.

So, you could use contactless payment on your favorite grocery store and use the card for online grocery shopping. Note that the cashback cap is $20 for each category.

CategoryRebateCashback cap per month
Contactless Spending5% $20 (Equivalent to spending $400)
Online Spending5%$20 (Equivalent to spending $400)
Other category0.3%$20

DBS is having a promotion from now till 6 Aug 2020. All new cardholders will receive $200 cashback.

DBS Live Fresh

  • New DBS/POSB cardholders receive $150 cashback with no minimum spend required
  • Apply online for a DBS/POSB Credit Card with promo code ‘150CASH’ by 6 August 2020
  • Activate the Card within 30 days from Card Approval Date; and
  • Charge 1 qualifying transaction on the Card within 30 days from Card Approval Date

CITI SMRT Card

The CITI SMRT card offers up to 5% rebate for groceries at NTUC, Giant and Sheng Siong (7.3% if you shop at Fairprice Xtra Kallang Wave). If you spend more than $300 a month, you will get 5% rebate as long as you spend more than $50 in a single transaction. If you spend less than $300 a month, you will still receive 4.7% which is still a lot of rebate. Just ensure that you spend more than $50 in a single receipt (which is not hard for a person who is buying groceries for the family).

Citi SMART Card

  • Up to 5% rebate for groceries
  • Up to 5% for Coffee, Movies and Fast Food
  • 3% for online shopping

Even If You Managed To Get the 12% Rebate

So, let’s assume you met all the requirements and managed to meet the requirements to get 12% rebate for your NTUC spend.

Remember that it comes with a cost:

  • rebate of 0.22% on all other spend outside of NTUC (You need at least $400 spend outside NTUC to meet the maximum 12% rebate requirement)
  • Credit your salary to your NTUC-OCBC starter account – opportunity cost. You can get better high interest yield for salary crediting elsewhere, e.g. DBS Multiplier, UOB One Account or OCBC 360.
  • Fair Price Annual Rebate: The additional 4% out of $500 earns you $20 every month but you pay $9 every month for NTUC membership. So net amount is $11 rebate.

A quick calculation shows that even if you hit 12% rebate, your effective rebate is only 6.76%

SpendSpend AmountRebate Amount
NTUC Spend$500$6012%
Non NTUC Spend$400$0.880.22%
Total$900$60.886.76%
The effective rebate is 6.76% of your total spending

So even when you had maxed out everything, you still would earn more with the Maybank Family and Friends Card or Citi Cash Back Card.

However, the NTUC Plus! Visa Card does have something that the other cash back cards do not have – NTUC membership.

If you value NTUC membership and the perks offered by the program, then NTUC Plus! Visa Credit Card is an option.

Conclusion

The NTUC Plus! Visa Credit Card is not a very good option for getting more rebates from NTUC because of its complicated reward system. It is very hard to meet the 12% and even if you managed to redeem the full 12% for your NTUC spending, your effective rebate rate is only 6.76%, which is lower than the Maybank Family & Friends and Citi Cash Back Card.

For the rest of us, a flat rate no-fuss cashback card are options that can never go wrong. Both the Citi Cash Back+ Mastercard and the Standard Chartered Unlimited Card are great options.

Author: Fatty's Finance

Finance is like health. It becomes an issue if it is not well maintained. I want to help you get back in shape!

2 thoughts

  1. I use the SMRT Citibank Card and get about $15-20 cashback and i spend about $300-400 on groceries. Works at Shengsiong, Giant and NTUC!

    1. Hi Gaddy,

      Thanks for your comment. You are right! I missed out the SMRT card which is another great way to get 5% cash back. The small requirement is that you will need to spend a minimum of $50 per receipt for groceries to get 5%. If you spend less than $300 for the month, you will get 4.7%, which still is a lot.

      I will add it to the post.

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