Key Strategies To Maximize Credit Card Cashback

We love seeing cash credited to our accounts. At least most of us do. It is no wonder cashback credit cards are popular.

A cashback credit card works in this way:

  1. You spend with you credit card
  2. You get a certain amount of cash (a small percentage of your total spending) credited back at the end of your billing month.

Credit cards have indeed become a useful tool by not just providing the convenience of easy credit but also by making our expenses a bit cheaper with their cashback programs.

In this post, I will share my cashback strategies centred around credit cards. I have split it into two sections:

  1. General tips for getting more cashback
  2. Organizing your cashback credit cards to maximize your cashback

However, please do not use this strategy if you are not able to pay your credit card bills every month fully. You will end up paying more in credit card interest than the cashback you might receive.

General Tips For Getting The Most Cashback

Consolidation of Cards

A straightforward strategy of getting the most cashback is to consolidate all your spending on a single card. You could also apply for supplementary cards and let your spouse or children (Not sure whether it is a good idea to spoil them with a credit card) use for their expenses.

A lot of the cashback cards require a minimum spend each month to qualify for a higher tier cashback. So combining all your expenses into one card increases your chance of hitting that target. Unless, if you are a heavy spender and never had an issue meeting the minimum spending requirements.

Use Credit Cards Whenever Possible

Also, whenever possible, try to use your credit card for purchases. For online purchases and apps, that usually is not an issue. For large retail stores, fuel, supermarkets, restaurants or fast food, those typically are not an issue because most of them readily accept credit card payments.

Don’t even think of using debit cards, cash or nets.

Favour FavePay and let go of GrabPay

It is the smaller businesses that may not accept credit cards. Those usually are the neighbourhood sundry shops or the hawker centres that you frequent. Thankfully, with the push to digital payments, you can still use credit cards with FavePay. On top of credit card cashback, you will also get additional rebates for your next purchase with the merchant. 

FavePay’s cashback is not as versatile as it only works with the same merchant. But if you regularly go back to the same stall, why not reward your loyalty and earn some spare change?

Wait, what about using GrabPay to pay for the hawker stalls or smaller establishments? 

I am glad you brought that up. Many credit cards exclude topping up GrabPay wallet from qualifying for cashback. The general guideline is top-up for any cash wallet or cash card equivalent does not get any cashback. Examples are EZ Link card, cash card, Kopitiam card, Breadtalk card, etc.

However, if you are in the Grab loyalty program, it still offers rewards and cashback whenever you use GrabPay. However, you cannot stack GrabPay rewards with your credit card. Either you get cashback from Grab, or you get cashback from your credit card – you cannot have both.

Simply-go for Public Transit

For those of us who use public transit, ditch the EZlink card and opt for Simply-go. Pay for each ride with your credit card. That way, you will get cashback from your credit card for each trip you make. 

Remember, topping up your EZlink card earns you zero points, and when you lose your card, you lose the money in it. When you deposit your money with EZlink, EZlink can use the funds in your card for lending, investing or generating some cash from you without giving you any interest in return.

Stack Other Reward / Cashback Programs On Top Of Your Credit Cards

You could use your credit card with another cashback program to earn cashback from both sides – you receive cashback from your credit card and additional cashback from the other programs.

FavePay is an excellent example of a cashback program that stacks with your credit card spending.

I will cover the more general cashback programs here. I will not be covering the loyalty programs here, e.g. brand-specific loyalty programs like Starbucks.

Shopback Stacking

For online shopping, online travel booking, always go through Shopback first. For example, if you want to buy anything from Lazada, use the Shopback app to open Lazada and then proceed to shop in Lazada. Afterwards, use your credit card to make the purchase. You will get cashback from Shopback as well as cashback from your credit card – twice.

For the physical world, you could use Shopback Go. Link your credit card to Shopback Go and look at the list of merchants that offer cashback in Shopback app. Once you use that linked credit card in that store, you will get the Shopback cashback. Note: you can only use the specific linked credit card to get the Shopback Go cashback.

However, always read the terms and conditions of Shopback because there might be certain items that do not qualify for cashback, e.g. if you are buying infant milk powder etc. 

Get $5 signup bonus if you sign up for Shopback via my referral link. Disclaimer, I will get $5 too if you signed up and made a purchase. It is a win-win. You can then refer your friends and get referral cash back as well.

Google Pay Stacking

Contactless payments have become ubiquitous, and you should take advantage of that too. 

If you are an Android user, use Google Pay for every contactless payment. Every week, Google Pay will award a random amount of cashback from $0-$50 (you get a scratch card of a random amount of cashback) for each transaction of $10 via your phone. It is limited to three transactions per week. So, you will get cashback from Google and cashback from your credit card. 

I haven’t tried using Google Pay with a ShopBack Go merchant. You might be able to get triple cashback (From ShopBack, Google and the credit card bank).

However, iPhone users are not able to use contactless payments with Google Pay – they are forced to use Apple Pay. Nevertheless, iPhone (or AppleWatch) users can also get cashback by using Google Pay to send money to their friends via PayNow. You can link your OCBC account or PayLah to Google Pay and send money to your friends’ PayNow phone number.

If you send a minimum payment of $10 to another PayNow user, you qualify for the cashback. The reward is reset every week, so you can still transfer to the same person every week to be eligible for cashback.

So next time, you don’t have to fight with your friends to pay the dinner bill with your credit card, just let him pay first and return him the money via Google Pay and get some cashback too.

Get $3 if you sign up for Google Pay via my referral link. I will also get cashback when you successfully activated Google Pay.

Organizing Your Cashback Credit Cards

My cashback strategy is a combination of two cards: a core cashback card which is your primary focus and a secondary card. It is like having a core portfolio and a satellite portfolio for your investments.

Here are two types of combination:

  1. A credit card that awards additional interest for your bank account (core) + a fuss-free flat 1.5% cashback card (secondary) 
  2. A credit card that awards high cashback (~5%-8%) but has complicated requirements + a fuss-free flat 1.5% cashback card (secondary)

Credit Cards That Award Additional Interest For Your Savings Account

UOB One card

The UOB One card offers up to 5% cashback and is one of the main criteria for earning bonus interest in your UOB One account.

If you spend $2000 or more, you will get a 5% rebate. However, the hard part is doing it consistently for three months. If you spend $500 or more, you will get either $50, $100 or $300 cashback.

If you use it with your UOB One Account, when you credit your salary or make three Giros and spend $500 on your UOB One card, you will get 1.25% interest on your $75,000 deposit which equals to $78.13 additional cash per month.

On top of that, you will get 10% rebate if you shop at Giant, Cold Storage or 7-11 or use any Grab, Grab Food services (GrabPay not eligible for the 10% rebate).

CriteriaCashbackEffective Monthly Cashback Rate
Spend $500 for consecutive three months$50 (Only credited after every three months)3.33%
Bonus Monthly Interest Assuming you met all UOB One requirements with a deposit of $75,000$78.1315.6%
Total Cashback after three months284.3918.93%
Cashback for every $500 spent for three consecutive months

Apply now for the UOB One via SingSaver and get S$20 cash via PayNow for both new and existing UOB credit cardholders upon card approval.

Offer Valid Till 31 Aug 2020

Maybank Platinum Visa Card

The Maybank Platinum Visa Card is a direct competitor to the UOB One card. The main difference is that the minimum is three consecutive monthly spends of $300 to earn the 3.33% cashback.

However, you can only choose either a flat $30 cashback or $100 cashback every quarter. If you spend more than $1000, you will not get more than $100 cashback; if you spend more than $300 but less than $100, you will only get $30 cashback.

If you spend at least $500 on your Maybank Platinum Visa Card and either credit your salary or perform three Giros in your Maybank Save Up Program, you will earn an additional 0.8% interest on your account on top of 0.3125% base interest. So if you have $50,000, you will receive an additional interest of $43.59 per month. 

Apply for Maybank Platinum Visa Card via SingSaver

  • Receive $30 cash via PayNow and $100 cashback. only for new Maybank cardholder
  • Spend a minimum of $250 per month for two consecutive months upon card approval.
  • Valid from 17 April 2020 to 31 August 2020

UOB YOLO Card

Besides the UOB One Card, the UOB YOLO card can also be paired with your UOB One Account to earn the bonus interest if you spend at least $500.

The UOB YOLO Card is more targeted to entertainment:

CategoryRebate
Weekend dinning & entertainment8%
Weekend Grab8%
Weekend UOB Travel Spend8%
Online fashion and travel spend3%
Weekday dinning & entertainment3%
Weekday Grab3%
Weekday UOB Travel spend3%
All other spend0.3%

Note that you must spend a minimum of $600 to qualify for the 3% and 8% cashback. You will have a maximum of $60 cashback per month.

Apply now for the UOB YOLO via SingSaver and get S$20 cash via PayNow for both new and existing UOB credit cardholders upon card approval.

Offer Valid Till 31 Aug 2020

The Need For A Secondary Card

The issue with the One Card is that rebate is a fixed amount of either $50, $100 or $300. If you spend more than $500 but less than $1000 for three consecutive months, you will get only $50. Likewise, if you spend $100 but less than $200 for three successive months, you will get only $100 instead of $300.

It is the same with the Maybank Platinum Visa Card, which also offers discrete amounts of $30 or $100 cashback. 

So if you meet your target spend of $500 for UOB one, stop spending on that card and a secondary card for all other expenses. Otherwise, any additional spend will be wasted and not eligible for cashback.

There are two cards which are great for secondary cards:

If you could only manage to spend $800 a month, for a UOB one Card, you will only receive $50 cashback.

MonthTotal Spend on UOB OneCash Back
1$8000
2$8000
3$8000
4$800$50
For the UOB One card, you will only get $50 after spending $800 for the past three months.

So, for spending $800 for the last three months, you earned a rebate of $50. Your cashback rate becomes: 2.08% instead of 3.33%

However, if you combined it with a secondary card, for example, the SCB Unlimited Card, your cashback amount will be:

MonthSpend on UOB OneCashback from UOB OneSpend on SCB UnlimitedCashback from SCB Unlimited
1$5000$300$4.5
2$5000$300$4.5
3$5000$300$4.5
4$500$50$300$4.5
If you split your spending, i.e. spend $500 on UOB One and $300 on SCB Unlimited Card, you will get a rebate of $63.50

So, for spending $800 for the last three months, you will earn a rebate of $63.50 which equals to 2.6% cashback instead of 2.08%

Standard Chartered Unlimited Card

At 1.5% flat cashback for all spend with no minimum spend required, the Standard Chartered Unlimited card is a right candidate for a secondary card.

Read more about my detailed review on the card

Apply for Standard Chartered Unlimited Card now

  • New SCB cardholders: Receive Get Jabra Elite Active 75t True Wireless Earbuds (worth $346) + $50 cashback (min. $500 spend within 30 days of card approval)
  • Existing SCB cardholders: Receive S$30 GrabFood vouchers
  • Approved cardholders must activate their card within the first 30 days of card approval
  • Promotion ends 31 Aug

Citi Cash Back+ Mastercard

The Citi Cash Back+ Mastercard is another excellent option for a secondary card. It offers 1.6% cashback for all retail spend. Note that any spend on transit does not qualify for cashback for this card. Otherwise, everything else, shopping, food delivery, restaurants are eligible for cashback.

Read more about my detailed review on the card

Apply for Citi Cash Back+ Mastercard now

  • Get Samsung Galaxy Buds Live worth S$288 New Citibank cardholders. This is only applicable for the first 1,000 new Citibank cardholders. Subsequent customers will get S$200 cash
  • Get $30 cash via PayNow for existing Citibank cardholders.
  • New cardholders must activate the new credit card and make a qualifying spend transaction.

Maybank FC Barcelona

The Maybank FC Barcelona also offers a 1.6% cashback for all spend with no minimum spending requirements. However, this only applies to local currency spend. For foreign currency spending, Maybank points will be awarded instead.

Read more about my detailed review on the card

Apply for Maybank FC Barcelona Card now

  • Receive $30 cash via PayNow and $100 cashback. only for new Maybank cardholder
  • Spend a minimum of $250 per month for two consecutive months upon card approval.
  • Valid from 17 April 2020 to 31 August 2020

Credit cards that award high cashback but have complicated requirements

Maybank Family & Friends Card

The Maybank Family & Friends card awards a generous 8% for groceries, food, transportation and other daily essentials. However, you will need to spend at least $800 to get the full 8%. 

There are also restrictions on the spend category. Only these categories are eligible for the bonus cashback of 5% or 8%. 

  • groceries
  • fast food and food delivery
  • transportation and petrol
  • Data Communication & Online TV Streaming (e.g. M1, starhub, Netflix etc)
  • Learning and retail: Toys “R” us, Popular and Yamaha Music

All other categories (e.g. retail shopping) only earns 0.3% cashback:

Once you spend more than $1000, your rebate is capped at $80. After that, any additional spend is 0.3%. 

Apply for Maybank Family & Friends Card now

  • Receive $30 cash via PayNow and $100 cashback. only for new Maybank cardholder
  • Spend a minimum of $250 per month for two consecutive months upon card approval.
  • Valid from 17 April 2020 to 31 August 2020

Citi Cash Back

The Citi Cash Back Card gives you a maximum of 8% cashback if you spend $888 in a month. However, there is a maximum cap of $25 for each category. 

There are also restrictions on the spend category. Only these categories are eligible for the bonus cashback of 8%:

  • Groceries
  • Dining
  • Petrol 

All other categories (e.g. retail shopping) only earns 0.3% cashback. 

Hence, once you spend more than $312.50 in a category, you will need to switch your spending to another card to get more cashback. Otherwise, you will only get 0.25% cashback for any additional spend.

Apply for Citi Cash Back Card now

  • Get Samsung Galaxy Buds Live worth S$288 New Citibank cardholders. This is only applicable for the first 1,000 new Citibank cardholders. Subsequent customers will get S$200 cash
  • Get $30 cash via PayNow for existing Citibank cardholders.
  • New cardholders must activate the new credit card and make a qualifying spend transaction.

Compatible Secondary Cards

  1. Standard Chartered Unlimited
  2. Citi Cash Back+ Mastercard

Besides the two cashback cards mentioned above, you could also use the Citi Rewards card or the OCBC Titanium Card to complement these cards. The main reason is that the Citi rewards card and OCBC Titanium Card offer 10x points for retail spend.

Citi Rewards Card

The Citi Rewards Card offers 10x points for every $1 spend in retail. As in my previous article, the value of each Citi Reward Point is $0.0023. For retail payments, you will be getting 2.3 cents for every $1 spent translating to an effective rebate of 2.3%.

Read more about my detailed review on the card

Apply for Citi Rewards Card now

  • Get Samsung Galaxy Buds Live worth S$288 New Citibank cardholders. This is only applicable for the first 1,000 new Citibank cardholders. Subsequent customers will get S$200 cash
  • Get $30 cash via PayNow for existing Citibank cardholders.
  • New cardholders must activate the new credit card and make a qualifying spend transaction.

OCBC Titanium Card

The OCBC Titanium card offers 10x points for every $1 spend in retail. The value of the OCBC$ is $0.0028, which is slightly higher than the Citi Reward Point. However, do note that you can only redeem for every block of $5 spent.

Read more about my detailed review on the card

Apply for OCBC Titanium Card Now

  • New cardholders will receive S$100 GrabFood vouchers. Promo valid till 31 August 2020

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!

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