If you take the public transport daily in Singapore, here's how you can make it cheaper by combining it with a couple of credit and debit card tricks alongside certain promotions. I spend approximately $100 on public transport in Singapore but I get back $10 - $15 on average per month. This is in addition to the the miles/cash-back that I earn from my credit cards through EZ-Reload.
In order to take advantage of the situation fully, here are the three items that you will require. If you do not know what they are, fret not as I will be going through them individually.
The Imagine Card is an American Express (Amex) Prepaid Card from EZ-Link. What this means is that the Imagine Card comes with two components - a debit card and an EZ-Link component. For those of you who aren't working yet, do not worry about minimum income requirements since this is a debit card. You will receive the following benefits until 31 August 2014.
- 5% rebate on total monthly spend of a minimum S$50 on public buses and trains on the EZ-link purse (up to $5 a month).
- 5% rebate on total monthly spend of a minimum $50 on the Amex purse (up to $5 a month).
What this means is that if you spend $50 in the month of June on public buses and trains using the EZ-Link component of this card, you will receive 5% ($2.50) back in the following month as a rebate. To double dip in this promotion, you can sign up for EZ-Reload using the American Express Debit Card Component to top up your EZ-Link component. In the scenario where you spend $100 on public transport a month, you will receive 5% ($5) back for satisfying the minimum $50 spend on public transport and you will also receive an additional 5% ($5) for satisfying the minimum $50 spend on the Amex component. In other words, you will receive up to $10 back in the following month if you sign up for EZ-Reload using the same Imagine Card.
You can buy your Imagine Card online or simply from one of the Transit Link Ticket Offices. For more information on purchasing your Imagine Card, click HERE.
More than $2,500,000 have been paid out so far by Insinc. This has been utilised by many Singaporeans for the longest period of time but it's a little bit of a hit or miss depending on your luck and time of travel. Basically to simplify matters, Insinc allows you to earn cash rewards for taking the MRT and LRT (not buses though!). It is a research study conducted by the Land Transport Authority (LTA) of Singapore.
You will accrue points over the distance you travel on such transportation options and these points can either be exchanged for cash rebate (back into your registered EZ-Link card) or to spin the wheel for you to earn more (at the risk of winning nothing too, of course). If you do decide to spin the wheel (like I do), you may choose between playing it manually or having it spun for you weekly. You will earn more points for travelling during the following 'de-congesting' hours on weekdays:
- 6:30am to 7:30am
- 8:30am to 9:30am
Since this has been going on for quite some time, I'm not sure how long more is it going to last so get in there and get in quick! Click HERE and sign up for this now. You will only have to register and provide your EZ-Link CAN number (located at the back of your Imagine Card). Please note that by signing up using my link, I will earn 250 points (equivalent to $0.25 or 25 spin chances).
For those of you who are skeptical (like I was), I have already gotten back $16 on my Imagine Card via the Insinc game over a period of 3 months.
You will require a credit card to top up your Imagine Card American Express Debit Card component. Depending on what you are after (e.g. miles or cash-back), you may choose to use a different card. I personally use the UOB PRVI Miles Platinum American Express Card to top up my Imagine Card. Loading my Imagine Card with $100 will give me 160 miles using this card. If you're a fan of cash-backs, you may consider the UOB One card which will give you $3.33 back (terms and conditions for the UOB One card applies).
There are a handful of things you have to do (just once) in order to take advantage of this situation and get 10-15% cash-back per month on public transport expenditure. This is particularly useful for those that take the MRT/LRT.
- Purchase an Imagine Card
- Register the Imagine Card and load it with money using a Credit Card of your choice.
- Sign up for EZ-Reload for the Imagine Card using the American Express component of the same card.
- Sign up for Insinc.
- Register your Imagine Card EZ-Link CAN number with Insinc.
- Enjoy your rebates.
If you require any further information or clarification, just leave me a comment and I'll be sure to get back to you as soon as I can.