What is the best credit card in Singapore to get? I get asked this question a lot lately and the answer, like every other great question in life is simply a resounding 'depends'. I am writing this article from the standpoint of a middle class citizen who do not earn an obscene amount of money a year and therefore if you are financially an elite, these will not apply to you - you may be better off carrying your American Express Centurion Charge Card in your wallet. For the rest of us, here are my Top 5 picks for 2015:
1. Citibank Rewards Card
The Citibank Rewards Card allows you to earn 10X Rewards Points per S$1 (which is equivalent to 4 miles per S$1) spend on clothes, bags, shoes, departmental stores or on-line shopping websites. This is the only card you should use when you shop at Tangs - on top of 10X Rewards Points, you will also earn 6% cash back in Lifestyle$ (that can only be redeemed in Tangs).
2. UOB Preferred Platinum American Express Card
The UOB Preferred Platinum American Express Card gives you 10X UNI$ per S$5 spend (which is equivalent to 20 miles per S$5) at any restaurant, bar or café. If you dine out often, this card will quickly chalk up enough UNI$ for you to travel for free or redeem for a wide variety of products (e.g. movie tickets, restaurant vouchers and even a brand new Playstation!).
3. UOB PRVI Miles World MasterCard Card
The UOB PRVI Miles World MasterCard has only launched this year in January 2015. The older American Express version which was popular amongst mile chasers last year has been superseded (although not replaced) by this MasterCard version that is more widely-accepted as compared to his American sibling. Although you do not get the limousine benefit (which has been diluted as of this year) like the American Express version, you earn a basic 4X UNI$ per S$5 (equivalent to 8 miles per S$5 or 1.6 miles per S$1) on everything you charge to this card. This is great for all purchases that do not qualify for the bonus earnings (i.e. 4 miles per S$1). If you use this card overseas, you will earn 6.25X UNI$ per S$5 charged in a foreign currency (equivalent to 12.5 miles per S$5 or 2.5 miles per S$1). Do note however that the minimum income requirement for this card is S$80,000 per annum but they are usually not strict about this requirement at all - I know of people who have gotten approval with S$55,000 an annum salary.
4. UOB Preferred Platinum Visa Card
The UOB Preferred Platinum Visa Card is similar to the Citibank Rewards Card as they both give you 4 miles per S$1 equivalent spend (although this card is more restrictive since it goes in brackets of S$5). However, this card is only restricted to on-line purchases of categories of book stores, cinemas, entertainment, electronics, fast food, music and retail shopping (with a huge list of exclusions). What this card has over the Citibank Rewards Card however is that you will too, earn 10X UNI$ per S$5 on all Visa payWave transactions (regardless of the category of merchant with a list of exclusions).
5. ANZ Travel Visa Signature Card
Finally to answer the frequently asked question of this elusive (one) credit card to carry in your wallet, it is simply the ANZ Travel Visa Signature Card. Before I share anything further, I have to warn you that by carrying one card (and one card only), you will miss out on all the bonus earning rates (i.e. 4 miles per S$1) but with that being said, the ANZ Travel Visa Signature Card is an amazing card to carry. Despite all the changes and dilution of benefits that have had happened recently, this card gives you a flat 1.4 Travel$ per S$1 spend (which is equivalent to 1.4 miles per S$1 or 2.55% in cash rebate) up to a maximum of S$10,000 a month. If you charge in AUD, NZD or on Qantas/Jetstar, you will earn 2.4 Travel$ per S$1 spend (which is equivalent to 2.8 miles per S$1 or 5.1% in cash rebate) up to a maximum of S$10,000 a month.
Additionally, the ANZ Travel Visa Signature Card gives you unlimited complimentary access to Airport Lounges around the world. While they are not luxurious like your airline business or first class lounges, the Véloce Lounges that you can access for free come with complimentary alcoholic drinks and a working internet (as well as a place to sit) while you wait for your flight out. You will also receive an extensive travel coverage plan when you charge the full airfare to the ANZ Travel Visa Signature Card. Following the latest changes to take place from 01 February 2015, a minimum charge of S$2,500 on any retail transactions in the last 30 days will allow you to redeem for a complimentary airport limousine transfer.
The Final Verdict
If you have space in your wallet, carry all 5 cards that I have listed here and you can be sure to reap in most of the benefits. If you only have space for 3, get the first 3 cards that I have recommended and skip the UOB Preferred Platinum Visa Card as well as the ANZ Travel Visa Signature Card.
However, if for some reason, you only have space for 1 in your wallet, then it is high time you get a new wallet! Otherwise, just carry the ANZ Travel Visa Signature Card which in my opinion is really the ONE card you need to carry if you truly HAVE TO carry only ONE card. Also, these recommendations are just credit cards to carry in your wallet - they are not exhaustive and therefore do not cover credit cards to have at home (for on-line purchases).