If you have been a frequent reader of this blog, you would have realised that Heartland Boy clearly falls into the cash back camp. For the uninitiated, cash back programmes are typically reward programmes whereby a small percentage of the amount spent will be paid back to the user. Therefore, Heartland Boy believes that cash back credit cards are an effective way of minimising his daily expenses. Entering a brand new year, Heartland Boy intends to spell out his ultimate cash back credit card strategy for 2018. This serves as a guide for himself and more importantly, for Heartland Girl. Time and again, she never fails to get terribly confused about the purpose of the various credit cards lying inside her wallet.
UOB ONE Credit Card
UOB One credit card rewards 3.33% cash back for a minimum spend of $500; provided that the cardholder achieves this minimum spend for 3 consecutive months within a qualifying quarter. In addition, a minimum of 5 transactions valued at $5 each have to be achieved in a month in order to qualify. When compared to the rest of the cash back credit cards in his stable, the UOB One credit card requires much more mental effort. This is because the cardholder has to studiously monitor the monthly spending and ensure that the various criteria are met in order to qualify for cash back.
As shown in the table above, the cash back are given out in fixed blocks of $50, $100 and $300. Therefore, any amount spent within the tiers will result in a diminished cash back rate. For instance, spending $800 a month each for 3 months only leads to a 2.1% cash back rate ($50/$2400). As Heartland Boy is never able to hit $2,000 spending per month for 3 consecutive months (Tier 3), he only allocates $500 of his expenditure towards the UOB One credit card. To achieve this minimum spend, he channels all fixed spending into this card via automated GIRO payment. (eg: mobile, broadband bills etc) In the past, Heartland Boy even made donations to charities using the UOB One credit card. In doing so, he qualified for tax relief, achieved minimum spend quota and obtained cash back in an incredible triple kill combo. However, this loophole has since been plugged by UOB from 2018 onwards.
In summary, Heartland Boy receives 3.33% on UOB One credit card plus 2.43% interest rate on his savings deposited in the UOB One Account.
Function: Fixed expenses: utility bills, mobile phone bills etc
OCBC 365 Credit Card
Heartland Boy tries to direct most of his discretionary spending to the OCBC 365 credit card. This includes dining at restaurants whereby a generous cash rebate of 6% is provided. Once again, this credit card is in his wallet because it works well with the OCBC 360 Account– another high interest rate savings account which yields 1.85% interest rate for Heartland Boy.
Admittedly, Heartland Boy has difficulty achieving the minimum spend for this credit card on certain months. This means that he will forgo the additional 0.3% bonus interest rate for his OCBC 360 Account. In comparison with the UOB One account, Heartland Boy would prioritise achieving the minimum spend on the UOB One credit card since the bonus interest rate in UOB One Account is significantly higher.
Function: Discretionary expenses: movies, groceries, restaurants
POSB Everyday Credit Card
There is only one reason why this credit card even exists in his wallet; it is issued by POSB! Since Heartland Boy started using DBS Multiplier, he has to use any POSB/DBS credit card to be eligible for its bonus interest rate. With no minimum spend on credit card required under the DBS Multiplier programme, Heartland Boy decided to adopt the POSB Everyday credit card as his EZ-Link Card. By activating the auto-reload function, it also saves him the hassle of having to queue up at the LTA ticketing machines. On average, Heartland Boy spends approximately $100 per month on this card and receives an approximate interest rate of 1.85% from his DBS Multiplier.
Function: Public transport
SCB Unlimited Cash Back Credit Card
It is evident that the first 3 credit cards were there to turbo charge Heartland Boy’s various savings accounts. The next credit card stands out because it fills a unique need. The SCB Unlimited Cash Back credit card offers 1.5% cashback on eligible retail spend without the need to achieve any minimum spend in that month. It fills a unique need because the SCB Unlimited card does not discriminate heavily on the type of spend, the amount spent in a single transaction or total amount spent in that month. Furthermore, there is no maximum cap on the amount of cash back a card holder can earn in a month. Because of this flexibility, it has received plenty of rave reviews. Whenever Heartland Boy is unsure whether the specific transaction (eg: school fees, government hospitals) will qualify as a valid retail spend on other cards, the SCB Unlimited cash back card would be his go-to card. Another awesome benefit of the card is its 15% cash rebate on global Grab rides. This was useful to Heartland Boy when he relied on some rides during his holidays last year.
Function: Any type of spend that does not qualify as a valid retail spend on other cards, one-off big-ticket purchases or when Heartland Boy does not want to think