We use credit cards instead of cash almost every day of our lives, because we earn various rewards such as cashback, points, miles, etc. on our spending. But occasionally, we do make large purchases – a gadget, a home appliance, a wedding banquet – on the credit card. While technically all credit cards can be used for large purchases, the most suitable ones would be those that give you rich rewards for spending. You could also use cards that give you the best 0% Instalment Payment Plan (IPP) options, so that you can buy items on deferred payment system and pay less interest on the expense.
Let’s look at the best cashback credit cards for large purchases first:
The American Express True Cashback Card is undoubtedly the best cashback card for general purchases, because it allows you to get cashback for ALL purchases instead of just in certain categories. You also get discounts and promotional offers through True Cashback Deals and other American Express reward programmes.
Cashback benefits: The True Cashback Card gives you 3% cashback for the first 6 months of getting your credit card. This 3% can be obtained for transactions of up to S$5,000 on the card. After payments of S$5,000 are made using the card, you will get 1.5% cashback. After the first 6 months, you will get 1.5% cashback on all your purchases, irrespective of what category of spending you are paying for. So unlike many cashback cards that give up to 9% cashback on specific categories only, you can end up getting more money back through the American Express True Cashback Card. There is no cap on the amount of cashback you can earn, which means that if you spent S$10,000 on the card, you can earn S$150 back.
Things to know: You need to have an annual income of at least S$30,000 to be eligible for this card. The annual fee for this card is S$172.20, and the fee for the first year is waived off. The effective interest rate is 24.99% p.a.
The Maybank Platinum Visa Card is another great cash rebate card for general spends. However, this card has a ceiling on the amount you can get back. The cash rebate is given on the basis of quarterly transactions and not monthly transactions.
Cashback benefits: You have to make purchases of at least S$300 per month for all months of the qualifying quarter to get a cash rebate of 3.33% on transactions made in Singapore. On purchases of S$300 to S$999.99, the maximum cash rebate you can get is S$30, while on transactions of S$1,000 or more, the cash rebate is capped at S$100. Foreign currency transactions are rewarded with a 0.3% cash rebate.
Things to know: The minimum annual income required to apply for this card is S$30,000.The Maybank Platinum Visa Card does not charge an annual fee, but you have to pay a quarterly service fee of S$20. This fee, however, is waived off if you make at least one transaction every quarter. The effective interest rate is 15% p.a.
UOB’s One Card is another great cash rebate credit card. It also allows you to save on fuel costs and gives you extra interest rate if you also have a UOB One account. However, there is a limit on the cash rebate you can earn.
Cashback benefits: The UOB One card gives up to 5% cash rebate on all spends. On spending S$500 or S$1,000 in a month for all 3 months of the qualifying quarter, you get a cash rebate of 3.33%. On spending $2,000 or more every month of the quarter, you get a cash rebate of 5%. The maximum cash rebate you can get in each quarter is S$50 with transactions of S$500 per month, S$100 on S$1,000per month, and S$300 on spending S$2,000per month. You have to make at least 5 transactions each month to be able to get the cash rebate.
Things to know: The card charges an effective interest rate of 25.9%. The annual fee for this card is S$192.60, which need not be paid for the first year. You need to be earning at least S$30,000 in a year to get this card.
This is another great cashback card that gives you up to S$800 as cashback in a year, for all transactions done on the card. It also gives you The Good Life privileges and fuel savings.
Cashback benefits: The Standard Chartered Manhattan World MasterCard gives you up to 3% cashback, capped at S$200 per quarter. The cashback received depends on the amount spent using the credit card. If you spend less than S$1,000 in a month, you’ll get a cashback of 0.5%; if your transactions are between S$1,000 and S$2,999.99, you’ll get 1% cashback; and if your credit card use is more than S$3,000, you are eligible for a 3% cashback. You can even earn cashback on transactions posted to 0% Instalment Payment Plans and EasyPay.
Things to know: The effective interest rate is 25.9% p.a., and the annual fee of S$192.60 on this card is waived for the first year. You need to earn S$30,000 in a year to be able to apply for the Standard Chartered Manhattan World MasterCard.
Most credit cards in the market offer 0% IPP schemes that let you convert your purchases into monthly instalments without any interest rate. Though it says 0% interest, you will end up paying a certain effective interest rate if the card charges a processing fee. However, this interest would always be very much lower than the usual interest rate charged on your purchases by a credit card. But you do need to remember that if you do not pay the monthly instalment on time, you will be charged the usual credit card interest rate.
Now let us look at some cards that give you the best 0% IPPs:
The ANZ Switch Platinum Card comes with a range of benefits that will help you reduce your costs when making a large purchase.
Benefits: The card allows you to make purchases on FlexiPlan and 0% IPP. Under both these plans, you can convert your large purchases into interest-free instalments. FlexiPlan can be used for both local and overseas purchases from any merchant, while the 0% IPP can be used at around 500 participating stores in Singapore. FlexiPlan comes with a repayment period of up to 1 year, while the 0% IPP comes with repayment tenure of up to 36 months. It also gives you reward points on all purchases.
Things to know: You don’t have to pay any annual fee for the Switch Platinum Credit Card. The interest rate is 23% and the minimum income requirement is S$30,000.
The CashFlo MasterCard is the only credit card in Singapore that converts all your transactions automatically into instalments.
Benefits: With the CashFlo Card, you can get 0.5% rebate on credit card transactions of up to S$1,000, and 1% rebate on monthly bill of more than S$1,000. If your credit card bill is less than S$1,000, the payments are automatically converted into 3-month instalment plan, and if the bill is S$1,000 or more, it becomes a 6-month instalment payment plan. This gives you more time to pay off your dues without adding interest to your transactions.
Things to know: The OCBC CashFlo MasterCard can be obtained if you have an annual income of S$30,000 or more. The annual fee is S$160.50 – which you don’t have to pay for the first 2 years – and interest rate on unpaid instalments is 25.92%.
The DBS Woman’s World MasterCard is designed for women who love to spend. It gives you higher reward points as well as easy conversion of large payments to an IPP.
Benefits: The credit card gives you 10 DBS Points for every S$5 spent in Singapore, and 3 points per S$5 spent overseas. You also get taxi booking discounts and other retail deals. The My Preferred Payment Plan allows you to convert retail purchases into a 0% IPP with no processing fee or interest charges. The repayment tenure for the plan is 1 year.
Things to know: To get a DBS Woman’s World MasterCard, you need to earn S$80,000 or more per year. The annual fee of S$192.60 is waived for the first year. Interest rate on overdue amount is 25.9%.
Before making large purchases on your credit card, check the benefits the card will give you. Most importantly, check whether you have the credit limit to buy the item in the first place. Also ensure that your large purchase will not end up making you debt-ridden through interest rates on outstanding balance.