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Credit card survey 2019 shows Singaporeans with monthly income up to S$8,000 have between 2 and 5 credit cards

Did you know that young Singaporeans are more attracted to air miles as a credit card benefit and don’t look for discounts on petrol when they apply for a credit card? Or that older people tend to use their credit cards for grocery purchases more than any other type of purchase?

Credit Card Survey

To uncover more such insights and gain a deeper understanding of which demographic uses credit cards more, what they look for when they get a credit card, and what exactly they use it for, we conducted a survey on credit card usage.

Through this survey we not only looked for answers to these questions but we also tried to identify credit card usage trends in one of Asia-Pacific’s most mature money markets. Here are the results.

Most popular credit cards:

Local banks emerged as leaders when it came to credit card preference, with DBS/POSB cards emerging on top. The most popular cards were:

  • DBS/POSB: 52%
  • OCBC: 34%
  • UOB: Most common among 35 to 54-year-olds

Credit card ownership:

To gain an understanding of how many credit cards respondents owned, we divided the number of cards by number, age, and monthly household income.

When used responsibly, credit cards can offer a great avenue to maximise savings. Our survey shows that financially-savvy Singaporeans are using multiple cards to avail benefits such as cashback, shopping discounts and reward points. With the upcoming hike in GST rates and rising standard of living, it will be more important than ever for consumers to make smarter financial decisions and get the most value out of their dollar.

  • Number of cards: 50% own 1 to 2 cards. 23% own more than 5 cards.
  • Age:
    • 18 – 24-year-olds: Half of this age group owns only 1 card.
    • 25 – 34-year-olds: Generally own 1 – 3 cards.
    • 35 years and above: This age group is more likely to own 5 or more cards.
  • Monthly household income:
    • Less than S$4,000: Typically own around 1 – 2 cards.
    • Between S$4,000 - S$8,000: These individuals tend to own 5 cards or more.
    • Below S$8,000: Cardholders in this bracket tend to own a minimum of 2 cards, but lesser than 5.

Our survey also found that 23% of the respondents did not own any credit cards.

Credit card benefits

We looked at 8 different benefits that are offered by most credit cards to determine the benefits that respondents wanted the most. The top 3 benefits that people looked for were:

  • Cashback
  • Shopping discounts
  • Reward points
Credit Card Survey

The survey also provided some interesting insights such as the role played by ethnicity when it comes to ranking the importance of each benefit. The results showed us that cashback was more important to the Chinese (77%) than to the Malays (48%).

In fact, not just ethnicity, but we were also able to determine that age too was an important factor in determining which benefits were more important.

  • Respondents below 45 years were more attracted to air miles.
  • For 33% of 35 to 44-year-olds, reward points were most important.
  • 20% of the respondents under the age of 25 didn’t think that petrol discounts were a significantly important benefit.

Another trend that was observed was that respondents gave higher importance to benefits that cards provided on overseas spending rather than on instalment payment plans.

Card usage behaviour

By analysing the responses we received, we saw that 54% respondents who owned more than 1 credit card had a slight preference to switch between cards depending on the benefits that each card offered. 55 to 64 year-olds though tended to stick to their main card.

Types of transactions

Of the different types of transactions that respondents made every month, the top 3 were:

  • Groceries
  • Dining
  • Online shopping
Credit Card Survey

Age played an important role here as well with different age groups using their card for some transactions more frequently than others. Here is the age-wise split between the types of transactions made:

  • 45 to 54-year-olds: Groceries
  • 18 to 24-year-olds: Online shopping
  • 25 years and above: People 25 years and above tend to use their credit card for utility far more significantly than those under 25.
  • The frequency of entertainment transactions made using a credit card decreases as people age.

With respect to transport transactions, a high frequency of such spending was only seen among individuals whose monthly household income was more than S$8,000.

Spends made on the main card every month

On an average, less than S$1,500 was charged to respondents’ main credit card each month. The amount that each age group charged to their cards were:

  • 18 to 24-year-olds: Less than S$500.
  • 25 to 34-year-olds: Between S$4,000 to S$5,000.
  • 35 to 44-year-olds: Either between S$1,500 to S$3,000 or less than S$5,000.
  • 65 years and above: Between S$500 to S$999.

An interesting find from the survey was that those who charged less than S$500 to their main card each month were more likely to be females between the ages of 18 and 24.

Research methodology

This survey was conducted by BankBazaar Singapore and was administered online. Respondents were asked to provide demographic information along with information relating to their card usage. This included questions related to the number of cards respondents owned, which banks they belonged to, and the categories on which they spent the most. Additionally, responses relating to user behaviour in terms of the importance of card benefits as well as monthly spends was collected.

The results of the survey have been weighted to correct any demographic differences between the sample population and the population of Singapore.

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