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How to Evaluate Credit Card Offers

There is no dearth of credit card offers in Singapore. In fact, your email inbox is already probably stuffed with such offers from almost all the card issuers. But that’s also where the problem begins. Too many offers often make it difficult to compare and choose the right one. So, how do you get to the right card offer that suits your requirements?

Here are a few things that you must consider before you sign up for a credit card.

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Rewards Programme

It’s probably the most important thing that you need to consider while signing up for a card. Carefully examine the rewards programme that applies to different cards. This will help you find a card that offers maximum rewards for your spending habits. Read the terms and conditions document carefully to understand the details, such as transactions that qualify for rewards, minimum spend requirement to be eligible for rewards, monthly rewards limit, ways to redeem rewards, rewards expiry, and so on.

Other Benefits and Perks

There are various other benefits provided by card issuers in addition to the rewards programme to create a lucrative package for the users. Consider all the benefits/perks offered on the cards that you are considering. These perks, when used properly, could actually make your life easier and help you save a lot of money. For instance, if you are a traveller, look for benefits such as 24/7 concierge service, complimentary airport lounge access, complimentary travel insurance, discounts on hotel bookings, etc. If you are not sure about what benefits are being offered, ask the issuer for complete information.

Annual Fee

Most cards come with an annual fee that you will have to pay, irrespective of the usage of the card. This fee varies from card to card. So, while you are comparing the rewards programmes, also look at the annual fee of all the cards. Because to know whether the rewards are worth it or not, you need to know how much they cost. A high annual fee card may not necessarily be the best for you. Always weigh the rewards of the card against its cost. Also, don’t forget to consider annual fee waiver on these cards. While most cards just waive off your annual fee for a year or two, there are some cards that offer you incentives to pay the fee. For example, Citi PremierMiles Visa Card offers 10,000 Bonus Miles when you pay your annual fee of S$192.60.

Other Fees and Charges

Apart from the annual fee, there are some other types of fees and charges as well that could be associated with your card. It’s important to know about them as they could make a huge difference to your credit card-related costs. Take a look at some of the common fees and charges associated with these cards:

  • Late payment fee: This is the fee that will be charged if you fail to make the card bill payment by the due date specified in your monthly statement.
  • Foreign currency transaction fee: It’s the fee that you have to pay for making a transaction in a foreign currency.
  • Over limit fee: It’s the fee that is charged when you exceed your credit limit.
  • Cash advance fee: Every time you use your credit card to withdraw cash from an ATM, you will be charged a cash advance fee, which is usually a certain percentage of the amount you withdraw.

Sign-Up Bonuses

There are various cards that offer a special sign up bonus for new, and sometimes even for existing, customers. Consider these sign-up bonus offers carefully. These offers are for a limited time period, so make sure you know the expiry date. Also, in most cases, you will have to meet a minimum spend requirement in the first few months to be eligible for the sign-up bonus. Make sure you know all such requirements. For instance, OCBC offers a cashback of S$150 if you sign up for a card before 31 July 2018. However, there are certain conditions applicable to this bonus:

  • You will get S$50 cashback when you apply for OCBC 365 Credit Card and any other OCBC credit card.
  • You will have to spend at least S$300 in the first and the second month to earn an additional S$100 cashback.

What Else You Need to Consider

Always consider your spending habits before applying for a card. Are you a traveller who spends a lot on flight tickets and hotels? Are you someone who loves to dine out? Or, are you someone who carries over balance to the next month? Knowing your habits and requirements will help you evaluate card offers. After all, there is no point even considering a fuel card when you don’t have a vehicle. Once you know your spending habits, find out all the cards that match your lifestyle needs. Based on the rewards, cards are generally categorised as: cashback cards, air miles cards, reward points cards, and cash rebate cards. So, if you are a traveller, it’s best to get a card that offers rewards in the form of air miles.

You could make a list of all those cards for the purpose of your comparison. Alternatively, you could also use our credit card comparison platform to quickly view and compare all the features and benefits of these cards in one place.

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