Yes, I’m that ‘kiam siap’ (Hokkien for ‘scrooge’) uncle who pedals hard on his bicycle to the Cold Storage 15 minutes away just because the UOB One card offers a rebate.
And having gone through that painful process, I would hate for you to experience the same.
Nah, who wants to be zipping across the island, from FairPrice to Sheng Siong, down to Cold Storage, just to get those miserly points or $1 of cashback?
This article is a little different from your typical money comparison website like MoneySmart that gives you the cashback values.
Instead, it stops to think:
- Should you even be considering credit cards when you buy groceries?
- Are grocery credit cards really that helpful?
Credit cards can be a nightmare (if you allow it to)
You’ve read of all the stories of people going kaput under credit card debt.
And when you get your first credit card, it can be all too tempting to spend, telling yourself,
Aiya, it’s okay.
I only need to pay next month anyway.
That can leave you spending way past your limit, especially when you mentally account it as ‘next month’s expenses’, even though you’re spending it now.
Credit cards can thus be a double edged sword.
But what should you consider when you start shopping for a grocery credit card?
Stop looking at the credit card, but look at the grocery store you enjoy
I hate FairPrice.
There, I’ve said it.
FairPrice probably won’t give me a deal after this.
And you probably do, too. For all of the discounts people say you can get, it is a horrid shopping experience.
Don’t believe me?
Just try going to FairPrice Extra on a weekend afternoon, at 417PM.
You will get what I mean.
You wait nearly 15 minutes to check out your items, often longer than the time you take to even choose your item.
You squeeze amongst many other shoppers trying to get the best deal.
I mean, do you really enjoy that?
There are better places.
That’s why the first consideration before even choosing the credit card, is to choose the grocery store.
I personally recommend the smaller supermarkets around your home, rather than the ones based in big shopping malls.
Walk into them, and you will be almost surprised by the collegial, familial spirit in there. The cashier recognises you, and might offer you a discount you don’t get elsewhere.
For example, at Prime Supermarket, because my mum goes there so often, she’s often received special discounted items to clear.
Firstly you don’t have to squeeze up and down the escalators, and then on a bus back home, with bags of shopping.
Secondly, you don’t have to waste your time queueing.
But you might say,
I don’t get the specific items I want!
Sure, then go to the hypermarkets for the specific items.
That said, let’s now look at the best grocery credit cards.
Don’t look at the points back, but the pure cash back
Look, if you need to spend $100, just to get $1 back off your next purchase, are you really saving money?
You might be getting that 1% off, but it’s not really helpful, is it?
That’s why we’ve preferred credit cards that give you cash back. Meaning cash in the bank, no questions asked.
That’s why one of our first recommendations is the UOB One card, which continues to have the highest cashback in Singapore.
|Type of spend||What you can get||Conditions|
|Quarterly cashback||3.33% cashback||Spend $500/1000 per month|
|– Dairy Farm International (Cold Storage, CS Fresh, Giant, Guardian, 7-Eleven, Marketplace, Jasons, Jasons Deli)
– Grab transactions (excluding any Grab wallet top-up transactions)
– SimplyGo (bus and train rides)
– Shopee Singapore
– UOB Travel
|5%||Spend $500/1000 per month|
|Cards||Cashback amount||Annual fee|
|HSBC Visa Platinum Credit Card||5% cash rebate||Waived for the first 2 years|
|UOB One Credit Card||Up to 8.33% on a minimum spend of $500||Annual fee of $194.40|
|OCBC 365 Credit Card||3% cashback, on minimum spend of $800 per month||Annual fee of $194.40, waived if you have spent $10,000|
|POSB Everyday Card||5% cashback at Sheng Siong, no minimum spend||Annual Fees of $194.40 (Principal card)|
|Bank Of China Sheng Siong Card||6% cashback at Sheng Siong, no minimum spend||Annual fee of $205.20|
|Trust Bank Credit Card||Up to 15% savings (paid back in LinkPoints), but with minimum $450 spend outside of FairPrice group||No annual fee!|
I hate points back.
That’s why you don’t see us recommending the Yuu card, even though the Phua Chu Kang hit “Yuu” single continues to give me the shivers.
Don’t believe me?
Just go to Cold Storage, hear Phua Chu Kang sing ‘Yuu, Yuu, Yuu’ and you will never be able to get it out of your head.
Sorry for the side track.
But the points back forces you to spend more, in order to save more.
Which doesn’t make much sense.
Whilst some might argue that you would already spend anyway, my personal preference continues to be for cash, that allows you to spend elsewhere.
But look at the fees though
Whilst I do hate FairPrice, their associated digital bank Trust, continues to have the most attractive credit card.
The no fee is one of the major bonuses.
Just look at other competing credit cards and you would immediately notice:
|Card||Annual Fee||Fee waiver?|
|UOB One Card||$194.40||1st year|
|OCBC 365 Card||S$194.40||Unless you spend $10,000|
|Trust Bank||No fee||NA|
Whilst part of me continues to hate shopping at FairPrice, I’ve to admit.
Their Trust Credit Card has just blown the competition out of the water.
No fees means that the cashback you earn won’t end up being used to pay the $190 annual credit card fee.
Choose the Trust Credit Card if you have less credit history (ideal for gig workers, freelancers, solopreneurs, business owners)
Part of me suspects that Trust relaxed their stringency on credit history, because they wanted to acquire clients.
As I’ve shared previously, running a business has meant that I do not contribute as much to my CPF.
Yet despite having no CPF contributions for the last year, Trust issued me with a credit card.
And despite having no credit history, (meaning you haven’t taken up loans, and shown an ability to pay them back, meaning that in the eyes of banks, I was riskier), they gave me a credit card.
Their slightly more relaxed (this was in November 2022) approach towards taking on credit card clients means that for freelancers, solopreneurs, or business owners, this might be an easier credit card to get, compared to those that need a $30,000 income.
These credit card companies would pull up your CPF contribution history, your tax contributions, and see if you’ve actually paid anything.
If you haven’t, it might prove to them that you’re at possible risk of defaulting on the credit they extend to you.
Where might you go from here in your grocery journey?
Well, it’s up to you.
But for me, my decision is clear.
It’s still Trust.