Tuesday, August 18, 2015

What's Your Real Cashback %?

Today I decided for the heck of it to check out what's the total value of my cashback that I've received for 1 year.

I went to look through my e-statements from OCBC and I made the table below:

The credit card that I have is the OCBC Frank card. It's a pretty simple and straight forward card. You get 6% rebates for online spending (cap of $60 per month) and 0.5% rebate for everything else.

My spending is on average about $800 per month, but this excludes the big bumper month of January that saw me drop a bomb paying for my trip to Beijing/Seoul and also my airfare to New Zealand. If you exclude September 2014 when I went to Bali too, the monthly average drops to $700 per month and I think that is a pretty realistic gauge of how much I spend normally.

Normally I also foot the bill when I'm out with friends and then collect back everyone's share slowly through ibanking. Some months it can be as low as only $50 while recently it has been over $300. By me paying for the bill first, I am artificially inflating my actual spending power and that helps me hit the $500 monthly spending mark to qualify for both Frank rebates and the 360 account bonus interest easier.

As you can imagine, it is not easy to have most of your spending as online spending. Perhaps a third of it for me? Which is why my effective rebate rate is 2.07%.

A strong cashback heavyweight is the AMEX Cashback card which has 1.5% cashback after the promo period ends. However, as you can see, my effective rate is higher than that. Also, AMEX is really not as widely accepted as Visa.

For those people who only use cash and don't want to "trouble" themselves and "complicate" their lives with a credit card, I would strongly advise them to reconsider moving their spending onto their credit cards - so long as they have the discipline to pay off the entire amount owing in full every month.

I am unwavering, so I don't get tempted by any of the credit card marketing for promotions and discounts, and this is very important because it means that I do not spend and consume more just because I have a credit card and access to such deals.

Whatever I spend on my credit card, I would have charged to my debit card or paid in cash anyway. However, by charging onto my credit card I get a few benefits:

1) Starting your credit history
2) Free financing for 1 month (or however long it takes to bill you)
3) Spending less (through discounts, promotions or rebates)
4) Optimize your wallet (credit card, transport card, NETs Flashpay card 3-in-1!)

Currently, I am considering switching to the OCBC 365 card since I realized that quite a bit of my spending falls under the dining category. Although in the recent 3 months I can see that my spending is higher than average, I don't know if I will be able to consistently spend over $600 per month to qualify for the 365's cashback. The current $500 target for me is an easy one to remember because that is also the same amount needed for the OCBC 360 account to get the bonus interest rate. Perhaps if I can see that my credit card spending is consistently over $600 every month, I would move my spending over to the 365 card instead and hopefully increase my effective rebate so somewhere above 3%.

The 2 other possible alternatives are the ANZ Optimum and the CIMB Visa Signature. I'll see how it goes a few months down the road, probably at the end of the year.


  1. How about handphone bills? Singtel and telco bills can be paid online too. My whole family's bill falls under my dad's name. I converted it into online payment instead of monthly giro. Easily earn $10-15 rebate monthly with the Frank. Plus, if Frank stops their rebates, I will just pay with another card like the CIMB or SCB Singpost (7%) that is giving online rebates also.

    1. Hi Eatvestigator,

      That is a good point to take into consideration, paying handphone bills through CC instead of GIRO! People with a lot of GIRO transactions should only leave the 3 lowest billing amounts and put the rest onto the CC then :)


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