Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Time To Ditch and Burn the New OCBC Frank Card

Scg8866t blogged about the change in the Frank Card benefits. I can't say that this caught me off-guard. In fact, I participated in a survey by OCBC asking participants what changes would they like to see in a "revised" Frank card and if they would accept certain changes. So, I knew that some changes were in the works.

The main highlights are:
- $400 offline spending to qualify for all the bonus rebates
- 0.3% rebate if $400 offline spending is not met (down from 0.5%)
- 3% online rebate (down from 6%)
- 3% NETS ATU rebate (down from 6%)
- addition of Cafes*, Cinemas**, Bars & Entertainment*** with 3% on weekdays and 5% on weekends
- $60 monthly rebate cap

The finer details of the T&Cs can be found here.

What are my thoughts about this?

Don't think that "Cafes" mean hipster cafes that young kids go to for cafe-hopping. In the T&Cs, Cafes are defined as one of 6 coffee franchises, namely Starbucks, Coffee Bean, TCC, Dimbulah Coffee (lol, who the hell is that?), Coffee Club and Costa Coffee.

Basically, for me, "cafes" cover places I almost never frequent. Except for the very rare Starbucks, I prefer drinking kopi or teh. So, it is a useless category for me. I'm very sure a lot of people are going to get tricked by misunderstanding what "Cafes" stand for.

Cinemas are clear cut, but with the advent of the internet, I've watched maybe.... 2 movies this year. Almost no impact to my life again.

"Bars & Entertainment" is a bit interesting though, since it includes drinking establishments, bars, taverns, nightclubs and anything under merchant code 5813. Now, I do spend money at drinking establishments, but 3-5% for the few times a month that I go out to such places? I think that's pretty shit, especially when the ANZ Optimum card offers 5% at all times on a much broader category of "Dining and Leisure". I have a friend that uses it and he picks up the tab every single time. He told me that in the month of August he managed to get cashback of $300. ANZ has no rebate cap, while OCBC Frank does.

Everything else about the card has become shittier.

NETS ATU down to 3% from 6%.
Base rebate down to 0.3% from 0.5%.

The worst thing of all is now the mandatory $400 offline spending to qualify for any rebates. There have been months where I bomb my Frank card with a $1000 airfare charge and got happy that I maxed out the rebate. Now, I can't do that anymore. If I'm overseas on holiday, it's not that simple to rack up $400 of offline spending since I have less time that I even am around locally to spend money.

It is very timely that I have recently done a review of my credit card spending and calculated my effective cashback. It was 2.07%. With this new changes to the card, I expect my cashback to plummet like a rock to something just above 1%, which is pretty shit considering all the hoops that I have to jump through, so:

Credit cards are so desperate for new sign-ups with some even throwing free credit at the faces of consumers.

(ANZ Optimum: $100 sign up credit, 5% rebate on 1 category, 1% rebate on all else, no rebate cap)
(SCB Singpost: $50 sign up credit, $600 min spending for 7% online rebate, $60 rebate cap)
(AMEX Cashback: 5% rebate for 1st 3 months, after that 1.5% rebate for everything)
(UOB One: 3.33% rebate for $500 per month spending, all catergories)

I am now going to undertake a review of my bank accounts and credit card spending now. Up until this point of time I have been comfortable with OCBC. However, circumstances have changed. As a sailor, I only can respond to the conditions. Of course, I can bitch all along the way while I do it.

I will be looking to see if it will better for me to switch cards from Frank to the OCBC 365 card, or whether it would be better to just entirely forgo the OCBC 360 Credit Card spending bonus of 0.5% and get a better, more flexible card. This could mean that I adopt the UOB One card and possibly their account as well, or I could just drop the account tie-ins and go for a good standalone card (such as ANZ).

Whatever the case is, I am no longer going to be using the Frank Card in a few months. Too complicated and pathetic benefits. Of course, many people are going to be fooled by these "awesome new changes", but that's their own problem. I deal with mine.

This isn't about loyalty or whatever, so no hard feelings. This is just math and good business.


  1. Hi GMGH,

    You can check out my introduction of DBS Live Fresh, http://investmoolah.blogspot.sg/2015/08/get-15-16-rebate-for-your-first-500.html

    Similar to OCBC Frank but its 6% rebate is only a limited time. However, warn your readers that the $80 promotion is for first 5,000 sign up monthly and must be done online. I will advise people to sign up early or otherwise wait till next month to sign up to take advantage

    1. Hi Choon Yuan,

      Thanks for the heads up!

      While reading about the DBS Live Fresh, I also stumbled upon their POSB Everyday CC promo. 16% rebate for $500 or $1000 spending if you sign up online!

      There are way too many credit cards in Singapore, haha

  2. Hi GMGH,

    If you are using OCBC 360, can consider forgoing it altogether and put into either SSB(2.63% avg for 10 years), Capmall retail bonds (3.1%-3.8%) now. If you wish to continue to use 360 can consider cashflo or 365 card.

    Ya the $400 offline spending is a hassle as if you don't spend it on cafe, cinema and bars(cafe and bars always charging a premium anw) you will only get 0.3% rebate.

    1. Hey Hayden,

      Thanks for the suggestion! The cafe and bars cashback really doesn't sound enticing at all. The ANZ card looks so much better for that category of spending!

      However, because of the 360 account, I think I am learning towards the 365 card. The cashflo has a nice 1% to look forward to, but I think I will be able to milk out more % rebate with the 365 card. I will report my cashback if I do get it!


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