Friday, June 20, 2014

Maybank Platinum Visa Card Review and also CashBack Credit Cards Comparion (CCCC)

If you were like me, this morning you would have gotten a big A4-sized advertorial leaflet from Maybank in the newspaper that looks something like this:

Okay, the big leaflet did not look like this, but roughly! I screengrabbed this from Maybank website.

What really caught my attention was their 3.33% cash rebate. Does this sound quite familiar to you? It sounds similar to the UOB One Card to me, so I went to give it a look!

Although the point of this post is not to compare it to the UOB card, with such a similar product out there, if you decide that this sort of credit card is for you, you would want to know which is the best bang for your buck!

Anyway, let me go down in the card itself proper before I go onto comparisons.

Maybank Platinum Visa Card

This card and it's promotions become effective 1st July 2014. I suppose this is Maybank's way of coming into the foray and battling the likes of all the rebate cards out there on the market, especially with the recent release of the OCBC 365 Card, which I recently reviewed.

Their rebate structure is weird, but it is exactly the same as the UOB Card. Instead of getting back monthly rebates based on a certain amount spend, you will get a one-time rebate every quarter. What this does is that it makes it much harder to get the rebate, since you must consistently spend a certain amount every month.

If you do not hit the minimum spending for that month, you will not get your tier rebate.

If you do not hit the minimum spending for your tier every month of the quarter, you will only get the lowest tier rebate. (example: you spend $1000 / $800 / $1500 in 3 consecutive months. You will only get a one-time $30 rebate.)

Because of the strict spending criteria for the rebate, this (type of) card should only be meant for people with extremely certain spending habits. If you are unsure of spending $300 a month, do not get this card. There will be some months where you realized you have only spend maybe $200 for that month, but because you have already spent more than $300 for the previous two months in that quarter, you will feel compelled to spend another $100 to get the $30 rebate. This card should be used as a tool to help you cut costs, not increase expenditure. If you are have highly variable spending, then monthly rebate cards like the OCBC365 or even Standard Chartered's Manhattan would be good.

The annual income requirement is the standard $30,000 annual income. The fee structure is very interesting though. They stated that they will charge you $20 per quarter, unless you make 1 transaction, then it would be free. If you expand it out over the year, leaving your card idle is $80 a year while is on the lower side of credit card annual fees. However, of course if you are getting this card, you are planning to make transactions every month. So in effect, this card has no annual fees since you would qualify for fee waiver!

My personal take is that this is a good card for people who want to start getting back some simple rebates based on their stable cash outflows. Stable outflows is the key.

So let's see how to stacks up to competitors?


I have stripped out all the special limited promotions and bell and whistles for these 3 cards. These are the basics of the cards, untainted by promotions. Why do I do this? Well, promotions are limited time only, but these features of the card are more concrete and part of the card terms. These cards are in the pure-cash back criteria. (flat cashback, no variation or restriction on spending categories - ie. dining, petrol, groceries)

The Maybank and the UOB card are really essentially the exact same rebate programme. The only difference is that UOB has an extra rebate tier. In that sense, UOB is better if you have a higher stable cash outflow, because you can move up your rebate amount from $30 to $80. *Do note that the 3.33% is a clever advertising gimmick. You will always get less than 3.33% because you will get a flat rebate amount. If you spend exactly $300 a month, then you will get the maximum 3.33% rebate since 30/900 = 3.33%. Try not to look at it as a rebate percentage, but rather a one-time quarter dollar cashback amount.

The reason why I put in SCB's Manhattan World card is that is somewhat similar because it has one-time quarter rebate. The difference is that you spend whatever amount you want every month, and still be assured that you will get at least 0.5% rebate back. You can also spend $6,6667 on the first day of the month, in your first quarter and you will already get the maximum $200 cashback for that quarter. You do not need to spend consistently every month, so I think this gives you good freedom. Also, if you spend on large expensive items as a one-off thing, this is also a great card for those big purchases.

The annual fee for Maybank is very reasonable. $20 a quarter works out to $80 a year, which is much less than UOB. Maybank also has absolutely such a loose criteria to be eligible for fee waiver, so you will definitely get your fee waived! For UOB, this is not so certain. To qualify for the annual fee waiver, you have to chalk up $7,200 of spending a year, which works out to about $600 a month. That is kind of a no-man's land for their rebate tier. Maybank beats hands-down in terms of credit card fees and upkeep. SCB does not state it's fee waiver criteria, although I am sure they will waive your fee if you spend a certain amount a year. Both UOB and SCB have first year fee waiver as a current promotion (probably a forever promotion to encourage people to give it a try)


So, what's the final verdict? Honestly, it depends on your situation.

If you spend between $300-500 a month consistently, this Maybank Platinum Visa Card will be fantastic for you as your everyday card. With no restrictions on spending categories, you will just get a nice $30 cash rebate every quarter, and you will not be paying any credit card fees since you will perpetually get waived with frequent usage.

If your month spending is over $800 consistently, then the UOB One Card would work out better for you. Maybank rules the $300 category with it's easier fee waiver criteria. As the tier increases, you must also assess your spending to see if your spending are really "monthly essentials", so that you will have very certain cash outflows. You wouldn't want to miss a month's spending and drop to a lower tier!

However, if you are a big spender or if your cash flows are not very consistent, the Standard Chartered Manhattan World card might be the one for you. It has a higher quarterly cashback cap, so you get the maximum amount of rebate dollars back. Also, since rebates are accumulated based on the month, but only paid out at the end of the quarter, you don't need to worry about not getting your rebate. Rebate is calculated by month, but paid by quarter. This is special and more flexible than the other cards.

Of course, this is only looking at the pure-play cashback cards available. I personally use CIMB Platinum Mastercard because it has a decent 0.5% rebate with no cap and no annual fees. However, it is not my main card because I use OCBC Frank and get much more rebate because I shop online a lot.

I have long considered getting a 2nd card for non-online spending. I was always undecided between the UOB One and SCB Manhattan, but now I have a new problem. Maybank Platinum Visa or SCB Manhattan? Sorry UOB, I'm just not a big time consistent spender! I guess the card I choose in the future will be highly depend on my spending patterns, and based on what I just wrote above. I must admit, I feel quite tempted to get a Maybank card now and shifting $300 worth of charges a month from my OCBC card to that card and get rebates!

Disclosure: I use the OCBC Frank and CIMB Platinum Mastercard credit cards for my own personal usage. I do not get any special rebates or fees for mentioning any of these products. This review reflects my own personal understanding and opinion of these products.

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