How to Calculate GST and Service Charge on Almost Anything You Buy In Singapore From 2024

Kendra Tan

Kendra Tan

Last updated 17 December, 2023

Counting the actual cost of our meals, inclusive of service charge and GST, can get messy, especially when everyone goes dutch. Here’s an easy way you can calculate the cost for everyone the next time you head out.

Picture this: Jamie ordered a chicken chop for S$13.50, while Stephanie ordered a sirloin steak for S$23.80. You, on the other hand, ordered a simple aglio olio pasta for S$9.90 because you’re cheap frugal. Here comes the bill. You’re the designated Goods and Services Tax (GST) and service charge calculator for your entire group of friends because everyone sucks at math.

It wouldn’t make sense to split the bill three ways equally because your order wasn’t as expensive compared to Jamie’s or Stephanie’s. How do you make it fair, then? By calculating the GST and service charge separately for each of your meals. 

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Looking for the best credit cards to complement your spending patterns and expenditure in 2024? Check out our Ultimate Credit Card Guide that covers all things credit cards in Singapore – from choosing between a cashback, miles, or rewards credit card to planning your credit card strategy.


What is GST and service charge in Singapore?

When you buy something in Singapore, you almost always pay more than the stated price.

That's all thanks to GST and service charge, which is 8% and 10% of the item's retail price, respectively, payable when you get handed the bill at most restaurants and hotels.

In some places, GST may already be factored into the price on the menu, while others may choose to add a “++” at the back of the cost to signify these charges. 

Singapore raised its GST to 8% in 2023, and will further increase it to 9% in 2024. 

See also: What You Should Know About GST Increase 2024

Who says you need to break your bank when you're out dining? Choosing the right dining credit card for all your favourite food spots helps you beat the GST hike while still enjoying these finer things in life. 

Off the top of our heads, these are some of our top dining credit card recommendations:

Credit card
Rebate earn rate
Details
Maybank Family & Friends Card
Maybank-FamilyFriends_card-1024x697
8% cashback on dining and food delivery
Min. S$800 monthly spend

S$25 cashback cap (per statement month)

3-year annual fee waiver
UOB EVOL Card
uob-evol-1024x644
 
8% cashback on dining and food delivery paid via online or mobile contactless spend
Min. S$600 monthly spend

S$20 cashback cap per category (per statement month)
OCBC 365 Card
OCBC365
6% cashback on dining
Min. S$800 monthly spend

S$80 cashback cap per month

2-year annual fee waiver
Citi Rewards Card
CitiRewardsMC
10X Rewards Points (4 mpd) on dining and food delivery via online spend
S$1,000 spend cap / 9,000 Bonus Point cap (per statement month)
 
10X Rewards Points consists of:
- 1 base point
- 9X bonus points
 
Base points have no cap
HSBC Revolution Card
HSBC-Revolution-New
10X Rewards Points (4 mpd) on dining and food delivery via online or mobile contactless spend
9,000 Bonus Points cap per statement month

10X Rewards Points consists of:
- 1 base point
- 9X bonus points

No annual fee

Card T&Cs
UOB Lady's Card
UOB-Ladys-card

UNI$15 per S$5 (6 mpd) on dining
Must choose dining as preferred 10X category
 
S$1,000 spend cap (per calendar month)
 
Equivalent to 2X UNI$ per S$1 spend:

How to calculate service charge and GST from your total bill

Forget online GST and service charge calculators. All you need to remember is this formula: x 1.199.

To calculate the price of

  • GST (9%) only: Price x 1.09
  • Service charge (10%) only: Price x 1.10
  • GST (9%) and service charge (10%): Price x 1.199

Common mistakes made by Singaporeans when calculating GST and service charge 

Singaporeans often multiply their meals by 1.19 (119%), which is wrong. Yes, the difference may be small compared to multiplying by x1.199, but these differences can add up to a significant amount over the years. 

The reason why you have to multiply it by x1.199? As the service charge is taxable, you will have to add the 10% service charge to your item first before it is subject to 9% GST. 


Hacks on how to save on GST and service charge

If you live in Singapore, you should know by now that GST and service charges after meals can cost quite a pretty penny. It is often an unpleasant surprise when you spend only S$40, and the GST and service charge comes up to an additional S$7.52 — that’s a whole meal with drinks at a hawker centre (possibly with change)!

If you’re looking to feast on a budget, check out your neighbourhood kopitiams, AKA coffee shops, or hawker centres, as their prices are generally stated as nett.

If you want to go to a restaurant, you can also choose to dine at places that are free of GST and service charges such as Pepperoni Pizzeria and Nam Nam Noodle Bar.

Additionally, look out for signs at restaurants or hotels with the word “nett” after their price.

But enough about dining, what credit cards are good for satisfying your retail therapy urge? Whether it's online or in physical stores, these are the shopping credit cards that we simply adore.

Credit card
Rebate earn rate
Details
UOB EVOL Card
uob-evol-1024x644
8% cashback on shopping transactions via online or mobile contactless spend
Min. S$600 monthly spend

S$20 cashback cap per category (per statement month)
CIMB Visa Signature Card
CIMBVisaSignatureCard
10% cashback on online spend
Min. S$800 monthly spend

10% cashback consists of:
- 0.2% base cashback
- 9.8% bonus cashback

S$20 cashback cap for each category (per statement month)
Citi Rewards Card
CitiRewardsMC
10X Rewards Points (4 mpd) on online shopping
S$1,000 spend cap / 9,000 Bonus Points cap (per statement month)

10X Rewards Points consists of:
- 1 base point
- 9X bonus points

Calculations for 10X Rewards Points are rounded down to the nearest point
UOB Lady's Card
UOB-Ladys-card
UNI$15 per S$5 (6 mpd) on either fashion, beauty & wellness, or entertainment 
Can only choose 1 category as preferred 10X category at a time:
- Fashion
- Beauty & Wellness
- Entertainment
 
S$1,000 spend cap (per calendar month)
 
Equivalent to 2X UNI$ per S$1 spend:
OCBC Titanium Rewards Card
OCBC-Titanium-Rewards-Card-BlueOCBCTitaniumRewardsPinkCard
50 OCBC$ per S$5 (4 mpd) on online and departmental store spend

Bonus: E-commerce protection
Capped at 10,000 bonus OCBC$ per month (120,000 bonus OCBC$ per year)

OCBC$ points are awarded per S$5 blocks

50 OCBC$ per S$5 consists of:
- 5X base points
- 45X base points on eligible merchants

Eligible MCCs & rewards T&Cs
Card T&Cs

 


Avid promo code hunter and haggler. Kendra doesn’t like paying full price for anything. She’s the best person to bring along if you’re travelling on a budget. Have an interesting story to tell? E-mail her at kendra.tan@singsaver.com.sg

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