Imagine never having to call to waive your credit card annual fee... ever. That’s the dream, isn’t it? Here are four ways to enjoy no annual fees for life.
Most credit cards in Singapore come with no annual fee for only the first year or two of usage. After all, the providers want to make it easy and appealing for you to switch to their credit cards.
But once that ‘free trial’ ends, you might get charged with a hefty annual fee (typically S$180 + GST). Once you recover from the shock of seeing that S$192.60 line item on your credit card bill, you can usually call in and ask the credit card company to waive it. However, there is a chance your request will get denied.
If you can’t get your annual fee waived, then you can simply cancel your credit card to avoid paying the fee. But that leaves you short of your favourite credit card, and you’ll probably need to update your billing arrangements.
In short, credit card annual fees can be waived, but the process can be quite bothersome. If you really don’t enjoy all this administrative hassle, opt for these four types of credit cards that let you enjoy no annual fee.
Table of contents
- Credit cards with no annual fees
- Credit cards with automatic fee waivers
- Free credit cards with memberships
- Free credit cards for priority banking
#1 Credit cards with no annual fees
Malaysian bank CIMB’s credit cards don’t get a lot of hype. But we like that CIMB charges no annual fees, ever, on all of its credit cards. All three CIMB credit cards that you can compare here are free for life, no strings attached.
Depending on your lifestyle and spending habits, the right CIMB credit card will go a long way in helping you stretch your money. Just so you know, all three CIMB credit cards have minimum spend requirements in place.
SingSaver Exclusive Offer: Receive S$280 Cash via PayNow when you apply for a CIMB credit card and make a min. spend of S$988 within 60 days of card approval. Valid till 11 June 2023. T&Cs apply.
Another great credit card option that doesn't bear annual fees is the ever-popular HSBC Revolution Card.
This powerhouse card is the miles card that every miles-chaser needs to have in their wallet. Or even if you're just beginning your miles journey, the HSBC Revolution is an excellent entry-level card to get your miles game started.
It offers up to 4 miles per S$1 spend on online and mobile contactless spend on travel, shopping, groceries, and dining. This 4 miles rate is capped at S$1,000 spend per month, subsequently, it reverts to the base 0.4 miles rate. Earning miles is no longer a stressful endeavour.
HSBC Credit Card Welcome Gift: Receive a Samsonite Prestige 69cm Spinner Exp with built-in scale (worth S$670) or S$150 cashback when you make a min. spend of S$1,000 within the qualifying spend period and provide marketing consent during application. Valid till 31 August 2023. T&Cs apply.
Alternatively, receive 20,000 miles when you make a min. spend of S$800 within the first month of card approval and annual fee payment with the HSBC TravelOne Card. Valid till 31 August 2023. T&Cs apply.
If none of the CIMB credit cards appeal to you, perhaps the Standard Chartered Smart Credit Card might? You can also consider getting a debit card. Most (but not all!) debit cards in Singapore also have no annual fees for life.
Lastly, for those with a lower monthly budget or spend, perhaps a credit card like the UOB EVOL Card will do you good? Not only does it fall in the lower range of S$600 minimum monthly spend as far as credit cards go, but it doesn't have any annual fees either – as long as you spend three qualifying transactions per month, but that's not difficult at all.
UOB EVOL Card Welcome Gift: Get an Apple Watch SE 2nd Gen (worth S$382) if you are the first 50 new-to-UOB credit cardmember and make a min. spend of S$800 per month for two consecutive months within 60 days from card approval date. Valid till 30 June 2023. T&Cs apply.
#2 Credit cards with automatic fee waivers
Another way to get a near-perpetual annual fee waiver on your credit card is to pick one with an automatic fee waiver function.
DBS/POSB, OCBC, UOB and Maybank all offer automatic fee waivers once you hit their stipulated minimum annual spend. So as long as you spend this amount every year, you’ll never have to call and ask for a fee waiver.
The minimum spend varies from card to card, and not all credit cards are eligible. Below, we’ve compiled the credit cards with the lowest thresholds for automatic annual fee waivers.
|Credit card||Annual fee||Minimum spend for auto fee waiver|
|Maybank Platinum Visa Card||S$20 per quarter||N/A, just spend every 3 months|
|Singtel-UOB Card||S$192.60||N/A, just charge your Singtel bill|
|OCBC Plus! Visa Credit Card||S$107||S$2,500|
|Maybank Manchester United Visa Platinum Card||S$80||S$3,600|
|OCBC Great Eastern Cashflo Credit Card||S$160.50||S$5,000|
|Other OCBC credit cards||Varies||S$10,000 (for select OCBC cards)|
|Maybank FC Barcelona Credit Card||S$120||S$10,000|
|DBS Woman’s MasterCard||S$160.50||S$15,000|
|DBS Woman's World MasterCard||S$192.60||S$25,000|
For low spenders, we would recommend either the Maybank Platinum Visa Card or the OCBC Plus! Visa Credit Card.
The Maybank Platinum Visa Card charges a quarterly fee instead of an annual one. But to get it waived, you just need to charge something to the card every quarter. That’s it. There’s no minimum amount.
Maybank Credit Card Welcome Gift: Receive a pair of American Tourister Linex 66/24 Luggage TSA (worth S$336) or an Apple AirPods 3rd Gen with Lightning Charging Case (worth S$261.40) or S$200 cash credit when you apply for a new Maybank credit card and CreditAble account, and make a min. spend of S$600 per month for 2 consecutive months from card approval date. T&Cs apply.
If you are consistently spending at least S$1,000 a month on assorted bills and household expenses, you may want to opt for the UOB One Card as it’ll give you a S$100 rebate every quarter. In addition, your annual fee is automatically waived since you hit the minimum annual spend of S$12,000.
UOB Credit Card Welcome Gift: Receive an Apple Watch SE 2nd Gen (worth S$382) or up to S$350 worth of Grab vouchers or up to 50,000 miles if you are a new UOB card member and fulfil the respective min. spend requirements. T&Cs apply.
3. Free credit cards based on memberships
If you happen to be a member of NTUC or SAFRA, you’re already eligible for a no-annual-fee credit card. These organisations have co-branded credit cards with perpetual annual fee waivers as long as the cardholder remains a paying member.
The SAFRA DBS Credit Card is a relatively fuss-free credit card. Just spend at least S$500 a month to get 3% cash rebates on your online spending and contactless payments. SAFRA membership is open to NSFs/NSmen, and fees range from S$60 (2 years) to S$303.75 (10 years).
DBS/POSB Credit Card Welcome Gift: Receive S$150 cashback when you key in the promo code 150CASH upon application and make a minimum spend of S$800 within 60 days of card approval. Valid till 30 June 2023. T&Cs apply.
If you're not a new DBS/POSB credit cardmember, consider these promotions instead.
4. Free credit cards for priority banking customers
Finally, you can get a perpetual annual fee waiver if you are a priority banking customer with Maybank or DBS. The corresponding credit card’s annual fee will be waived perpetually, as long as you remain a member of the programme.
Priority banking programme
How to qualify
Maybank Privilege Horizon Visa Signature Card
Deposit or invest at least S$50,000
DBS Treasures Black Elite Card
Deposit or invest at least S$350,000
Find the right no-annual-fee credit card for you
Turns out there is a whole variety of credit card options out there for those who dread performing the yearly fee waiver ritual. We’ve hand-picked some of the very best ones above.
Want to see what other credit cards you might be missing out on? Go ahead and peruse the best credit cards in Singapore on SingSaver. Make sure you use the Annual Fee Waiver toggle to filter only the free ones!
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