Instarem’s Amaze Card Review: Is It Still Amazing?

Yen Joon

Yen Joon

Last updated 17 November, 2022

In this Instarem amaze card review, we’ll break down the amaze card changes and determine if the amaze card is still worth its salt. 

In our original Instarem amaze card review, we noted that it was really quite something — it lets anyone and everyone earn free 1% cashback so long as they met the easily attainable criteria. Alas! Good things don’t last forever; amaze card users will have to contend with slashed cashback and tougher requirements altogether.

But is it still amaze-ing? Read on to find out.

Instarem amaze card changes 

  1. The cashback rewards system has been replaced with a points-based one, known as Instapoints. You'll earn 1 Instapoint for every S$1 spent of foreign transaction of at least S$10. This is capped at 500 Instapoints per spend
  2. DBS has excluded Instarem amaze transactions from its DBS rewards programme
  3. You won't be able to earn KrisFlyer miles when you use your UOB cards for amaze transit transactions (i.e. public transport) 
  4. A total spend of at least S$1,500 (or currency equivalent) per calendar quarter is required, up from a mere S$500 each quarter
  5. There's also an exclusion list from amaze rewards (see below)

What is the amaze card and how does it work?

Instarem’s amaze card is a multi-currency debit card, much Wise, Revolut, and YouTrip.

However, the amaze card holds one major advantage over other multi-currency cards: it lets you link up to five Mastercard debit or credit cards, allowing you to earn cashback/miles/rewards from your linked card(s).

You can also choose which Mastercard to use as your primary card, and this will be where your payments are charged (note: amaze also has a wallet function, but you can only store in SGD).

When you spend with your amaze card, it will convert your foreign transaction into a SGD transaction base on a competitive exchange rate. The transaction will then be reflected on your credit card as a local transaction. 

As mentioned, the amaze card was one of the most OP cards available; you could earn up to 1% cashback for both local and foreign transactions. This was on top of the miles, points, or cashback that your linked card(s) would earn.

This was fantastic as it’s essentially ‘free’ cashback — you’ll continue to rack up rewards earned on your credit card spend. 

For example, if you had paired your amaze card with the DBS Woman's World card before, you would have earned 4 miles per dollar (mpd) for local transactions and 1.2 mpd for overseas transactions. 

Similarly, with the Citi Cash Back credit card, you would earn 6% to 8% cashback and an additional 1% cashback from the amaze card.  

What's also amazing about the amaze card is that it can convert all eligible offline spending to online transactions. So when paired with the Citi Rewards Card for instance, you'll continue to earn 4 mpd. 

The fact that amaze also doesn't charge a foreign transaction fee made it one of the best cards to use for both local and foreign transactions.

However, the cashback for local transactions was nerfed from 1% to 0.5%. Then it was nerfed further as Instarem replaced the cashback system entirely with a points system known Instapoints.

You'll earn Instapoints at a rate of 1 point per S$1 (or foreign currency equivalent) spent. But note that this is capped at 500 Instapoints per transaction.

You can redeem your Instapoints for cashback at a fixed rate of 2,000 Instapoints for S$20. While technically, you're still earning 1% cashback, the bottleneck is that now you need to accumulate 2,000 points or spend S$2,000 overseas in a quarter.

Aside from cashback, you can also use your Instapoints for a discount for foreign remittance. 

Also, amaze has a list of merchants that are excluded from reward points, which includes public transport:

MCC

Description

4111 Railroads, Transportation Services
4784 Tolls and Bridge Fees
4900 Utilities: Electric, Gas, Water, and Sanitary
5047 Medical, Dental, Ophthalmic and Hospital Equipment and Supplies
5199 Nondurable Goods (Not elsewhere classified)
5960 Direct Marketing: Insurance Services
5993 Cigar Stores and Stands
6012 Financial Institutions: Merchandise, Services, and debt Repayment
6211 Security Brokers/Dealers
6300 Insurance Sales, Underwritting, and Premiums
6513 Real Estate Agents and Managers: Rentals
6540 Non-Financial Institutions – Stored Value Card Purchase/Load
7299 Other Services (Not elsewhere classified)
7349 Cleaning, Maintenance and Janitorial Services
7523 Parking Lots, Parking Meters and Garages
8062 Hospitals
8211 Elementary and Secondary Schools
8220 Colleges, Universities, Professional Schools, and Junior Colleges
8241 Correspondence Schools
8244 Business and Secretarial Schools
8249 Vocational and Trade Schools
8299 Schools and Educational Services
8398 Charitable Social Service Organisations
8661 Religious Organisations
8675 Automobile Associations
8699 Membership Organisations
9211 Court Costs, including Alimony and Child Support
9222 Fines
9223 Bail and Bond Payments
9311 Tax Payments
9399 Government Services
9402 Postal Services

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How to use the amaze card?

Follow these easy steps to start using your amaze card: 

  1. Activate your amaze card through the Instarem app
  2. Link your preferred Mastercard card(s) 
  3. Indicate your default card
  4. Use your amaze card 

Use the amaze card as you would any credit card; it even lets you make contactless payments.

The amaze card is also free; you can apply for a physical amaze card via the app and it will be delivered to you. There's no annual fee, processing fee, and application fee either. 

Even if you’re paying in a foreign currency, simply charge your purchase to your amaze card and it will automatically convert the amount for you at competitive FX rates, without additional fees or charges. 

To check how much your transaction is exactly in SGD, log in to your Instarem mobile app. 

Furthermore, there is no need to top up your amaze card before using it online, in-store or on the go either.

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Is Instarem amaze card’s exchange rate good? 

Proponents of YouTrip may not know this: the amaze card doesn’t come with annoying FX fees or charges! 

This means users can access competitive FX rates 24/7 wherever they may be, plus continue to earn rewards on their linked credit card.

That said, it does charge a small FX spread when you make a foreign transaction.

Here's a fee comparison between amaze, Revolut, YouTrip, Wise, and credit cards:

Card Foreign transaction fee FX spread
amaze None 1.5% to 2%
Revolut None (1% to 2% on weekends) None
YouTrip None None
Wise None From 0.41%
Credit cards High 2.5% to 3.5%


Can you use the amaze card on Apple Pay?

Unfortunately, not at the moment. You’re in luck if you have Google Pay, though. 


Instarem amaze card referral

You get 400 Instapoints referral bonus when you invite a family member or friend to join Instarem. Your referred family member or friend will receive 475 Instapoints. As mentioned, these can be used for cashback or for a discount when you remit money overseas, just like Wise


Is the Instarem amaze card still amazing?

Although the cashback part of the equation isn’t as attractive as it used to be, the amaze card is a superbly convenient addition to anyone’s wallet, particularly so if you’re a frequent traveller or if you spend in foreign currencies predominantly. 

Apart from letting you enjoy competitive FX rates, and avoid FX fees, all while letting you earn credit card rewards, the cherry on top would be that there’s no need to top up or have funds locked up in the account. 

As for its downsides, the amaze doesn't have a multi-currency wallet feature, so you won't be able to hold different currencies. You also can't make cash withdrawals at overseas ATMs, which can be burdensome if the merchant doesn't accept credit card payments. 

Some users have experienced duplicated charges on their cards (including yours truly) and you may need to raise it to the merchant/amaze/bank to have the amount refunded back.

However, note that the refunded amount is based on the current exchange rate; so the rate at the time of payment is likely different from the rate at the time of refund. In other words, you may get a slightly lower or higher refund. 

Lastly, amaze currently only supports Mastercards; if you have a Visa credit or debit card, you won't be able to collect reward points, cashback, or miles on your card. 

Pros of Instarem amaze:

  • Can link up to five Mastercard debit/credit cards to earn cashback/rewards/miles; no top-ups to digital wallet required
  • No foreign transaction fee, only a small FX spread
  • You can remit money overseas
  • Earn 1 Instapoint for every S$1 spent overseas
  • Instapoints can be redeemed for cashback
  • Able to convert eligible offline transactions to online transactions

Cons of Instarem amaze:

  • No ATM cash withdrawals overseas
  • Cashback isn't as great as it once was
  • Can't link to Visa debit/credit cards (though you can top up your amaze wallet with Visa cards)
  • Instapoints are only obtainable for overseas transactions
  • Can't hold multiple currencies like Wise, Revolut, or YouTrip
  • Cashback can only be used in amaze wallet
  • Some users have reported duplicated transactions

Best credit cards to pair with Instarem's amaze card

Our favourite Mastercard credit cards include: 

Card Type of credit card Benefit
Citi Cash Back+ Card Cashback 1.6% unlimited cashback all transactions and no minimum spend
Citi Cash Back Card Cashback 6% cashback on dining transactions worldwide
Citi Rewards Card  Rewards Earn 4 mpd or 10X rewards points on online and shopping transactions
Citi Premier Miles Card Miles 1.2 mpd on local transactions and 2 mpd for overseas transactions; miles never expire
Maybank Family & Friends Card Cashback 8% cashback for specific categories

 

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In my past life, I was always broke because of a lack of financial literacy. Now, I publish a few posts every week* on personal finance to help you manage your money better. *I mean, I’ll try