In this special double episode, our friends at J.D. Power and Associates show us how to find the most satisfying credit card, and why you don’t need more than two.
When it comes to maximising credit card rewards, should you get your hands on as many cards as you can? Or is it better to focus on a single card?
We answer these questions and more in today’s Money Mantra podcast, now available on iTunes with a bonus episode.
This two-episode podcast is a special one because we have Dr. Gordon Shields, Director at market research firm J.D. Power and Associates. Dr. Shields looks after the firm’s financial service research and investigates how Singaporeans experience the services products they receive from banks.
We also have J.D. Power Asia Pacific’s Corporate Communications Manager XingTi Li as a guest in our bonus episode. I’ve yet to meet a Singaporean that keeps more than 4 credit cards, but Miss Liu was kind enough to open her wallet and share her 7 credit cards and why she keeps them.
With respect to credit cards in Singapore, J.D. Power investigates how people experience the day to day usage of these products. In fact, last year J.D. Power released their first Credit Card Satisfaction Survey, which examined how Singaporeans felt about their card’s terms, benefits, rewards, billing, and problem resolution.
The survey revealed that few credit card holders fully understood important terms like foreign transaction fees, interest rates, and annual fees. Only 32 per cent of cardholders say they completely understand how their card’s rewards programme works, and 47 per cent were confident about how to redeem them. American Express cardholders were more satisifed than the rest, followed by POSB and OCBC.
“It’s typical for Singaporeans to use a lot of credit cards. On average, they regularly use about three,” Dr. Shields says. XingTi confirms this when she opened her wallet.
“My main credit card is the OCBC 365 Card because it’s linked to my savings account. I use it for the cashback,” XingTi says. “Once I hit the cap for the 365 card, I use the Titanium card to get more points, but I don’t rack up enough because most of my spend is on the 365. The UOB Privileged Banking Card, I use for dining.”
“Rewards and benefits are important to Singaporeans, but there’s a lack of understanding around the terms,” Dr. Sheilds adds. “If you ask them about penalties, annual fees, all the card issuers in Singapore perform low. So there’s an opportunity for banks to provide better education to consumers.”
So how can Singaporeans choose the right credit card for them, and be satisfied with that choice? Dr. Shields provides these three key tips:
1. Don’t Dilute the Opportunity to Earn Points
“I use one credit card to predominantly get air miles. I go back to Europe at least once a year so I’m always trying to get enough points to get at least one of these flights,” he says. “When you spread your spending across a large number of cards, you’re never really sure you’re using them at the best time. Simplicity and focus is good.”
He adds that the cards focused on simple propositions have higher satisfaction because people understand what they’re getting.
2. Look at Your Life Stage
“Besides looking at your lifestyle, look at the life stages as well,” Dr. Shields advises. “There are cards for youth spending that give club access, which will not be relevant for people who go for fine dining. Look at your life stage and focus on the card that works best for you.”
3. Look at the Terms and Conditions
“Delve into the terms and conditions. Look at the fine print. Some of the card issuers are good at putting fees upfront, some are hiding it,” he says. “So go and compare, have a look your spending, and you’ll be able to find the right card.”
Do give the podcast a listen on iTunes for more tips on choosing the right card, why American Express cardholders are the most satisfied in Singapore, and what banks can do to make it easier for people to maximise their cards.
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By Rohith Murthy
Rohith leads Singapore’s SingSaver.com.sg, a financial comparison site aimed at helping consumers in Singapore save money and time by finding the right financial products.