Clash of the Cashback Cards: Standard Chartered vs American Express

|Posted by | Credit Card Reviews, Credit Cards

standard-chartered-unlimited-vs-amex-true-cashback

The Standard Chartered Unlimited Cashback Credit Card comes with S$138 cash credit, while the American Express True Cashback Card extends your savings. Which is better?

Last updated on 8 May 2017

There is a new cashback card in town. Like the American Express True Cashback Card, the Standard Chartered Unlimited Cashback Credit Card promises to save you money by giving you 1.5% unlimited cashback on (almost) any transaction you charge, with no minimum monthly spend required.

Is Singapore big enough for two unlimited cashback cards? Which is the better credit card, and which deserves a permanent spot in your wallet?

To find out, we pit both cashback cards in a 7-point head-to-head battle for an in-depth look. Here’s what we found out.

Standard Chartered Unlimited Cashback Credit Card vs American Express True Cashback Card

The Point Goes To…

Standard Chartered Unlimited Cashback Card

American Express True Cashback SCB Unlimited Cashback Amex True Cashback
Base Cashback Rate 1.5% 1.5%
Welcome Offer Choice of:

– S$150 Uber credit
– S$150 Caltex Starcash Card
– S$138 cash credit
– SingSaver.com.sg Exclusive: S$100 Takashimaya voucher

3% cashback on first S$5,000 spent within first 6 months
Card Features – 3% cashback on all foreign currency spends (valid till 30 Jun 17)
– 20% rebates on Uber rides globally (capped at S$50) with min spend of S$600 per month (valid till 30 Sep 17)
– may be used as EZ-Link card
– free membership to Amex Selects and Global Dining Programme
– free access to Amex 24-hour Customer Assist
– free access to Amex Global Assist
Annual Fee S$192.60
Waived for first 2 years
S$171.20
Waived for first year
Interest Rate 25.9% per annum 24.99% per annum, rising to 29.99% when account is in default  ✔
Late Fee S$80 S$60
Eligibility – Min age 21 years old
– Singaporeans: S$30,000
– Foreigners: S$60,000
– Min age 21 years old
– Singaporeans: S$30,000
– Foreigners: S$60,000

Total points:

6

5

round-1-cashback-rate

Round 1: Cashback Rate

Outside of any special promotions, both cards offer the same basic cashback earn rate of 1.5%. In terms of eligible transactions, both cards feature similar restrictions and allowances, making them pretty on par.

However, for the Amex True Cashback Card, your rebate is applied immediately, so you’ll see your savings within the same statement month. For the Standard Chartered Unlimited Cashback Card, your rebates will be credited in the next statement, after you’ve paid your bill.

With both cashback cards living up to their names – providing unlimited cashback with no minimum spend and no earn cap, either card will serve your needs just as well.

The Point Goes To…

Since it’s a tie, each card wins a point this round.

round-2-welcome-offer

Round 2: Welcome Offer

The Amex True Cashback Card comes with a welcome offer that doubles your cashback earn rate for the first 6 months, up to S$5,000. You will still continue to earn cashback at the nominal 1.5% beyond this, making it a simple and elegant offer that encourages you to use the card, while rewarding you nicely for it.

However, you actually have to make use of the card in order to benefit from the accelerated earn rate. This isn’t a problem if you intend to do so, but if you happen to neglect the card after receiving it, you may miss out on fully benefiting from your bonus cashback.

Meanwhile, the Standard Chartered Unlimited Cashback Credit Card rewards you just for signing up. You’ll get to choose between S$150 Uber credits, S$150 Caltex Starcash card, or S$138 cash credit once your application gets approved.

However, each of these welcome gifts come with their own unique restrictions. The Uber credit is given as S$10 credit for 15 rides, and valid for 4 weeks; the Caltex Starcash Card can only be used for fuel, and the S$138 cash credit must be utilised within 6 months (i.e., whatever transactions you charge on your SCB Unlimited Cashback Credit Card will be offset by that S$138).

When you get the Unlimited Credit Card through SingSaver.com.sg, however, you get a S$100 Takashimaya voucher the moment your card gets approved. No other strings attached!

standard-chartered-unlimited-cashback-cardAmex KF KrisFlyer Ascend Card

The Point Goes To…

Between a bonus reward that kicks in as you use your card, and credit for selected necessities, which one is better? Well, SCB’s welcome offers are essentially free money, albeit in different forms. And the exclusive offer we have at SingSaver.com.sg lets you splurge on the Takashimaya purchase you’ve been eyeing.

For the sheer convenience and zero effort needed, we’ll have to give this round to the Standard Chartered Unlimited Cashback Credit Card.

round-3-card-features

Round 3: Card Features

The Standard Chartered Unlimited card comes with attractive features, some of which are available on a limited basis for now.

This card comes bundled with EZ-Link, allowing it to serve double duty as your bus and MRT travel card. With EZ-Reload, you can enjoy the convenience of automatic top-ups. (There’s a convenience fee of 25 cents per top-up, though).

From now till 30 Sep 2017, you can earn 20% rebate on your Uber rides, up to a maximum of S$50 per calendar month. But to qualify, you’ll have to charge a minimum of S$600 to your card each month.

Finally, you can earn 3% cashback on all foreign transactions from now till 30 Jun 17. This cashback bonus is not just for travellers – it applies to all transactions performed in a foreign currency, meaning you can score an additional 3% off for shopping at overseas websites.

On the other hand, the American Express True Cashback Card comes bundled with free membership to Amex Selects and Global Dining Programme. Flashing this card will entitle you to privileges on travel, lifestyle and dining, ranging from discounts to complimentary F&B items.

As with all American Express cards, the True Cashback Card also gives you access to 24-hour Customer Care and Global Assist. The latter is an emergency concierge service that can provide much-needed help should you encounter a mishap overseas.

The Point Goes To…

On the one hand, the Unlimited card offers increased utility and convenience, doubling up as an EZ-Link card with auto-top capabilities. The rebate for Uber rides and bonus cashback for foreign transactions are attractive, but unfortunately available for a limited time only.

On the other hand, the True Cashback card comes with exclusive dining and lifestyle privileges that further help you save money. You’ll also have access to emergency assistance should the need arise.

Which card is better? Well, it depends on your needs.

If you mainly commute using public transport, and take an Uber every once in while, you might appreciate the Unlimited card for the convenience and potential savings.

But, if you travel and dine out regularly, you might enjoy the True Cashback’s bundled privileges and emergency concierge service.

So this round is a tie; both credit cards get a point each.

round-4-annual-fee

Round 4: Annual Fee

Of the two cards, the Standard Chartered Unlimited Cashback Credit Card comes with the higher annual fee – S$192.60 vs the True Cashback Card’s S$171.20.

However, Standard Chartered is offering a 2 year-waiver, in contrast to the 1-year waiver offered by Amex.

The extra payment of S$171.20 is enough to fund the difference between both annual fees for 8 years.

The Point Goes To…

Despite the higher fee, the Unlimited card stands a much higher chance of costing you less in annual fees. Hence, the Standard Chartered Unlimited Cashback Credit Card takes this round.

round-5-interest-rate

Round 5: Interest Rate

The base interest rate offered by the Amex True Cashback Card is lower by about 1 percentage point. However, American Express will jack up your interest rate to 29.99% should you fail to pay even the minimum sum.

In contrast, the Standard Chartered Unlimited Cashback Card charges an effective interest rate of 25.9% per annum (minimum). If you don’t make the full payment by the due date, finance charges will be calculated on a daily basis at 0.071% from the respective transaction dates for all transactions until you make your payment in full.

The Point Goes To…

Sometimes things happen and we’re not able to pay our credit card bill in full right away. While the American Express True Cashback Card offers a lower EIR, the increase to 29.99% will make you spend a lot on interest payments. For this, the lower interest rate offered by the Standard Chartered Unlimited Cashback Card wins the round.

round-6-late-fee

Round 6: Late Fee

Sometimes we run into hiccups with our cashflow and may need to miss payments. When this happens, the fewer penalty fees you need to pay, the better.

The Point Goes To…

At S$60, the Amex True Cashback has a penalty fee that is 25% lower, making it the winner for this round.

round-7-eligibility

Round 7: Eligibility

As entry-level cards designed for use by the masses, it is not surprising that both credit cards carry eligibility requirements that are as basic as they come.

The Point Goes To…

Once again this round is a tie, so both cards get a point each.

final-verdict

Verdict: Standard Chartered Unlimited Credit Card

The Clash of the Cashback Cards was a close fight, but the Standard Chartered Unlimited Cashback Card wins because of its fantastic welcome offers and SingSaver.com.sg’s exclusive S$100 Takashimaya voucher.

This doesn’t mean that the Amex True Cashback Card doesn’t deserve wallet space. Rather, it simply shows that the Standard Chartered Unlimited Credit Card offers users different benefits than the Amex True Cashback Card.

At their core, both credit cards live up to their purpose, giving you unlimited cashback across most categories of spending you are likely to encounter. To decide which credit card you should sign up for, consider your lifestyle and credit card usage patterns.

standard-chartered-unlimited-cashback-cardfind-out-more_button-300x59

If you like to receive upfront cash credit, enjoy the convenience of using your credit card as an EZ-Link card, use Uber often, and do a lot of foreign transactions, the Standard Chartered Unlimited Cashback Credit Card might be ideal for you.

american-express-true-cashback-cardfind-out-more_button-300x59

On the other hand, if you enjoy getting discounts and complimentary appetisers, desserts or drinks while dining out, and value 24/7 emergency assistance, the Amex True Cashback Card might prove more worthy of that slot in your wallet.

Not a fan of either of these cards? Use SingSaver.com.sg to compare cashback credit cards and find one that’s right for you.

Read This Next:

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How Many Credit Cards Should Singaporeans Really Own?


Alevin ChanBy Alevin Chan
A Certified Financial Planner with a curiosity about what makes people tick, Alevin’s mission is to help readers understand the psychology of money. He’s also on an ongoing quest to optimize happiness and enjoyment in his life.