Financial News and Advice in Singapore

UOB YOLO Is Now The UOB EVOL: What’s Changed?

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The UOB YOLO has been renamed and relaunched as the UOB EVOL, but the changes are more than just skin deep. 

Of all the credit card launches in recent memory, the UOB YOLO probably takes the cake for “most interesting name”. UOB launched the YOLO back in 2016, believing that its bonuses on lifestyle spending and priority access to bars and clubs would be the key to capturing the millennial market. 

But just five years later, it’s been decided that the YOLO mantra is passé. UOB has now renamed and relaunched the YOLO as the UOB EVOL. New YOLO cards are no longer being issued, and existing YOLO cardholders will be automatically switched over to the EVOL program from 17 June 2021.

It’s more than just a different name though – there are some serious changes under the hood.

What’s the difference between the YOLO and EVOL?

On first glance, the YOLO and EVOL look very similar. The most noticeable difference is that the EVOL adopts a portrait style card face, with the numbers moved to the back. 

 UOB EVOLUOB YOLO
Cashback8% on mobile payments
8% on online spend
0.3% elsewhere
8% on dining, entertainment, Grab and UOB Travel (3% on weekdays)
3% on online travel & fashion
0.3% elsewhere
Min. Spend per MonthS$600S$600
Cashback Cap per MonthS$60 (max. S$20 per category)S$60

But they’re fundamentally very different products. The YOLO offered cardholders 3% and 8% cashback on weekdays and weekends respectively on dining, entertainment, Grab and UOB Travel. Cardholders can also earn 3% cashback on online fashion and travel expenditure. 

The EVOL makes things much simpler. Instead of having different rules for weekdays and weekends, cardholders will earn a flat 8% cashback on:

  • Mobile payments
  • Online spending

0.3% cashback is awarded everywhere else. A minimum spend of S$600 per statement month is required to unlock the 8% cashback rates, and the maximum cashback that can be earned per statement month is S$60, split into:

  • S$20 for mobile payments
  • S$20 for online spending
  • S$20 for all other types of spend

Why this is much superior to the previous arrangement is that mobile payments and online spending are very broad categories. As long as you pay with your phone or use your card online, you’ll earn 8% cashback regardless if it’s dining, movie tickets, streaming subscriptions, groceries, or a haircut.

However, there’s an important caveat to highlight. Although UOB advertises “8% cashback” as its headline rate, in reality, the best you can achieve is 6.7%. Why? Because of how the caps work.

Based on a cashback rate of 8% and a per-category cap of S$20, you’d max out the bonus cashback by spending S$250 each on mobile payments and online spend. But collectively, you’ve only spent S$500, S$100 short of the S$600 minimum spend.

Therefore, you’ll need to spend at least S$100 at a rate of just 0.3% cashback, which brings down your effective cashback to 6.7%. It’s still a decent rate, but 8% it’s not. 

Cashback aside, UOB is playing up the sustainability aspect of the EVOL. It trumpets the fact that the card is made of 82% plant-based polylactic acid, which saves 4.48g of PVC and produces a carbon footprint that’s 10g smaller. To that end, it’s also tied up with a group of sustainability-focused merchants to offer special deals to EVOL cardholders. For example, cardholders can enjoy 5% off purchases at Your Sustainable Store, or 15% off kitchen essentials at The Sustainability Project. 

How does this compare to the OCBC FRANK & DBS Live Fresh?

If the bonuses for online and contactless spending sound familiar to you, that’s because the OCBC FRANK and DBS Live Fresh offer basically the same thing.

OCBC FRANK and DBS Live Fresh cardholders earn 6% and 5% cashback respectively on online and contactless spend, which is less than what the UOB EVOL offers. 


EVOLLive FreshFRANK
Online Spend8%5%6%
Contactless Spend8%5% 6%
“Sustainable Spend”0.3%5%0.3%
Foreign Currency0.3%0.3%6%
All others0.3%0.3% 0.3%
Min. Monthly SpendS$600S$600S$600 
Max. Monthly CashbackS$60S$75 S$75

However, their maximum monthly cashback caps are higher at S$75 instead of S$60, and because of that, their effective rebates may be higher depending on how much you spend. 

To illustrate this, let’s consider three different scenarios:

  • Scenario A: Spend S$600 per month
  • Scenario B: Spend S$800 per month
  • Scenario C: Spend S$1,000 per month
 EVOLLive FreshFRANK
Scenario A: S$6006.7%5%6%
Scenario B: S$8005.1%5% 6%
Scenario C: S$1,0004.2%5%5.1%

At S$600 of spending, the EVOL has the highest effective cashback at 6.7% (even though, as mentioned, it’s not quite 8%). 

But once we go up to S$800, the FRANK card offers the better deal. That’s because the S$501-800th dollar is earning 0.3% cashback on the EVOL, dragging down its average to 5.1%. The FRANK, on the other hand, continues to earn 6% cashback in this range. 

Likewise, at S$1,000, the EVOL’s effective cashback falls to 4.2%, and the FRANK’s starts to decline to 5.1% too (because the S$834-1,000th dollar is earning 0.3% cashback). 

The upshot is that someone who spends $600 on the dot each month would find the EVOL to be a useful card, but there’s a narrow range where it’s the best of the three. Once you spend S$675 or more, the FRANK becomes the better option. 

Conclusion

The UOB EVOL is, all things considered, an improvement over the previous YOLO card. It’s much simpler to max out your monthly cashback, and the only thing you really need to do is add it to your mobile wallet and use it as your default card for everything. 

That said, it’s important to take note of the caps, as well as track your total spending. Once you exceed S$675 a month, other cashback cards become better options.

Welcome Offer: Receive S$150 cash credit if you are among the first 100 successful applicants to make a min. spend of S$1,500 within 30 days of card approval. Promotion is valid for select UOB credit cards. Valid till 30 June 2021. T&Cs apply.

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By Aaron Wong
Aaron started The MileLion to help people travel better for less and impress “chiobu”. He was 50% successful.