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Advice Needed: Student looking to Save as I spend and maximise cashback

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Old 11-08-2019, 01:25 PM   #1
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Advice Needed: Student looking to Save as I spend and maximise cashback

Hi all, looking for recommendations for a suitable debit/credit card to save as I spend and to maximise cashbacks.


As I am a student and not earning an income, most credit cards are inaccessible to me because of the Annual Income requirement.


My spending fluctuates between $300 - $1100 a month, although the average is toward the lower end at around $400 (during school term) and $600 (outside of school term).


Close to 60% of my spending is on GrabPay (since I can use Grabpay to pay for my meals in school), 25% is on online foreign spend (mostly Japan), 15% on transport (fixed per month at $72). I don't club, drink or smoke so my expenses are generally much lower compared to the average student of my age.


So far I only have the following cards:


Passion POSB Debit Card (useless to me cos I don't buy groceries myself)
SAFRA DBS Debit Card (ALL spend is charged to this card, including topping up of Grabpay) - max 2% rebate


For F & B spend, I also use it in conjunction with Shopback when I can for the awesome cashback. I also use Grabpay for merchants that don't support Shopback to earn Grabrewards Points.



I am considering getting a YouTrip card now to handle my online foreign merchant spend, then use the SAFRA DBS Debit Card to top up my YouTrip account (thus helping me save more by almost entirely avoiding DCC, save for the merchant charges). Is this a good idea?


How else can I optimise my spending with other cards/programmes?


Looking forward to more suggestions from here. Thanks...
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Last edited by it_geek; 11-08-2019 at 01:29 PM..
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Old 11-08-2019, 02:25 PM   #2
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Great job on starting your financial planning early! Not a lot of people do so, especially students.

I am considering getting a YouTrip card now to handle my online foreign merchant spend, then use the SAFRA DBS Debit Card to top up my YouTrip account (thus helping me save more by almost entirely avoiding DCC, save for the merchant charges). Is this a good idea?
DCC is something you need to tell your merchant not to do at the point of purchase. Otherwise merchant will still charge your YouTrip card in SGD, incurring DCC. Also note that YouTrip top-ups is not eligible for cash rebate on your SAFRA DBS Debit Card. It's a common exclusion for most debit and credit cards.

Some suggestions you may want to consider:
DBS Visa Debit: 3% cashback on Visa Contactless payment, minimum spending of $400 and no more than $400 in cash withdrawals. If you need to withdraw cash, open an account with a different bank and transfer your money over. Use your SAFRA DBS Debit Card for online spending and DBS Visa Debit for offline contactless spending, which is pretty doable since almost everywhere accepts PayWave.

Student credit cards: I'm assuming you're above 18 since you mentioned that students of your age can club, drink, smoke etc. In that case you're eligible for student credit cards. It's a good idea to use one to build your credit score as well as take advantage of credit card cashbacks.
IMPORTANT: Make sure you pay your credit card off in full every month!

I recommend the CIMB AWSM card since it has no annual fees for life. 1% cashback on dining, entertainment, online shopping and telco.
Alternatively, the Maybank eVibes card gives you 1% cashback on everything, but there's a quarterly service fee of $5 (waived for 2 years).
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Old 11-08-2019, 02:44 PM   #3
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Great job on starting your financial planning early! Not a lot of people do so, especially students.



DCC is something you need to tell your merchant not to do at the point of purchase. Otherwise merchant will still charge your YouTrip card in SGD, incurring DCC. Also note that YouTrip top-ups is not eligible for cash rebate on your SAFRA DBS Debit Card. It's a common exclusion for most debit and credit cards.

Some suggestions you may want to consider:
DBS Visa Debit: 3% cashback on Visa Contactless payment, minimum spending of $400 and no more than $400 in cash withdrawals. If you need to withdraw cash, open an account with a different bank and transfer your money over. Use your SAFRA DBS Debit Card for online spending and DBS Visa Debit for offline contactless spending, which is pretty doable since almost everywhere accepts PayWave.

Student credit cards: I'm assuming you're above 18 since you mentioned that students of your age can club, drink, smoke etc. In that case you're eligible for student credit cards. It's a good idea to use one to build your credit score as well as take advantage of credit card cashbacks.
IMPORTANT: Make sure you pay your credit card off in full every month!

I recommend the CIMB AWSM card since it has no annual fees for life. 1% cashback on dining, entertainment, online shopping and telco.
Alternatively, the Maybank eVibes card gives you 1% cashback on everything, but there's a quarterly service fee of $5 (waived for 2 years).

I don't drink, club or smoke so I don't think I will be spending anything there.


The cashback seems rather low on the AWSM card. Might be giving the DBS Visa Debit Card a try.


Since I don't think you can get any further rebate by paying off credit card bills in full, is it possible to just pay them via GIRO (e.g. a set and forget thing?)


I see credit cards as a means to get rewards, cashback or some other discounts. Not really for the extra credit; I don't intend to spend beyond my means.
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Old 11-08-2019, 02:53 PM   #4
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I don't drink, club or smoke so I don't think I will be spending anything there.
Haha I don't mean that you're going to spend there. I just used that to estimate your age.

The cashback seems rather low on the AWSM card. Might be giving the DBS Visa Debit Card a try.
Come to think of it, because the DBS Visa Debit Card and the SAFRA DBS Debit Card both require a min spend of $400, it's best to just put all your spending on the SAFRA DBS card rather than try to hit $400 on both, which will be difficult with your current spending pattern.

Since I don't think you can get any further rebate by paying off credit card bills in full, is it possible to just pay them via GIRO (e.g. a set and forget thing?)
Yes you can. Just ask for a GIRO form from the relevant bank, or download it from the bank's website and print.

I see credit cards as a means to get rewards, cashback or some other discounts. Not really for the extra credit; I don't intend to spend beyond my means.
Good that you have that mindset. Spending beyond their mean is how people get into credit card debt.

Building your credit score through using a student credit card will help you get a proper credit card in the future when you get a job, allowing you to reap the rewards.

All the best in your financial journey!
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Old 11-08-2019, 03:56 PM   #5
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the 3% cashback for dbs black debit card a bit confusing though..

from what i read on their website, yes, all visa transaction is counted in the min $400 spending to qualify. however, the 3% cashback is only for those visa contactless payment (including using apple, samsung, google pay). capped at $20 per month.
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Old 11-08-2019, 04:23 PM   #6
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the 3% cashback for dbs black debit card a bit confusing though..

from what i read on their website, yes, all visa transaction is counted in the min $400 spending to qualify. however, the 3% cashback is only for those visa contactless payment (including using apple, samsung, google pay). capped at $20 per month.
Correct. That's why if OP is spending more online than offline, better to stick with his SAFRA DBS Debit Card.
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Old 12-08-2019, 07:43 PM   #7
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Correct. That's why if OP is spending more online than offline, better to stick with his SAFRA DBS Debit Card.

Yea. It looks like my SAFRA DBS Debit card gives me 1% on all online transactions lol.


Unless I can find a card that gives me more than 1% cashback on online txn.


There was the CIMB card previously. I got my Dad to sign up thew CIMB Credit Card, I got supplementary, long zong all charge expenses to the CIMB cards, got 10% cashback. Damn shiok. Cancelled the cards shortly thereafter.



SAD now no more
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Old 13-08-2019, 12:21 AM   #8
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Yea. It looks like my SAFRA DBS Debit card gives me 1% on all online transactions lol.


Unless I can find a card that gives me more than 1% cashback on online txn.


There was the CIMB card previously. I got my Dad to sign up thew CIMB Credit Card, I got supplementary, long zong all charge expenses to the CIMB cards, got 10% cashback. Damn shiok. Cancelled the cards shortly thereafter.



SAD now no more
Ah, the CIMB Visa Signature and the CIMB Platinum Mastercard. They're still there, 10% rebate still but the condition to get the rebate sucks now. $800 minimum spend and the categories are terrible now. Cashback cap also quite low.

Honestly, just apply for the AWSM card and use it once in a while. Fee free for life anyway. Don't need just stuff in your drawer. Helps build your credit history.
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Old 13-08-2019, 02:19 PM   #9
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Yea. It looks like my SAFRA DBS Debit card gives me 1% on all online transactions lol.


Unless I can find a card that gives me more than 1% cashback on online txn.


There was the CIMB card previously. I got my Dad to sign up thew CIMB Credit Card, I got supplementary, long zong all charge expenses to the CIMB cards, got 10% cashback. Damn shiok. Cancelled the cards shortly thereafter.

SAD now no more
If your dad willing to sign you for supplementary , then why do you limit yourself for student card ? This is contradictory .

U can get off the bat 1.5% - 1.6% flat cashback card with no minimum spending. Or you can dig those threads on the optimal spending and work out yourself on that .

Otherwise - if you just want student level card ( debit / credit ) , i believe the advice given already suffice.
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Old 13-08-2019, 06:38 PM   #10
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We stopped the CIMB signature card because the cashback became less attractive.


Also... I also didn't like the fact that my dad kept scrutinizing my spending. He quite conservative one... so...


Based on most ppl's opinions here, likely to stay with my current plan or get a CIMB AWSM card
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Old 13-08-2019, 08:10 PM   #11
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We stopped the CIMB signature card because the cashback became less attractive.


Also... I also didn't like the fact that my dad kept scrutinizing my spending. He quite conservative one... so...


Based on most ppl's opinions here, likely to stay with my current plan or get a CIMB AWSM card
There's nothing wrong with having both. Use your student credit card once or twice a month and pay it off in full at the end of the month. Show the banks you're a trustworthy lender and you'll be a few steps ahead of your peers when you start applying for full credit cards.
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