Credit Cards Fees Better Than Non-Annual Fee Cards For Most Singaporeans: ValueChampion Analysis

Singaporeans are financially savvy people. They are always looking for offers and opportunities to save more money. In credit card terms, however, “saving” on annual fees may not translate into more economical value. While many consumers want to get rewards credit cards with no annual fee, it is actually more economical for the average person in Singapore to get a credit card with no annual fee.

ValueChampion calculated the reward values ​​of the 10 most popular credit cards assuming an average consumer spend. Here’s what our analysis found:

  • For the average Singaporean who spends around S $ 2,000 on their credit card per month, Singapore’s best fee-based credit cards earn 20% more rewards than the best no-fee credit cards.
  • For a consumer to prefer a no-fee card to a paid credit card, they must spend less than S $ 1,500 per month (or S $ 18,000) on their credit card.

No-Fee Credit Cards Bring Less Rewards Than Fee Cards

Unless you spend less than S $ 1,500 per year (or S $ 18,000 per year) on your credit card, you will probably be better off with a card that charges an annual fee than with a card that does not charge. no charge or provide a fee waiver. Since the average household spends around S $ 2,000 per month (based on Singaporean government-led household spending), this rule of thumb should apply to most Singaporeans.

To come to this conclusion, we calculated how much a person can earn in cash back and miles (or points converted to miles) minus the annual fee if they spent S $ 2,000 per month for 2 years on 10 of the best cards in the world. credit in Singapore. . We also calculated how much one would earn on these cards if he spent S $ 1,500 per month instead of S $ 2,000. The result was quite interesting: the top 5 credit cards that charge annual fees returned around 20%. more valuable than the best no-annual fee credit cards in Singapore.

This is because many credit cards offer enough rewards to more than make up for the difference in annual fees. For example, think of the Citi PremierMiles card or the UOB One card, easily two of the best credit cards on the market. Because they offer a huge amount of bonus miles and / or cash back, they tend to do better for most consumers than some of the better no-charge credit cards.

Who Should Get a No-Fee Credit Card?

That doesn’t mean, however, that paid credit cards are always better than no-fee cards. In fact, people who spend less than S $ 1,500 per month would be better off using a no-cost card on average. Indeed, the rewards earned on the S $ 500 of additional monthly expenses (or S $ 6000 per year) are just enough to offset the annual fees that one must pay for 2 years. For example, most cards charge an annual fee of around $ 200 per year, which can go up to S $ 600 in some cases. Since the best credit cards in Singapore pay 2-5% on your spending, you need to spend around S $ 12,000 over 2 years to earn S $ 400 in cash or miles back and offset the annual fee. Not only that, many “no charge” credit cards in Singapore come with a minimum annual spending requirement to qualify for annual fee waiver. Spending less than $ 1,000 per month can often result in the forfeiture of this fee waiver, resulting in a decline in a card’s “dollar net worth”.

Comparison of paid and non-paid cards 2

For example, the HSBC Revolution card can match the Citi PMV card in terms of the number of miles you can earn on your spending, while waiving their annual fees entirely for customers who meet a certain level of minimum spending requirement. . Therefore, even if you lose Citi PMV’s rich signup bonuses, you can still earn more miles with the HSBC Revolution Card by saving on your annual fee, especially if you spend less than S $ 1,500 per month. Not only that, a no-cost miles card like the DBS Altitude card is roughly equivalent to the Citi PMV card, even for people spending S $ 2,000 or more, so your choice could be entirely up to your preference. between bonus miles and annual fee waiver.


While free is generally good, this is not necessarily the case with credit cards. If you spend more than $ 1,500 on your card each month, cards that charge an annual fee will result in higher reward rates (net of fees) than no-fee cards. You can read more about how to choose the best credit card for your needs in our guide on the link.


In order to calculate the value of the rewards for each card, we assumed a monthly spend of S $ 2,000 of an average consumer, spread over expense categories such as travel, meals, and groceries. Then we were able to model exactly how much cash back, miles, or points could be earned using a card over 2 years. We converted miles to dollars at the Krisflyer 1 mile rate at S $ 0.01; when a card provided points, we would convert them to miles depending on the bank and the card’s specific conversion rates. By summing up all of the cash back and mileage values ​​(including bonus discounts and mileage rewards) minus the 2 year annual fee, we were able to calculate the value a card could generate for its user. For cards that offered fee waivers for a certain amount of annual expense, we considered them to be “no-fee” cards as long as the expense requirement was within a range of S $ 24,000 of annual expense for one. average consumer (S $ 2,000 x 12 months).

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