Standard Chartered ad featuring 5% unlimited cashback
A credit card that offers 5% cashback on all spend, with no minimum spending and no cashback cap
My eyes popped out at one of the largest percentage cashback available with no minimum spend or cashback cap conditions that Singapore has ever seen. Is this for real?
After rubbing my eyes for a bit and reading through the terms and conditions, reality struck me - I was again a victim of marketing, and it seems like there are only certain situations where this credit card strategy is worth it. In short, the UnlimitedCombo (Unlimited$aver + Unlimited Card) requires you to maintain a balance of at least $100,000 in your StanChart Unlimited$aver account before the Unlimited Card will offer the marketed 5% unlimited cashback rate (a 3.5% bonus cashback over the base rate for the Unlimited Card)
Otherwise the Unlimited Card still offers a base 1.5% cashback rate even without this bonus
Does the UnlimitedCombo make sense?
To find out if it is actually a good deal to leave $100,000 in the Unlimited$aver account in exchange for bonus cashback, we have to compare it against the value of placing your money somewhere else instead. The most similar product is probably the CIMB Fast Saver savings account so we will use it as the basis of comparison.
CIMB FastSaver interest rate is quite straightforward, although there is that misleading advertisement in that you never really get the advertised 1.5% in effective interest rate. In any case, just put in the $100,000 and you will get an interest of $1,025/year or $85/month, at an effective annual interest rate of 1.025%. You don’t have to do anything at all for this.
Note: to keep the math straightforward we avoided other savings accounts that can give even higher interest rates such as the OCBC360 and DBS Multiplier as they each have additional requirements for bonus interest
Because you would have to maintain a balance of at least $100,000 in the Unlimited$aver account to be eligible for the 3.5% extra cashback on your Unlimited Card and this account barely earns any interest on it (0.1% p.a.), you have to earn more than $85/month from the additional 3.5% cashback you are getting to make it worthwhile to keep your money in the Unlimited$aver as opposed to leaving it in the CIMB Fast Saver account and using the Unlimited Card at its base 1.5% cashback rate. If we do the simple math, this works out to one having to spend more than $2,430/month ($2,430 x 3.5% bonus cashback = $85) on your Unlimited Card to make it worthwhile.
In short, if you are able to spend on average more than $2,430/month on credit cards, the UnlimitedCombo may work for you, if not you are probably better off putting your $100,000 someplace else to get a higher interest rate and just use the Unlimited Card at its base 1.5% cashback rate.
Note: This comparison above is based only on the relatively low interest rate of the CIMB Fast Saver account. If you were to use a higher yielding savings account or even fixed deposit to get 1.5-3% interest rate on your $100k of savings, it would be even harder to justify using the UnlimitedCombo. You can do the same math as above to arrive at the break-even spending amount based on the interest rate of other savings strategies you personally use.
That said, one case where the UnlimitedCombo could be a really good strategy is if you have a large
one-off expense coming up (hospital surgery bill / education loan / house furniture purchases, etc). You can get a very large cash rebate if you are able to:
- Park $100,000 in the Unlimited$aver account
- Let it be locked-in for 1 month
- Pay your large expense using Unlimited Card and get 5% cashback on the full amount
If you make a large spend of say $20,000 over that one month, you can get over $1,000 of cashback, more than making up for any lost interest by placing your money in the Unlimited$aver account over one month.
If the UnlimitedCombo makes sense for you, do take advantage of all the signup rewards as well to get even more out of this strategy:
- Step 1: Take advantage of the $100 welcome gift from SingSaver by applying for the Unlimited card here .
- Step 2: Take advantage of the $80 sign-up promotion on the Unlimited$aver account here.
- Step 3: Top up your Unlimited$aver account and start using the Unlimited Card for all expenses
Unless you are like the lady from Crazy Rich Asians and spend a lot on credit cards each month, like $3,000-4,000/month or more, it is unlikely that the Unlimited$saver account and Unlimited credit card will make sense as a credit card strategy for you as the bonus cashback just does not pay for having your $100,000 sitting idle getting no interest.
If you can spend like her, the Unlimited$aver would definitely make sense for you!
If you’ll like to get the maximum rewards from your credit cards, do consider integrating WhatCard into your lifestyle to help you optimize your credit card rewards, and follow us on Facebook to stay updated on the latest tips, tricks, and hacks (like this article!) to get the most out of your credit cards
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