Unlimited cashback cards offer rebates even past the caps offered by regular cashback cards – and without having to track all your expenses by category.
But it’s a pain when the same cards have a long list of exclusions.
That’s why cards like the AMEX True Cashback Card are popular. Large bills like those from healthcare, education, and tax authorities will still earn you cashback.
Still, with only a 1.5% unlimited cashback rate, this card doesn’t seem to offer as much as alternatives like the UOB Absolute Cashback Card.
Is there more to it? And does the welcome bonus of 3% cashback make this card better?
Today, we’ll review the American Express True Cashback Card and give our verdict based on:
|Age||21 and above for principal cardholders; 18 and above for supplementary cardholders|
|Income||S$30,000 and above for Singapore Citizens and Permanent Residents; S$45,000 and above for expatriates|
Nothing in particular to note about these requirements. You’ll find them typical of entry-level cards.
Unfortunately, if you don’t meet these requirements, you don’t have the option to use fixed deposits as collateral.
Fees and Charges
|Effective Interest Rate||26.90%|
|Interest-Free Period||22 days from statement date if bills are paid in full|
|Late Payment Charges||S$90 (S$100 with effect from 17 Oct 2022)|
|Minimum Monthly Payment||S$50 or 3%, whichever is higher|
|Cash Advance Transaction Fee||5%|
|Cash Advance Interest Rate||26.90% compounded daily|
|Foreign Currency Transaction Fee||2.95%|
Lower Annual Fees
First thing to note: the AMEX True Cashback Card has lower annual fees than most other entry-level cards.
As with most other cards, you’ll get a fee waiver for the first year. Subsequent fee waivers will require a call to customer support or a request via their in-app chat. Whether or not you’ll get the fee waiver will depend on the frequency of use and overall expenditure on the card.
Lower Foreign Transaction Fees
If you’re using the card for foreign expenses, the lower transaction fees here make a difference. Let’s use S$1,000 worth of shopping on Taobao as an example. The AMEX True Cashback Card would charge you 2.95% (S$29.50) for a purchase you made in China Yuan, whereas the UOB Absolute Cashback Card would charge you 3.25% (S$32.50) on your purchase.
If we then factor in the cashback (1.5% for AMEX True Cashback and 1.7% for UOB Absolute Cashback), the net amount you’re paying is cheaper with the AMEX True Cashback Card. (This difference grows even larger if the expense qualifies for the 3% welcome bonus cashback rate.)
|Credit Card||Foreign Currency Transaction Fees||Cashback Earned||Net Amount|
|AMEX True Cashback||S$29.50||S$15||S$1,000 + ($29.50 – S$15) = S$1,014.50|
|UOB Absolute Cashback||S$32.50||S$17||S$1,000 + ($32.50 – S$17) = S$1,015.50|
Cashback, Discounts, and Other Perks
Convenient & Easy to Use
This card is popular due to its convenience. Whether you’re paying your insurance premiums, planning a wedding, or paying for your child’s university fees, you can be assured of cashback.
AMEX is also known for its world-class customer service. As part of that, users gain access to Global Assist Programs and Fraud Protection.
3% Cashback Welcome Bonus
While this welcome bonus is still available, it arguably makes the AMEX True Cashback Card the best in the market. This is true even when comparing the card to the UOB Absolute Cashback Card, which boasts the “highest limitless cashback rate in Singapore.”
You’d have to spend over S$38,000 in a year to get more cashback on the UOB Absolute Cashback Card versus the AMEX True Cashback Card. Anything under, and the AMEX True Cashback gives you more.
The UOB Absolute Cashback Card does have a welcome bonus itself, but only for the first 100 new-to-UOB cardmembers (and let’s be realistic – you’re probably not going to get it).
Cons of the American Express True Cashback Card
1. It’s An AMEX Card
Visa and Mastercards generally don’t have a problem with acceptance and usage. Most brick-and-mortar retailers who accept credit cards will accept both. However, you might encounter issues with the AMEX True Cashback Card at smaller, independent shops.
Pro Tip: If you’re worried about merchants not accepting AMEX, you can always top up your GrabPay wallet using this card. Since the GrabPay Card is a prepaid Mastercard, you’ll get the 1.5% cashback on top of one of the most widely-accepted credit card associations.
Read also: GrabPay Card Review 2023: Is It Worth Getting?
2. Instalment Plans Are Ineligible for Cashback
You’ll have to pay for your purchases in full if you want the 1.5% cashback.
3. Past the First Year, the Cashback Isn’t the Best
Since this card’s offering hinges heavily on the welcome bonus, it’s not as good past the first year. But because it has lower annual fees, you may still want to consider it as long as you charge below about S$12,000 a year to the card.
Whom This Card is Best For
This card is best for people with immediate expenses (next 6 months) amounting to at least S$5,000 or more to capitalise on the bonus 3% cashback once you obtain the card.
Some of these expenses may include:
- Home renovations
- Wedding banquets
- Honeymoon trips
- Medical bills
- Buying a car, etc.
This card is NOT a good fit for you if:
- Your average monthly spending ranges between S$500 to S$3,000 – or above S$12,000. Regular cashback cards or higher unlimited cashback options like the UOB Absolute Cashback Card would be better for you.
- You’re a frequent traveller seeking unlimited rewards. Unlimited cashback cards targeting travel (like the CIMB Visa Infinite Card) may be better.