The Bank Of China Family Card gives you an unmatched 10% cashback for family-friendly activities – namely, movies and dining out. You also earn between 3% to 5% in rebates for groceries, online shopping, public transport, hospital bills, and more.
Truth is though, there are better deals out there for most of these spending categories. So what makes the Bank of China Family Card worthwhile, if at all?
We’ll review this card based on:
|Age||21 years old|
|Income||S$30,000 and above for Singaporeans and PRs; S$60,000 and above for foreigners|
Most young adults with a full-time job should be able to qualify for this card.
But if you’re looking for a family-oriented card that you can use across the border in Malaysia too, consider the Maybank Family & Friends Card instead.
Fees and Charges
|Annual Fees||S$203.30 for principal card and S$101.65 for supplementary card, waived for the first year.|
|Effective Interest Rate||28.88%|
|Late Payment Charges||S$100|
|Minimum Monthly Payment||3% or S$50, whichever is higher|
|Cash Advance Fee||6% per transaction or S$20, whichever is higher|
|Cash Advance Interest Rate||28.88%|
|Foreign Currency Transaction Fee||2% admin fee + 1% cross-border fee for Visa Cards|
First off: this card’s annual fees are slightly higher than the market average for an entry-level card, with no free supplementary cards. It remains to be seen if the card benefits justify the higher annual fees.
Also, this card does not have an automatic annual fee waiver beyond the first year. Users report that applying for a fee waiver was a long, tedious process that could sometimes take over two weeks – if you were approved at all.
Cashback, Discounts, and Other Perks
|Other Benefits||Exclusive Visa Platinum dining, lifestyle and shopping privileges (Source)|
|Ongoing Promotions||No ongoing promotions|
There aren’t many cards that offer 10% cashback for dining and movies, so that’s a plus. Still, the S$25 cashback cap per category means it’s not great that they lumped dining and movies together – for the family unit that this card is designed for, S$250 in monthly spending is easy to exceed.
The rebates for the other categories are rather lacklustre at 3% to 5%. Because of that, it’s best to use this card in combination with other high cashback cards.
Read also: 9 Best Cashback Credit Cards for Singapore
If you don’t dine out much or simply want to get more bang for your buck across all your spending categories, consider an option like the Maybank Family & Friends instead. This offers 8% rebate globally on your choice of 5 categories, including supermarket, retail, dining, transport, and digital streaming.
Rebates for Hospital Spending and Public Transport
Besides the few unlimited cashback cards that don’t exclude hospitals, you’d be hard-pressed to find a card that gives you cashback for hospital transactions.
But keep in mind that while medical spending is hardly rewarded with cashback, there are a number of cards that offer higher cashback on public transport spending. This includes the Maybank Family & Friends Card (8%) and UOB One Card (10%). The latter does have a very high minimum spend requirement of S$2,000 though.
This card offers 3% cashback on public transport like bus or MRT rides, but not for private transport like private-hire or taxi rides.
Cashback is also unavailable for telco bills, utility bills, and prepaid account top-ups (EZ-Link, NETS FlashPay, GrabPay, etc).
How Does the Cashback Compare to That of Other Cards?
The closest competitors to the Bank of China Family Card would be the:
- OCBC 365 Card
- Maybank Family & Friends Card
- Citi Cash Back Card
These cards have similar cashback categories and minimum spend requirements.
Of these, is there an option that stands out? Let’s take a look:
|BOC Family Card||OCBC 365 Card||Maybank Family & Friends Card||Citi Cash Back Card|
|Fee Waiver Requirements||Waived for first year. |
No subsequent waiver.
|Waived for the first 2 years. |
Subsequent waiver with S$10,000 annual spending.
|3 year annual fee waiver.|
Subsequent waiver with S$12,000 annual spending.
|Waived for first year. |
No subsequent waiver.
|Cashback Rates||Base: 0.3%|
3-10% upon meeting minimum spend
3-6% upon meeting minimum spend
8% upon meeting minimum spend
6-8% upon meeting minimum spend
|Minimum Spending for Cashback||S$800/month||S$800/month||S$800/month||S$800/month|
|Cashback Cap||S$100 (S$25 per category)||S$80||$125 (S$25 per category)||S$80|
BOC Family Card vs OCBC 365 Card
The OCBC 365 Card does better in three aspects:
- Offering cashback for recurring bill payments for telcos and electricity (3%)
- Has a single overall cashback cap instead of caps for specific categories
- Automatic fee waiver with S$10,000 annual spending
Its highest cashback rate is for dining and food delivery (6%), followed by petrol (5%). Essentially, if you spend upwards of S$1,000 on dining, food delivery, and petrol, OCBC offers you more cashback than the BOC Family Card.
Other than that, you’ll also get 3% on groceries, online travel bookings, and private hire rides, plus another 0.3% on EZ-Link and Transitlink spend.
Maybank Family & Friends Card
Suppose you’re a regional spender who shops in both Singapore and Malaysia. In that case, the Maybank Family & Friends Mastercard may be for you.
Cardholders earn 8% global cashback split across five categories of your choice. Available categories include:
- Restaurants & food delivery
- Private hire, public transport, and petrol
- Data communications & online TV streaming
- Online fashion
- Entertainment (including cinemas)
- Retail & Pets (including POPULAR bookstore)
- Beauty & Wellness
The overall cashback is capped at $125/month – a higher cap than that of the BOC Family Card. Per category, cashback is still capped at S$25 though.
The Maybank Family & Friends Card also offers a fee waiver with S$12k annual spend, so it’s a better option for those with bigger budgets of S$1k per month at least.
Citi Cash Back Card
In contrast to the BOC Family Card’s focus on dining out and movies, the Citi Cash Back card offers an 8% rebate on groceries and petrol. You’ll also get up to 20.88% in fuel savings at Esso and Shell.
This is another card with an overall cashback cap instead of caps per category.
How to Optimise Spending for Maximum Cashback & Benefits
|Rewards Category Group||Cashback Rate||Recommended Monthly Spending||Cashback|
|Dining & Movies||10%||S$250||S$25|
|Family Club Merchants||5%||S$500||S$25|
|Supermarkets, Online Shopping, Hospitals||3%||0||0|
The BOC Family Card does have a few drawbacks. Given the $800 minimum spend to qualify for bonus cashback rates, the $25 cap per category is rather low.
And since the rebates vary, you may end up spending more on categories with low cashback rates just to hit the minimum spend.
In the example above, you’ll get $54.50 in cashback for that S$900 in spending – or a little over 6%.
If you’d charged that same $900 to another card with higher rates on the same categories, you might have gotten S$72 in cashback instead.
In short: This card’s effective cashback yield isn’t great.
Who Should Use the Bank of China Family Card?
Overall, we’d say to use this card if:
- You shop a lot at Family Club Merchants and are sure you can accumulate S$500 in spending every month
- Your family dines out and goes to the movies every weekend
- You’re expecting a number of hospital bills in the coming year (for pre-natal checkups for example)