Designed for students, NSFs, and young professionals with lower income, the CIMB AWSM Card is a hassle-free entry-level credit card.
This is one of the few cards with no annual fees, so you can enjoy the benefits of a credit card without having to call in for a fee waiver every year. The card also offers a slew of perks and rewards while users spend at trendy cafés, clubs, and online stores.
Those looking for entry-level cards are spoiled for choice with all the options available, so it’s hard to tell if the CIMB AWSM Card is the best choice for you. Today, we’ll take a closer look at the following to help you decide:
- Who’s eligible to apply?
- What does the card offer you?
- What’s included in the cashback programme?
- How much cashback can you reasonably get?
- What’s NOT great about the CIMB AWSM Card?
- Who would benefit the most from this card?
Who’s Eligible to Apply?
The requirements for this card are pretty low:
- Be a Singaporean or Singapore Permanent Resident (PR)
- Must not be an existing CIMB credit card holder
- Between 18 to 29 years old (for students and NSFs)
- At least S$18,000 annual income (if you’re a salaried employee below 35 years old)
- At least S$30,000 annual income (if you’re a salaried employee above 35 years old)
There aren’t any income requirements for students and NSFs, making this a common choice of first card for our young adults.
What Does the CIMB AWSM Card Offer?
Here’s a breakdown of the CIMB AWSM Card features and how they benefit you:
|Card Features||How It Benefits Users|
|No annual fee||Saves money and hassle calling in for a fee waiver|
|No minimum spend||Don’t need to spend unnecessarily just to get cashback|
|Low income requirement for applicants||Allows more workers and freelancers to own a credit card and enjoy perks that wouldn’t otherwise be available to them|
|Credit limit of S$500 per month||Ensures users won’t overspend; especially important for low-income earners|
|Unlimited 1% cashback for dining, entertainment, online shopping, and telco payments||Extra perks and savings for essential items that you would usually spend on|
|Link up with SimplyGo for hassle-free commutes||No need for a separate transit card that you have to top up periodically|
|Access to over 1,000 CIMB deals and discounts in Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia||Enjoy more savings and exclusive cardmember privileges when travelling within the region|
|Link up with third-party digital wallets such as Google Pay, Samsung Pay, and PayNow||Fuss-free and secure payments from mobile devices|
It’s worth mentioning that the CIMB AWSM Card is one of the few credit cards offered to those earning S$18,000 per annum. Most cards in the market require at least S$30,000 income annually.
Even though the SCB Manhattan and BOC F1RST Card both offer similar credit cards to low-income earners, their cashback rewards are merely 0.25% and 0.5% respectively. Both also require an annual fee after the first or second year, unlike the CIMB AWSM Card.
What’s Included in the Cashback Programme?
CIMB uses a broad classification to include transactions across online shopping, entertainment, dining, and payments to telcos.
There are some exclusions of course, but as a whole, it seems like a decent deal for an entry-level card.
Included: Local and overseas online retail transactions via shopping websites selling apparel, accessories, shoes, bags, and electronics as their main business activity. Also includes card-not-present transactions such as remote orders via e-commerce platforms and mail/phone/mobile apps.
Excluded: Transactions on online sites including movies, food & beverage, travel, airline, government, brokerages/securities, insurance, tuition, and online gambling as their main business activity.
Dining and Entertainment
Included: Local and overseas transactions at restaurants and cafes, including fast food outlets, bars and taverns, caterers, lounges, and nightclubs.
Excluded: Transactions for wedding banquets and eating establishments in hotels.
Telecommunications/ All Things Telco
Included: Payments to Singtel, M1, Starhub, Circles.Life, and MyRepublic in Singapore.
Excluded: Transactions with third-party or privately-owned Telco dealers, retailers, and distributors.
How Much Cashback Can a Cardholder Get In a Month?
If you max out your card (S$500) with only transactions that are eligible for the 1% cashback, the monthly cashback is S$5.
Is S$5 worth all the consideration on how and where to use your card? It’s really up to you. But if you look at it from a 12-month perspective, it’s still a good S$60 worth of cashback.
The good thing is that some of these payments can be automated — like your phone and internet bills. That’s like getting a discount on your phone and broadband plan with just a little effort.
Other than that, be sure to use the CIMB AWSM card on these categories:
- On-site dining and drinking (note that online food orders aren’t included)
- Online shopping for trendy goods and electronics
That should amount to at least a few hundred a month!
What’s Not Great About the CIMB AWSM Card?
This is a very basic card for very basic usage, so don’t expect a ton of perks. But we should point out a couple flaws:
- Groceries don’t count for cashback — nor do online food orders or on-site retail shopping. That’s inconvenient since these are common categories that many will spend on.
- The card isn’t as attractive if you fall outside the target age group because the rewards and perks aren’t relevant anymore. For example, if you’re married and in your 30’s, your expenses may evolve to include more groceries, petrol, or institutional payments — none of which will earn cashback.
Who Would Benefit Most From This Card?
The CIMB AWSM Card is best for:
- Young adults with focused spending on online shopping and telco-related services
- Those who dine out regularly and enjoy partying at clubs and bars
- Young adults in the early stages of their career and not earning enough to be eligible for higher-tier credit cards
- Students looking for a fuss-free starter card