CIMB Visa Signature Review: A Free, High Cashback Card

Meiling Tan
Updated:
PROMO: Receive a XiaoMi Mi Robot Vacuum-mop 2 (worth S$399) or S$250 cash
Apply Now
on CIMB's website

CIMB Visa Signature Card

Apply Now
on CIMB's website
The CIMB Visa Signature Card may have niche spending categories like pet care and cruises, but it’s hard to ignore the 10% cashback rate. The minimum spend requirement is easy enough for families who cook for themselves or shop online.

Pros

  • No annual fees for life
  • High cashback
  • Highest rebates in the market for groceries and online shopping
  • Overseas transactions are eligible for cashback

Cons

  • Has niche cashback categories
  • Minimum spend requirement means possibly spending on unneeded items
  • Not available to foreigners
  • Low monthly cashback cap per category

Current Promotion

Receive a XiaoMi Mi Robot Vacuum-mop 2 (worth S$399) or S$250 cash when you spend a minimum of S$988 within 60 days of card approval. (Valid until 8 January 2023) Click to apply.

The CIMB Visa Signature Card often comes up as a free, no-frills card and a great starter option for those just entering the workforce.

And to be fair, it used to be one of the best entry-level cards.

But a few years back, CIMB probably realised they were giving too much away for free, so they revised the T&Cs and split the cashback categories between this and the (now unavailable) CIMB Platinum Mastercard.

That being the case, is this card still worth a look? Let’s find out today by digging into:

Eligibility Requirements

Minimum Age21 for principal card; 18 for supplementary card
Income RequirementAt least S$30,000 for Singaporeans and PRs. Alternatively, submit a minimum Fixed Deposit Collateral of S$10,000.

Standard stock as far as requirements go.

The only thing of note here is that CIMB doesn’t accept foreigners for credit card applications. Maybank or Citibank may be a better bet if you fall in this category (Maybank’s credit card promotions are also often open to foreigners).

Fees and Charges

Annual FeesNone!
Effective Interest Rate25.9% p.a.
Late Payment ChargesS$100
Minimum Monthly Payment3% of the outstanding balance or S$50, whichever is higher, plus any outstanding overdue amounts from previous statements
Overlimit FeeN/A
Foreign Currency Transaction Fee3%
Cash Advance Fee6% (minimum charge of S$15)
Cash Advance Interest Rate28% p.a.

Combined with the card’s high cashback rates, the lack of annual fees for both principal and supplementary cards make the CIMB Visa Signature a compelling offer. Still, nothing so good ever comes for free, so it does make us wonder what downsides this card has to balance it out.

Cashback, Discounts, and Other Benefits

Cashback10% cashback on local and overseas:
1. Online shopping
2. Groceries
3. Beauty & Wellness
4. Pet Shops & Veterinary Services
5. Cruises

0.2% base cashback if minimum spend is not met or for spending beyond the caps
Minimum SpendS$800 monthly
Monthly Cashback CapS$100 per statement month and up to S$20 per category
Others
  • Instalment plans available with CIMB 0% i.Pay Plan
  • Over 1,000 CIMB deals and discounts across dining, retail, and lifestyle merchants in Singapore, Malaysia, and Indonesia
  • Welcome gift of S$188 when you spend S$108 within 30 days of card approval and then increase your spending to S$988 within 60 days of card approval

High Cashback on Groceries and Online Shopping

First off, that 10% rebate on groceries and online shopping is excellent. Only the UOB One Card can compare, and the latter has a S$2,000 minimum spend to get the 10% rate.

But given the cashback cap of S$20 per category, you’ll max out your grocery and online shopping cashback with just S$200 spend for each. That leaves you having to spend S$400 elsewhere to hit the minimum spend.

…But Hitting Minimum Spend May Be Difficult

Ah, here’s a big downside: one look at the other cashback categories and you’ll realise that an S$800 minimum spend is a bit of a challenge.

Beauty & Wellness might still be doable. Pharmacies and cosmetic stores fall under that, and it’s common for people to spend on makeup and supplements every month.

But pet stores? Cruises? Most of us don’t go on a cruise every month, and even those with pets try to limit their monthly expenses in that area. That means you might find yourself spending past the cashback caps on the first two categories just to hit minimum spend.

Then again, this card is free, so you could always get the card and choose not to use it during the months you don’t think you can hit S$800.

Excluded Transactions

In case you’re wondering if you can hit the minimum spend without having to spend on things like pet toys or cruises, CIMB also excludes certain transactions from counting toward the requirement:

  • Any payments done via any SAM network
  • Any payments made to CardUp, iPaymy, Mileslife, SmoovPay and YouTrip
  • Any top-ups to payment service providers (including but not limited to GrabPay, Singtel Dash, beePay, Lazada top-ups)
  • Any payments to online trading platforms and brokerages
  • Cryptocurrency transactions

Who Would Benefit From This Card?

  • Consumers who want a free, no-frills card
  • Young adults or singles who want a starter card for groceries and online shopping
  • Pet owners and those who regularly transact at pharmacies, personal care facilities, cosmetic stores (excluding department stores), hairdressers, massage parlours, and spas

On the other hand, this card may not be a good fit for you if:

  • You have no pets, nor do you go on cruises or buy beauty products/services.
  • You cannot bear the idea of spending past cashback caps to hit the minimum spend