OCBC Frank Debit Card: Best Starter Option for Students? (2022 Review)

Shania Wong
PROMO: Get a year-long Burpple Beyond Premium membership worth S$99
Apply Now
on OCBC's website

OCBC Frank Debit Card

Apply Now
on OCBC's website
The OCBC Frank Debit Card is a great starter option for tertiary students and young adults. Think of it as a cross between a starter savings account and an entry-level credit card: it strikes a good balance between giving you higher-than-average interest rates and cashback on your spending.

Pros

  • Unlimited 1% cashback for fast food, transport, convenience stores, and select online shopping platforms
  • Comes with a Frank account so you earn interest on your savings
  • Low minimum spend to be eligible for cashback
  • Great customer service with fast turnaround

Cons

  • Transacting in foreign currencies can be costly
  • Low maximum effective interest rates for big savers
  • Cashback categories are limited
  • 1% cashback rate means it’s not the best for those looking to maximize rebates

Current Promotion

  • Get a year-long Burpple Beyond Premium membership worth S$99
    • Simply apply for a FRANK Debit Card and spend a min. of S$200 by the end of the following month upon your card approval date.
    • For the first 1,100 eligible applicants only
  • FRANK Debit Card Travel Spend Promotion
    • S$15 cashback
    • Simply spend a minimum of S$850 on flight and hotel bookings with your FRANK Debit Card
    • Limited to first 500 cardmembers to register and meet the minimum spend criteria
    • Valid from 10 May to 30 June 2022

With so many card designs to choose from, it’s not surprising that the OCBC Frank Debit Card is popular among students.

But besides the card designs, what does this card have to offer? 

Today, we’ll go through the OCBC Frank card and evaluate how good it is for students:

Who’s Eligible For The OCBC Frank Debit Card?

Residential StatusSingaporeans or Permanent ResidentsForeigners
Age16 and above16 and above
Income RequirementsNoneNone
Documents Required
  • NRIC
  • Documents for new OCBC customers (either one):
    • Documents to show your residential address (e.g. phone/utilities bill or bank statement)
    • IRAS Notice of Assessment
  • Passport with 6 months’ validity
  • Employment/Special/Student Pass
  • Documents for new OCBC customers (either one):
    • Valid government correspondence/ notice that show your residential address from last 3 months
    • Original Faculty/Hall Residence Letter issued by school with valid residential address

The eligibility requirements for the OCBC Frank Debit Card are simple, so almost everyone can apply for this card. Unlike certain student credit cards, you don’t even need to be enrolled in a specific tertiary education institution to be eligible

Read also: Best Credit Cards for Students in Singapore [2022 Comparison]

It’s also easy and convenient to apply for the card. You can either go down to the physical Frank store with your documents or apply online

Card Fees, Charges, and Limits

Initial DepositNone required
Minimum BalanceNone for applicants below 26 years old.
S$1,000 minimum balance for applicants 26 years and above.
Interest Rates
  • First SG$25,000, 0.1% interest yearly
  • Next SG$25,000, 0.2% interest yearly
  • Above SG$50,000, 0.05% interest yearly
Monthly Service FeesNone for applicants below 26 years old.

For applicants above 26 years old, $2 fee if your daily average balance falls below S$1,000.
Annual FeesNone
Card Design Fees Waived for the first card. For lost/stolen/damaged/faulty cards or change of card design, there’s a $10-20 fee.
Replacement Card FeesWaived for up to two replacements within a 12-month period; $20 fee from the 3rd card onwards.
Foreign Currency Transaction FeesNone if you link your OCBC Global Savings Account and transact in the foreign currency. Otherwise, there’s a 3.25% FX charge.

There’s also a 2.8% dynamic currency conversion fee for all Visa and MasterCard transactions. 

It’s clear that OCBC has designed their Frank Debit Card specifically for students: there’s no fall-below fee or minimum balance requirement for applicants below 26 years old. 

Since this is a debit card, you won’t encounter the same credit limit, fees, or income requirements that you’ll face with the OCBC Frank Credit Card. Your spending limit is whatever you have in your OCBC bank account.

And since it’s tied to an OCBC bank account, you’ll also earn interest on your account balance. This is a tiered interest system denominated in multiples of S$25,000. You get a decent interest — though not the best — for the money you have tucked away.

Note that the interest rate peaks at 0.2% and falls to 0.05% afterwards, so it’s best to only keep a maximum of S$50,000 in the account. Beyond that, you’re better off putting the money into an RSP or a robo-advisor like StashAway or Endowus instead.

Travelling or Shopping at Foreign Merchants?

If you anticipate making any transactions in foreign currencies, you can link your OCBC Frank Debit Card to the OCBC Global Savings Account. This allows you to save and spend in 8 major currencies (AUD, CAD, CNH, EUR, GBP, HKD, NZD, USD) as well as avoid foreign transaction fees.

Just note that while this is a convenient option, there are better alternatives if you’re looking to get the most value. Bank FX conversion fees aren’t great, so it’s better to go for a standard high-interest savings account and then sign up for a multi-currency account like Wise or YouTrip instead. That way, you can tap on wholesale foreign exchange rates to get more out of every dollar.

Read also: What’s the Best Multi-Currency Account for Singapore?

Cashback, Discounts, and Other Benefits

CashbackA minimum of S$400 spend gets you unlimited 1% rebates on:
  • Fast food restaurants
  • Cheers & 7-Eleven
  • Online shopping (iHerb, FairPrice Online, ZALORA, ASOS, Lazada)
  • Transport (Comfort & CityCab, Grab, GoJek, TADA) — excluding top-ups to prepaid products or mobile wallets
Ongoing PromotionsSign-up promotion: Get a year-long Burpple Beyond Premium membership worth S$99 (first 1,100 applicants only)
Other Benefits
  • Doubles up as a public transport card
  • Various cardmember deals on brands such as Love Bonito, ASICS, Perk Coffee, Lenovo, Ezbuy, and more. Get a full list of merchants here.
(Accurate as of 10 Jan 2022)

As far as debit card deals go, the OCBC Frank Debit Card is fairly fuss-free. You don’t have to watch for cashback caps per category — there aren’t any. The $400 minimum is also not too difficult to meet if you do any online shopping.

OCBC Frank Debit Card vs DBS Visa Debit Card

The OCBC Frank Debit’s minimum spend of S$400 is lower than the DBS Visa Debit’s S$500. OCBC also has a bigger range of qualifying merchants targeted at students and no limit on cashback.

With DBS, you get a higher cashback rate provided you mainly spend on food delivery (4% rebate), private transport (3%), or foreign merchants (2%). You’re also disqualified from cashback if you withdraw more than S$400 cash in a month — and unfortunately, we haven’t gone 100% cashless as a society yet.

OCBC Frank vs UOB Uniplus + UOB One Debit

Like the DBS Debit, the UOB One requires you to spend S$500 to qualify for cashback.

The eligible rebate categories are also different: the UOB One card gives 3% cashback on Shopee purchases along with upscale merchants like Cold Storage, Jason’s, and Marketplace. There’s also 1% cashback on Grab transactions, minus mobile wallet top-ups, but your total cashback is capped at S$20 per month across Shopee, Dairy Farm merchants, and Grab.

Compared to the UOB One and the DBS Visa Debit, we think the OCBC Frank card offers more flexibility and a better cashback offer. It’s a better option for budget-conscious students who don’t want to overspend just to hit the minimum requirements.

How Easy Is It to Use the OCBC Frank Debit Card? 

1. You Can Withdraw Cash Even Without the Debit Card

Back in 2019, OCBC introduced the QR cash withdrawal service across all OCBC ATMs in Singapore. This means that even if you forgot your wallet at home, you won’t need to worry about not being able to withdraw money!

All you need is the OCBC Pay Anyone app on your phone. Convenient, eh?

2. ATMs Widely Available Both Locally and Overseas

All OCBC cards allow you to withdraw cash from both OCBC and UOB ATMs. If you’re travelling, you can withdraw from any OCBC ATM or ATMs with the Visa or Plus service logo. 

3. Work Toward Your Money Goals With the OCBC Pay Anyone App

We have to hand it to them here: OCBC’s Pay Anyone app has a simple and clean interface that’s easy to navigate. The app also has various features to help users with money management, such as:

  • Personalised money insights, showing cash inflow and outflow
  • Monthly expense planner and budgeting tools
  • Expense tracking by category

Caveats of the OCBC Frank Debit Card

1. Cashback Eligibility

You need to hit the minimum spend of S$400 in a calendar month before any of your purchases are eligible for the unlimited 1% cashback. For a student with no income, this requirement could be hard to fulfil.

Then again, you don’t need to hit the minimum spend if you’re feeling tight with your finances — you’ll still earn interest on your savings account balance, after all.

2. Excessive Foreign Currency Transaction And Conversion Fees 

At this point, the OCBC Frank Debit Card isn’t a great option if you’re transacting in a foreign currency. The extra FX and dynamic currency conversion markups could add up to over 6% extra per transaction.

We don’t think this is much of an issue given its target market, however — students are unlikely to go jet-hopping every weekend. If you are looking to earn more miles on your card or convert loads of cash for your trips, consider a multi-currency account or a travel-focused credit card instead.

3. Not To Be Mistaken With the OCBC Frank Credit Card

The OCBC Frank Debit Card comes with a Frank Account that lets you earn interest. The Frank Credit Card does not. In addition, the eligibility and benefits of both cards also differ widely, such as the:

  • Online spending rebates
  • Monthly minimum spending requirements
  • Monthly cashback cap
  • Minimum income requirements  

Final Thoughts

The OCBC Frank Debit Card is a card meant for students and young adults taking the first steps towards adulting. The rewards and partner brands are tailored with the needs of this group in mind.

It’s also a low-maintenance card with no minimum income requirements or fees for users below the age of 26.