Standard Chartered Smart Card Review: Perfect for Work Commutes?

Meiling Tan
Updated:
PROMO: Receive Apple AirPods Gen 2 (worth $271.50) or up to S$270* super upsized cash via PayNow
Apply Now
on Standard Chartered's website

Standard Chartered Smart Card

Apply Now
on Standard Chartered's website
This Standard Chartered offering gives you 6% cashback on a short list of qualifying merchants. With its great sign-up promotions and lack of annual fees, it’s not a bad card to have – even if just for a year.

Pros

  • Attractive sign-up bonus
  • 6% cashback with no minimum spend
  • No annual fees
  • Access to SC EasyBill

Cons

  • Cashback is awarded in points
  • Points can expire
  • Low spending cap
  • Restrictive list of preferred merchants

Current Promotion

Receive Apple AirPods Gen 2 (worth $271.50) or up to S$270* super upsized cash via PayNow. Apply and make a minimum spend of S$250 within 30 days of card approval to be eligible for rewards + get an additional S$20 bonus cash when you spend at least $20 at selected merchants within 30 days of card approval. List of selected merchants: Shopee, Lazada, Taobao, EzBuy, Qoo10, Carousell & Netflix. (Valid until 21 September 2023) Click to apply.

The Standard Chartered Smart Credit Card sounds great on the surface. 6% cashback with no minimum spend?

But wait – you’ll only get that 6% rate at a select few merchants.

The cashback also isn’t automatic. You’ll get them in points, which you’ll have to remember to redeem.

Then again, there are a few other things that make this card worth considering. So today, let’s dig into the SC Smart Credit Card’s:

  • Eligibility requirements
  • Annual fees and charges
  • Cashback, rewards, discounts, etc.
  • Downsides
  • StanChart Smart Credit Card vs the competition
  • Whom this card is best for

Eligibility Requirements

Residential StatusSingaporean Citizens, PRs, and foreigners with a valid Employment Pass
Age21 – 65 years old
IncomeS$30,000 annually for Singaporeans and PRs; S$60,000 annually for foreigners

Fees and Charges

Annual FeesNone!
Effective Interest Rate23.9 – 29.9% p.a. based on your credit profile
Late Payment ChargesS$100
Minimum Monthly PaymentS$50 or 1%, whichever is greater
Overlimit FeeS$40
Cash Advance FeeNone!
Cash Advance Interest Rate0.082% per day or 29.9% p.a.
Foreign Currency Transaction Fee3.5%

Here’s the first appealing aspect of the StanChart Smart Card: you won’t need to pay an annual fee. But credit cards with no annual fees usually make up for it by offering lesser benefits, so we’ll have to see if that’s the case here.

There’s also no fee for cash advances, which can come in handy if you’re in a pinch (i.e. when you don’t have your bank ATM card with you and you desperately need cash). As a general rule though, we don’t recommend using cash advances unless it’s an emergency: just look at that eye-watering 29.9% p.a. interest.

Cashback, Rewards, and Other Perks

Cashback6% cashback in the form of 360° Reward Points only at:
  • Fast Food: Burger King, KFC, McDonald’s, Subway
  • Coffee and Toast: Fun Toast, Toast Box, Ya Kun
  • Digital Subscriptions: Disney+, Netflix, Spotify, YouTube
  • Transport: Bus and MRT
Other Benefits
  • 3-month instalment plans with no interest or service charges
  • The Good Life Privileges, which include 20.7% fuel savings at Caltex, Agoda discounts, and more
  • Complimentary travel insurance of up to S$500,000 when you charge your full travel fare to the card
  • SC EasyBill: Earn cashback or reward points on IRAS payments, education, insurance, and rental bills
Sign-up PromotionReceive S$60 Upsized Cash via PayNow with a minimum spend of S$500 plus, S$20 via PayNow with at least S$20 transaction on selected merchants within the first 30 days after credit card approval. (Valid until 31 August 2023) Click to apply.

Up to $331 as Welcome Bonus

Ordinarily, we wouldn’t recommend spending more just to qualify for a card’s sign-up promos. But if you do plan to spend a good chunk on this card in the near future (KFC party, anyone?), consider the limited-time promotion.

With S$500 spend within the first 30 days of card approval, you get your choice of:

  • An Apple Bundle [Airpods Gen 3 + MagSafe Charger] worth S$331.06
  • A Xiaomi TV A2 HDC 32″ worth S$329, or
  • S$270 Cash via PayNow

Cashback…or No, Wait – Reward Points at a Few Merchants

Clearly, this card was designed for someone who takes public transport to work, and only with SimplyGo. You don’t get anything if you top up your EZ-LINK with this card. And if you tend to take your breakfast outside instead of making your eggs and toast at home, you’ll earn reward points.

Oddly, StanChart gives you these reward points even if you don’t make the transactions in Singapore dollars – but there’s not much upside to that since most of the merchants are local. (Unless you happen to have a Netflix subscription under a different country.)

Travel Insurance…With No Other Travel Perks

If you’re a working adult on a budget, the S$500,000 trip insurance coverage can seem like a good way to save a few bucks – but don’t do it. You’ll get max benefits only from the list of preferred merchants, so charging your travel fare to the card won’t earn you bonus points.

If you want travel freebies, you’re much better off with a travel-focused card instead.

SC EasyBill

Like Citibank, Standard Chartered gives you the ability to earn when you pay your IRAS taxes, school fees, insurance premiumms, and rental bills.

Downsides

1. Short List of Preferred Merchants

…and using this card with anything but the preferred merchants will only net you the equivalent of 0.5% cashback. Ouch!

2. Cashback Isn’t Automatic

As a reward rather than a cashback card, you won’t get that 6% cashback automatically. Instead, you’ll have to remember to redeem them for cashback every so often.

Read also: 9 Best Cashback Credit Cards for Singapore

3. Low Reward Points Cap

Transactions with the preferred merchants will get you reward points split up as 360° Reward Points and Additional 360° Reward Points. There’s a cap on the latter, which works out to be around S$818 in monthly spending – a low spending cap.

Other no-fee rewards cards like the HSBC Revolution cap spending at S$1,000 monthly, and they don’t have such a restrictive list of merchants.

4. Reward Points Expire

With the StanChart Smart Card, 360° Reward Points have an expiry period of three years from the date of the credit card account opening. That means if you’ve had the card for 2.75 years, you’d better redeem those points before they’re all gone.

If you keep the card past the initial three years, you’ll start all over again with points that are valid for another three years.

How Does The SC Smart Credit Card Compare? 

To get a feel for where the SC Smart Credit Card stands, it might be helpful to compare it with other no-fee credit cards (or one that offers an easy automatic fee waiver). We’ve chosen the HSBC Revolution Card and the UOB EVOL Card for this purpose:

SC Smart Credit CardHSBC Revolution CardUOB EVOL Card
Annual FeesNoneNoneS$194.40 (automatic fee waiver with 3 transactions monthly for 12 consecutive months)
Minimum Spend RequiredNoneNoneS$600
Key Benefits6% cashback (awarded in Reward Points) at: Burger King, KFC, McDonald’s, Subway, Fun Toast, Toast Box, Ya Kun, Disney+, Netflix, Spotify, YouTube, public transport2.5% cashback (awarded in Reward Points) on all online or mobile contactless payments8% straight cashback on all online and mobile contactless payments; 0.3% on all other spend
CapsAbout S$818 in monthly spendingS$1,000 monthly spendingS$20 cashback caps each for online, mobile contactless, and other spend

Suffice to say that you could use the HSBC Revolution or UOB EVOL Card for just about anything, since mobile contactless and online payments span almost the entirety of what you’d use a credit card for. That makes the Standard Chartered Smart Card the least flexible.

Standard Chartered makes up for it somewhat by offering a slightly higher cashback rate, but then detracts from its offering again by instituting a lower spending cap.

If you only want a card for those few merchants and everything else will go on a higher-yield card, then the SC Smart Credit Card makes perfect sense.

But if you’re spending S$700 – S$800 on fast food, breakfast, digital subscriptions, and your work commutes…you’re probably better off with a straight cashback card anyway. Being able to hit a minimum spend of at least S$600 will already grant you access to great cashback cards.

Who This Card is Best For 

  • Early morning commuters who also dine at places like Ya Kun, Fun Toast, KFC, and McDonald’s…or have a digital subscription
  • Those who want a no-fee, no-minimum-spend card and are content to only use this card at the preferred merchants