The Best Student Credit Cards in Singapore 2018

By Clara Lim

If you’re a student, you’re probably feeling broke all the time, but even without a regular income you can still get a credit card. Unlike regular credit cards, student credit cards have no minimum income requirement, low annual fees and a low credit limit (the maximum amount you can charge to your card, usually $500).

Here’s a list of student credit cards in Singapore and what benefits (if any) they have:

Best student credit cards in Singapore 2018

DBS student credit card – DBS Live Fresh Student Card

The DBS Live Fresh Student Card is one of the most attractive student credit cards out there, mainly because it gives you free entry to Zouk – plus discounts on drinks and the chance to win tickets to ZoukOut.

However, it is the most restrictive student card – it’s only for students of the 6 local universities and 5 polytechnics. Its cashback benefit (0.3% on online shopping & contactless payment) is also pretty damn measly.

Citibank student credit card – Citibank Clear Card

The Citibank Clear Card is a pretty good card for coffee addicts – you get 10% rebate at Starbucks with minimum $10 spend. You also get 5% rebate at Subway with the same minimum spend.

The Citi Clear Card has less strict requirements compared to the other credit cards. It has the widest range of schools eligible, including business schools like INSEAD and SP Jain. So if you’re a non-local student or studying outside of the major schools in Singapore, this is a card you can apply for.

Maybank student credit card – Maybank eVibes Card

The Maybank eVibes Card is another student credit card to consider for local students and NSFs waiting to start school. It gives you a decent 1% cashback on all spending, plus there’s a current sign-up gift of an Adidas watch.

This credit card has a quarterly fee of $5, but new sign-ups get it waived for 2 years. Subsequently, it’s easy to waive – just charge anything to your card every quarter.

CIMB student credit card – CIMB AWSM Card

The brand new CIMB AWSM (“Awesome”) Card is Malaysian bank CIMB’s entry into the student credit card space. It’s open to students and NSFs with no income, and working adults with a minimum income of $18,000.

It doesn’t quite live up to its name though, as it offers just 1% cashback on dining, entertainment, online shopping and telco bills. Meh.

Standard Chartered student credit card – Standard Chartered Manhattan $500 Card

Another no-frills student card, the Standard Chartered Manhattan $500 Card’s key benefit is 0.25% cashback on all spend, the lowest among all the student credit cards.

Also, it’s only open to students of 5 schools in Singapore. But if you qualify for this card, you also qualify for one of the better credit cards on this list – so skip this one unless you have no choice.

This card is also open to working adults earning $18,000 a year, so this might be one to consider if you’re not studying but aren’t earning enough for other credit cards.

BOC student credit card – BOC Qoo10 Platinum Mastercard

If you’re an avid online shopper, you might have come across the BOC Qoo10 Platinum Mastercard, which dishes out rebates in Qmoney (i.e. Qoo10 credit) as long as you hit the minimum spending requirement of $200.

The rebates are attractive – 10% on public transport, 3% on Grab/taxis, online spending and dining – until you realise the money is just locked up your Qoo10 account.

Why would you need a student credit card?

Even though students don’t usually spend a lot of money, having a card just makes life easier. Some of the benefits of credit and debit cards include:

■ You can make online purchases without asking your parents

■ You can use mobile apps that make your life better (and cheaper), e.g. bike-sharing apps

■ You don’t have to worry about running out of cash, since merchants like McDonald’s and Starbucks accept cards

You might be wondering if you actually need a credit card if you already have a debit card.

In terms of usage, they’re actually pretty interchangeable. Most places that accept Visa or Mastercard don’t care if you use a debit card or credit card.

The difference is in how they work. Debit cards deduct funds directly from your account. You never have to worry about paying bills, but you need to make sure your bank account has enough funds for your spending.

On the other hand, credit cards let you borrow money from a bank, which you need to return at the end of the month. Otherwise, you will have to pay interest and extra fees ON TOP of the original amount you owe. Basically, using a credit card is like borrowing from an extremely polite loan shark.

But, with a credit card, you can make purchases even when you don’t have the actual cash in your bank account. And if you’re ever unlucky enough to get scammed (touch wood) it’s easier to block the transaction with a credit card – whereas if you use a debit card, say bye-bye to your funds.

Apart from debit cards and student credit cards, you can also consider getting a supplementary credit card (supp card) which is linked to one of your parents’ credit cards, or even a prepaid credit card like the FEVO card.

This article was first published over at MoneySmart blog on 1 August 2018. It is reproduced with permission.

About The Author (Clara Lim)

I used to be MoneyDumb. I hung out at H&M every day and thought that a $50 lunch set was a good deal. These days, I spend my time researching the crap out of life and trying to maximise utility on micro-decisions. I'm not sure if that's an improvement.


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