[Credit card] Primer

Standard

You are now studying in Polytechnic/University or just started your first job and want to get your first credit card but do not earn more than SG$30,000 per annum? You can and there are options available: Credit cards with SG$500 credit limit.

Well, SG$500 credit limit may not seems much. But these cards served me well when I started on credit cards. They helped me in building up a good credit discipline and increase my spending power when combined.

So here are 2 credit cards that I started on with SG$500 credit limit each long time ago.

Here are the requirements on these credit cards:

  • Age requirement: 18 years old minimum at time of application. (21 years old for other credit cards usually.)
  • Nationality: Singaporean or Singapore Permanent Resident. (Foreigners on employment pass allowed with higher annual income required usually for other credit cards.)
  • Parent/Guardian consent required for applicant age below 21 at time of registration.
  • Must not be a principal credit card/credit line holder.
  • Non student: Minimum SG$18,000 income per annum. (Standard Chartered Manhattan Platinum MasterCard. Usually SG$30,000 minimum for other credit cards.)

What is required when applying for credit cards:

  • Photocopy of NRIC/Passport.
  • Computerized payslip (Latest minimum. Recommend to submit 3 months.), Income tax Notice of Assessment or 12 months CPF contribution statement. (Self employed individuals will need to submit more.)
  • Completed application form.

What to watch out when applying for credit cards:

  • Annual fee: About SG$30 for these cards. (Usually 1st year waived. Subsequent waiver at bank’s discretion.)
  • Credit limit: SG$500. (Usually 2-4x of your monthly income at bank’s discretion for other credit cards.)
  • Interest rate: About 24% per annum or a minimum amount as stipulated by bank. (Interest can be scary and you will be playing with your credit score if you default. You have been warned.)
  • Statement date: Please call bank after you received your credit card to know your statement generation/cut off date. (This will help you in planning your purchases.)
  • Payment grace period: About 20 days. Pay fully within grace period and there will not be any interest charge.
  • Cash advancement fee: About 6% of amount advanced or a minimum amount as stipulated by bank.
  • Other fees like late fee or over limit fee which you should never ever need to pay if your credit discipline is good.

How to decide which card to get:

  • Your spending habit/pattern:
    • If you are a party guy/gal that frequent Zouk, get Citibank Clear Visa as that credit card offer free entry and 1-for-1 drinks at Zouk.
    • If you are after cashback, get Standard Chartered Manhattan Platinum MasterCard as that credit card offers 0.25% cashback in this case.
    • For other credit cards, you will want to look at rewards on offer and flexibility in redeeming rewards.
  • Bank: If you have any bad blood with any bank or if bank does not has a good reputation, you will not likely want to get a credit card with them. Unless benefit is unrivalled.
  • Payment method:
    • Internet banking (Must have!)
    • SAM (Cut off time 5pm.)
    • AXS. (Cut off time 8pm.)
  • Payment network: Usually I recommend 1 Visa, 1 MasterCard and 1 American Express credit card per bank (At least 2 banks. Just in case 1 bank’s cards just all decide to die on you. It can happen!) for maximum acceptance across the globe. (JCB is an exotic 1 for Japan. Only offered by UOB in Singapore.)
  • Gold/Platinum/Visa Signature/MasterCard Titanium/MasterCard World:
    • Gold is like entry level for American Express. (E.G. American Express Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Gold credit card.)
    • Platinum is like entry level for Visa/MasterCard/JCB. Premium for American Express.
    • Visa Signature is usually targeted at frequent flyers.
    • MasterCard Titanium is just a fancy gimmick by MasterCard in my opinion. Only offered by OCBC in Singapore.
    • MasterCard World is similar to Visa Signature in terms of level.
  • Contactless payment solution:
    • Visa payWave
    • MasterCard PayPass
    • American Express
    • EZ-LINK
    • NETS FlashPay

Hope this helps as a good start to your journey with credit cards.

Disclaimer: Use credit card responsibly.

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