Singaporeans love cashback. It’s easy to use, easy to understand, and the benefits are easily seen every month. That said, there are plenty of cashback cards in Singapore. You either need a comprehensive cashback card guide, or you don’t fully maximise your cashback, or you get a cashback card that works for everything you want to spend on. We like to think of those credit cards as all-category cashback cards.
One of our favourite all-category cashback cards is the HSBC Advance Card. It works very much like similar cards in Singapore, but there are some unique features that set it apart. Today we review the HSBC Advance Card and see if it’s worth a slot in our wallet.
HSBC Advance Card review: Up to 3.5% cashback for everything you love
Features of the HSBC Advance Card
The HSBC Advance Card is primarily a cashback credit card that offers cashback on ALL your purchases, regardless of which you spend on. The cashback you get will depend on how much you spend and there’s no minimum spend requirement.
Here’s a summary of how the cashback works.
|Eligible Spend per month||If you have an Advance Banking Relationship with HSBC||If you don’t have an Advance Banking Relationship with HSBC|
|Above S$2,000||3.5% cashback||2.5% cashback|
|S$2,000 and below||2.5% cashback||1.5% cashback|
|Cashback cap per month||S$125||S$70|
So, it’s pretty straightforward, you will earn cashback irrespective of how little you spend in a month, but there’s a cap of up to S$125 each month. If you want to enjoy the maximum cashback and S$125 cap, you need to open an Advance Banking account with the bank.
And, what is this Advance Banking we’re talking about? It’s kind of like having a preferred banking relationship with HSBC, where they will provide you with preferential rewards, expatriate banking services and financial advice from their Advance Managers. There are several ways to qualify for an Advance banking account, but the simplest way to apply would probably be to credit your salary or have a recurring deposit of at least S$3,500 each month, and to get an HSBC credit card.
As an Advance Banking customer, you will also enjoy perpetual annual fee waiver on this credit card!
Is cashback on all purchases too good to be true?
Fortunately for us, it’s not too good to be true. It is very real. You will be earning cashback on:
- ALL eligible retail purchases* – this includes purchases made locally, overseas and online.
- Insurance payments
- Recurring bill payments
So, whether you spend S$5 or S$5,000, you’ll earn cashback on your grocery spends, your school fees, the chilli crab meal at Jumbo, your new wardrobe from Zalora and so on.
*some exclusions apply
How does the HSBC Advance Card compare with other credit cards?
|Credit Cards/Criteria||HSBC Advance Card||AMEX True Cashback Card||Standard Chartered Unlimited Cashback Card|
|Cashback Category||All retail transactions||All retail transactions||All retail transactions|
|Cashback||At least 1.5% and up to 3.5%||1.5%||1.5%|
|Minimum spend||No minimum spend||No minimum spend||No minimum spend|
|Cap||Up to S$125||No cap||No cap|
||S$171.20 (1 year annual fee waiver)||S$192.60 (2 years annual fee waiver)|
If you boil the comparison down to how much cashback you get, HSBC Advance pretty much knocks the competitors out of the park 2-fold. It’s a ratio of 3.5 : 1.5. But, it is also the only card on our list that has a cap on how much cashback you can earn each month. With AMEX and Standard Chartered cashback cards, you earn as you spend but with HSBC, you earn up to a certain amount no matter how much you spend.
But, does the higher cashback offered even out the cap on your spends?
Let’s find out:
|Credit Cards/Spends||HSBC Advance||AMEX True Cashback||Standard Chartered Unlimited Cashback|
|Insurance Premium Payment||S$300||S$300||Not eligible|
|Other retail spends||S$450||S$450||S$750|
|Cashback earned||Advance Customers – S$80.50
Non-Advance Customers – S$57.50
Looks like HSBC Advance has an upper hand even with a cap.The beauty of cashback cards with no minimum spend is that it’s great for people who cannot consistently spend a lot in single category each month. Why do I say this? Because if you consistently spend several hundred dollars every month on things like dining, online shopping or groceries, then you could be better off using cards like the CIMB Visa Signature, BOC Family Card, or the Citi Cash Back Card.
With the HSBC Advance Card, there’s no minimum spend to worry about, there’s a sizeable amount you can spend (up to S$2,800 for non-Advance banking customers) before the cap kicks in. That’s pretty good!
And speaking of sizeable amounts, some of us prefer using interest-free instalment payment plans to help manage our cash flow. Just remember that these expenses are not eligible for cashback on any credit card, HSBC Advance included.
How we feel about this card
All-in-all, this card for is definitely a Yay for us! Yes, the card comes with a cap, but it offers you the opportunity to earn cashback at a higher rate on ALL purchases compared to most other credit cards out there under this category, even with a cap.
If you’re a moderate spender and don’t splurge on your credit card, the cap makes no difference to you. Unless you’re willing to go all out with no budget and spend as you please, in that case, use the Advance Card first, then swap it out for a different card.
Card Type: Cashback
Annual Fee: S$192.60 (1-year waiver)
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- Up to 3.5% cashback on all purchases
- No minimum spend
- Perpetual fee waiver for Advance Banking Customers
- Cashback capped at S$125 for HSBC Advance Banking Customers and S$70 for other customers