Compilation of Hacks to meet the minimum credit card spending

By The Boy Who Procrastinates - September 26, 2018

Do you sometimes find yourself coming up short of hitting the minimum monthly spending requirement for your credit card? If so, you might have been missing out on earning the credit card rebate and/or interest from your savings account. 

Following from the previous discussion on Active Savings Accounts, the interest received from fulfilling the credit card spending criterion can be rather rewarding. For example, charging $500 of qualifying retail transactions to the Bonus$aver card, along with $100,000 balance in your Standard Chartered Bonus$aver account would earn an interest of approximately $65 in a given month, which is equivalent to 13% of the amount spent. This has not taken into account the interest earned from completing other prerequisites like salary crediting and payment of bills.

Once in a while, I do find myself coming up short of hitting the minimum credit card spending, usually by a mere $50 to $100. It doesn't help that the hawker stalls that I usually dine at only accept cash payment. And yet on the other hand, I find it wasteful to purchase items that I have no use of, just for the sole intention of hitting the minimum spending. 

Unwilling to give up on the potential interest that is within grasp, I would comb for "hacks" on forums, as well as through discussion with friends. For that reason, this article seeks to consolidate and compile them for ease of reference in future. 

Purchasing Gift Cards / Vouchers

If there are particular retailers that you frequent, it is probably a good idea to purchase its vouchers / gift cards for future use. From supermarket chain to online shopping platform, there is a wide array of merchants which you can pick up these stores of value from. However, one should be mindful of the expiry date on these branded currencies (usually up to a year validity).

Without further ado, here are some of the common ones:

  • Supermarket Chain vouchers: Since there's a NTUC branch that is conveniently located within walking distance from where I stay, it certainly comes as no surprise that one of my favourite "hacks" is to purchase its vouchers towards the end of the month. Simply inform the cashier (usually the express counter) that you would like to purchase NTUC vouchers and make payment using your credit card. Alternatively, you can get your hands on Diary Farm vouchers which can be used at Giant, Cold Storage, Jasons, Market Place, Guardian or 7-11 outlets. 
  • Watson Gift Cards: It probably makes sense for fans of healthcare and skin care product to purchase Watson gift cards for future use. You can pick this up in one of the retail branches and the minimum and maximum amount for each top-up are $10 and $200 respectively. 
  • Changi Gift Cards: Avid travellers would be keen to get the Changi gift cards which can be used for purchases within the airport premises. The card can be loaded with any value between $20 to $990, in denominations of $10. 
  • IKEA Gift Cards: This is perhaps one of the essential gift card for homeowners who linger in IKEA for home ideas and have a penchant for assembling their own furniture. These cards are available in any amount from $20 to $1,000 and it is also accepted at the IKEA restaurants which would be an ideal stored-value card for foodies who crave for their signature meatballs. 
  • Qoo10 Gift Cards: Online shoppers can consider getting the Qoo10 gift card from 7-11 or directly from the site itself. 
  • Spotify Gift Cards: Similarly, music lovers can purchase the Spotify gift card from 7-11 or online from Spotify for the renewal of their premium subscription. 
Qoo10 and Spotify Gift Cards found in 7-11 outlets

For those who planned on getting their mitts on CapitaVoucher, you should be reminded that only cash and American Express CapitaCard are accepted. 

Making a top-up

Apart from purchasing gift cards / vouchers, you can also give thought to making a top-up to your digital payment accounts or to the stores of value typically found in your wallet.

  • Ezlink Card: This transport card needs no introduction since most of us should have an Ezlink card in our wallets. Simply top up your Ezlink card via credit cards using the General Ticketing Machine found at any MRT stations. 
  • Kopitiam Card: If you frequently dine at Kopitiam, you are likely aware that you can now do a cashless top up for your Kopitiam card via credit cards at the Kopitiam Top-up Machine. However, it is worth noting that an extra 2% of the total top-up amount is levied as the credit card administrative fee. There is a minimum top-up of $10 for each transaction and the maximum amount you can top up at a time is $50. 
  • Starbucks Card: Coffee enthusiasts who habitually get their morning fix of caffeine, can top up their Starbucks cards at any participating store. 
  • Grabpay: For those who routinely travelled via Grab, topping up their Grabpay wallets would be an apparent option. In addition to paying for Grab rides, approximately 200 other third-party merchants also accept payment via this digital payment app. 
  • ActiveSG: Fitness junkies can consider topping up their ActiveSG eWallets via the mobile app to enjoy access to a comprehensive range of facilities such as swimming pools, ActiveSG gyms, studio programmes and badminton courts. You should note that there is a minimum top-up of $10 for each transaction and the maximum balance is $1,000 at any point in time. 

Spending for the future 

Alternatively, you can stock up on the the necessary household items or bring future spending to the present.

  • Stock up on essential and non-perishable items: For those who prefer to receive tangible items in exchange for your credit card spending, consider stocking up on the essential household products such as toilet rolls, silverware, dishware, towels, etc. On the assumption that you do not intend to consume within a short span of time, try to avoid obtaining perishable items such as fruits, meat and diary products.  
  • Prepay bills: One of the commonly known "hacks" is to prepay your utility or telco bills. For utility bills, you can prepay with your credit cards at SP customer service centres located at Toa Payoh HDB Hub, Woodlands Civic Centre and 8 Cross Street Manulife Tower (formerly PWC Building). For telco bills, you can simply prepay electronically, via the mobile apps or drop by one of the retail outlets. Given the indispensability of such expenses, I would regard it to be arguably one of the more useful tips. 
  • Buy gifts in advance: Do you have a gift that you have been wanting to prepare, be it a birthday present for your close friends or for the upcoming Christmas gift exchange? In such instance, perhaps you can start to look out for those gifts in advance. 
  • Book your holiday trip early: If you have been organising a vacation trip with your loved ones, maybe you could book the hotel/flight earlier or break down the travel expense, such as purchasing of train tickets separately. 

Eligibility of transactions

Given the disparity in the terms and conditions for each credit cards, it is imperative to read up on that of the credit cards that you are using and understand what constitutes qualifying retail transactions. To illustrate this, many financial institutions have excluded the topping-up of Ezlink cards as qualifying spending (SCB Bonus$aver Card and UOB One Card for example).

Penny Wise, Pound Foolish

While it may be shrewd to maximize the interest rate on savings accounts or rebate/cashback earned on credit card spending, I would not unreservedly recommend spending more than you need in order to earn higher interest. 

When all is said and done, it is of utmost importance to understand whether you are spending wisely. Splurging unnecessarily for the sole purpose of hitting minimum credit card spending can be penny wise, pound foolish, leading to a downward spiral of poor financial decisions.

If your spending pattern has consistently remained below the stipulated amount by a sizeable margin, it is probably an indication to review your expenditure and switch to a savings account without rigid spending condition. Aside from that, it is timely to check out other credit cards with lower minimum spending requirement.

Comparison of Active Savings Accounts with the exclusion of credit card spending requirement

If meeting the monthly credit card spending of $500 is deemed to be demanding, it may be sensible to just forgo earning the associated interest completely. This is also what I have to give up every now and then when my credit card bill falls significantly behind the requirement in a given month. 

Let's examine the scenario when the credit card spending requirement is removed from consideration and have a comparison across the active savings accounts.

By excluding the credit card spending prerequisite, the overview of bonus interest rate across the 6 active savings accounts appears to have changed significantly. DBS Multiplier Account now leads the pack at 2% interest rate, mainly due to its flexibility around the credit card spending and salary crediting as long as the total eligible transaction amount falls within one of the transaction tiers. 

OCBC 360 Account trailed behind at 1.55%, largely contributed by the higher interest rate (1.2%) earned from the completion of salary crediting condition. 

As the primary condition to earn interest rate on UOB One Account is contingent on credit card spending, failure to meet this basic criterion will result in earning only the base interest rate of 0.05%. 

The bonus interest rate for Maybank SaveUp Account is calculated on the assumption that only 2 criteria are fulfilled with the exclusion of the credit card spending prerequisite. Should you be able to complete any 1 of the remaining 6 categories of products/services, the bonus interest rate will rise to approximately 3%. 

Ultimately, the aforementioned "hacks" are supposed to complement your spending if you are close to meeting the minimum credit card spending by a narrow margin.

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Disclaimer: Kindly note that this is not a sponsored post. The author is in no way affiliated with any of the aforementioned merchants and does not receive any form of remuneration for this post. The Boy who Procrastinates has compiled the information for his own reference, with the hope that it will benefit others as well.

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