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If you’re studying in Singapore and need to choose the best credit card, you’re in the right place. Use this full guide to 2021’s top student credit cards in Singapore to find your perfect match.
We’ll also introduce the Wise card and multi-currency account as an alternative - and a smarter way to save on international fees - for people studying or spending abroad.
Getting a student credit card can mean you earn rewards, discounts and perks on spending you’d be doing anyway. You may also be able to begin building a credit history - which will be useful down the line if you need to access further loans and financing after finishing your studies.
Check the eligibility for each card carefully, as banks set their own terms which can vary. Then, choose the card which looks like it’ll suit you best based on your normal spending patterns.
Student credit cards usually come with relatively low fixed fees, and a correspondingly low credit limit. This makes it easier to manage your money without accidentally getting into debt you can’t pay back. However, there are still fees to know about - and some of these can be significant. It’s common for cards to have a 100 SGD late fee, for example, which can really set you back if you’re not expecting it.
Before we get stuck into the best available student credit cards in Singapore, it’s worth considering if a credit card is your best option - or if you might find it easier to meet your financial needs with an alternative. For example, you might choose:
- A debit card linked to a checking account if you want to manage your money without using credit facilities
- A prepaid card if you want to be able to precisely control your budget
- A multi-currency account and linked card if you spend in foreign currencies often
If you’ll be transacting in foreign currencies, sending or receiving international payments, you may be better off with the Wise card and multi-currency account.
Wise accounts allow you to hold 50+ currencies, receive payments like a local in a range of major currencies, and convert currencies when you need to using the real mid-market exchange rate. All in all, that can mean you save significantly on fees whenever you’re spending overseas.
The Wise card is a debit card, not a credit card - making it easier to budget and control your spending, with no late fees or interest to worry about. See if you can save with Wise today.
Let’s dive right into the top student cards you’ll want to check out.
DBS has a wide range of credit and debit cards. The Live Fresh Student Card¹ is the recommended choice for Singapore citizens and permanent residents who are studying at an eligible education institute, and who don’t have any existing credit facility with DBS/POSB. Let’s look at the benefits and rewards - as well as the fees you need to know about.
The DBS Live Fresh Student Card is Singapore’s first eco-friendly credit card, made from over 95% recycled plastic. Even better, you can get cashback on your spending, with an extra boost of additional green cashback when you ride public transport, eat at eco-eateries or shop with environmentally responsible DBS partners.
Earn 5% cashback with partners including McDonalds, McDelivery, Starbucks, Golden Village, Netflix and Spotify, and an extra 5% green cashback on spend with a changing selection of your favourite eco-friendly retailers, restaurants and transport providers.
This card is available to Singapore citizens and PRs, aged 21 to 27, attending an eligible course at one of the following institutions:
- National University of Singapore (NUS)
- Nanyang Technological University (NTU)
- Singapore Management University (SMU)
- Singapore Institute of Management (SIM)
- Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD)
- Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT)
- Singapore University of Social Sciences (SUSS)
- Nanyang Polytechnic (NYP)
- Ngee Ann Polytechnic (NP)
- Temasek Polytechnic (TP)
- Singapore Polytechnic (SP)
- Republic Polytechnic (RP)
The DBS Live Fresh Student Card has a credit limit of 500 SGD, with an annual fee of 192.60 SGD, waived for 5 years. It’s important to note that there are high late fees of 100 SGD on late payments over 200 SGD in value, and a 28.6% finance charge.
The Maybank student credit card is called the eVibes card². This is a good choice if you’ll use your credit card regularly across a broad range of spending categories thanks to the cashback rebates which are available on every dollar you spend. It’s also an option for NSFs waiting to enter tertiary education courses, and you can sign up - with a little help from a parent or guardian - even if you’re under 21.
At the time of writing the Maybank eVibes student credit card comes with a nice bonus of 50 SGD cash credit for new account holders. That’s in addition to the 1% rebate on all spending, and up to 7% off accommodation bookings with Agoda.
We’ll dive into the fee and eligibility detail in a second - but this is also a card which is available for younger students and NSFs waiting to get started on their education courses, making it a hot pick for many Singaporeans and PRs.
Maybank has a slightly different approach to some other banks when it comes to fees and eligibility. Firstly there’s no annual fee for the eVibes card - just a 5 SGD quarterly fee which is waived as long as you use your card within that quarter.
The Maybank eVibes card is also available to a wide range of applicants. You’ll need to be:
- A Singapore citizen or PR
- Aged 18 - 30
- Enrolled in, or planning to attend a course at LASALLE, NAFA, NIE, NP, NTU, NUS, NYP, RP, SIT, SMU, SP, SUSS, SUTD or TP
- Earning under 30,000 SGD annually
- A new customer to Maybank credit services
The CIMB AWSM Card³ is available to students, NSFs and salaried employees from 18 and upwards. That could mean that you can get this card when you’re studying and continue to use it once you move into the workforce if it still suits your needs. There’s a decent cashback on select categories - places you’ll be spending money already - and some opening promos which are worth checking out, too.
Earn 1% cashback, uncapped, on spending across the dining, entertainment, online shopping and telco categories. Precisely where you’ll likely be spending most of your money while you’re studying! There are also changing promotional offers for new cardholders, including bonus rewards, which can make this card a contender if you’ll mainly be spending on essentials and entertainment.
You can apply for this card as long as you’re 18 or older, a Singaporean citizen or PR, and not already a CIMB credit card holder. There are different eligibility requirements depending on your category, which you’ll want to check out. For example, if you’re applying as a salaried employee you’ll need to meet an annual income requirement which is based on your age at the point of applying.
There’s no annual membership fee to worry about - although, as with any credit card, there are other charges you’ll need to check out thoroughly before you sign up⁴.
Standard Chartered provides the Manhattan $500 Card for students and first jobbers in Singapore. You can apply up to the age of 32 to get 0.25% cashback and a 500 SGD monthly credit limit. While this is not the most generous card when it comes to cashback - or even the credit you’re extended - it can be a good way to build a credit score as your access to funds will be limited, making it harder to get into card debt.
The Standard Chartered Manhattan $500 Card comes with 0.25% cashback on your spend - although because the credit limit is set at 500 SGD, that does mean you can’t earn more than 1.25 SGD/month. Cashback applies on all retail spend.
Where this card really has merit is for people who want to build a history of responsible credit, with a low credit limit they’ll pay back every month. Pay back in full every time to limit the fees you’re exposed to, and build your credit score as you go.
Apply from age 18 to 32, and as a student or working adult. The exact documentation, eligibility and rules will depend on your status, so you’ll need to double check the full details as they apply to you, online. There’s an annual fee of 32.10 SGD after the first year, and a late fee of 100 SGD - making this a card to remember to pay back in full, and on time.
Citi’s student credit card⁶ is a good option for people looking to earn flexible reward points for their purchases, with no minimum income and a really good range of eligible institutions students can be enrolled in. Use reward points to pay for purchases, or to book travel and experiences for a discount.
The Citi Clear Card repays holders with a reward point for every dollar spend, which you can then redeem against future treats or purchases. Citi also has good opening cash back boosts, and a range of partnerships with on and offline retailers where you can get deeper discounts when you use your card.
To get the Citibank Clear Card you need to be 18 or over, a Singapore citizen or PR, and not a Citi primary cardholder already.
The eligibility for the Citi student card features some educational institutions not covered by other major banks, making this a card with broad appeal. To apply for a card you can be enrolled in any of a long list of eligible institutions:
- University of Chicago Booth School of Business
- GIST-TUM Asia
- S P Jain
- Nanyang Polytechnic
- Ngee Ann Polytechnic
- Republic Polytechnic
- Singapore Polytechnic
- Temasek Polytechnic
- EDHEC-Risk Institute
- Sorbonne-Assas International Law School
There’s no minimum income requirement, but there is an annual fee of 29.96 SGD applied after the first year.
This Bank of China Singapore student card⁷ is a partnership with ecommerce platform Qoo 10, which lets cardholders earn rewards when spending in person, online, and on entertainment. You’ll earn rewards which can be used as a rebate against future Qoo10 shopping - perfect if you’re already a fan.
The Qoo10 card might be for you if you already love to shop on Qoo10 for your favourite online bargains. The rewards and rebates you earn on your regular spending can be put towards essentials and treats for yourself from Qoo10 retailers all around the world.
You can apply for this card from 21 years old, with no minimum income for the BOC Qoo10 Platinum Mastercard. A minimum income of 30,000 SGD does apply for the World Mastercard. If you’re aged 18 or over, you can also be a supplementary card holder - handy if your parent or guardian already has this card.
There’s an annual fee of 32.10 SGD to pay, which is waived for the first year, as well as a relatively standard selection of other fees such as interest and late payment charges. Check out the full details online before you sign up⁸.
Getting a student credit card can be a great way to earn cash back, discounts and rewards, as well as helping you to build a solid credit history. Check out our top picks when you’re shopping around - and don’t forget to look at the Wise card and multi-currency account too, as a smart way to manage your international spending for less.
- DBS Live Fresh Student Card | Credit Card | DBS Singapore
- Maybank eVibes Card
- CIMB AWSM Card | Unlimited Cashback Credit Cards
- CIMB Cards | Fees & Charges
- MANHATTAN $500 Card
- Student Credit Card | Citi Clear Card
- BOC Qoo10 Credit Cards | Bank of China @ Singapore
- Credit Cards Charges | Bank of China @ Singapore
Sources checked on 31 August 2021
This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication. The information in this publication does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from Wise Payments Limited or its affiliates. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.
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