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One of Singapore’s oldest banks, OCBC, is offering a travel credit card with reward miles on local and foreign transactions. It's called the OCBC 90°N Card with Mastercard, and you can use it in Singapore and abroad wherever Mastercard is accepted. And with every purchase made, and specifically travel bookings, you can get OCBC’s unique Travel$ that you can use towards future travel.
While the miles can seem exciting, the OCBC 90°N Card card also carries quite a few fees along with it that can dampen any holiday. With annual fees, cash advance fees, foreign transaction fees and even fees if you shop at foreign online stores, your travels and shopping can end up being more expensive than you expected.
|If you love to travel, but not all the fees, take a look at Wise’s borderless account which is 7x cheaper than the banks without all the excessive fees.|
The OCBC 90°N Card works like a traditional credit card, in that you are given a credit line that you can make transactions and purchases against. As long as you pay off your full balance every month, you won’t be hit with an interest charge. If you pay less than the full amount on the card, your balance carries over with interest.
The OCBC 90°N Card is promoted as a card that rewards you with miles towards traveling, but the actual fees – even for foreign transactions – aren’t any less than the usual amount for credit cards. Let’s take a deeper look at the fees that come with the OCBC 90°N Card¹
The OCBC 90°N Card has an annual fee of SGD 192.60 per year. Your first year is waived when you sign up. You will need to start paying the annual fee starting in year 2, but you will be given a bonus of 10,000 miles with each renewal. Any supplemental cards have an annual fee of SGD 96.30 which is also free for the first year.
The OCBC 90°N Card has an annual interest rate of 26.88% per year. If the full payment is not made by the monthly payment due date, you will also be charged an additional SGD 2.50 a month.
Forgot about your payment due date? If you miss your payment date, you will automatically be charged a late payment fee of SGD 100.
Every credit card has a minimum monthly repayment amount that needs to be paid by the due date stated on your account statement. If you are within your credit limit but are carrying a balance, your minimum monthly payment will be 3% of the total balance plus any overdue amounts. You can expect your minimum monthly payment amount will be at least SGD 50 if your balance is greater than SGD 50.
Similar to other credit cards out there, any purchases done in a non-SGD or non-USD currency will first be converted into USD and then into SGD. The exchange rate you are getting on these conversions is the rate set by Mastercard itself, which is usually not in your favor. Unlike Wise that uses the real mid-market exchange rate like the one you see on Google, Mastercard sets its own exchange rate to be able to take a cut of every transaction.
Although the OCBC 90°N Card is a travel credit card, you will be hit with a number of fees when you make purchases abroad. For every purchase abroad, you will get charged:
- 1% fee by Mastercard
- 2.25% administrative fee by OCBC
In total, you will receive an additional charge of 3.25% on every transaction you make outside Singapore. On top of that, if you shop online at any foreign store, you will also be charged an additional 1% by Mastercard.
If you’re looking to take money out at an ATM, you can do so against the credit line you have with the OCBC 90°N Card- but it is not cheap. You will first be charged an interest rate of 28.92% per annum on the amount you’ve taken out until it is completely paid off, which is compounded if you don’t meet the monthly interest charge in full on the card. You are also automatically charged the greater of SGD 15 or 6% of the amount taken out. For example, if you withdraw SGD 20, you will be hit with SGD 15 as a fee. But if you withdraw SGD 200, you will be charged the 8% fee of SGD 16.
While there is no set fee for overdrawing on your account, if you go over your credit limit you will be charged for the full overdrawn amount on the next account statement payment. This means that your minimum monthly payment for the next month will be the standard 3% of the total balance, plus the total amount that is above your credit line and any additional overdue balances.
To be able to apply for the OCBC 90°N Card , applicants must be at least 21 years old and hold Singaporean citizenship, be a Permanent Resident, or hold an E-Pass/ S-Pass.
You must also meet certain income requirements. If you are Singaporean or a Singapore Permanent Resident, your annual income must be SGD 30,000. For Foreigners, that amount is bumped up to SGD 45,000 per year.
OCBC makes it easy to apply for this credit card and get instant approval by using MyInfo. You can also apply without MyInfo, using the website or heading down to an OCBC branch.²
The OCBC 90°N Card can be used anywhere in the world for transactions at merchants that accept Mastercard. So if you are reserving a hotel, or getting dinner or buying tickets to a show, you can do it all with this OCBC card. As you’ll see below, there are additional incentives for using your card for specific purchases like hotel bookings on Expedia or Agoda or towards airlines. You can also gain miles and benefits as you spend locally in Singapore and abroad – which makes this a card that isn’t just for travel, but also for day to day spending.
One of the top-selling points about the OCBC 90°N Card is the fact that you can earn miles quite quickly as you spend using the card. Your miles don’t expire, you can redeem whenever you like and there are no fees for converting your miles.
How it works is that every SGD you spend gains you Travel$, and each Travel$ equals 1 mile. The Travel$ is only available with OCBC 90°N Card and can be redeemed towards flights, rebates, rewards in the catalog or used as cashback at 1.2%.³
Here is how you can earn miles⁴:
|Type of expense||Miles accrued for each dollar spent*|
|SGD 1 spend on flights||4 miles|
|SGD 1 spend on accommodation (using Agoda, Expedia, Airbnb etc.)||8 miles|
|SGD 1 spend on entertainment (Netflix, Spotify or DFS/Shilla at Changi)||4 miles|
|SGD 1 spent in foreign currencies **||4 miles|
|SGD 1 spent in foreign currencies ***||2.1 miles|
|SGD 1 spent locally in SGD||1.2 miles|
*Promotions may vary when you apply
**Until February 29, 2020
***Starting March 1, 2020
You can also earn discounts at Millennium Hotels and Emirates flight bookings as well when you use your OCBC 90°N Card.
Unlike other travel credit cards, travel insurance is not available through the OCBC 90°N Card. If it is an important factor for you, take a look at other bank credit cards which allow for personal accident or lost baggage insurance.
The OCBC 90°N Card unlocks privileges to Mastercard’s lounge, retail and spa offers through LoungeKey. Once you get your OCBC 90°N Card card, you can register for LoungeKey and gain access to over 1000 lounges across the globe.
But unlike other luxury or travel credit cards, access to the lounge is not free. Each visit to the lounge will cost you USD 32 per person per visit. This goes for you, as well as any guests you would like to invite. You can redeem offers for retail shopping and the spa through the LoungeKey app, and present it to the cashier at the time of purchase.
OCBC 90°N Card offers the reach of Mastercard around the world, but that doesn’t mean they make it cheaper for you. Instead, traveling gets more expensive with large annual fees, high interest charges and even more fees just to get cash while abroad. Put a weak exchange rate set by Mastercard, and your travels just got more costly than you thought.
But traveling abroad does not need to mean you have to shell out extra money. Wise believes it's time to say goodbye to expensive travel credit cards and money changers, and say hello to a free account, access to 150+ currencies and the real exchange rate.
Get your Wise borderless card - a multi-currency account that is on average 7 times cheaper than banks
With Wise’s Mastercard borderless account, your abroad spending is not penalised with foreign transaction or annual fees. You have one cheap currency conversion fee when you load your account in one of the 40+ currencies offered.
Or you can use the card on the go and just pay the low currency conversion fee as you shop. And sometimes you really need cash on hand while you travel, so Wise make sure you are not charged for any cash withdrawals from your account upto SGD 350 within 30 days. Plus, you’ll never pay any additional fees if you shop on foreign online stores like Alibaba, Amazon, Qoo10 or Grab. Create a free account and see how Singaporeans and expats save money with Wise.
Sources used for this article:
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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