This is a guest post by Mike, the owner and operator of CreditCardForum. There you will see his ratings of the best credit cards for 2012 (for U.S. residents). What follows are 5 of his favorite cash back cards for people who live in Malaysia.
For those who carry a balance, credit card rewards should not be a priority. Why? Because the interest rate you are paying is likely many times higher than the value of your cash back or points. So if you carry credit card debt, your focus should be on finding the lowest APR possible.
However for those who pay off their entire credit card bill every month (and therefore pay no interest) then reward programs are a lucrative proposition. It’s like getting free money. But which programs pay the most? Well here are 5 credit cards available in Malaysia that give you rewards worth up to 5%.
1. Citibank Cash Back Platinum Card
I wish I lived in Malaysia so I could take advantage of this offer, because Citi doesn’t offer anything this good in the United States!
You earn 5% cash back on petrol (or as I call it, gas) spending of up to RM600 per month. For groceries, you earn 2% on up to RM3,000 spending each month at selected stores (Servay, Econsave, Carrefour, Tesco, Cold Storage, Everise, Giant, and Mydin). There’s also a 2% rebate at some pharmacies (Caring, Guardian, and Watson) and CitiBank online payments for Celcom, DiGi, Maxis bills. Everything else will earn you a flat 0.3%.
However the downside is that this card will cost you RM195 per year. So if you don’t spend much, it might not be worth it. The income requirement is RM40,000 per year.
2. HSBC Visa Signature
This is a more exclusive card, since your annual income must be at least RM100,000. If you earn that much, this card is a good deal because there is an annual fee waiver as long as you make at least 12 swipes per year.
The rewards programs will give you 5 points per RM at participating grocery stores, shopping malls, and department stores (on spending of up to RM1,000 per month). You also earn 5x points for all dining and hotel purchases made overseas (up to RM1,500 per month). For all other spending it is 1 point.
With this card your points can be redeemed for different things, ranging from travel to merchandise. Depending on what you choose, it might be possible to get a high enough value so your 5x points = 5% cash back.
3. Maybankard 2 Gold Card
This is an interesting offer because you actually get 2 credit cards; an American Express and a Visa or MasterCard. There is a lifetime fee waive and the income requirements are more reasonable at RM30,000.
The MasterCard is not very exciting, because it will only earn 1x TreatPoints for every Ringgit spent. However the American Express will give you 5x TreatPoints. Best of all, during weekends the American Express card will also give you 5% cash back (up to RM50 per month).
4. Giant-Citibank Credit Card
If you shop a lot at Giant, this credit card offer is worth considering. The income requirement is low at RM 24,000 however the annual fee is relatively high at RM120.00. So make sure you study the cash back program closely to see whether or not it will be worth it for your spending.
- Tier 1: It your total monthly spending (at Giant + elsewhere) is under 800RM then you will only earn 2.5% on the purchases from Giant and 1% at participating restaurants and utilities.
- Tier 2: If your total monthly spending is 800RM and above, this is one of the best cash back credit cards around. It will give you a full 5% cash back at Giant stores and 2% on the restaurant and utility categories.
However the biggest disadvantage with this program is that your maximum rebate at Giant stores is RM 400 for Tier 1 and 600 for Tier 2. Your total annual rebates are also capped at a maximum of 600.
5. OCBC Titanium Master Card
Just like the HSBC Visa Signature, this credit card is free as long as you make at least 12 purchases per year. The income requirement is RM36,000 but I have read reviews from customers which much higher incomes who for some reasons, don’t get approved for it. So it sounds like this card is not the easiest to get.
This has one of the best cash back programs on the market because it’s based on categories, instead of specific merchants. You will get 5% cash back at grocery stores, restaurants, petrol stations, and utility bills. Everything else will be a flat 1% rebate.
With this generous program, it comes as no surprise that there is a limit to how much you can earn; a max of RM50 per month and 600 per year.
I own and operate one of the most popular credit card websites in the United States, so I know the reward programs quite well! We do have some excellent 5% cash back card offers in the US, but nothing that compares to the above credit cards! So if you live in Malaysia, consider yourself lucky!