The OCBC 365 Credit Card has been one of the mainstays in Heartland Boy’s staple of cash back credit cards. Recently, OCBC announced some key revisions to its beloved OCBC 365 Credit Card which would take effect from 1 Oct 2018 onwards. On its website where the online application form can be found, the changes have been nicely summarised in a table. It makes for easy comparison between the current and the revised cashback for the various categories. Upon deeper analysis of the terms and conditions as well as the FAQ, the changes are not as straightforward as they appear. Heartland Boy reviewed the changes to the OCBC 365 Credit Card and explained why you should take note of them.
Here are the positive changes that OCBC 365 Credit Card holders should be rejoicing about.
1. Dining Now Earn 6% Cashback Anytime, Anywhere
When it comes to dining, there is now NO discrimination on the day and country that this is taking place. This means that dining at restaurants- whether locally or overseas, whether weekdays or weekends, will all earn a constant 6% cashback. This is a definite improvement because 6% cash back on dining makes it very competitive. This is on top of the usual dining promotions that OCBC has with some of the partner restaurants. Furthermore, to keep up with current dining trends, OCBC has thrown in a 6% cashback for online food delivery as well. To maximise the cashback from merchants such as Deliveroo and Foodpanda, Heartland Boy recommends that you first shop through the Shopback platform. This combination of Shopback and OCBC 365 Credit Card means that the aggregated cashback is bumped up to a range of 7.5% to 14%* (for new customers of Foodpanda). More excuses to binge on Netflix, Disney+ and food deliveries over the weekends!
2. Online Groceries Now Earn 3% Cashback Too
Besides online food delivery that now qualifies for cashback, OCBC has also added online groceries to the list as well. This is great because with a baby on the way, Heartland Boy intends to order discounted diapers from online grocers such as Redmart and Honestbee. No need to lug these heavy groceries from store to home. Once again, a combination of Shopback and OCBC Credit Card will yield cashback of 4% – 10.5%- which is a very rewarding benefit.
Heartland Boy also noticed that the 3% cashback for groceries has now been extended to overseas grocery shopping as well. For families who often make weekend jaunts across the causeway, this could be a useful feature although it could be negated somewhat by the foreign transaction fees (2.8%).
3. Land Transport Now Earn 3% Cashback
With all these start-ups disrupting the old economy, it is little wonder that OCBC felt compelled to extend a 3% cashback to all online private car hires (Grab), taxis (Comfort Delgro) and bicycles (Ofo). This implies that any booking made via the OCBC 365 Credit Card will earn you a 3% cash rebate.
Bonus Tip: Shopback has welcomed back Grab to its family of partner merchants. Every ride made via the Shopback platform earns the user $0.20 per trip.
Do note that if you want to earn higher cashback for Grab rides, you can use your Standard Chartered Unlimited Cashback Credit Card. You will earn 15% cashback on each Grab ride and GrabPay, capped at $30 per month and only if you incur a minimum of $900 spend on your credit card in a calendar month. Unfortunately, EZ-Link and Transit Link transactions will be excluded from 3% cashback. Instead, they will be awarded with the standard 0.3% cashback, capped at S$0.60 per calendar month.
The cashback for Land Transport is also extended to all over-the-counter (‘OTC’) overseas transactions. This means that if you are at a foreign country purchasing train tickets or long-distance buses, you will earn 3% cashback as well. Some examples would be the coach rides that Heartland Boy took from London to Oxford and Los Angeles to Las Vegas.
4. Recurring Utilities Bill Now Earn 3% Cashback
OCBC 365 Credit Card holders will be pleased to learn that a generous 3% cash rebate will be extended to recurring electricity bills. Do note that you have to apply to charge your recurring utility bill on your OCBC 365 Credit Card to earn the 3% cashback. In addition, it can also help the card holder to meet the revised minimum spend required. (more on this later)
Examples of power service providers are Sembcorp Power, Keppel Electric etc. Heartland Boy also contacted both OCBC and Singapore Power customer service officers to confirm that Singapore Power is NOT eligible for the 3% bonus cashback. This is because Singapore Power only allows recurring bills to be charged to the POSB Everyday Credit Card. While this is unfortunate, Heartland Boy like to take this opportunity to urge all households to shop around for a new electricity retailer given the launch of the Open Electricity Market.
Here are the not so positive changes that OCBC 365 Credit Card holders should definitely take note.
1. Online Spend No Longer Eligible For Bonus Cashback
Previously, a standard 3% cashback is awarded for all online spending. This has now disappeared into thin air. To aggravate the issue, this has not been communicated effectively to the card holders because of the manner the information had been artfully presented in the table. Perhaps, aggrieved online shoppers can clutch at the small consolation of 3% cashback still being retained for online spend made at travel merchants (airlines, hotels, online attractions booking engines etc)
2. No Bonus Cashback For CDA Trustees On Medical Spend
Before 1st October 2018, a 3% cashback is given to OCBC 365 principal card members who are also OCBC Child Development Account (‘CDA’) Trustees for on-site transactions made at all hospitals, medical and dental clinics in Singapore. In Heartland Boy’s opinion, this has always been a gamechanger that differentiated OCBC’s CDA from the other local banks. By removing the bonus cashback, the competitive advantage is definitely lost. Heartland Boy is no longer compelled to open a CDA account with OCBC when his child is born.
3. Minimum Spend Revised Upwards to $800
This has to be the biggest negative amongst all the changes. To even qualify for the bonus cashback aforementioned in the article, one has to charge a minimum of $800 to the OCBC 365 Credit Card per calendar month. This is a higher threshold from the previous $600 requirement. If you fail to meet the minimum spend, all cashback awarded gets downgraded to 0.3% instead. In addition, despite the increase in cashback awarded for some categories, the cashback is still capped at $80 per calendar month.
For those who have been paying for your utility bills, online groceries and private transportation cards via separate credit cards, perhaps it is time to consolidate them all onto the OCBC 365 Credit Card. Otherwise, here are some helpful tips to meet the minimum spend on your credit card.
Readers should also not confuse this with the $500 minimum spend required to earn a bonus 0.3% interest rate for your deposits in the OCBC 360 Account.
Thoughts On The Changes To OCBC 365 Credit Card
By raising the minimum spending and including more popular merchants, it is patently obvious that OCBC wants you to do everything with them. It seeks to be the default credit card for dining, groceries, petrol purchases (especially Caltex), handphone and utility bills etc. Heartland Boy’s view is that this is a rather risky manoeuvre with the potential to backfire for OCBC.
First thing first, cashback is always a nice feature to have. However, when there are so many tiers of cashback for the different categories, it can become mentally exhausting to track the spending. Secondly, Heartland Boy has already witnessed on forums about a group of disenchanted card holders who are deflated by the higher minimum spending required. What may happen instead is that this group gives up their OCBC 365 Credit Cards and also uproot their savings from the OCBC 360 Accounts. After all, Heartland Boy’s analysis shows that OCBC 360 Account is no longer one of the savings accounts that provides the highest interest rates.
Most importantly, Heartland Boy will not encourage anyone to coerce themselves to spend an additional $200 more per month to obtain the cashback- which is capped at $80 per month anyway. In the long run, it is better to be thrifty and save more money instead.
Heartland Boy is probably not going to cancel the card, especially since he just had his annual fee waived successfully. He thinks that with a new mouth to feed in the household, it should be quite easy to meet the higher minimum spend required.
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