There has been 1 card that hasn’t been receiving the online attention that I think it deserves – the amaze card available on the Instarem mobile app. Launched in Aug 2021 by NIUM, this smart card serves as a one-stop payments solution. Amaze card users can (i) enjoy 0.5% cashback that can be stacked on top of their usual bank rewards (be it miles or cashback) for making payments, (ii) send cross-border payments and (iii) avoid expensive foreign currency fees altogether. With so many benefits packed into the card, I was keen to try it out. Well, they often say that the proof is in the pudding- so I took the amaze card with me to the UK recently to find out how good it is as a credit card for overseas spending.
Amaze Card – How It Works
What sets the amaze card apart from its competitors (youtrip) and multi-currency wallets is that it is not a prepaid wallet. A prepaid wallet is troublesome as it needs to be pre-funded and the foreign currency be exchanged in advance. For the amaze card, there is no such hassle as it can be linked up to a maximum of 5 Mastercard credit or debit cards for uninterrupted spending. What this means is that you get to use it exactly like how the underlying Mastercard is supposed to function. Therefore, the amaze card allows consumers to use the credit limit of the linked cards in a seamless manner.
As shown in Diagram 1, I pair my POSB Everyday Card to the amaze card, which gives up to 10% cash rebates on online food delivery amongst other cashback benefits.
I can toggle between any linked credit cards and the amaze Wallet when making payments. Note that the GrabPay Mastercard cannot be linked to amaze card. Ignore the amaze Wallet for now as it simply stores the cashback that I have received in 1Q2022. I will explain how the amaze wallet works in the article later.
Upon card approval, users will receive both the digital and physical versions. This is great as I could start using the amaze card for online purchases immediately. After receiving the physical card (which takes about 2-3 weeks), you can also start making in-store purchases including taking public transport.
Finally, don’t forget to link your amaze card to Google Pay. Unfortunately, it cannot be added to Apple Pay yet.
The Amazing Benefits
Having explained how the amaze card works, we have come to the juicy part which is its benefits. Here are the key value proposition of the amaze card:
1. Zero foreign currency fees
With the amaze card, I no longer have to suffer expensive bank fees/charges whenever I make a foreign currency purchase. I put this to the test by making some purchases in the retail shops when travelling in the UK. Then I compare the exchange rate charged by amaze against the live market exchange rate available online as shown in Diagram 2.
Please also note that Amaze transactions will not trigger DCC charges, so I only paid 1.84SGD for 1 British Pound. The result is pretty damn impressive as the exchange rate that I ended up paying is so close to the actual rate available on the market (1.83). It was at this instance that I am convinced Instarem truly have a strong value proposition in foreign currency conversion.
On another occasion, I also used the Instarem mobile app to send my domestic helper’s allowance to her family members in Indonesia. I compared the rates against Western Union, which is the platform that she has been using, and confirmed that Instarem’s exchange rate was superior. As shown in Diagram 3, note that a $3.50 transfer fee was applicable. This transfer fee varies according to the amount of money that you are sending across border.
2. Double dip with 0.5% -1% cashback from Instarem on top of your usual credit card rewards
To earn cashback from Instarem, your spending must meet these 2 conditions:
- An eligible transaction of at least S$10 or its equivalent currency. Usual exclusions such as utilities, hospitals, schools, insurance payments apply.
- Cumulative total spend of at least S$1,500 (or its equivalent) per calendar quarter
0.5% and 1% cashback are rewarded for transactions processed in SGD and foreign currency respectively. The amazing part is that the cashback can be stacked with your usual bank rewards (whether its cashback or miles), which means you will receive both rewards.
Note that there is a cashback cap of S$50 per calendar quarter though. The cashback is credited into the amaze wallet 25 days after the end of each calendar quarter. As shown in Diagram 4, I received my cashback on 25 April for all the spend I made on the amaze card from Jan – Mar.
The credited cashback can be used immediately by toggling to the amaze wallet when making payment.
Another cashback card that can be linked to the amaze card is the Standard Chartered Unlimited Credit Card. You will receive a total of up to 2.5% cashback (0.5%-1% from amaze + 1.5% from SCB)
Alternatively, you can consider CIMB World Mastercard for up to 3% cashback and enjoy access to over 1,000 airport lounges via MasterCard Airport Experiences (by LoungeKey)
3. Offset your transaction/service fee with Instapoints
As shown in Diagram 3, you would have noticed a service fee of $3.49 was levied for sending money overseas from Singapore. The good news is that InstaPoints earned can be redeemed against transactions with Instarem. InstaPoints are loyalty points that can be earned from each transfer made via Instarem or via a successful referral:
A referrer earns 400 InstaPoints (upon transfer made) while the referred user receives a total of 475 InstaPoints (75 as Welcome Bonus and 400 upon first transaction).
Every 100 InstaPoints is equivalent to $1.25 and a maximum of 400 Instapoints ($5) can be redeemed in a single transaction. Note that Instapoints have a validity of 6 months.
How To Get Your Hands On Amaze Card
With all these benefits, it is hard to believe that there is no annual fee and no minimum income requirement for the amaze card. Here is the step-by-step guide on how you can apply for the amaze card.
- Download the Instarem mobile app via this referral link of mine
- Onboard via MyInfo with Singpass to open your Instarem account
- Apply for the amaze card
- Link your MasterCards
- Start spending with the virtual amaze card upon approval
My only regret is discovering amaze card in Jan 2022 and not in Aug 21 when it was launched. There has already been a reduction of benefits in 1 Apr 2022 and I just hope that I continue to squeeze every benefit out of this card before it gets nerfed. With borders opening up, this is the perfect credit card to bring along for your travels so that you can avoid expensive foreign currency fee and earn cashback at the same time!
*Download Instarem and apply for the amaze card. Note that this article contains referral links that goes to maintain the sustainability of this blog