Many of you would have probably heard of the UOB Absolute Cashback Credit Card launched in May 2021. It is the latest credit card to dominate consumers’ mindshare simply because it offers the highest cashback (1.7%) in town in the category of no-frills cashback cards. Since readers have requested for a review of the UOB Absolute Cashback Card, I will be performing an in-depth analysis of it. From the review, you will also understand why my household has applied for this credit card and how it can be complementary to our existing UOB One Card.
Highest Cashback Credit Card
I belong to the cashback camp (miles still too complicated for me) and I notice that it has been some time since a new cashback card was launched. The Citi Cashback+ Card, launched in Feb 2020, offers the highest cashback at 1.6% then under the category of no-frills cashback card. No-frills cashback card simply means no minimum spend required and no cap on the amount of cashback that one can potentially earn. However, Citi Cashback+ Card’s lofty position at the top has since been usurped by the UOB Absolute Cashback Card. For the purpose of this comparison, cashback credit cards with conditions attached (such as HSBC Advance Card) are not included. Let’s see how UOB Absolute Cashback Card compares to its competitors as shown in Diagram 1.
Perched right at the top is the UOB Absolute Cashback Card offering 1.7% cashback, with no minimum spend required. There is also no limit to the amount that you can earn, i.e. a $100,000 ticket will yield you savings of $1,700. Despite offering the highest cashback in its category, that is not the only reason to get this card.
No Spend Exclusions
UOB Absolute Cashback Card is widely marketed as having no spend exclusions. I read the terms and conditions and indeed, the exclusions are refreshingly short, at least for now.
In Heartland Boy’s opinion, this is a game changer and an even bigger deal than the fact that it offers the highest cashback under the no-frills credit card category in Singapore. For instance, it is now possible to top up the ubiquitous Grab mobile wallet and earn 1.7% cashback from it. Double-dipping is hence possible as you also earn Grab Points when paying with GrabPay. As the UOB Absolute Cashback Card is powered by AMEX, it is also not required to pay the $1 transaction fee incurred for GrabPay top-ups.
Besides mobile wallet top-ups, other commonly transacted categories such as insurance premiums, school fees, hospital bills, charitable donations as well as rental payments are also eligible for 1.7% cashback. The reason why I am getting Heartland Girl to apply for the UOB Absolute Cashback Card is the 1.7% rebate that she can potentially get from the rental payment for her office space. Definitely going to ring up the landlord to explore this payment mode which can help to offset her business expenses.
A small downside though is that the UOB Absolute Cashback card cannot be added to mobile contactless payments (eg: Apple Pay, Samsung Pay or Google Pay) although some do accept GrabPay Mastercard.
Complements The UOB One Card
Quite a few people of you might already have a UOB One Card (which gives 3.33% to 5% cashback) and are wondering whether it is worthwhile to also apply for the UOB Absolute Cashback Card? My response would be “why not?” That is because it complements very well with the UOB One Card. Diagram 3 would show you why.
On categories where UOB One Card does not award any cashback, UOB Absolute Cashback Card fills the gaps. For instance, it is common for us to make payments on our insurance premiums with credit cards (at least for the first premium). Using a UOB One Card would not reward the cardholder with any cashback. However, UOB Absolute Cashback Card has no exclusion on such transactions.
On the other hand, do take note that not all merchants accept AMEX as a mode of payment. Therefore, the UOB One Card, powered by Visa payment gateway, continues to retain its utility. Another way to circumvent this would be to top up your GrabPay and make payment with GrabPay Mastercard. Read this handy step-by-step guide on how to execute this hack. It’s amazing that you get to double-dip (get 1.7% cashback for topping up + earn Grab rewards as a platinum member) while doing this!
Regardless, I think there are plenty of scenarios to illustrate how both cards can be complementary to one another and explains why my household is applying for the UOB Absolute Cashback Card even though we already own the UOB One Card. I am simply improving our cashback coverage and minimising any further slippage.
Additional Benefits of UOB Absolute Cashback Card
Since it is powered by AMEX payment gateway, cardholders of UOB Absolute Cashback Card enjoy the best of both worlds with American Express and UOB Lifestyle privileges. These are across popular categories such as retail, dining, travel and more as shown in Diagram 4.
I am no expert in the benefits of the FoundersCard and Tablet Plus but the attributable value is quite eye-catching to say the least. Vaguely, I understand that they are good for travels and hotel stays. Do find out more yourself to see how you can further maximise the benefits from these memberships. My perspective is that since they are complimentary, I would be more than happy to have them. Besides, I am meticulous enough to cancel such subscriptions on time before any auto-renewal options are triggered.
You will be pleased to learn that the eligibility requirements for the UOB Absolute Cashback Card have been set at a very low threshold. The minimum age to apply for the principal card is 21 years old. Singapore citizens and permanent residents with minimum annual income of S$30,000 or with fixed deposit collateral of at least $10,000 are eligible to apply. The requirements for foreigners are slightly higher though.
Do note that the annual fee is S$192.60 and waived for the first year only. Subsequent request for waivers would depend on a combination of your past year spend and luck.
How To Apply For UOB Absolute Cashback Card
If you are convinced that the UOB Absolute Cashback Card is a great “weapon” in your cashback arsenal, you can apply it via this SingSaver affiliate link.
Moreover, now is a great time to apply as UOB Bank is running a limited promotion whereby new to bank credit card customer* who successfully charges a total of at least $3,000 worth of transactions shall receive an additional one-time bonus cashback of 3.3% (capped at S$99). This is in addition to the base 1.7% cashback, which brings the cashback to a grand total of 5% cashback. In addition, from 1- 30 Sep 2021, new cardmembers who apply via Heartland Boy’s link receive $30 cash in addition to the bank’s welcome bonus promotion.
*defined as having not held a UOB credit card as a principal cardholder within the 6-month prior to 4 May 2021
I would consider the UOB Absolute Cashback Card as the purest cashback card in the market right now and am very happy to welcome it to my stable of cashback cards.
Disclaimer: This article contains affiliate links which goes towards ensuring the sustainability of this blog.
Great article , thank you Allison.
Can I check whether rental payments can be done through UOB itself or need to go through cardup ?
Thanks for your compliments. Unfortunately, I have no experience with the rental payment yet. If its via cardup, we need to weigh its processing fee vs the 1.7% cashback.
How does this compare with Amex True Cashback card? Which is also a “everything allowed” cashback card? Any difference other than 1.5% vs 1.7%?
I think that’s the main difference!
why no comparison with scb spree card? contactless 2% and foriegn 3%. no min cap at 60 rebate
Thanks for your comment. I will be reviewing Spree in a dedicated post sometime in Jul/Aug
Thanks for the article, Alison! Very clear and concise. I have a question regarding using the UOB Absolute Cashback card to topup GrabPay wallet as suggested in your article.
1. Firstly, I’m not familiar with how GrabPay card vs the wallet works and I’m assuming by topping up, it means I topup my GrabPay wallet via UOB Absolute Cashback, and each expenditure (in this case, insurance premium) charged to the GrabPay card is deducted from the wallet?
2. If yes to (1), then, from Grab’s website, the maximum amount GrabPay Wallet (basic) can hold, at any given time is $1k. If my premiums per month exceed $1k (say, $1.2k), then I either have to make at least 2 transfers per month totaling $1.2k, or I upgrade the wallet to Premium, for which it can hold $5k. Is my understanding correct?
I am doing this actually.
your link to apply for this credit card does not work -ad.doubleclick.net refused to connect.
Maybe you could try to copy and paste the link here?
Wonder if anyone try to apply it via the link ?
I have applied for absolute card and approved September 2021. But till now, seems did not hear anything from anywhere about the $30 promotion…:)
Maybe you could pm me your email and application reference number? I can get SingSaver to check on it.
Thank you for the article,
Would like to check if the 1.7% cashback is still available to date when we top up the grab pay wallet.
Yes, its still available.
Does the welcome bonus of spending $3000 include grab wallet top up?
pls check the terms and conditions as the promo might have changed.