Credit cards with no annual fee, sometimes referred to simply as 'no fee cards', are great choices for consumers that may not make a lot of purchases. They are also a great option as a supplemental card, for consumers looking to squeeze extra value out of a specific segment of spending. We take a look at the best fee free card options out there and help you figure out what to look for in a no annual fee credit card. Some of the cards featured here have no fees, and some have perpetual fee waiver with low minimum annual spend.
Below we have selected a few cards that have zero annual fees, no matter what. Although these cards are free to use, they can earn savings of up to S$1,300 over 2 years for an average spender. Take a look at our highlights below to understand which of them might suit you best.
|No-Fee Cards||Annual Fee||2-Year Dollar Value*|
|HSBC Advance Visa Platnium Card||S$0.0||S$1,267|
|CIMB Visa Signature||S$0.0||S$1,040|
|CIMB Visa Infinite Card||S$0.0||S$509|
|CIMB Platnium Mastercard||S$0.0||S$497|
Online Shopping, Dining and Entertainment Rewards With No Fee: HSBC Advance Visa Platinum
For a no fee card, it's difficult to get any better than the HSBC Advance Visa Platinum Card. It has provides some of the best deals in the market with 4 miles on online spend, dining and entertainment expenses. The only weakness of the card is its low flat rate award of 0.4 miles per S$1 spent on everything else. We think this is a small trade off given that HSBC Advance's awards are all for absolutely free. HSBC Advance provides an excellent way of racking up air miles quickly if you like to shop online, dine out and enjoy an active night life, especially if the thought of paying an annual fee is burdensome to you.
Pros of HSBC Advance Visa Platinum Card
- No annual fee
- 4 miles on online spend (shopping and travel bookings), dining, and entertainment
- 16% off on petrol at Caltex & Shell
- S$85 HSBC’s All Days Movie Card if you spend S$100 in the first month, S$950 Samsonite luggage if you spend S$1,500 in the first 3 months
Cons of HSBC Advance Visa Platinum Card
- Very low flat award rate of 0.4 miles per S$1 spend on everything outside of online, dining and entertainment
- Not many other perks to speak of (i.e. lounge access, airport limousine service, etc.)
Best No-Fee Cashback Card for Dining: CIMB Visa Signature Card
CIMB Visa Signature Card offers the best cashback on dining we've seen in the market. Not only does it boast a 10% rebate on dining expenditures, it is also completely free to use and has no monthly minimum spend. It could also double up as a trvael card because of its low transaction fee at 1% and its complimentary travel insurance. Although it doesn’t reward any miles and offers a low cashback rate on general purchases, why not get a CIMB Visa Signature Card and get 10% off your meals since it’s free and doesn’t take much work to manage?
Below we have reviewed CIMB Visa Signature Card as well as other cards from CIMB like CIMB Visa Infinite Card and CIMB Platinum MasterCard Credit Card.
Pros of CIMB Visa Signature Card
- No annual fee
- 10% cashback on dining
- 1% foreign exchange transaction fee
Cons of CIMB Visa Signature Card
- 0.2% cash rebate on everything else
- 10% cashback on dining is capped at S$60 per month
Free Flat Rate Cashback up to 2% with No Fee: CIMB Visa Infinite Card
CIMB Visa Infintie card is almost exactly like CIMB Visa Signature Card, but it offers a flat rate of 1% cashback on all local expenses, and 2% cashback on all overseas expenses. Otherwise, the two cards are pretty much the same. CIMB Visa Infinite could also double up as a travel card since it has low foreign transaction fee and provides access associated with Visa privileges. It’s a free and easy to use card that is versatile.
10% cashback on Travel and Beauty: CIMB Platinum MasterCard Credit Card
CIMB Platinum Mastercard Credit Card is also almost identical to CIMB Visa Signature Card. The only difference is that, instead of 10% cashback on dining, CIMB Platinum MasterCard card provides a 10% rebate on travel, health, beauty and wellness. This card also has no fee or monthly minimum spend. So which card could be more suitable for your needs depends on which category of expense is more important to you.
Cards below charge an annual fee. However, they grant you a fee waiver every year for a relativley low level of spending. Because of the minimum spend requirement, they tend to have a slightly better set of rewards than no-fee cards. If you can comfortably meet the annual minimum spend, it may be worth considering one of the cards below.
|Easy Fee Waivers||Annual Fee||Minimum Spend for Fee Waiver||2-Year Dollar Value|
|OCBC 365 Card||S$160.5||S$5,000||S$1,970|
|OCBC Frank Credit Card||S$90.0||S$5,000||S$1,228|
|Maybank Horizon Platnium Visa Card||S$150.0||S$12,000||S$571.2|
|HSBC Visa Platinum Credit Card||S$180.0||S$12,500||S$1,243|
|Maybank Family & Friends Platnium MasterCard||S$80.0||S$12,000||S$1,384|
|DBS Altitude Visa Signature Card||S$192.6||S$25,000||S$658|
Rare Combination of Cashback and Miles: HSBC Visa Platinum Credit Card
HSBC Visa Platinum Credit Card is one of the only cards that combine a generous cashback offer with an air miles award program. HSBC Platinum offers 5% cashbck many of your daily necessities like grocery and utility bills, as well as a 21% discount on petrol. As if that were not enough, HSBC Platinum earns you 0.4 miles for every S$1 you spend on the card. Although 0.4 miles award rate is somewhat low, we think HSBC Platinum card is very much worth considering given that its annual fee is waived for 2 years, after which it is perpetually waived as long as you spend S$12,500 a year (about S$1,000 a month) on the card.
Pros of HSBC Visa Platinum Credit Card
- 5% cashback on grocery
- 5% cashback on utilities like cable, internet and mobile bills
- Up to 21% off on petrol at Shell and Caltex
- 0.4 miles for every S$1 you spend
Cons of HSBC Visa Platinum Credit Card
- Only 2% cashback on dining
- S$800 monthly spend requirement to enjoy full benefit
- S$120 cap on quarterly cashback (S$40 a month)
For Everyday Use for an Average Family: OCBC 365 Credit Card
OCBC 365 Card provides a very versatile set of rewards that will benefit everyone: dining, groceries, petrol, online shopping and utilities. Because of this, OCBC 365 Credit Card is a great card to carry around with you all around the clock throughout the year. It has almost all the bases covered, with 6% cashback on dining, 3% on onlien shopping, 22% on petrol 3% on dining and 3% on utility bills. All of these awards come at a zero annual fee as long as you spend a meager S$5,000 every year. Be sure to meet the minimum spend requirement though, because annual fee on this card can be rather high at S$192.6.
Pros of OCBC 365 Card
- Annual fee waived for 2 years and subsequently waived for annual spend of only S$5,000
- A well rounded mix of high rebates on essential categories for families including:
- Up to 6% cashback on dining
- 3% cashback on online shopping
- Up to 22.2% cashback on petrol
- 3% cashback on groceries
- 3% cashback on recurring utility bills.
- Relatively high monthly cap on cashback of S$80
- Low minimum monthly spend of S$600 to enjoy full benefits
Cons of OCBC 365 Card
- Rebates for major categories like Grocery or Dining lag behind peers
- Relatively high annual fee of S$192.6 if you don’t get the waiver
No-Fee Card for Indulging Yourself: OCBC Frank Card
OCBC Frank Card is an awesome cashback card for anyone looking to save money while having a great time. With its 120 unique card designs ranging from chocolate bars to glass of whiskey, OCBC Frank card aims to cater to everyone’s aesthetics, especially the younger and more hip audience who want to express their individuality in everythign they own. Its already super low annual fee of S$90 is waived for 2 years as long as you meet the annual spending requirements of S$5,000. This doesn't mean OCBC Frank card will skimp out on providing great benefits. With 6% rebate on online spend and up to 5% rebate on all entertainment expenses, OCBC Frank card helps you save money on many of your indulgences at some of the best rates in the market.
Pros of OCBC Frank Card
- Low annual fee of S$90, waived for 2 years and subsequently waived for annual spend of over S$5,000
- 14% off on petrol at Caltex & Esso stations
- 6% rebate on all eligible online spend, including online shopping, travel bookings and food delivery orders
- 5% rebate on all entertainment expenses on weekends, 3% on weekdays
Cons of OCBC Frank card
- Low monthly cap on rebate of S$60
- 3% cashback on auto top-ups are limited to 2 times
Best Air Miles Card for Low Budget: Maybank Horizon Platinum Visa Card
If you are looking for a great air miles card and have a relatively modest monthly budget of S$1,500 or below, Maybank Horizon Platinum Visa Card could be an ideal choice for you. First, its low annual fee that can be waived with a low annual spend of just S$12,000 makes it extremely affordable to use. The highlight isn't just the low fee, however. Maybank Horizon is not cheap with its awards program. It offers a high high mile award rates for your travel expenses (2 miles for S$1 spent oversaes and on air tickets) as well as your daily needs like dining and petrol (up to 2 miles per S$1). It also offers a low foreign transaction fee of 1%. Maybank Horizon can help you accumulate miles as quickly as possible at without the annual fee you would otherwise have to pay with other cards.
Pros of Maybank Horizon Platinum Visa Card
- Low annual fee of S$150, which is waived with S$12,000 of annual spend
- 2 miles for S$1 spent on air tickets, travel packages and overseas
- 2 miles for every S$1 spent on petrol & dining on weekends
- Only 1% foreign transaction fee, one of the lowest in the country
- Complimentary VIP airport lounge access
- S$80 cash credit for new members with S$400 of spend in the first month
Cons of Maybank Horizon Platinum Visa Card
- Limited perks
- S$25 fee for converting miles
- 2 miles for every S$1 spent on petrol & dining on weekends expiring in July, not clear what will happen afterwards
Cashback in both Singapore and Malaysia: Maybank Family & Friends Card
Few cards offer cash saving benefits across Singapore and Malaysia, but Maybank Fmaily & Friends MasterCard Credit Card is one that does just that. If you are constnatly moving back and forth between the two countries, Maybank Family & Friends card could help you save money in both countries. This unique card offered by Maybank, the biggest bank of Malaysia, provides a versatile set of benefits and perks that encompass petrol, groceries and taxis, all earning 8% of rebate. Its annual fee is also easily waivered with just S$12,000 of annual spend (S$1,000 of monthly spend). While it is possible to find a better card in Singaopre and in Mayalsia separtely, but if you would rather carry around one card than two, Maybank Family & Friends card could be a great choice.
Pros of Maybank Family & Friends MasterCard Credit Card
- Very low annual fee of S$80, waived with S$12,000 of annual spend
- Great cashback of 8% on petrol, taxis and groceries in both Singapore and Malaysia
- S$80 cash credit for new members with S$400 spent in the 1st month
Cons of Maybank Family & Friends MasterCard Credit Card
- No mile awards
- S$600 cap on annual cash rebate
- Low petrol rebates at 8%
Best Air Miles Card for Average Spenders: DBS Altitude Visa Card
DBS Altitude Visa Card is one of the best air miles cards in the market, and is actuqlly quite similar to another one of our favorite cards Citi Premier Miles Card. This card awards 1.2 miles for every S$1 of local expenditure and 2 miles for every S$1 of overseas expense. There's an even higher award of 3 miles for S$1 spent on online travel bookings, a feature that its rival Citi Premier Miles lacks. Also, if you care about getting your annual fee waivd, DBS Altitude could be a great choice because you can get the fee waivered every year as long as you spend more than S$2,000 a month.
Pros of DBS Altitude
- Great annual fee waiver when you spend at least S$25,000 a year
- 1.2 miles for S$1 of local spend and 2 miles for overseas spend
- 3 miles for S$1 spent on online travel bookings
Cons of DBS Altitude
- Lags peers in bonus awards, only gives 10,000 bonus miles when you pay to renew instead of getting the waiver (i.e. you didn’t meet the S$25,000 of minimum annual spend)
Typically, credit cards that charge an annual fee offer better benefits and rewards than cards that charge no annual fees. Therefore, while not having to pay for a credit card may be great, no-fee credit cards may not always be your best option. To help you decide which would be better choice for you, we have prepared some things you should consider when deciding between a fee-card or a fee-free card.
Excellent Option For Supplemental Cards
There is nothing wrong with having multiple credit cards. A number of studies have indicated that most people carry around 6 credit cards with them. In fact, savvy consumers are often able to maximize rewards by using most appropritae card depending on the occasion. One note of caution for people who do this, however, is that annual fees and minimum spend requirements can add up to a quite significant figure. From this point of view, fee free cards are great because they don't have much downside and can be used only for the extra benefits or rewards they provide.
Best Practices For Supplemental No Fee Cards
While additional fee free cards won't cost you anything, they do still require regular maintenance.
- Track of your spending on your all of your cards. With your primary card its very easy to remember to pay the bills since it's a regular process. With supplemental cards, however, people can easily forget to pay off the balance at the end of each month. This could cause surprising damage to your personal finance because credit cards often charge interest rates of 25% or higher.
- Keep the credit card company up to date with your information. Keeping your contact information with the card company up to date can help to keep track of all of your credit cards. Credit card issuers will regularly send you mails and notifications to remind you to pay off your bill or notify your when interests start to build up. It can also help reduce headaches like your credit cards bills or replacement cards getting sent to the wrong people.
- You Can Always Cancel. If you have a fee free card that you never use, you might consider canceling it. Sure the cards don't cost you anything but sometimes its easier to keep your financial house in order if there are less accounts to monitor and manage.
What to Consider When Using A No-Fee Card As A Primary Card
When using a fee free card as a primary spending card, a general rule of thumb is that you should who spend less than $500 a month on the primary credit card. Otherwise, options opened by annual fees are quite great and diverse. In combination with long term rewards rates, large signing bonuses from annual fee cards can often easily compensate for any of the annual fees for 2-3 years.
*ValuePenguin calculates the dollar value of rewards based on S$2,000 of monthly spending. We sum the value of points, miles and cashback in dollar terms and subtract the annual fee over a 24-month period. The estimates here are ValuePenguin's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer.