Best No-Fee Credit Cards 2017

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.

Table of Contents

Cards with Easy Fee Waiver

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.

Best Cashback Card for Singapore Power and Utility Bills: HSBC Visa Platinum Credit

HSBC Visa Platinum Credit Card is the best cash back card to use for paying Singapore Power and utility bills, as it provides the highest cash rebate on these spending areas. Furthermore, it is one of the only cards that combine a generous cashback offer with an air miles award program, with 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
  • Promotion: Up to S$160 of cash back welcome bonus or American Tourister Caravan 70cm TSA luggage + up to S$40 of cash rebate for new customers (up to S$90 for existing customers)

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)

Best No-Fee Cashback Cards

For those who want to earn rebates without paying annual fees, these cashback credit cards featured below are the best options for them. Please read our review below to find out which is the better option for you.

HSBC Advance Credit Card

HSBC Advance Credit Card is one of the best no-fee cashback cards, with the caveat that it's only good for HSBC's Advance Banking customers. For Advance customers, this card perpetually waives its annual fee of S$192.6, and provides a cash rebate at a rate of 3.5%. Given its high cashback cap of S$125 per month, HSBC Advance card is especially effective for high income individuals. However, this card completely loses its competitiveness for non-Advance customers. Please read our detailed review to see if you can qualify for HSBC Advance program.

Pros of HSBC Advance Credit Card

  • No annual fee for Advance Customers
  • 3.5% of cash rebate (2.5% for monthly spendings over S$2,000 + Extra 1%) for HSBC Advance Customers
  • S$125 cap on monthly rebate for Advance customers
  • Up to 16% Discount on petrol at Shell and Caltex
  • 7% discount on travel bookings on Agoda
  • Promotion: Up to S$160 of cash back welcome bonus or American Tourister Caravan 70cm TSA luggage + up to S$40 of cash rebate for new customers (up to S$90 for existing customers)

Cons of HSBC Advance Credit Card

  • S$192.6 of annual fee for non-Advance customers
  • 1.5% of flat rate cash rebate for monthly spendings under S$2,000 (non-Advance customers)
  • 2.S$70 cap on monthly rebate for non-Advance customers

Maybank Platinum Visa Credit Card

Maybank Platinum Visa Card is one of the best no-fee cash rebate cards for low-income consumers. First, it's very budget friendly because it charges no annual fee without any spending requirements. Secondly, you can earn up to 3.33% in cash rebate for every dollar you spend in Singapore as long as you spend S$1,000 per month (or S$300 per month). Despite its cash rebate cap of S$100 per quarter (S$400 per year), it still represents one of the highest yielding cashback cards in the market for modest spenders with a monthly budget of around S$1,000 (or S$300).

Pros of Maybank Platinum Visa Credit Card

  • S$0 annual fee, S$20 quarterly servicing fee waived if you use the card at least once every 3 months
  • Up to 3.33% cash rebate on all expenditures (max S$100 per quarter)
  • 0.3% cash rebates on overseas spend
  • Travel insurance coverage of up to S$500,000
  • Promotion: Up to 3% cash rebate when you charge all transactions in foreign currencies to your Maybank Platinum Visa Card (until 30 Sept 2017)
  • Bonus: Apply for 2 new Maybank Credit Cards and CreditAble, and charge to your Credit Card and/or withdraw from your CreditAble Account a minimum of S$300 within the first month of approval to receive 1 pair of tickets to Universal Studios Singapore® and 2 pairs of tickets to Adventure Cove Waterpark™ worth S$304

Cons of Maybank Platinum Visa Credit Card

  • Consumers who spend meaningfully more than S$1,000 per month can do better with other cards
  • Can be tricky to optimise as its cash rebate differs depending on your monthly spending (S$100 quarterly cashback for at least S$1,000 of monthly spend, or S$30 quarterly cashback for at least S$300 monthly spending)

OCBC 365 Credit Card

OCBC 365 Credit Card is one of the best cash rebate cards we recommend for an average consumer who wants to avoid paying annual fees on their cards. For instance, OCBC 365 provides 6% rebate on dining, 22% on petrol, and 3% on groceries and monthly bill, spending categories that are all central to everyone's daily life. Its annual fee is also extremely easy to get waived, since OCBC requires only S$10,000 of annual spend to qualify for it. To summarise, OCBC 365 Card presents a cheap and convenient way of earning rebates on almost all the daily needs of an average person. If you are an average family that enjoy both dining and dining out, this card will suit your lifestyle quite well.

Pros of OCBC 365 Card

  • Annual fee waived for 2 years and subsequently waived for annual spend of only S$10,000
  • Up to 6% on dining
  • 3% on online shopping
  • Up to 22.2% on petrol
  • 3% on groceries
  • 3% 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 lags behind peers
  • Relatively high annual fee of S$192.6 if you don’t get the waiver

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 constantly 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 waived with just S$12,000 of annual spend (S$1,000 of monthly spend). While it is possible to find a better card in Singapore and in Mayalsia separately, 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
  • Up to 20.88% savings on petrol including merchant discount
  • 8% rebate on transportation (taxis, bus and train rides)
  • Up to 9.3% rebate on groceries including merchant discount
  • 8% rebate on fast food delivery (i.e. foodpanda), and other retail transactions at special merchant outlets
  • Above rebates apply in both Singapore & Malaysia

Cons of Maybank Family & Friends MasterCard Credit Card

  • No mile awards
  • S$600 cap on annual cash rebate
  • Low petrol rebates at 8%

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 everything 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$10,000. 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$10,000
  • 14% off on petrol at Caltex & Esso stations
  • 6% rebate on all eligible online spend, including online shopping, travel bookings and food delivery orders (Requires S$400 of offline spend)
  • 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 No Fee Airline Miles Cards

The three credit cards featured below are probably the best options for people who are looking for ways to earn miles without paying an annual fee. They all come with annual fee waivers that are relatively easy to get. However, their rewards systems are distinct enough that they will be useful for different people.

DBS Altitude Visa Card

DBS Altitude Visa Card is one of the best air miles cards in the market, and is actually 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 waived, DBS Altitude could be a great choice because you can get the fee waived every year as long as you spend a bit 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
  • Promotion: Chance to win a free holiday for two in NYC

Cons of DBS Altitude

  • Lags peers in bonus awards, especially if you spend less than S$25,000 per year

HSBC Revolution Card

HSBC Revolution Card 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. It provides some of the best deals in the market with 2 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 Revolution's awards come with an extremely easily waived annual fee: HSBC Revolution Card's annual fee of S$160.5 is waived for the first 2 years for everyone, and subsequently waived for those who maintain an annual expenditure of S$12,500 on the card, which is well below average spending for the average Singaporean consumer.

Pros of HSBC Revolution Card

  • Annual fee of S$160.5 is waived for 2 years, and then waived in subsequent years for those who spend S$12,500 per year (S$1,042 per month)
  • 2 miles on online spend (shopping and travel bookings), dining, and entertainment
  • 16% off on petrol at Caltex & Shell
  • Up to 10% off on travel bookings online
  • Promotion: Up to S$160 of cash back welcome bonus or American Tourister Caravan 70cm TSA luggage + up to S$40 of cash rebate for new customers (up to S$90 for existing customers)

Cons of HSBC Revolution 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.)

Maybank Horizon Visa Signature Card

Since it was upgraded from Platinum Visa to Visa Signature, Maybank Horizon Visa Signature Card has become an awesome air miles credit card for people who want to avoid high annual fees. Its annual fee may seem high at S$180 is simply waived for people who spend S$1,500 on their cards every month (S$18,000 per year). Not only that, Maybank Horizon card will award 3.2 miles for every S$1 you spend on dining or on petrol, which is practically one of the best deals we've seen for these two categories. You can also earn 2 to 3.2 miles per dollar on your travel bookings and on the money you spend overseas. By providing great mile award rates for your travel expense as well as your daily needs, Maybank Horizon helps you build up miles while saving up on the annual fee you would otherwise have to spend with other cards.

Pros of Maybank Horizon Visa Signature Card

  • Low annual fee of S$180, which is waived with S$18,000 of annual spend
  • 2 miles for S$1 spent on air tickets, travel packages and foreign currency transactions
  • 3.2 miles for every S$1 spent on petrol, dining, taxi fares and hotel bookings via agoda.com/horizon
  • Complimentary access to selected VIP airport lounges
  • Complimentary travel insurance when you charge your travel fares in full to the Card.
  • Bonus: Apply for 2 new Maybank Credit Cards and CreditAble, and charge to your Credit Card and/or withdraw from your CreditAble Account a minimum of S$300 within the first month of approval to receive 1 pair of tickets to Universal Studios Singapore® and 2 pairs of tickets to Adventure Cove Waterpark™ worth S$304.

Cons of Maybank Horizon Visa Signature Card

  • Only 0.4 miles for S$1 spent on everything else outside of travel, dining and petrol

Cards with No Annual Fee

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.

Highest Cashback on Dining: CIMB Visa Signature Card

CIMB Visa Signature Card offers the best cash back 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, making it the cheapest credit card to use in Singapore. It could also double up as a travel 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 cash back 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?

The only caveat to this card is that its 10% rebate on dining is capped at S$60 a month and requires a monthly spend of S$500 and 8 monthly transactions worth S$30 each. However, this should not be a major problem for most people who go out for dinners and drinks once or twice a week.

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
  • Promotions: Up to S$150 bonus cash credit when you spend S$300 per month for 6 months

Cons of CIMB Visa Signature Card

  • 0.2% cash rebate on everything else
  • 10% cashback on dining is capped at S$60 per month & requires a monthly spend of S$500 and 8 monthly transactions worth S$30 each

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.

Who Should Use A No-Fee Credit Card?

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.

Summary of the Best No-Fee Credit Cards

Below, we summarise the main features of the best no-fee credit cards that we've handpicked.

Easy Fee WaiversBest for...Annual FeeMinimum Spend for Fee Waiver
HSBC Visa Platinum Credit CardSP & Utility BillsS$180.0S$12,500
HSBC Revolution Credit CardDining, Entertainment & Online SpendingS$160.5S$12,500
DBS Altitude Visa Signature CardAverage ConsumerS$192.6S$25,000
Maybank Horizon Visa Signature CardDining & Travel BookingsS$180.0S$18,000
Maybank Platinum Visa CardLow SpendersS$0.0S$0.0
CIMB Visa SignatureDiningS$0.0S$0.0

Best Rewards Credit Cards by Dollar Value

Below, we prepared a visual illustration of dollar value of the best no fee credit cards in Singapore. Generally, dollar values* range from S$500 to S$2,000 over 2 years for someone who spends S$2,000 on the card every month. Remember, this is an approximate value based on an estimate of the average consumer's spending habits, and may differ in actual result depending on your unique set of expenditures.

A graph displaying how best no annual fee credit cards compare to one another in terms of their rewards
Best No Annual Fee Credit Cards in Singapore by Estimated 2-Year Dollar Value

*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.

Comments and Questions