Determining the “best” credit card for you depends a lot onyour spending pattern. So for example, if you are a person that shops a lot and could optimise the rewards programmes offered, then you may look for a credit card with the best reward points offer. However, if you just want a basic credit card to purchase items online once in a while, then a card with a low annual fee would be best.
A myriad of credit cards offer incentives or rewards for you to sign up as a member. Cashback is one of the rewards. Basically it means that you get some money back for the money you spend. The cashback rewards may range from1% to 5% of your total expenditure. The rewards and points deal offered by the credit card companies is that with each swipe of your credit card, you receive points, and when these points accumulate, you redeem rewards such as airlines miles, petrol, gadgets, and household items. With some banks, you can also choose to use the points to purchase items at selected stores.
The points are calculated based on the money you spend. Most banks convert their reward points as RM1 = 1 point (which means that you may end up paying RM6000 to redeem a washing machine with your accumulated points). It’s fun “winning” stuff, but seriously? However, keep reward points in mind when you are searching for credit cards as there are a few banks that offer more points per RM spent (it might be worthwhile to redeem the points then). Some banks even allow you to convert points to government service tax redemption and annual fee waiver redemption, meaning your points can be used to pay your tax and annual fee. Be careful when you use rewards cards though, and don’t get too carried away with the points. You may end up paying more using your points than you would with cash.
The list below describes the best credit cards in Malaysia for the year 2014 by elaborating the benefits and drawbacks of the various credit cards.
Since 2011, the Maybank 2 Cards Gold/Platinum has been ranked the best credit card in Malaysia. Maybank guarantees the cardholder cashback of maximum RM600 per year with just RM1000 per month spending on weekends with the American Express card. In addition to that, the cardholder earns cash back plus 5X (for expenditure on petrol and etc.) and 2X reward points (for expenditure on government bodies, education or insurance) for every Ringgit spent locally and overseas.
Recently, in October 2014, Maybank upgraded their card’s benefits to include unlimited entries (instead of only 5 entries) to airport lounges locally and worldwide for their Visa Infinite cardholders.
Good news for those of us who like to fly – the Maybank 2 cards and Visa Infinite both have a conversion rate for air miles of 1000 Enrich Miles orKrisFlyer Miles = 4500 points.
In order to apply for a Maybank 2 Platinum Amex, you need to have a minimum income of RM60,000 per year. As for the Gold American Express, you need to have a minimum income of RM30,000 per year.
Other perks of the Maybank 2 Platinum and Gold American Express include reward points, cashback, and annual fee redemption.The rewards points conversion rate is 5X (RM1 = 5 points) which is equal to a rebate of 25% for every Ringgit you spend. If your yearly expenditure reaches RM80,000, then the Maybank 2 cards annual fee is automatically waived.
Take note that when you sign up for a membership, you actually get two cards (1 Amex and 1 Mastercard) for the price of one. However, be aware that the Mastercard rates for rewards points conversion is only 1X and the rate for cashback is 0%. Also, Amex cards charge retailers more and it is accepted less especially among smaller businesses. So the lesson learned here is that the banks give and the banks take away.
|Minimum income p.a.||Interest rate||Annual Fee||Cashback Rewards||Rewards Points Conversion||Value Per Point|
|Platinum = RM60,000Gold = RM30,000||8.88 – 18% p.a.||RM50 (points can be used to waive service tax)||5% weekend cashback is topped at RM50 per month||RM1 = 5 points||0.5 sen|
The AmBank World Mastercard or Visa Infinite has a minimal annual requirement of RM100,000 (which is quite a low requirement for a World Mastercard or Visa Infinite). Those who travel overseas often can optimise the 5X rewards points and free access to selected airport lounges. The air miles conversion rate is 5000 points = 1000 Enrich Miles, meaning for every Ringgit you spend overseas, you will be rewarded 1 Enrich Mile.The main drawback of this card for people who shop online often is that all online transactions are only entitled to 1X reward points.
The Alliance Bank Visa Infinite rewards cardholders with 5X bonus points for every Ringgit spent overseas. The air miles conversion rate is 6000 points = 1000 Enrich Miles. The advantage of this card over the AmBank cards is that you get unlimited free access to airport lounges worldwide, unlike the AmBank cards where you get free access to selected airport lounges.
One of the major expenses for many people is petrol. The Hong Leong Bank WISE card rewards the cardholder 10% cashback for petrol. The annual income requirement to be eligible for this card is only RM24,000.
Some benefits of the Citibank Platinum credit card include complimentary tickets for Dewan Philharmonic Orchestra’s Citibank Angklung Suite, and up to 15% discount on all tickets. Dining benefits are also included. However, take note that the 5X reward points is only rewarded when shopping at selected stores and spending RM3000 a month. The selected stores are Tangs, Metrojaya, Parkson, Robinsons, Marks & Spencer, Cold Storage, Tesco, Giant, Servay, Everise, and AEON. If you often shop in the stores mentioned above, then the Citibank Platinum credit card is as good as the Maybank credit card in terms of rewards. The only significant difference between the Citibank and Maybank card is the annual fee. Citibank charges RM600 (with no points for annual fee payment), while Maybank charges only RM50 (with the possibility of annual fee redemption).
|Minimum income p.a.||Annual Fee||Rewards Points Conversion||Value Per Point|
|RM60,000||RM600 (principal)RM150 (supplementary)||RM1 = 5 points||0.2 sen|
In conclusion, before you dive into the ocean of cashless freedom, remember that getting a credit card means being responsible for your spending. Be aware that credit cards charge a very high interest rate when you overspend and have outstanding balances. To stay out of debt, make sure you settle your full outstanding sum monthly before the due date. Good luck!