Currently, I have 3 credit cards, including 2 cashback credit cards: The Maybank 2 Gold Cards (AMEX and Mastercard) and the CIMB Cash Rebate Platinum Mastercard. Aside from these cards, I also have the BigPay debit card (Mastercard) and the usual bank debit cards.
I want another credit card, a VISA. I don’t need it, but I kind of want it. Having all three VISA, Mastercard and AMEX will give me the widest range of discounts and savings opportunities. I’m in no rush to get one, but I just want to share my thought process in credit card selection, because I’m an oversharer like that.
Before that, the necessary disclaimer about responsible usage of credit cards…
Because I wouldn’t be a responsible personal finance content creator if I didn’t write this out. Feel free to skip to the next section if you just want to read on about the cards.
I know credit cards have a bad reputation. And for good reason, too: a whopping 3 out of 5 people do not pay (cannot afford to pay?) their credit card balances in full (Source: NST, 2017)
Yet… as horrible as those statistics are, you can’t deny that they are immensely useful as a financial tool. I had this realisation when someone asked me which option would I pick: paying a large amount via cash or via credit card. I picked credit card without hesitation.
Why? They’re amazing for building up my credit score. For getting additional benefits and discounts when buying stuff I wanted to get anyway. For convenience in payments. And perhaps most importantly, for emergencies.
So here goes: I’m able to maximise the utility value of my credit cards because and ONLY because:
- I already have the money to pay back the amount in my bank account, which I’ll use to pay in full the very next day (thus incurring no fees); and
- I’m a natural saver; my default is to NOT spend
that often. Although admittedly the banks do try to tempt me to spend more than I should, judging by ‘the aspirational lifestyle’ promotions they keep sending me. Happy to say that’s less of a problem now since I muted all notifications from them.
So with that out of the way, on to the actual meat of the article. Here are the 3 VISA cards I’m looking at, which looks good to me, based on my preferences below:
- Must be a VISA card since I already have MasterCard and AMEX
- Islamic cards would be a HUGE bonus
- I like cards with no annual fees, but can consider if they allow waive fee upon certain conditions
- I like cashback credit cards
- If I can take advantage of sign up offers and get a free gift, even better
Other features – reward points, airmiles, airport lounges, etc – are nice to have, but not a priority. Let’s go:
#1 – HSBC Amanah MPower Platinum Credit Card-i
What I like about the HSBC Amanah MPower Platinum Credit Card-i:
- Cashback credit card (see below. It’s cool that you can get cashback for ewallet reloads!)
- Islamic card (get pahala points!)
- Design looks pretty cool
What I don’t like about the HSBC Amanah MPower Platinum Credit Card-i:
- Have to spend a minimum RM2000 monthly to get 8%, if not just 1% (but because ewallet is counted, that’s not that big of a deal? Hmm)
- The monthly cap of RM15 per category
- RM240 Annual fee (but waived with minimum of 12 swipes per year which tbh is not bad at all)
#2 – Public Bank Quantum Visa
What I like about the Public Bank Quantum Visa Card:
- 5% cashback is great! The minimum spend is just RM30 too
- FREE FOR LIFE card! No annual fee!
What I don’t like about the Public Bank Quantum Visa Card:
- Non-Islamic card
- Maximum cashback capped at RM30
#3 – RHB Islamic Cash Back Credit Card-i
What I like about the RHB Islamic Cash Back Credit Card-i:
- Islamic card!
- 0.2-5% cashback for categories Petrol, Dining, Utilities and Groceries (cashback % depends on spending amount – I can easily get the 5%, based on current usage)
What I don’t like about the RHB Islamic Cash Back Credit Card-i:
- It *might* encourage me to get more food delivery.
- The monthly cap of just RM10 per tier
- RM70 Annual fee (but waived with minimum spending of RM10,000 per year)
So those are the 3 cards. I’m thinking of picking one of them. Even though the RinggitPlus website has lots of cashback credit card options that fit my initial criteria, but after looking at all of them, I will only consider these 3 cards because the others:
- Have very low cashback rates
- Have unnecessarily complicated T&C (must complete x number of transactions in x categories, must spend only on weekends, etc. Who can even remember.)
- Have VERY HIGH monthly income requirement (all the above require RM2000-3000 monthly income, not up to RM6.8k)
- Cashback limited to certain shops/categories I don’t use very often
So, again – I already have:
And my options for VISA cards are:
- HSBC Amanah MPower Platinum Credit Card-i
- Public Bank Quantum Visa
- RHB Islamic Cash Back Credit Card-i
Based on the pro/cons list above, which one do you think I should pick? Public Bank’s one is really tempting as it is FREE FOR LIFE, but unfortunately it’s not Islamic. The other two have different cashback structures that can work with my lifestyle.
Help me decide!