The MAS stipulates that the minimum annual income required to grant someone unsecured credit facilities is S$30,000. Any requirement in excess of that is bank-imposed and purely arbitrary.
How do banks decide what the minimum income required for a particular credit card should be? Marketing. Pure marketing. Cards with a higher income requirement are not necessarily better. In fact, some of them are downright useless. The banks play a balancing game. It is in their interest to have as many people sign up for a given card as possible. But it’s also in their interest that some people see the card as having some level of exclusivity and prestige, so that they’re willing to pay the annual fees.
When the DBS Altitude Card first launched, the minimum income required was $80,000. That fell to $50,000 after a couple of years. Now, thanks to a tip on the comments, I’ve learned that it’s down to $30,000
I said before that there wasn’t a good “general spending” card at the $30,000 threshold. That’s now changed. With the numerous generous sign up bonuses and ongoing promotions available for the Altitude card, this should be one of the first cards any fresh grad should sign up for.
This should introduce a very interesting dynamic into the Singapore credit card market. UOB PRVI Miles has still has an annual income requirement of $80,000. ANZ Travel Card requires $60,000. Citibank Premiermiles requires $50,000. Since all these cards are competing for the mantle of “best general spending card”, I fully anticipate some of them to follow suit, if not lower their headline income requirement.
I really applaud what DBS has done with the Altitude card- although the headline earning rate of 1.2 miles per $1 and 2 miles per overseas $1 is not the market leader (UOB PRVI 1.4 miles and 2.4 miles for local and overseas spend), DBS is still making waves in this market with its generous sign up bonuses for Altitude and its moves to make great miles earning cards available at any income bracket
cover photo by sjliew