Tag Archives: cardup

DBS Woman’s card updates T&C to exclude Cardup & iPayMy

Cardup and iPayMy are two Singapore startups that give you the opportunity to use your credit card to pay for things that you normally can’t use your credit card for, like rental, income tax, condo fees, school fees etc., in exchange for a 2.6% processing fee.

[It may be best practice to point out that The Milelion has previously worked with iPayMy to produce two webinar series on miles earning and miles using, for which all remuneration went to World Vision]

Although both platforms will point to convenience, the ability to schedule payments and their own proprietary rewards program as reasons to use their services, I’ve said from the start that the only thing that justifies paying a 2.6% fee is the ability to earn 10X/ 4 mpd.

I’ve done the working before, but it bears repeating. If you can get 10X points, you pay-

2.6 cents= 4 miles or 0.65 cents per mile

If you’re earning regular spending rates of 1.4 mpd (e.g with the UOB PRVI), your equation becomes-

2.6 cents=1.4 miles or 1.86 cents per mile

1.86 cpm isn’t a terrible price to buy miles at, insofar as it’s below the magical 2 cpm threshold, but remember that you could potentially be buying miles for less through annual fees.

This then leads us to the magic question- do iPayMy and Cardup earn 10x?

If you want some amusement, scroll through the comments section of this article, where it seems every other post is someone asking “does (CARD NAME) earn 10x?”

I mean, it’s perfectly understandable why people would ask this. 10X cards are high risk, high reward. If the bank doesn’t consider the merchant to be a 10x-able category, you earn 0.4 mpd. And if you earn 0.4 mpd you’re the loser because of the 2.6% transaction fee.

The answer is: I don’t know for sure. When I used my DBS Woman’s World card and Cardup to pay my NUSS membership fees back in December last year, I did indeed get 10X points. But each month the game can change without notice, and just because something worked last month doesn’t mean it will work this month.

Whatever the case, it now seems confirmed that it won’t work for the DBS Woman’s card, as (someone pointed this out on the comments on 5th May, and I only got around to seeing it now),  DBS’s T&C for the Woman’s card have been updated to explicitly exclude payments made to Cardup and iPayMy

Bummer. Why would the banks take this away?

To understand the answer to that question, we need to understand why banks give 10X.

Why do banks give 10X?

Two words: discretionary spend.

Let’s think about all the 10X opportunities that exist right now.

  • Citibank Rewards (online and offline shopping)
  • HSBC Advance (online and dining)
  • UOB Pref Plat Visa (online and Paywave)
  • DBS Woman’s World (online)
  • UOB Visa Signature (overseas)

Notice anything in common?

Well, all the categories that get 10X are those where banks are trying to drive discretionary consumer spending.

You don’t have to eat out, but the banks hope that by offering you 10X you feel less guilty about swiping your card. You don’t have to indulge in online shopping, but banks give you 10X to encourage you to splurge on Amazon. If you bother to change your money at The Arcade before heading overseas, you don’t have to swipe your credit card overseas, but the banks hope that 10X will change your mind.

(Paywave seems to be less of a discretionary spend category given that you’ll find it at supermarkets, pharmacies and lots of other “utilitarian” places, but I’m guessing that the 10X program was conceptualized when Paywave was relatively new in Singapore and UOB wanted to drive adoption of the technology. Since Paywave transactions are capped at $100 and the overall 10X on the PPV is capped at $12,000 spend per year In any case, UOB doesn’t give UNI$ at merchants that are members of its SMART$ program, which, surprise surprise, is most of the supermarkets + pharmacies)

Banks don’t need to incentivize your non-discretionary spending because they know you’d do it anyway. Groceries need to be bought. Medical bills need to be paid. But they want to encourage you to spend above your baseline, and that’s why 10X opportunities exist.

Now think about what iPayMy and Cardup are offering. They are letting you turn routine, necessary payments into 10X opportunities. That’s great for you, but not so much for the bank, which suddenly realises that it’s having to pay out additional DBS points/UNI $ on payments that were going to happen anyway.

Therefore, from the bank’s point of view, it doesn’t make sense for them to reward this. And I fear that we’re now going to see more and more banks set this out explicitly. I know that HSBC Advance already doesn’t give 10X on iPayMy/Cardup, and to my knowledge only the UOB PPV currently earns 10X.

And that’s a big deal for iPayMy/Cardup, because, looping back to my opening argument, the only way I’ll pay 2.6% is if I get 10X. I’m sure the same goes for a lot of people in the miles community.

(I suspect the platforms themselves aren’t too confident about advertising 10X earning opportunities, because the working on Cardup’s own website illustrates a 1.4 mpd opportunity, not 10X)

The solution? Both iPayMy and Cardup have to go to the banks, sit down with them and say- this is what we offer, this is what people want. How can we make this work?

And whether the answer involves some sort of cost sharing, or joint promotion, or explicit cap on 10X for iPayMy/Cardup, I don’t know. But something needs to happen, because the longer the ambiguity about 10X exists, the fewer miles chasers will use either platform.

Cardup adds limited time member get member promotion

I’ve written previously about the startup Cardup, which charges a 2.6% fee in exchange for letting you use your credit card to make payments that normally couldn’t be made using a credit card. This means you can earn rewards points and miles on payments like rental, school fees, condo fees, insurance etc. Think of it conceptually as an opportunity to buy miles at a discounted rate.

Give $20, get $20

Cardup has launched a member get member promotion that lasts from now till 31 May 2017.

Under this promotion, any member that signs up via your referral code gets $20 off the Cardup fee for their first payment. You get $20 off your next payment for each successful referral. The maximum amount of free credit you can earn is $200 per account, or 10 referrals. Given the 2.6% fee, a $20 Cardup credit will cover the fees incurred on a ~$770 maximum value transaction.

My promo code is AARONW54, but feel free to post your own referral codes in the comments section below.

I realise the last time I wrote about this there was some confusion as to which cards earn 10X rewards points through Cardup. I have previously confirmed receiving 10X rewards points on Cardup using my DBS Woman’s World card for a transaction made in November 2016. I have not personally tested any of the following cards which offer 10X for online spending

  • HSBC Advance
  • UOB Pref Platinum Visa
  • Citibank Rewards
  • OCBC Titanium Rewards

The long and short of the matter is that there isn’t a whole lot of transparency on the back end of the banks as to how they classify transactions. There’s always a risk that you’ll not get what you were expecting. However- this member gets member promotion presents an opportunity for us to test different cards. Whether or not your 10X successfully posts, you don’t end up out of pocket, so that should lower the barrier to trying.

As a reminder, if you use a card like the UOB PRVI, you’ll get 1.4 mpd, or 1.86 cpm. You could potentially get 0.65 cpm with a 10X card, but that depends on whether you’re willing to gamble with either getting 10X or 1X (0.4 mpd).

Sharing is caring- please post the results of your field testing below. There might not be a point testing the HSBC Advance (assuming they don’t renew the 10X promotion), but I’d be interested to see what happens for other cards. Will give my Citibank Rewards card a test, if someone sends some free credit my way!

Is Cardup another route to unlocking 4mpd?

Update 20/1/17: So there have been some lively discussions on the comments and a lot of uncertainty about which cards do and don’t earn 10X on Cardup and iPayMy. 

All I can say is that Cardup earned me 10X points when I used my DBS Woman’s World Card to make a payment back in November 2016. I have not tested any of the other cards mentioned here and can only go on what I’m hearing  from other people. And I’m hearing a lot of conflicting things. I think the main takeaway from this should be: YMMV. Although it’d be amazing if we could get the certainty of 10X, at the end of the day it’s up to the banks what categories they want to give this on. 

One additional clarification that people may find useful is that Cardup payments can be split across multiple cards so you can max out your bonus exactly on one before moving to another.

In any case, I’d prefer that the comments not become an advertising space for any platform, so I’m going to close them at this point. If you have questions for the good people at Cardup or iPayMy, I suggest you contact them directly-

Cardup:[email protected]
iPayMy: [email protected]

Cardup is another Singapore startup that’s looking to help you earn more miles on things you couldn’t normally earn miles on. Its model is conceptually similar to iPayMy in that in exchange for a small transaction fee (2.6%, the same across both platforms), you get the chance to use your credit card for merchants who normally don’t take credit cards.

As of today, you can pay rent, rental deposits, school fees (mostly international schools plus some preschools like EtonHouse), condo fees and insurance (AIA, Aviva, AXA, Manulife, Great Eastern and Tokio Marine) through Cardup. This will eventually be expanded to include HDB fees, income tax, school bus, mortgage payments and car servicing.

My experience using Cardup to pay my NUSS monthly membership fees was fairly painless. I just entered my membership details in the dashboard….

Provided my payment details…

And that was it. A few days later, I got an email notification that my payment had been processed.

Does it get 10X?

I suppose this is the question on everyone’s minds. I reached out to the Cardup team for some clarification and here’s their answer as to which cards earn 4mpd with Cardup

  • UOB Preferred Platinum Visa- Yes
  • Citibank Rewards- No
  • OCBC Titanium Rewards- No
  • DBS Woman’s World Card- Yes (edit: updated after Cardup team’s confirmation)
  • HSBC Advance- No

But when I checked my DBS points statement (I did the transaction back in November), my 10X posted successfully. So I’m unsure now. Either it’s a new development that Cardup transactions don’t get 10X with DBS anymore, or there is some confusion even on the Cardup side about what does and doesn’t qualify (Cardup has since confirmed that 10X is possible with DBS WWMC)

You can also have a read of this thread on FT (see posts 6575 + 6549) where someone claims to have been in touch with the Cardup team and provides some FAQs for mile collectors.

Granted, these situations are always in flux (and banks can easily reclassify merchants if they want to) but given how fundamental the 10X points is to people like me when deciding whether to use such services, it is really to their advantage to try and establish some certainty here.

Addendum: iPayMy has been in touch to confirm that the following cards earn 10X rewards points with their platform: UOB PPV, Citibank Rewards, HSBC Advance, DBS Woman’s World Card

Of course, platforms like Cardup market themselves on more than just the ability to earn points. They talk about the convenience of being able to set up transactions once and never worry about them again and the ability to schedule payments in advance. I know iPayMy is trying to build a property management ecosystem where you can seamlessly upload documentation like repair bills and what not to your tenant, keeping a digital trail of all the information in one place. I’m sure some people may find that useful, but I’m not really sold on the convenience because (1) I don’t rent a place and (2) you can get all the convenience of one-time set up and never missing a payment with a GIRO arrangement

To me, the only thing that justifies paying a 2.6% fee is the ability to earn 10X/ 4 mpd. I’ve done the working before, but it bears repeating. If you can get 10X points, you pay-

2.6 cents= 4 miles or 0.65 cents per mile

If you’re earning regular spending rates of 1.4 mpd (UOB PRVI), you equation becomes-

2.6 cents=1.4 miles or 1.86 cents per mile

Is 1.86 cpm a bad price to buy miles at? No, insofar as it’s below the magical 2 cpm threshold we’ve talked about before. But remember that you could potentially be buying miles for less through annual fees.

Card Renewal/ Sign Up Annual Fee (S$) Renewal Bonus (miles) Cost of 1 mile
DBS Altitude Renewal 192.60 10,000 1.9 cents
ANZ Travel Renewal 200 10,000 2 cents
HSBC Visa Infinite Sign Up 488 30,000 1.6 cents
OCBC Voyage Sign up 488/ 3,210 15,000/ 150,000 3.3 cents/ 2.1 cents
Citibank Premiermiles Renewal 192.60 10,000 1.9 cents
Citi Prestige Sign up 535 25,000 2.1 cents
SCB Visa Infinite Sign up 588.50 35,000 1.7 cents

0.65 cpm, however, is a very hard proposition to turn down. And that’s why this 10X or no 10X is so fundamental to my decision whether or not to use these services.

The thing about 10X cards is that they’re amazing if they give you 10X, and punitive if they don’t. Imagine if you paid for a Cardup/iPayMy transaction with a 10X card but ended up earning only 1X. Your effective cost then is

2.6 cents= 0.4 miles or 6.5 cents per mile!

So I can absolutely understand why people are paranoid about this. I think it’s important for both Cardup and iPayMy (and whoever else s intending to enter this space) to have, on their sites, a resource that’s updated monthly with whether or not transactions are qualifying for 10X. This would help nudge people who are still on the fence.

If you fancy your luck (or have a UOB PP Visa), Cardup is currently running a New Year promotion that offers a $0 fee on a user’s first payment (max $5,000). This is valid till 19 Feb and the first 250 users (promo code: Hello2017 (I do not earn anything from this link)).

Conclusion

Given the similarities between iPayMy and Cardup, one might be wondering which platform is “better”.

Assuming both iPayMy and Cardup qualify for the same 10X bonuses with the various online spending cards (something that has yet to be established), then the average miles collector should be indifferent between either platform insofar as they charge the same 2.6% admin fee.

Where these platforms will end up differentiating themselves will be on things like

  • Lists of merchants each platform offers (eg Cardup lets you make insurance payments while iPayMy lets you pay car park charges)
  • Platform rewards program (eg Cardup’s website talks about giving frequent users rewards like 1 month’s free rent, $50 school supplies vouchers)
  • The ability to create a “rental ecosystem” and whether consumers find that useful (eg iPayMy’s creation of a property portal that allows tenants and landlords to upload documents to each other)

It should also be noted that both iPayMy and Cardup do not currently take AMEX but will be offering it soon. However, because there is no 10X online rewards card that comes in an AMEX variety, this isn’t really a concern for me.

[For the purposes of full disclosure I should mention that this site has worked with iPayMy before. However, given the number of questions I’ve been getting about Cardup, I felt it would be beneficial to readers to do an article on the topic. I did reach out to Cardup for clarification on some of the points in the article but all opinions are my own. Cardup offered to waive my first transaction fee on their platform, which I declined]