Tag Archives: cardup

UOB kills 10X earning on PPV with Cardup

If you’ve used your UOB PPV to pay a Cardup bill recently you may have received the following email. I’ve extracted the relevant bits here-

We noticed you may have used the UOB Preferred Platinum Visa Card on CardUp and wanted to inform you of the recent updates UOB made to this card’s terms and conditions.

Effective 3 July 2017, the categories eligible for the online bonus have been reduced and CardUp payments will unfortunately not qualify. We have updated the information on CardUp’s website to reflect this but also wanted to let you know directly.

Rest assured there are still many credit cards where the value of the rewards gained will outweigh our fees. For example, you can use the UOB PRVI Miles Visa Card to earn 1.4 miles per dollar with no cap to the number of miles earned. Read more about how you can continue racking up miles and 5 other ways to save with CardUp here

The email makes reference to UOB updating the T&C of its PPV card. Effective 3rd July, only the following transactions earn 10X points

Cardup’s MCC does not fall within these categories.

There were those who said it was unlikely UOB would exclude Cardup from 10X earning, given that Cardup is backed by UOB’s FinLab tech accelerator and the loss of 10X would be quite a blow. I guess we have an answer to that now.

The email tries to convince you that paying a 2.6% admin fee is still worth it without 10X, pointing to the example of the UOB PRVI Miles card which earns you 1.4 mpd on Cardup payments. We’ve done the math before, and it’s not very convincing:

$1 spend on Cardup attracts 2.6 cents fee which earns 1.4 miles. Therefore the cost of 1 mile= 2.6/1.4=1.86. That’s below the magic 2 cents threshold but definitely not a must grab deal, given that you can buy miles through credit card annual fees at around the same price.

If 10X points were available, then $1 spend on Cardup attracts 2.6 cents fee which earns 4 miles, making the cost of 1 mile= 2.6/4=0.65 cents. Now that is a good deal, and even better than the 0.76 cents per mile that Citibank is now offering through its Premiermiles Visa card.

I’m interested to see where Cardup will go from here, given that two 10X cards (DBS Woman’s + UOB PPV) have now ruled out bonus points earning. Let’s hope they’re able to make some deals with banks that help them remain a viable option for miles chasers.

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

EDIT: The Cardup member get member promotion has been extended indefinitely

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!