Tag Archives: ipaymy

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.

Part 2 of The Milelion-iPayMy materials are now up!

Last night we had the second half of The Milelion-iPayMy webinar series on redeeming miles. Thank you to all who joined and I hope you learned something useful (and if not, please feel free to leave questions below).

A recording of the presentation is available below

And here are the updated materials


I realise there were a few things we mentioned during the presentation that we had to sort of rush through because of time constraints. The $100 Bangkok trip was one nifty thing in particular I thought deserved a better explanation, so I’m going to do a proper article on that very shortly. If there’s anything in the materials you feel needs a bit more explaining do let me know in the comments too.

And if you want to read more about some of the analysis I alluded to in the presentation, you can find links here

How bad is the Krisflyer waitlist situation, really?

Further analyzing the Krisflyer partner award chart

Why Krisflyer’s new Tigerair and Scoot redemption options are a waste of time

Is AsiaMiles the answer to SQ’s ridiculous award surcharges?

Is Alaska’s Mileageplan the new Lifemiles?

Some people have mentioned they’d like the option of attending a live presentation. That sounds exciting too, so let me give it a think of how that can best be arranged and get back to you. Once again, thanks for attending and hope you learned something new!

Milelion-iPayMy webinar materials are now up!

Thank you again to the 60 or so of you who joined me for the introduction to miles earning workshop hosted last night. It was great to see so many of you (albeit online- we really should do a physical meet up one of these days) at the event and although the material we covered was pretty basic, I hope it nonetheless served as a good refresher (or primer for those of you who were completely new!)

The materials for the first webinar are now up and you can view a recording here. Be warned that I speak progressively faster as the webinar goes on, but I’m told if you play the recording backwards you can hear the secret code to enter on the SQ website to unlock saver award space on SQ25. Or so the legend goes.

An updated version of the slides I used can be found here. In the appendix you’ll find some useful resources and backup slides with more details on different cards.

Do remember to register for Thursday’s session if you haven’t already done so. This Thursday, we will be looking at what to do with all those miles you’ve earned- what frequent flyer program should you join? What should you spend your miles on? How can you improve your chances of snagging award space? How can you minimize surcharges on awards?

The webinar will take place at the same time (7pm), same place (anywhere you are!)

Register now for Session 2: Top Tips for Redeeming Air Miles

Hope to see another good turnout and to answer as many of your questions as I can

P.S- if you’ve still got pending questions from last night’s session please feel free to post them below. I realise I still owe you an answer on MatchMove, a program I’m vaguely aware of but never researched in detail. Look out for an article on that hopefully over the weekend