Tag Archives: rental

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. 

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: hello@cardup.co 
iPayMy: support@ipaymy.com

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]

 

iPayMy is offering 250 free rental payments for September

ipaymy-01

I wrote about iPayMy a while back, a service that lets you pay a small additional fee (see below) to use your credit card to make rental payments to your landlord. This allows you to earn rewards points when paying your rent, and your landlord does not need to be registered with iPayMy for you to do so.

iPayMy is currently offering a promotion where they’re waiving the first month service fee for rent payments made before 30th September. To take advantage of this, you can sign up with the promo code here (Disclosure: I do not earn anything from sign ups through this link). This promotion applies both to existing and new users of iPayMy services.

FirstMonthFree Image

This discount applies to rental payments of $4,000 and below. The standard service fee (see below) applies to the portion of rental above $4,000. The discount is only available to a maximum of 250 users per month, but when you are at the checkout process to finalise your payment you can enter the code and if the limit has been reached you will get an error message. Therefore you will know beforehand whether or not you qualify.

More interestingly, however, iPayMy has also cut the service fee from a tiered 2.75-2.95% structure to a flat 2.6%.

I suspect this is because of the impending launch of CardUp, another SG-based startup that will let you use your credit card to pay rent, condo fees, insurance, tuition fees and taxes (at 2.6%, which was lower than iPayMy’s 2.75-2.95% brackets). That service has not gone live yet but will be interesting to see what happens when it does.

More avenues to use your credit cards are always a good thing, and I know that the margins in this business must be very tiny, but hopefully the presence of competition will get both parties to keep fees lower and offer better promotions.

So now that the fee is 2.6%, how do the numbers tally up?

Crunching the numbers with the reduced 2.6% figure

Scenario 1: Use HSBC Advance/ DBS Woman’s World Card @ 4 miles per $1

Monthly rent= $2,000
Fees per month=$52
Miles earned=8,000
Cost per mile= 0.65 cents

That’s a heck of a good price to generate some additional miles, if you ask me. Of course once you exceed $2,000 your cost per mile dramatically increases for DBS Woman’s World because you’re only earning 0.4 miles per the $2,001 dollar and upwards. I understand that iPayMy’s interface allows for partial payment and you can use multiple cards to finance the total rental amount.

If you want to use the aforementioned promo code then keep in mind that it is limited to single use only, so if you break up your rent payment into 2 portions then make sure you make the bigger payment first to get the full discount.

The last time I wrote about this I got a lot of questions about “does this count as online spend for HSBC Advance/DBS Woman’s/UOB Pref Platinum Visa/ Citibank Rewards?

Since then, iPayMy has confirmed that holders of the HSBC Advance and DBS Woman’s card have successfully received 10X points on payments to iPayMy.

Scenario 2:  Use UOB PRVI Miles/ANZ Travel Card @ 1.4 miles per $1

Monthly rent= $2,000
Fees per month=$52
Miles earned=2,800
Cost per mile= 1.86 cents

A lot less attractive, and another reason why you really need to get onboard with the specialised spending cards if you want to earn big miles.

A reminder on how much it costs to generate miles through credit card annual fees

Card Fee Miles Cost /Mile
Citi Prestige $535 25,000 2.14
ANZ Travel Card $200 10,000 2.00
Citi Premiermiles $192.60 10,000 1.93
DBS Altitude $192.60 10,000 1.93
OCBC Voyage $488 / $3,210 15,000 (Voyage) / 150,000 (Krisflyer)* 3.25/2.14
SCB Visa Infinite $588.50 35,000 1.68
HSBC Visa Infinite $488 30,000 1.62

What do I think? It doesn’t hurt to give it a try, if only for the first month to get some miles you wouldn’t otherwise have been able to get. After that, whether or not you feel it’s worth it to buy miles at 0.65 cents each is your call, but it does seem like a good deal to me. At 1.86 cents the deal is much worse, so this only makes sense if you’re able to get the online spend bonus that certain cards offer.

Miletize with your rental payments through iPayMy

[Addendum 21 Nov: iPaymy now offers a flat 2.6% service fee regardless of transaction size]

Before I went on my RTW trip I met up with the COO of iPayMy, a local startup that’s offering a new way of paying your rental. We had a good chat where she told me about what iPayMy was trying to do in Singapore, their value proposition and that I had a piece of loose spinach stuck in my teeth the whole time we were talking.

TL;DR version- iPayMy lets you pay your rent through your credit card subject to the following fees

  • 2.95% for rentals up to $5,000
  • 2.85% for rentals from $5,000 to $10,000
  • 2.75% for rentals from $10,001 upwards

At the end of the day this is a simple miles buying exercise. Let’s assume you’re using the HSBC Advance card which gives 4 miles per $1 on online transactions (which is really the right card to use for this). Your cost per mile is-

  • 0.74 cents for rentals up to $5,000
  • 0.71 cents for rentals from $5,000 to $10,000
  • 0.69 cents for rentals from $10,001 upwards

My understanding is that iPayMy will have the option to do partial payments across 2 credit cards, so you could use it to max out your DBS Woman’s World card $2,000 cap before putting the rest on another card, if you don’t have the HSBC advance. Suppose I did a combination of the DBS Woman’s World card and the UOB PRVI Miles Visa/MC (they don’t take AMEX now). The cost per mile is (assuming a minimum rent of $2,000 and 4 miles per $1 on Woman’s world and 1.4 miles per $1 on PRVI)-

  • 0.74-1.21 cents for rentals up to $5,000
  • 1.16-1.48 cents for rentals from $5,001 to $10,000
  • 1.43-1.57 cents for rentals from $10,001 upwards

I think the analysis shows that this is the best deal if you have a HSBC Advance card. If not your cost per mile goes up the more your rent is.

Of course you could have a situation where you had both the DBS Woman’s World card and the DBS Woman’s card and used the (separate) $2,000 cap on each to get 4 miles per $1 on the first $2,000 and 2 miles per $1 on the next 2,000, in which case your calculation would again change.

Remember that you can buy miles for as low as 1.62 cents through credit card annual fees , so iPayMy would be a cheaper option if you wanted to buy miles.

Card Fee Miles Cost /Mile
Citi Prestige $535 25,000 2.14
ANZ Travel Card $200 10,000 2.00
Citi Premiermiles $192.60 10,000 1.93
DBS Altitude $192.60 10,000 1.93
OCBC Voyage (snigger) $488 / $3,210 15,000 (Voyage) / 150,000 (Krisflyer)* 3.25/2.14
SCB Visa Infinite $588.50 35,000 1.68
HSBC Visa Infinite $488 30,000 1.62

I know some people will see this as a chance to do manufactured spending, but it’s against the T&C and probably not a good idea. Even if you could somehow get pass the paperwork and documentation requirements needed to set up a payment scheme, I believe there would be income tax implications. For example, if I dummy paid my friend $5,000 every month and he ibanked it back to me,  he’d be subject to tax on $5,000 of rental income.

So that’s the situation on the miles, which is really the part I’m most interested in . I suppose your ability to take advantage of this depends on the willingness of your landlord to set up with iPayMy, but given that the transaction fee is borne by you I can’t see why that would be an issue. In any case my understanding is that eventually iPayMy will evolve into a property management ecosystem where the both the tenant and landlord can upload relevant documents (eg repair bills) and keep in touch regularly. I’ve never rented a property before so I can’t comment on the usefulness of that.

Update: Correction, property owners do not need to sign-up to iPaymy to receive funds from tenants. They will simply receive the money in their bank account as normal. The tenant simply should ensure to process their rent payment with iPaymy at least 5 days ahead of the due date, to allow for the processing time period and avoid a late rent payment.

This isn’t something that everyone can take advantage of, but if you’re already paying rent and looking for more ways to buy miles this might be an option for you. What I’m hoping is that iPayMy does some sort of promotion where you can get the first month’s transaction fee waived. That would at least lower the barrier to adoption for a lot of people.