DBS enhances Live Fresh Student Card: bonus cashback at “student favourite” brands

A new bonus cashback category makes this card a pretty decent student card offering.

The DBS Live Fresh Student Card is definitely no stranger to most tertiary students. It’s heavily marketed at universities and every semester someone shoves a brochure into my face telling me how I need this card.

Back before I could even qualify to hold it, it was actually earning a decent 1.2 mpd. Impressive by student card standards that is.

Fast forward to today, the DBS Live Fresh Student Card is a cashback only card that earns a paltry 0.3% cashback on all eligible spend. However, DBS has very recently changed the DBS Live Fresh student credit card with bonus cashback categories which I must admit is okay-ish.

Revisiting the DBS Live Fresh Student Card

As the card name obviously suggests, the DBS Live Fresh student card is aimed at students. You have to be between the ages of 18-27 and studying in a local tertiary institute to apply for it.

DBS defines an eligible local tertiary institution as the following:

  • NUS
  • NTU
  • SMU
  • SUTD
  • SUSS
  • SIT
  • Nanyang Polytechnic
  • Ngee Ann Polytechnic,
  • Temasek Polytechnic
  • Singapore Polytechnic
  • Republic Polytechnic

Here are some important facts you need to know about the card:

Income Req. Annual Fee Credit Limit FCY Transaction Fee
None S$192.60 (waived for 5 years) S$500 3.25%
Local & FCY Earn Special Earn Remarks
0.3% base cashback +4.7% bonus cashback Base cashback capped at S$20, Bonus cashback capped at S$15

Up until 31 December 2019, the DBS Live Fresh student card only earned a paltry 0.3% cashback on all spend that’s capped at S$20. From 1 January 2020, DBS has “enhanced” the Live Fresh student card by introducing a bonus cashback category.

Get up to 5% cashback at select merchants

From 1 January 2020, DBS Live Fresh student card members will earn an additional 4.7% cashback when they spend at the following merchants:

Source: DBS

The additional bonus cashback that you can earn from these merchants is capped at S$15 per calendar month. This means that you will hit the bonus cashback cap of S$15 after spending S$320 at these merchants in one calendar month. You can read the full terms and conditions here.

If you think about it, S$320 per month at these merchants isn’t really a hard figure to hit especially if you live on campus. For those who have experienced hostel life, there will always be “supper jios” and you could always be that friend who pays first. By using your DBS Live Fresh card to help pay for the entire McDelivery order and earn some extra cashback for yourself.

If you do spend S$320 a month at these merchants, you are looking at a total cashback of S$16 which is like earning back 3 McChicken meals.

What would have made it better?

What I dislike about this bonus cashback scheme is that it is targeted only at specific merchants. If DBS had implemented a category based bonus cashback scheme it would definitely have made the card even more attractive.

If the card offered up to 5% cashback on fast food, movies, and coffee places, this would have been so much better as then we will be able to hit the bonus cashback at more merchants.

What if I’m not a McDonald’s fan and exclusively eat KFC and Burger King? What if my favourite cinema chain is Cathay? The rant goes on…

Remember to cancel one year prior to entering the workforce

If you do apply for the DBS Live Fresh Student Card, you should open your calendar app now and set a reminder for a date one year before graduation to cancel the card.

Why one year before entering the workforce? Well, when you do enter the workforce you will be able to apply for a “full-fledged” credit card. Most banks generally consider applicants to be a “new-to-bank” customer if they not hold a credit card with them now or in the past 12 months.

Why is being considered a new-to-bank customer good? Well, generally new-to-bank customers are given more generous promotions when they sign up for a new credit card. Take for example the current sign-up offer for the DBS Altitude Visa card. Here’s an infographic from DBS showing you how many miles you can earn as a new/existing cardmember:

Source: DBS

As you can see, existing DBS/POSB cardmembers will only earn a 5,000 miles sign-up bonus as compared to 10,000 miles for being a new-to-bank customer. This is why you want some time to “reset” your new-to-bank status prior to joining the workforce.

Concluding Thoughts

The added bonus cashback category of up to 5% at select merchants is definitely a welcome move to the DBS Live Fresh Student Card. Although it’s restricted to selected merchants, it’s still a much better offering than other student cashback cards on the market at the moment.

Matthew Chong
Addicted to luxury travel while trying not to go broke, Matthew is always on the prowl for the best deals in the travel industry. When he's not busy studying, he can be found trawling the internet and reading up on credit cards, airlines and hotels. He also wouldn't mind taking you out on a date.

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