There’s less than 6 months to go until the first batch of SCB X Cards come up for renewal, and as I mentioned before, SCB really has to pull something out of the hat to make cardholders pay the second year’s S$695.50 annual fee.
We’ve seen baby steps in the right direction, namely the 100% transfer bonus to Emirates Skywards. Today comes another step: a limited-time 3 mpd on foreign currency (FCY) spending.
Earn 3 mpd on FCY spending with the SCB X Card
From now till 30 June 2020, SCB X Card members who spend at least S$2,000 per month will earn a total of 3 mpd on FCY spending, with no cap.
This is broken into:
- The regular 5 Rewards Points (2 miles) for every S$1 spent on the SCB X Card in FCY
- A bonus 2.5 Rewards Points (1 mile) for every S$1 spent on the SCB X Card in FCY
The bonus component will be credited by either 31 May or 31 July 2020, depending on which month your spending was made. Since we’re already at the end of February, SCB has merged the rest of the month together with March in defining the “first month.”
|Spending Period||Bonus Points Credited By|
|24 Feb- 31 Mar 2020||31 May 2020|
|1-30 Apr 2020||31 May 2020|
|1-31 May 2020||31 July 2020|
|1-30 Jun 2020||31 July 2020|
Supplementary cardholder spending will be pooled with the principal cardholder’s in determining whether the S$2,000 spending requirement has been met. As a reminder, the S$2,000 qualifying spending can be made in local or FCY, or some mix of the two.
SCB has provided a list of excluded transactions that will not count towards the qualifying spending. The main one to note here is insurance premiums, and it’s nice to know that unlike the qualifying spending for the sign up bonus, RentHero and CardUp transactions have not been excluded this time round.
I’m anticipating that the one of the first questions in the comments will be “BRO ARE GRABPAY TOP-UPS INCLUDED” so let me just say this: the SCB X Card is a Visa, and for now, the Visa MCC for GrabPay top-ups is 7399.
7399 refers to Business Services Not Elsewhere Classified, and is not a prepaid account (that’s 6540, which Mastercard and AMEX assign to GrabPay top-ups).
Therefore, my reading is that GrabPay top-ups will count towards qualifying spending. At the same time, I’d point out (p) on the exclusions list which specifies that SCB has the right to exclude any other charge as they see fit, so you have to decide if you’re willing to take that risk.
The full T&C of the promotion can be found here.
How does this compare to other cards?
3 mpd is, in and of itself, a good earn rate for FCY spending. However, that’s only half the picture. You also need to consider the FCY fee, or the bank’s markup on all transactions not in Singapore dollars.
SCB has the highest FCY fee in the market at 3.5%. That’s saying a bit when every bank has been raising fees.
On the plus side, SCB does not have the silly “payment processor location” caveat that BOC and UOB adopt. So long as you spend in a currency other than Singapore dollars, it counts as FCY spending.
Here’s how the SCB X Card measures up to other credit cards:
|FCY Earn Rate||FCY Fee||Cost Per Mile|
|OCBC 90°N Card||4.0 (until 29 Feb)|
|3.25%||0.81 (until 29 Feb)|
|UOB Visa Signature||4.01||3.1%|
3.25% (from 9 Mar)
|BOC Elite Miles||3.0||3.0%||1.0|
|SCB X Card (Promo Rate)||3.0||3.5%||1.17|
|SCB Visa Infinite||3.02||3.5%||1.17|
|HSBC Visa Infinite||2.253||2.8%||1.24|
|AMEX KrisFlyer Ascend||2.0 (Jun & Dec)||2.5%|
2.95% (from 1 Mar)
1.48 (from 1 Mar)
|AMEX KrisFlyer Blue||2.0 (Jun & Dec)||2.5%|
2.95% (from 1 Mar)
1.48 (from 1 Mar)
|DBS Treasures AMEX||2.4||3.25%||1.35|
|UOB PRVI Miles (all varieties)||2.4||3.25%||1.35|
|DBS Altitude (all varieties)||2.0||3.25%||1.63|
|Citi PremierMiles Visa||2.0||3.25%||1.63|
|1. Min S$1K Max S$2K FCY spend in a statement month|
2. Min S$2K spend in a statement month
3. Min S$50K spend in the previous membership year
With this promotion, you pay a very respectable 1.17 cents per mile, one of the lowest rates in the market.
However, my plan is to switch to the BOC Elite Miles World Mastercard after the OCBC 90N’s 4 mpd promotion ends on 29 Feb 2020. Although BOC drives me up the wall, there’s no minimum spend required to earn 3 mpd, plus their FCY fee is lower.
If I knew for sure I’d be spending more than S$1,000 in FCY (perhaps on an overseas trip), I’d use the UOB Visa Signature instead.
We know that the bank’s plan is for the SCB X Card to replace the SCB Visa Infinite, and in that respect this looks like an alignment of benefits. The X Card’s earn rate has only been temporarily boosted, but I strongly suspect we might see this become a sticky feature in the future.
Is this promotion good enough to justify a S$695.50 annual fee? Hardly. But it hopefully signals that the SCB team is working towards improving the overall value proposition of the card.