Limited time: SCB X Card offering 3 mpd for foreign currency spending

From now till 30 June 2020, spend at least S$2,000 per month on the SCB X Card and earn 3 mpd on FCY spending.

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
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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 PeriodBonus Points Credited By
24 Feb- 31 Mar 202031 May 2020
1-30 Apr 202031 May 2020
1-31 May 202031 July 2020
1-30 Jun 202031 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.

  1. any cash advance;
  2. any Credit Card Funds Transfer;
  3. any monthly instalment of an EasyPay transaction;
  4. any amounts charged to the X Card that is subsequently cancelled, voided, refunded or reversed
  5. AXS or ATM transactions made using the X Card;
  6. any insurance premiums charged to the X Card
  7. recurring payments (being automatic payments where the Eligible Cardholer or his/her supplementary cardholder(s) of the X Card has given a one-time authorisation or instruction for the merchant to charge the payment directly to the X Card at a fixed interval, such as transactions made pursuant to Standard Chartered Bank (Singapore) Limited’s 0% Interest Instalment Plan) or payments made to all billing organisations using Standard Chartered Online Banking or mobile app;
  8. any fees or charges (including but not limited to annual card fees, service fees, interest charges, cheque processing fees, administrative fees, finance charges, and/or late payment charges and other miscellaneous fees and charges);
  9. amounts which have been rolled over from any preceding month’s statement;
  10. tax refunds credited into the Eligible Cardholder’s X Card;
  11. tax payment charged to Eligible Cardholder’s X Card;
  12. charges incurred but not submitted or posted to the X Card account during the X Card Promotion Period;
  13. any fraudulent retail transaction;
  14. any payments related to betting (including lottery tickets, casino gaming chips, off-track betting, and wagers at race tracks) through any channel charged to Eligible Cardholder’s X Card;
  15. any top-ups or payment of funds to any prepaid and any prepaid accounts including without limitation:
    • (i) any transaction classified under either of the following Merchant Category Codes:
      • Financial Institutions – Merchandise, Services, and Debt Repayment (6012); or
      • Non-Financial Institutions – Stored Value Card Purchase/Load (6540); and
      (ii) any top-ups or payment of funds to the following accounts or any other accounts as we may specify from time to time:
      ⋅ EZ LINK Pte Ltd  ⋅ FlashPay ATU ⋅ OANDAASIAPA · EZ LINK PTE LTD (FEVO) · TRANSITLINK* · OANDA ASIA PAC · EZ-LINK PTE LTD SINGAPORE · TRANSIT LINK* · PAYPAL * BIZCONSULTA· EZ-LINK TOP-UP KIOSK · TRANSIT LINK PL · PAYPAL * OANDAASIAPA · EZ-LINK (IMAGINE CARD) · TRANSIT · PAYPAL * CAPITALROYA · EZLINK* · MB * MONEYBOOKERS.COM · Saxo Cap Mkts Pte Ltd · EZ LINK · WWW.IGMARKETS.COM.SG · SKR*SKRILL.COM · EZLINKS.COM
  16. any other charge, fees or payments as we may stipulate from time to time

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.

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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.

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BankVisa/MCAMEX
DBS3.25%3.0%
UOB3.25%3.25%
OCBC3.25%N/A
Citibank3.25%3.3%
HSBC2.8%N/A
SCB3.5%N/A
Maybank2.75%N/A
CIMB3.0%N/A
BOC3.0%N/A
AMEXN/A2.95%

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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 RateFCY FeeCost Per Mile
OCBC 90°N Card4.0 (until 29 Feb)
2.1 (after)
3.25%0.81 (until 29 Feb)
1.55 (after)
 
UOB Visa Signature
4.013.1%
3.25% (from 9 Mar)
0.78
0.81 (after)
BOC Elite Miles3.03.0%1.0
SCB X Card (Promo Rate)3.03.5%1.17
SCB Visa Infinite 3.023.5%1.17
HSBC Visa Infinite 2.2532.8%1.24
AMEX KrisFlyer Ascend2.0 (Jun & Dec)2.5%
2.95% (from 1 Mar)
1.25
1.48 (from 1 Mar)
AMEX KrisFlyer Blue2.0 (Jun & Dec)2.5%
2.95% (from 1 Mar)
1.25
1.48 (from 1 Mar)
DBS Treasures AMEX
2.43.25%1.35
UOB PRVI Miles (all varieties)2.43.25%1.35
OCBC VOYAGE2.33.25%1.41
DBS Altitude (all varieties)2.03.25%1.63
Citi PremierMiles Visa2.03.25%1.63
Citi Prestige2.03.25%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.

Conclusion

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.

Aaron Wong
Aaron founded The Milelion with the intention of helping people travel better for less and impressing chiobu. He was 50% successful.

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Adam

BRO ARE GRABPAY TOP UPS INCLUDED

Bro

Aaron, can you earn base miles on SGD renthero/cardup payments, or would they just go towards ‘qualifying spend’ for the purposes of the 3mpd FCY promo?

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