What’s the best credit card to use for SimplyGo and public transport?

Last Updated:

Don't leave miles on the table when you ride the bus or train. Here's the credit cards offering rewards on public transportation.

Public transportation may not be a significant chunk of your monthly expenditure, but that’s no reason to leave miles on the table. A regular recurring expense, when charged to the right credit card, can help your miles balance grow bit by bit over time. 

Here’s my take on how you can maximize the credit card rewards earned on this category. 

How are you paying for public transport?

Earning miles on public transportation is a relatively recent phenomenon, made possible by the government’s push towards contactless payments. 

There are several ways to go about using your credit card for public transport, but be warned: most of them won’t earn you any rewards points!

❌Top-up at General Ticketing Machines/ Add Value Machines

The first is to top-up your EZ-Link card at General Ticketing Machines or Add Value Machines located inside MRT stations. These kiosks have accepted credit card payments since 2016.

Don’t. Without exception, using your credit card to top-up your EZ-Link card at ticketing terminals will earn you no points. 

❌ Top-up via EZ-Link app

The second is to top-up your EZ-Link card via the EZ-Link app, either on an ad-hoc basis or via EZ-Reload (which automatically tops up your balance via credit card when it falls below a certain threshold). 

Again, don’t. It used to be possible to earn miles on EZ-Reload with the HSBC Revolution (2 mpd, capped at S$200/month) and Standard Chartered credit cards (up to 1.4 mpd), but both these methods have been nerfed.

Advertising

As of today, you won’t get any points going via this avenue. 

Pay via SimplyGo

The third way is to tap your credit card (or mobile wallet) at the gantry. This is known as SimplyGo, and as the name suggests, is the simplest way of earning miles on public transportation. 

Don’t use these specific cards, obviously… | Photo Credit: Straits Times

All contactless-enabled credit cards can be used at MRT and bus gantries; there’s no need to register the card beforehand. That said, registration only takes a couple of minutes, and allows you to track your fares and usage online. 

What MCC does SimplyGo code as?

SimplyGo transactions code as MCC 4111: Transportation- Suburban and Local Commuter Passenger, including Ferries. 

They will appear on your bank statement as BUS/MRT.

What credit cards earn rewards for SimplyGo?

The good news is that with the exception of Citibank and OCBC, all banks award points for SimplyGo transactions. 

 Awards Points?
N/A 
Not accepted for SimplyGo


This means you can use the following cards to maximize the miles earned on SimplyGo. For the avoidance of doubt, you’ll earn exactly the same number of miles whether you tap the physical card at the gantry, or use the digitized version on your mobile wallet. 

CardEarn Rate
UOB Lady’s Solitaire4 mpd1
UOB Lady’s Card4 mpd2
Maybank Horizon Visa Signature3.2 mpd3
KrisFlyer UOB Credit Card3 mpd4
UOB PRVI Miles Visa1.4 mpd
UOB PRVI Miles Mastercard1.4 mpd
UOB Visa Infinite Metal Card1.4 mpd
SCB Visa Infinite1.4 mpd5
HSBC Visa Infinite1.25 mpd6
DBS Altitude Visa1.2 mpd
Maybank Visa Infinite1.2 mpd
SCB X Card1.2 mpd
BOC Elite Miles1.0 mpd
1. Capped at S$3,000 per month, must declare transport as bonus category
2. Capped at S$1,000 per month, must declare transport as bonus category
3. With min S$300 spending per month, capped at S$4,286
4. With min S$500 spending on SIA-Group in membership year
5. Min S$2,000 spending per statement month, otherwise 1 mpd
6. Min S$50,000 spending in previous membership year, otherwise 1 mpd

UOB has quite a few good options here, with the KrisFlyer UOB Credit Card and UOB Lady’s Cards offering 3-4 mpd. Until recently, the UOB PRVI Miles Mastercard and Visa were offering 4.4 mpd on SimplyGo, but that offer lapsed on 30 June and has not been extended. 

Do note that the T&C of the UOB Preferred Platinum Visa specifically state that SimplyGo transactions will only earn 0.4 mpd, so don’t bother using it here. 

Advertising
⚠️ Don’t you need to spend at least S$5 to earn points with UOB?

Here’s where a lot of people get tripped up, no thanks to UOB’s strange points rounding policies. By right, you need to spend a minimum of S$5 to earn any miles on UOB cards- spend S$4.99 and you walk away empty handed.

Given that most people won’t be spending that amount on public transport rides per transaction (or even per day), the question then becomes how you could possibly earn anything out of this.

The answer lies in the fine print:

  • For Visa cards, UNI$ are earned based on the accumulated spend on SimplyGo Transactions per calendar month, and awarded to Cardmembers on the 7th calendar day of the following month
  • For Mastercard, your accumulated fares are posted to your credit card account every 5 days or 21 transactions or S$15, whichever comes first.

So except in extreme circumstances (e.g. where you take two rides a month), you’ll definitely earn some miles on your rides.

It’s also possible to use the GrabPay Mastercard to earn 4 mpd on public transport, albeit indirectly. You can top-up your GrabPay balance with the Citi Rewards Visa to earn 4 mpd, then use the GrabPay Mastercard at the gantry.

There are occasional reports that this sometimes fails, perhaps because of a fussy reader. You could alternatively use your GrabPay Mastercard to top-up a physical EZ-Link card at a General Ticketing Machine/Add Value Machine for the same outcome (the GrabPay Mastercard does not work with the EZ-Link app). 

No GrabRewards points will be earned for EZ-Link top-ups or SimplyGo rides. 

Conclusion

While you won’t earn a First Class ticket just from public transport expenses alone, every little bit helps. Avoid the ticketing machines and just go directly to the gantry- the vast majority of cards on the market will allow you to earn miles on your fares. 

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

Similar Articles

Comments

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
19 Comments
Oldest
Newest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Adam

Now that the UOB PRVI offer has lapsed, I’m using the Zipster card for public transport. The transactions on this card code as online transactions, so I get 4 mpd on the WWMC or CRV

Ccy

That’s interesting, but I can’t find any way to apply for the zipster card.

Last edited 1 month ago by Ccy
Joshosaurus Rex

Interesting! What’s the MCC for Zipster postpaid payments?

If I opt for postpayment, they will collect the entire months worth and charge on one transaction, which may be more efficient than my current UOB Krisflyer $5 block miles earnings.

Kelvin

It’s the same as 4111. But these are online transaction hence can earn 4mpd. MCC doesn’t really matter

Email them to buy the card..

Last edited 1 month ago by Kelvin
XXX

May I know what card is good for ERP and carpark? Any ideas on how to earn miles? Appreciate if this topic can be covered too.

TesQ

Thank you for this post! Wondering why you did not include the UOB PP Visa though?

wiz

Is UNI$ award for public transport based on monthly spend? Else if it is per trip basis, I am wondering if it is possible for 4 mpd using lady card, as UNI$ is awarded based on $5 block and each trip on public transport is unlikely to be more than $5.

wiz

I am very sorry, you have actually answered and I have completely missed it. Please ignore my comments.

Bent

Hi Aaron, OCBC clarified that OCBC N90 does award base points.
https://forums.hardwarezone.com.sg/credit-cards-line-credit-facilities-243/ocbc-ocbc-90%B0n-card-8-miles-%24-6101219-26.html

MCC 4111 is not in their blacklist

Bent

I see, thanks for the clarification! I do see MCC 4111 blacklisted in the Jun T&C:
https://www.ocbc.com/iwov-resources/sg/ocbc/personal/pdf/cards/tnc-ocbc-90n-card-programme.pdf

Sean

Ah! I had always thought Citi premier visa did

Syok

How about the new HSBC Revo?

Kelvin
Syok

thank you, i appreciate your input, but you really can use a better manner to tell me, why must be so challenging?

Last edited 1 month ago by Syok
Syok

Actually I am a blind man, so I really don’t “see”, but do you have to be so mean?

Last edited 1 month ago by Syok
Kelvin

I’m teaching you how to find answer instead of not reading article & waiting for spoon-feed answer.

Jack

Halo, you yourself never read article. People provided info and you blamed other people ?

CREDIT CARD SIGN UP BONUSES

Advertisment

Featured Deals

Advertisment

Follow us

5,994FansLike
2,641FollowersFollow

RECENT COMMENTS

TAGS