UOB adding hospitals to UNI$ rewards exclusion list on (almost) all cards

From 1 February 2021, almost all UOB credit cards will cease to offer rewards on hospital bills.

UOB has published a prospective update to its credit card rewards T&Cs that comes into effect early next year.

From 1 February 2021, payments to hospitals, automobile parking lots and garages will no longer earn UNI$, cash rebates or KrisFlyer miles on all UOB credit cards. An exception has been carved out for the UOB Reserve and UOB Visa Infinite Metal Cards, which will continue to earn UNI$ on hospital transactions. 

UOB’s latest rewards exclusion list

With the latest additions, UOB’s revised rewards exclusion list now reads as follows:

MCC Description
4829 Wire Transfer/Remittance
5199 Nondurable Goods
5960 Direct Marketing – Insurance Services
6012 Member  Financial Institution–Merchandise and Services
6050 Quasi Cash–Financial Institutions, Merchandise and Services
6051 Quasi Cash–Merchant (Non-Financial Institutions – Foreign Currency, Non-Fiat Currency, Cryptocurrency)
6211 Securities–Brokers and Dealers
6300 Insurance Sales/Underwrite
6513 Real Estate Agents & Managers – Rentals
6529 Quasi Cash-Remote Stored Value Load-Financial Institute Rentals
6530 Quasi Cash-Remote Stored Value Load-Merchant Rentals
6534 Quasi Cash-Remote Money Transfers
6540 Stored Value Card Purchase/Load
7349 Clean/Maint/Janitorial Serv  aka Property  Management
7511 Quasi Cash – Truck Stop Trxns
7523 Automobile Parking Lots and Garages (wef 1 Feb 2021)
7995 Gambling – Betting, including Lottery Tickets, Casino Gaming Chips, Off-Track
Betting, and Wagers at Race Tracks
8062 Hospitals (wef 1 Feb 2021)
8211 Schools, Elementary and Secondary
8220 Colleges, Universities, Professional Schools and Junior Colleges
8241 Schools, Correspondence
8244 Schools, Business and Secretarial
8249 Schools, Trade  and Vocational
8299 Schools and Educational Services–Not Elsewhere Classified
8398 Organizations, Charitable and Social Service
8661 Organizations, Religious
8651 Organizations, Political
9211 Court Costs including Alimony and Child Support
9222 Fines
9223 Bail and Bond Payments
9311 Tax Payment
9402 Postal Services—Government Only
9405 Intra-Government Purchases—Government Only
9399 Government Services—not elsewhere classified
UOB cards will not earn UNI$ or KrisFlyer miles at SMART$ merchants, or at SPC stations

That’s a pretty extensive list of exclusions, although to be fair there isn’t anything here that other banks haven’t excluded too. Some of it boils down to Merchant Discount Rates (MDRs)- organizations like schools and non-profits tend to be accorded discounted MDRs, which makes rewards economically unviable. Others transactions such as gambling present an increased risk of fraud and chargebacks, hence their exclusion (although UOB, amusingly, still awards bonus points on porno).

What’s interesting is that the UOB Visa Infinite Metal Card and UOB Reserve have both been spared from this change, and will continue to earn UNI$ as per normal. I can only surmise that UOB is afraid of angering its high net worth customers, who may well be charging hefty medical checkup packages to their cards. 

There’s been no mention of UOB’s other Visa Infinite cards, namely the “classic” Visa Infinite and the Privilege Banking version. If you’re holding on to one of these, it’s well worth checking with the bank (and getting a response in writing). 

Hospital classification explained

Ng Teng Fong General Hospital
Ng Teng Fong General Hospital

Hospitals in Singapore can be segmented into public, not-for-profit and private, further subdivided into acute and community facilities. Here’s how the MOH organizes things: 

  Acute Community
Public

1. Alexandra Hospital
2. Changi General
3. Khoo Teck Puat
4. KK Hospital
5. NUH
6. Ng Teng Fong
7. Sengkang General
8. Singapore General
9. Tan Tock Seng

1. Bright Vision
2. Jurong Community
3. Outram Community
4. Sengkang Community
5. Yishun Community
Not-for-Profit 1. Mount Alvernia 1. AMK- Thye Hua Kwan Hospital
2. Ren Ci Community
3. St Andrew’s Community
4. St Luke’s
Private 1. Concord International
2. Farrer Park
3. Gleneagles
4. Mount Elizabeth
5. Mount Elizabeth Novena
6. Parkway East
7. Raffles Hospital
8. Thomson Medical Centre
 
The following specialist centres are also classified as public institutions: National Cancer Centre, National Heart Centre, National Neuroscience Institute, National Skin Centre, Singapore National Eye Centre, National Dental Centre
🏥 What about restructured hospitals?
You may hear the term “restructured hospital” mentioned in insurance materials. This is basically a public hospital. As per the MOH: “The Government has restructured all its acute hospitals and specialty centres to be run as private companies wholly owned by the government.”

This distinction matters because of MCC. There are two main MCCs that hospitals can code as:

  • 8062: Hospitals
  • 9399: Government Services Not Elsewhere Classified

Almost every bank excludes 9399 from earning points, but not every bank excludes 8062. 

Despite the government association, not all public hospitals code under 9399. Instead, most (but not all) fall under 8062, such as Changi General, NUH, and SGH. There is no comprehensive list of which hospitals code as what. When in doubt, always test a small amount first and check the MCC with the bank’s CSO. 

Based on past data points, polyclinics code as 8062 and not 9399. Stand-alone dental clinics code as 8021, which is not excluded by any bank. 

What cards still earn rewards for hospital transactions?

With these latest changes, here’s a summary of which banks still award points for hospital transactions:

  Awards Points?

Excludes Hospitals

Except 9399

Excludes Hospitals

Except 9399

Except 9399

Except 9399, and public & non-profit hospitals

Except 9399

Except 9399.  From 1 Feb 2021, hospitals will be excluded except on Reserve & Visa Infinite Metal Cards

Conclusion

You’ll notice I hardly mentioned the parking lot exclusion, because in the Singapore context it only really affects Parking.sg. Since UOB cards require a minimum spend of S$5 to earn any points, they were never good options for this in the first place. 

While it’s unfortunate that yet another bank is excluding hospitals wholesale, there are still (for the moment) other cards that you can switch to. Given how high the average hospital bill is, you certainly don’t want to get caught on your heels here.

For a more detailed analysis on which card to use at hospitals, refer to the guide below.

What’s the best credit card for hospital or medical bills?

(HT: Trazora)

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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Freddy

One data point: made a transaction last month using UOB 90N card at national dental center which is considered public and received points.

KrisFlyer

this post self explanatory

Which bank?

90N is an OCBC product, not UOB.

Freddy

My bad. I meant OCBC.

Johan

So this mean 5912 and 8099 still okay?

JW19

Nothing unexpected here, swipe left.

Martin

Thanks Aaron, very good information. Simple result, switch to Citi card… if UOB doesn’t the business, they don’t get the business.

Martin

*doesn’t want…

Lee

What is the MCC code for Mt Alvernia?

H K

Does UOB PPV pay wave transactions award miles under the new change?

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