OCBC has announced an upcoming change to the T&Cs of its rewards program, which take effect from 1 April 2021.
This latest update will see private hospitals added to the exclusion list for all cards (except the OCBC VOYAGE and OCBC Premier Visa Infinite), as well as medical equipment suppliers. Explicit exclusions have also been made for prepaid wallets like GrabPay, Singtel Dash and YouTrip (which were anyways already not earning points), while Shopee Pay top-ups, which have thus far flown under the radar, will be excluded from 1 April.
I’ve compiled links to the revised T&Cs for the key miles and points cards that OCBC offers.
|OCBC Premier Visa Infinite||Link||Link|
|OCBC Titanium Rewards||Link||Link|
Let’s take a closer look at the impact these changes will have.
MCC 8062: Hospitals
Back in June 2020, OCBC added MCC 8062 Hospitals to its rewards exclusion list, but in a very specific way. Only transactions at Singapore government public hospitals, non-profit and community hospitals, and polyclinics were excluded. This meant that transactions at private hospitals like Gleneagles and Farrer Park would continue earning points.
Well, not anymore. OCBC has gone the whole hog and removed MCC 8062 entirely- the only exception being the OCBC VOYAGE and OCBC Premier Banking Visa Infinite cards. My guess is they’re wary of annoying their high value customers, who could be charging substantial amounts for annual health checkups and the like. In a way, this mirrors what UOB did back in February when it excluded hospital transactions from earning points. Only the high end UOB Reserve and UOB Visa Infinite Metal Card were exempt from the rule.
With this latest development, here’s a summary of which banks still award points for hospital transactions under MCC 8062:
From 1 Apr, except Premier VI & VOYAGE
Except Reserve & VI Metal Card
MCC 5047: Medical Equipment Supplies
This exclusion compliments the one above. While MCC 8062 deals with hospitals, MCC 5047 deals with medical, dental, ophthalmic and hospital equipment suppliers. This may sound more B2B, but a cursory search of the Visa Supplier Locator shows that some clinics, hearing aid distributors, prosthetics manufacturers and even alkaline water system sellers (the benefits of which are highly dubious) are covered.
Examples of MCC 5047 merchants include:
- Digi-Sound Hearing Care
- De Pacific Dental Group
- H20 Life Source
- Lifeforce Limbs
- Orthopaedic Associates
- Snore Solutions International
While the OCBC VOYAGE and Premier Visa Infinite got a free pass on the 8062 exclusion, no concession is extended for 5047. This one applies across all OCBC cards, come 1 April 2021.
What about other medical service providers?
While OCBC is excluding hospitals and medical equipment suppliers, it has not excluded the following medical services:
- MCC 8011: Doctors and physicians (covering most private medical clinics)
- MCC 8021: Dentists and orthodontists (covering most private dental clinics)
- MCC 8031: Osteopaths
- MCC 8041: Chiropractors
- MCC 8042: Optometrists and Ophthalmologists
- MCC 8043: Opticians, Optical Goods and Eyeglasses
- MCC 8049: Podiatrists and Chiropodists
- MCC 8099: Medical Services and Health Practitioners Not Elsewhere Classified
These will continue to be “safe” under the new T&Cs, until further notice at least. When in doubt about the MCC, refer to the Visa Supplier Locator– it’s a miracle tool.
Explicit exclusions for prepaid wallets (including Shopee Pay)
Most prepaid wallet transactions such as GrabPay, Dash and YouTrip code as MCC 6051/6540, which is already excluded by OCBC’s T&Cs. However, OCBC has now made this more explicit by including specific wallet names in the revised T&Cs.
Using the OCBC 90N Card as an example:
|Travel$ is also not awarded for payment of funds to prepaid accounts and merchants who are categorised as “payment service providers”, which include (without limitation) EZ-Link, NETS FlashPay, eNETS, SAM, Transit Link and AXS (except as provided for in Clause 1.1.3). The exclusions are not exhaustive and may be subject to changes from time to time.|
The revised version now reads:
|Travel$ is also not awarded for payment of funds to prepaid accounts and merchants who are categorised as “payment service providers”, which include (without limitation) EZ-Link, NETS FlashPay, eNETS, SAM, Transit Link, AXS (except as provided for in Clause 1.1.3), GrabPay, Youtrip, Shopee Pay and Singtel Dash. The exclusions are not exhaustive and may be subject to changes from time to time.|
Shopee Pay top-ups are the primary victim here. These do not code as 6051/6540; instead, they code as 5262 (Marketplace) or 5331 (Variety Store). That’s allowed them to fly under the radar, at least up till now. You’ll no longer earn points on these transactions from 1 April 2021, so make hay I guess.
It seems like banks are starting to turn the screw on hospital transactions, and I wouldn’t be surprised if this eventually goes the way of education and insurance transactions, where (with very limited exceptions) it’s virtually impossible to earn points. If it’s any consolation, you’ll still be able to use your OCBC card when you go see the doctor or dentist, assuming you’re opting for the private route.
As for Shopee Pay top-ups, I guess you’ll still have a month to do whatever you need to do.