2022 Edition: Best Credit Cards for SimplyGo/Public Transport

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As Singapore shifts from WFH to WFO, don't miss out on miles from your bus & train rides. Here's what credit cards to use.

Public transport is unlikely to be a significant chunk of your monthly expenditure, but that’s no reason to leave miles on the table. Every little bit helps, and a regular recurring expense, charged to the right credit card, can reap rewards over time. 

As Singapore transitions from WFH to WFO, here’s the best cards to maximise rewards on this category. 

💳 What’s the Best Card for…
This guide forms part of the “best card” series. Check out other category specific guides below, or the overall guide here. For my 2022
💗 Donations | 🏫 Education | 🥡 Food Delivery | 🏥 Hospitals | ☂️ Insurance | ⛽ Petrol | 🚍 Public Transport | 🚰 Utilities

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 three ways to go about using your credit card for public transport, but be warned: only one of them will earn rewards!

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

GTMs accept credit cards, but you won’t earn any points | Photo: SG Trains

EZ-Link cards can be topped up with credit cards at General Ticketing Machines (GTMs) or Add Value Machines (AVMs) located inside MRT stations, ever since 2016. However, you will not earn any credit card points for transactions at these machines, so avoid them as much as possible 

❌ Top-up via EZ-Link app

Transacting on the EZ-Link app won’t earn any rewards either

EZ-Link cards can also be topped up via the EZ-Link app, either on an ad-hoc basis or via Auto Top-Up. 

Again, this isn’t the right path to take. While it was possible in the past to earn 2 mpd on Auto Top-Up (then called EZ-Reload) with the HSBC Revolution or up to 1.4 mpd with the Standard Chartered Visa Infinite, both have been nerfed.

Pay via SimplyGo

Tap. Go. Earn miles.

The only way to earn miles on your public transport rides is also the simplest- all you need to do is tap your credit card (or credit card linked to a mobile wallet) at the gantry.

All contactless-enabled credit cards can be used at MRT and bus gantries, with no need to register the card beforehand. Registration, however, allows you to track your fares and usage online or via the SimplyGo app. 

What MCC do SimplyGo transactions code as?

Regardless of whether you pay with Visa or Mastercard, SimplyGo transactions code as MCC 4111: Transportation- Suburban and Local Commuter Passenger, including Ferries. 

SimplyGo transactions 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 continue to award points for SimplyGo transactions. 

🚆 SimplyGo Transactions
Bank Awards Points?
N/A 
Not accepted for SimplyGo
✕*



Except Titanium Rewards
*Citibank does not include MCC 4111 in its master rewards exclusion list, but you can find this clause at the bottom of its SimplyGo page: “Please note that SimplyGo transactions on Citi Cards will not earn Citi ThankYou Points / Citi Miles / Cash Back / Citi M1 Rebate / Cash Rebate.”

Amaze has excluded MCC 4111 from 1 January 2022, which means you won’t be able to double dip on 1% cashback with your Mastercard credit card. 

Here’s the updated list of how much you’ll earn with various cards and SimplyGo. FYI: You’ll earn exactly the same number of miles whether you tap the physical card at the gantry, or use the digitised version on your mobile wallet. 

🚆 SimplyGo Transactions
Card Earn Rate
SCB Smart Card
Apply
Up to 7.7 mpd1
UOB Lady’s Solitaire
Apply
4 mpd2
UOB Lady’s Card
Apply
4 mpd3
Maybank Horizon Visa
Apply
3.2 mpd4
KrisFlyer UOB Credit Card
Apply
3 mpd5
UOB PRVI Miles Visa
Apply
1.4 mpd
UOB PRVI Miles Mastercard
Apply
1.4 mpd
UOB Visa Infinite Metal Card
Apply
1.4 mpd
SCB Visa Infinite
Apply
1.4 mpd6
HSBC Visa Infinite
Apply
1.25 mpd7
DBS Altitude Visa
Apply
1.2 mpd
Maybank Visa Infinite
Apply
1.2 mpd
SCB X Card
Apply
1.2 mpd
1. 7.7 mpd earn rate for SCB X Card and SCB Visa Infinite cardholders; 5.6 mpd otherwise
2. Capped at S$3,000 per month, must declare transport as bonus category
3. Capped at S$1,000 per month, must declare transport as bonus category
4. With min S$300 spending per month, capped at S$4,286
5. With min S$300 spending on SIA-Group in membership year
6. Min S$2,000 spending per statement month, otherwise 1 mpd
7. Min S$50,000 spending in previous membership year, otherwise 1 mpd

UOB has quite a few good options, with the KrisFlyer UOB Credit Card and UOB Lady’s Cards offering between 3-4 mpd. Do note that the UOB Preferred Platinum Visa will only earn 0.4 mpd on SimplyGo transactions (even though they’re contactless), so don’t bother using it here. 

⚠️ What about UOB’s S$5 minimum spend?

Here’s where a lot of people get confused, 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.

Another option worth considering, for those who have the AMEX HighFlyer Card, is to top up your GrabPay account to earn 1.8 mpd, then use the GrabPay Mastercard for your rides. 

You may encounter the occasional fussy reader which rejects the GrabPay Card, but if so, you could use the GrabPay Card to top-up a physical EZ-Link card at a General Ticketing Machine for the same end result. Do note that no GrabRewards points will be earned for EZ-Link top-ups, although you will earn them for SimplyGo rides.

⚠️ A cashback alternative

I normally wouldn’t mention cashback options, but Revolut is offering an excellent 20% cashback on all SimplyGo rides from now till 31 March 2022.

To participate, you must top up at least S$100 per month via bank transfer to your Revolut account. You’ll then earn 20% cashback on public transport rides, capped at S$10 per month. Remember, you can transfer any balance from your Revolut account back into your bank account, and you only need to top up in the months you want to earn 20% cashback.

Conclusion

While you won’t earn a First Class ticket from public transport spending alone, it all adds up. Just avoid the ticketing machines and head directly to the gantry- most cards on the market will still earn rewards.

Aaron Wong
Aaron founded The Milelion to help people travel better for less and impress chiobu. He was 50% successful.

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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 year 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 year 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?

Rachel

Because the UOB PPV only earns 0.4mpd for SimplyGo

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 year ago by Syok
Terence

Why you expect to be spoonfed and still expect to be spoonfed politely. you emperor is it? all hail emperor karen!

Justin

Replying a comment from 11 months ago. Maybe you are the one that needs to read carefully.

Syok

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

Last edited 1 year 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 ?

Guest

alternatively, i will use dash for public transport thru apple pay, since it can be topped up via Singtel with up to $200/mo and the telco bill can be paid by WWMC/CRV/CRMC for 4mpd.

Anonymous

what about HSBC revolution card? does it earn 4mpd for SimplyGo too?

dkdk

While grab MC do not give points for top-up, you can use grab mc for simply-go as well. They will give points now (afaik, they stopped giving points for a while but now it is back again). However, the points will only be given about a week after the transaction so it is not easy to track.

That being said, 1.7% Cashback for top-up then grab point for transport

PS. I tried it after reading somewhere on forum that the point is back and tested. It was working as of jun 7.

Last edited 6 months ago by dkdk
Ben

Hi, just stumbled upon your article. Thanks for the summary. Just curious, does Citi SMRT Credit Card get points for SimplyGo?

Jack

5% rebate for total spend above 500

Migas

Tldr: revolut. Nothing beats revolut currently

Adam

Agreed. Getting 20% cashback takes some of the sting away from the bus fare hike.

Billy Bean

What about the DBS credit card $5 rounding? Do they also accumulate on a monthly basis like UOB?

Euphorius

Anyone might know what is the MCC for top-ups via EZ-Link App? I charged it DBS credit cards and it showed up as “Transportation” using the DBS digibank chatbot.

Raddy

Car sharing services like GetGo and BlueSG has MCC of 7512. Does this earn reward points?

Raddy

Did a search myself. For Citi Rewards, its not eligible

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