DBS yuu Card Review: That’s enough, Gurmit Singh

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The yuu Card will appeal to the aunty segment, but if this is "Singapore's Best Rewards Club Ever", we might as well all start earning cashback.

It is my sincere hope that one day, the International Court of Justice convenes a tribunal to investigate the abuses suffered by frontline staff of Cold Storage and Giant, who for the past few months have been subject to Gurmit Singh crooning “nobody nobody but yuu” on repeat, ad infinitum.

For in what universe is this not the most flagrant violation of Article 5 of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights regarding cruel and inhuman punishment?

⚠️ Trigger Warning: Cringe

Until that day, however, all we can do is plug our fingers in our ears and look at the newly-launched DBS yuu Card, which you must be familiar with by now either from the wall-to-wall branding at Dairy Farm supermarkets, or the mentally-conditioned check-out staff (one of whom all but shoved an application form into my hands). 

“Singapore’s best rewards club ever!” the marketing materials shout. 

Is it, though? 

DBS yuu Card
★★
The yuu Card will appeal to the aunty segment, but if this is “Singapore’s Best Rewards Club Ever”, we might as well all start earning cashback.
👍 The good👎 The bad
  • Free S$10 cash credit, even for existing DBS/POSB cardholders
  • Additional rebates for Dairy Farm and BreadTalk Group until 31 January 2023
  • Temporarily distracts Gurmit Singh from hawking World Ventures
  • Regular 2.5% rebates not compelling reason to switch away from 4 mpd
  • Misleading publicity materials; you can’t actually achieve 30 points per S$1!
  • Sneaky gotcha exclusions lurking in the T&Cs
💳 Full List of Credit Card Reviews

Overview: DBS yuu Card

DBS yuu Card
Apply
Annual Fee
S$192.60
(FYF)
Min. IncomeS$30,000
Welcome GiftS$10 credit for activation by 31 Dec 22FCY Fee3.25% (Visa)
3% (AMEX)
Regular Earn
(Per S$1)
1 ptSpecial Earn
(Per S$1)
5 pts at yuu merchants + further bonus till 31 Jan 23
Points Validity2 yearsPoints Value200 pts= S$1
Cardholder Terms & Conditions

The DBS yuu Card has a minimum income requirement of S$30,000 p.a. and an annual fee of S$192.60, waived for the first year. It’s offered on both the American Express and Visa networks, but network-specific benefits aside, there’s no substantive difference between the two.

It’s important to distinguish between the yuu Card and the yuu app (Android | iOS). They’re intended to be used in conjunction- at check-out, you swipe the yuu Card to pay, and present the yuu app’s ID code for scanning. 

In practice, however, you can use them independently:

  • You can use the yuu Card to pay and not scan the yuu app, but you’ll miss out on the extra points awarded by the app (typically 1 pt/S$1, with occasional bonuses)
  • You can use any card you wish to pay and scan the yuu app, allowing you to earn your regular miles/cashback plus some extra yuu points from the app

In this post I’ll be mainly focusing on the yuu Card. 

yuu Card sign-up bonus

Let me first answer what’s perhaps the most pertinent question out there: yes, there is free money up for grabs. 

GiftEligibility*Min. Spend
S$10 cashbackNew & Existing DBS/POSB cardholdersNone
S$250 cashbackNew DBS/POSB cardholders onlyS$500 within 30 days
*New DBS/POSB cardholders are defined as those who do not currently hold a principal DBS/POSB card, and have not cancelled one in the past 12 months

All DBS yuu Cardholders will receive a S$10 cash credit when they activate their card by 31 December 2022, no minimum spend required. This will be credited to your account by 20 February 2023, and applies even if you’re an existing DBS/POSB cardholder.

If you’re a new DBS/POSB cardholder, you can get a S$250 cash credit when you spend a minimum of S$500 within 30 days of approval. I’d personally wait for another S$300 cash offer to come around, though.

Earning and burning yuu points

DBS yuu Card
 Earn RateRemarks
All merchants1 pt/S$1No min. spend or cap
yuu merchants4 pts/S$1
Selected products at yuu merchants2 pts/S$1No min. spend or cap
Min. S$80 spend in single trxn. at DFI or BTG800 pts
(Up to 10 pts/S$1)
Capped at 3x per spend period
Min. S$400 spend at DFI or BTG5,200 pts
(Up to 13 pts/S$1)
Capped at 1x per spend period
Total“Up to 30 pts/S$1” 
Valid till 31 January 2023
Note: DFI= Dairy Farm International Retail Group, BTG= BreadTalk Group

No prizes for guessing that the DBS yuu Card earns yuu points, which can be used to offset purchases at yuu merchants at a rate of:

200 yuu points = S$1

yuu points expire two years after they’re earned, but given the low burn threshold, there’s really no reason why expiry should be an issue.

The DBS yuu Card advertises a total earn rate of up 30x yuu points, or a 15% rebate. This is plastered all over its website and marketing materials. 

However, this claim is disingenuous at best, because it’s mathematically impossible. 

Suppose you make 5x transactions of S$80 at DFI/BTG in a spend period, all on eligible products. You’ll receive:

  • 400 base points 
  • 1,600 bonus points for spending at yuu merchants
  • 800 bonus points for spending on selected products at yuu merchants
  • 2,400 bonus points for meeting the min. S$80 spend at DFI/BTG in a single trxn requirement 
  • 5,200 bonus points for meeting the min. S$400 spend at DFI/BTG requirement

You get a total of 10,400 points for S$400 spend, which is 26 pts per S$1 (13% rebate). Don’t get me wrong- that’s still a decent return, but you can’t actually attain 30 pts per S$1 (15% rebate) because 3x S$80 (for the single transaction at DFI/BTG) will always be less than S$400 (for the combined spend at DFI/BTG). 

Basically:

But anyway.

The default earn rate for the DBS yuu Card is 1 yuu point per S$1 (0.5% rebate)– keep in mind this rebate comes in the form of a captive currency that can only be spent within the yuu ecosystem, although to be fair you could say the same thing about airline miles. 

That said, you’re not meant to use the DBS yuu Card outside the yuu ecosystem (some people invariably will though, and bless them for subsidising everyone else). When you spend at yuu merchants, you’ll earn a total of 5 yuu points per S$1 (2.5% rebate).

❓ yuu Merchants
GroupMerchants
🛒 DFI Retail Group (DFI)
  • 7-Eleven
  • Cold Storage
  • CS Fresh
  • Giant
  • Guardian
🍞 BreadTalk Group (BTG)
  • BreadTalk
  • Butter Bean
  • Food Junction*
  • Food Republic*
  • Toast Box
  • Thye Moh Chan
🐘 Mandai Wildlife Group
  • Jurong Bird Park
  • Night Safari
  • River Wonders
  • Singapore Zoo
📱 Singtel
  • SingtelShop!
  • Singtel Exclusive Retailers
*Selected outlets only

Now here’s where it gets a bit more complicated, so stay with me. 

From 27 October 2022 until 31 January 2023, DBS yuu Cardholders will earn an extra: 

  • 2 yuu points per S$1 (1% rebate) on selected products at yuu merchants. These can be identified with the following tag:

  • A flat bonus of 800 yuu points with a min spend of S$80 in a single transaction at DFI or BTG, capped at 3x per spend period
  • A flat bonus of 5,200 yuu points with a min. spend of S$400 per spend period at DFI or BTG (spend can be combined across both, e.g. 7-Eleven and Toast Box), capped at 1x per spend period

Spend periods follow the calendar month, with the exception of the first period which overlaps October and November. 

Spend Period 127 October to 30 November 2022
Spend Period 21-31 December 2022
Spend Period 31-31 January 2023

I realise I’m not the target market for this card, but even so, it’s hard to get pumped up about all this. Leaving aside the fact these bonuses end on 31 January 2023, we’re talking about a maximum bonus of S$38 per month (7,600 pts), perhaps slightly more if you only spend on those selected 2x yuu points products.

And once February 2023 comes round, the DBS yuu Card will max out at a 2.5% rebate at yuu merchants. It’s hard to pick that over 4 mpd, which I could get with the HSBC Revolution (at supermarkets) or UOB Preferred Platinum Visa (at all merchants which don’t earn UOB$).

“Aunty deals”

But perhaps I’m approaching this the wrong way. I don’t imagine that yuu had miles collectors in mind when they came up with the programme, or even hardcore cashback users who optimise their spend to the last dollar. 

In fact, the true appeal of yuu may be its so-called “aunty deals”, like redeeming a tube of Vitamin C effervescent tablets for 10 points, or a set of face masks for 100 points. 

Is 50 points for a Meadows No Sugar Cola the stuff of dreams? Not for most people reading this article, but there’s bound to be a sizeable segment out there who values everyday rewards over jetting off to someplace far afield. Heck, I saw some deals that got me interested, like 6,000 points (equivalent to S$30) for a bottle of Leon Launois champagne (which retails at S$42 when on sale). 

In that sense, yuu can be a high-tech coupon clipping app for value-seekers, although it needs to be said again that you can earn yuu points via the app, without the need for a yuu card.

yuu Card spending exclusions

The yuu Card is subject to DBS’s regular rewards exclusions, such as:

  • Amaze transactions
  • Charitable donations
  • Education
  • Government institutions
  • Hospitals
  • Insurance premiums
  • Top-ups to prepaid accounts
  • Utilities bills

There’s nothing surprising there. What is surprising is that yuu can track spending down to the SKU level (i.e. individual items), and as such, is able to exclude points for expenditures made on:

GroupExclusions
🛒 DFI Retail Group (DFI)
  • Plastic bags
  • Tobacco and cigarettes
  • All services including mobile and EZ-Link reload
  • Purchase of cash-like items such as mobile sim card top-up vouchers
  • All lottery products, bill payments, top-up services and Qoo10 online shopping payment, statutory services and products
  • DFI vouchers, newspapers, magazines
  • Gift cards and vouchers purchases
  • Delivery charges
  • Purchases made at Changi Airport stores and Budget Terminal Guardian in Giant stores (I assume there’s a comma missing between Terminal and Guardian- not to mention the Budget Terminal no longer exists!)
  • Pre-mature and Stage 1 infant milk formula
🍞 BreadTalk Group (BTG)
  • Gift cards
  • Dining vouchers
  • Food delivery apps
  • BTG app & store value card
🐘 Mandai Wildlife Group
  • All on-site purchases except those made with DBS yuu Card or PAssion Debit Card
  • Onsite ticketing counters
  • Selected online promotions
  • Tourists admissions
  • Tickets for animal feeding
  • Lunch/breakfast with animals
  • Tours
  • Bank redemptions
  • SRV redemptions
  • Promotion bundles
  • In-park purchases

In other words, if you’re buying a pack of extra small condoms and a copy of The Financial Times (as one does), yuu knows. 

The actual list of exclusions is even more granular than what’s shown above, to the point that I gave up trying to understand it. For example, BreadTalk will not award points for top-up promos, such as adding S$1 for a drink to complete a meal, and Food Republic will not award points for dim sum or cut fruits. Are those really important enough to carve out individual exceptions? Apparently so.

If you want to scrutinise the exclusions further, be my guest.

Conclusion

DBS yuu Card
Apply

Do you really need another loyalty programme? yuu thinks you do (say that in a mirror five times and PCK appears to offer your family affordable home renovations and maybe get-rich-quick schemes).

But I’m not sure how yuu represents a dramatic improvement over the TapForMore programme it replaced. In fact, the process is now significantly more complicated for the less tech-savvy members of the Merdeka and Pioneer Generation, since points redemption requires using the yuu app (versus auto deductions via the TapForMore-linked card previously)- assuming they have a smartphone in the first place!

If nothing else though, I still think it’s worth a good chuckle how the DBS yuu Card replaces the pretentious DBS Black Card, which despite its premium positioning was a mass-market card in a nicer suit (the marketing pitch: gold cards are becoming too common in Singapore, so let’s issue a black card instead and approve 100,000 cards in the first 12 months because exclusivity).

I can’t be the only one who finds its funny that a card meant for the creamy de lah creamy of society has been replaced by what’s ultimately an aunty card.

The aunties always win. 

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

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Boozingbob

your writing style is funny af…please continue

Jon

Yuu sthup itt yuu!

Sean

“…a bottle of Leon Launois champagne (which retails at S$42 when on sale)”

Aaron, if you drink this (I do when its on sale) then its currently on sale for $40 a bottle!

Ken

wait till you hear the Hong Kong version of Yuu theme song: https://youtu.be/PrKEb-hBYFM

Ken

I would say both are pretty successful when it comes to making people remembering the brand

the rhythm will stay in our heads for a long time to come

Wintereise

I legit stopped going to CS Fresh because of the song, awful ear assault is NOT OK. 🙅‍♂️

Bayle

The more I learn about yuu, the more concerned I get about the amount of data it tracks and shares across multiple companies. I suspect the extremely granular exclusion list is there to mainly to provide cover for SKU-level data sharing between yuu’s partners because all of this can now be covered by a generic “data sharing for the purpose of awarding loyalty points” consent that seems a lot more innocuous.

SQ Flyer

This comment needs an upvote.

JY..

Convolyuuted point-earning system… It takes all parts of the process for points to be awarded correctly, that includes correct tagging of the product sku in the physical store and online. It is challenging to roughly validate the points we receive and probably harder to pursue discrepancies.

Bruno

They’ve an extended version of the commercial playing on infinite repeat at the Guardian Bedok Reservoir. Inhumane…

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=1yki4m7CB1g

Amos

There’s Yuu with an app. Then there’s Passion, which is now also an app. They are basically same same…but different. The last thing I need is app #1,254,358 on my phone, especially when there are so many apps that overlap (LifeSG, etc etc. ala-Singpass).

Anisah Binte Sudarman

Highly entertaining article. You should start writing for ST. Replace all those boring, terrible structured articles!

Nick

I think yuu was conceived by the aunties in DFI and DBS …

Yacchin

Istg the ads for this was always so unbearable. I used to intern ard Orchard and whenever I had to walk to Wheelock Place to take the bus, THE AD JUST KEEPS PLAYING. Even my neighbour started playing it- My poor ears

emercycrite

When was the Black card discontinued? I have fond memories of it from back in the day.

Jason Tay

The advertisement is an earful. Honestly, it’s awful. Not against Gurmit or Phua CK. But the way it is presented is like shopee advert.. not original with the I don’t want you theme. Frankly, the new card design is kinda childish even you may have been targeting at the aunties. The uncles still want their fabulous black platinum card. To tell the uncle that the black card will immediately cease and can no longer be in use when one activates the Yuu card is a disappointment. But if the Yuu card is not activated, the black card can last as… Read more »

Julian tan

Can compare to passion card instead of your credit cards. It is not just a card reqard system. It is replacing passion card, no?

Eugene

Was caught by surprise to receive the card via mail but did not sign up for it. Was appalled that there was unauthorized transaction of USD $10 on a US jewelry shopping website, even though the card was not activated . Called the bank hotline to report it and was told that they will investigate it. Horrendous experience.

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