2023 Edition: Best Credit Cards for Public Transport (SimplyGo)

Bus/MRT rides may not be a major expense item, but every little bit helps. What's the best credit card for earning miles on public transport?

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. 

With that in mind, here’s the best credit cards to use for bus/MRT rides. 

💳 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. 
💗 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
BankAwards Points?
Not accepted for SimplyGo


*
*An exception has been carved out for the OCBC Titanium Rewards Card, but this earns a mere 0.4 mpd and there’s really no reason to use it

With that in mind, you can use the following cards to earn the most miles on SimplyGo. 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
CardEarn Rate
UOB Lady’s Solitaire
Apply
6 mpd1
UOB Lady’s Card
Apply
6 mpd2
SCB Smart Card
Apply
5.6 mpd3
Maybank Horizon Visa
Apply
3.2 mpd4
KrisFlyer UOB Credit Card
Apply
3 mpd5
DBS Vantage
Apply
1.5 mpd
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
HSBC TravelOne Card
Apply
1.2 mpd
DBS Altitude Visa
Apply
1.2 mpd
Maybank Visa Infinite
Apply
1.2 mpd
SCB Journey Card
Apply
1.2 mpd
1. Capped at S$3,000 per month, must declare transport as quarterly bonus category
2. Capped at S$1,000 per month, must declare transport as quarterly bonus category
3. Capped at S$818 per month
4. With min. S$300 retail spend per month, capped at S$4,286 per month
5. With min. S$800 SIA Group spend in membership year
6. With min. S$2,000 spending per statement month, otherwise 1 mpd
7. With min. S$50,000 spending in previous membership year, otherwise 1 mpd

The UOB Lady’s Cards will earn 6 mpd on public transport rides, provided you declare transport as your quarterly bonus category.

However, these are only available to female applicants; if you’re a man, the best you can do is the StanChart Smart Card, which earns 5.6 mpd, or the Maybank Horizon Visa Signature, which earns 3.2 mpd. 

If you don’t regularly use Maybank or StanChart cards and want to avoid orphan miles, you might find it better to use the KrisFlyer UOB Credit Card. Provided you spend at least S$800 in a membership year on SIA Group transactions, you’ll earn an uncapped 3 mpd on public transport rides. 

Apart from that, everything else is general spending cards already, with a range of 1.2-1.5 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 points rounding policy. 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, fare charges are accumulated daily, but UNI$ are calculated 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 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.

Conclusion

While I doubt you’ll 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, since tapping most cards except Citibank and OCBC will earn you your miles.

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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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 3 years 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 3 years 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 3 years 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 3 years 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.

Clare

hi, does this still work?

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 2 years 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

Josephine

If I use my Citi Rewards or UOB Lady’s Card to top-up my Grab wallet, and use Grab card to tap through the gantries, will I still earn 4mpd PLUS Grab points? Thanks in advance!

Dennis

Does DBS Altitude still award DBS points for public transportation? I don’t see the line under the promotion & benefits on their page anymore.

Miles

I just starting using UOB PRVI and each trip posts as an individual transaction of less than $5 with no uni$ earned. Has this changes since this article? I will try DBS Altitude next week and see if I get any miles that way.

Joshua

Does vantage earn 1.5mpd for simplygo spending?

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