I’ve been an OCBC cardholder for just shy of a decade now, but that streak is about to end as I cancel all my remaining credit cards with the bank.
And no, this isn’t some rage-quit, “that’ll show ’em!” moment. Rather, it’s a clear-eyed, calculated decision based on the fact that OCBC cards just aren’t very attractive to me right now- but they could be in six months’ time.
Why I’m cancelling my OCBC cards
While I’ve gotten some great value out of my OCBC credit cards in the past, I don’t think it’s a good idea to retain cards because of sentimentality. The cold hard reality is that I can’t think of a single thing they do right now that other cards couldn’t do better.
OCBC 90°N Mastercard & Visa
I already explained why I’d be cancelling my OCBC 90°N Mastercard & Visa in my post on Marie Kondo-ing my credit card collection, but I’ll do a quick recap.
I got the OCBC 90°N Mastercard because of its amazing launch offers. When the card first debuted in August 2019, you could earn an uncapped 4 mpd on all foreign currency spending, SIA, Scoot, AirAsia and Jetstar tickets, Changi duty-free shopping, and Netflix & Spotify subscriptions. There was also an uncapped 8 mpd on AirBnB and Millennium Hotels & Resorts! Add the absence of conversion fees, a minimum conversion block of just 1,000 miles, and a sign-up bonus of 3,000-7,000 miles, and this was as big a no-brainer as any I can recall.
It took two more years before we saw the OCBC 90°N Visa, but its debut was also impressive. For a limited time, cardholders could earn 4 mpd on online entertainment, retail, food delivery, groceries and overseas spending, albeit with a cap.
Besides, outside of sign-up bonuses I have very little use for general spending cards because most of my daily transactions are on specialised spending cards like the Citi Rewards, DBS Woman’s World Card or UOB Lady’s Card, which offer 4-6 mpd. And in situations where I can’t use specialised spending cards, my fallback options of the AMEX HighFlyer Card (1.8 mpd) or UOB PRVI Miles Card (1.4 mpd) would still outperform both 90°N Cards.
OCBC Titanium Rewards
The OCBC Titanium Rewards has been one of my go-to cards for many years, but that love affair ends from 1 November 2023.
That’s because OCBC will be nerfing the key advantage of this product by converting its 4 mpd cap of S$13,335 per membership year into a 4 mpd cap of S$1,110 per calendar month.
On first glance you might wonder why customers would care, since S$13,335 is just S$1,110 over 12 months, give or take. But believe me, the change is big. This means you can no longer use the OCBC Titanium Rewards as a sponge for big-ticket purchases like electronics (which is dropping off the bonus category list anyway).
Moreover, it’s relatively easy to make a large “one and done” transaction that maxes out the annual bonus cap. It’s much more difficult to make 12 transactions of S$1,110 like clockwork each month, which realistically speaking means leaving some bonus miles on the table.
In fact, once the OCBC Titanium Rewards switches to a monthly cap, I can think of very few reasons to use it over competitors like the Citi Rewards Card, DBS Woman’s World Card, HSBC Revolution or UOB Lady’s Card. These all offer comparable or higher earn rates, comparable or higher monthly bonus caps, and a wider range of bonus categories.
For more analysis on this topic — and cards that would easily fill the OCBC Titanium Reward’s place — refer to the post below.
OCBC Premier Visa Infinite
In my Marie Kondo post, I wrote that I didn’t see the point in cancelling my OCBC Premier Visa Infinite because:
- it has no annual fee
- it wasn’t standing in the way of me becoming new-to-bank, so long as I refused to give up my OCBC Titanium Rewards
But now that (2) no longer holds, (1) isn’t enough to make me keep the card.
While its local/FCY earn rates of 1.28/2.24 mpd are decent for a general spending card, I refer you to my previous comments in the 90°N section about not really needing one. And even though it does offer two free Plaza Premium Lounge visits, I already get unlimited lounge access from my AMEX Platinum Charge.
Basically, when the OCBC Titanium Rewards domino falls, so does the OCBC Premier Visa Infinite.
What do I lose by not having OCBC cards?
OCBC credit card offers
OCBC, like most banks, has a wide variety of cardholder discounts at selected restaurants, attractions and petrol stations.
However, most of these are available to debit cardholders too, and I’ll still have an OCBC debit card because of my 360 Account (if the discount is good enough, I’d be willing to forgo miles on that particular transaction- case in point DBS yuu).
It’s true there are a few credit card only deals, such as S$100 off the latest iPhone 15 at Best Denki, but I can live without that.
OCBC 360 bonus interest
|🏦 OCBC 360 Interest
|Additional Grow bonus of 2.4% p.a. available if minimum ADB at least S$200,000
OCBC 360 Account holders who spend at least S$500 per month on selected OCBC credit cards will earn an additional 0.6% p.a. on the first S$100,000 in their accounts.
That’s an extra S$50 per month, but the bulk of my savings are inside a UOB One Account anyway, where I’m earning an easy 5% p.a. on the first S$100,000 thanks to a salary credit and my spending on the UOB Lady’s Card.
What do I gain by not having OCBC cards?
New customer status
Now, this isn’t the end of my relationship with OCBC; far from it.
This trial separation, if you want to call it that, starts the reset clock on my new customer status. And if there’s one silver lining to this whole affair, it’s that OCBC’s definition of a new customer is relatively more generous than competitors like Citibank and DBS.
OCBC defines a new customer as one who:
- Does not currently hold a principal OCBC credit card, and
- Has not cancelled a principal OCBC credit card in the past six months
Notice how the timeout period is six months, unlike most other banks where it’s 12 months.
For applications from 1 November 2023 onwards, OCBC defines a new customer as someone who
This means that sometime in the first half of 2024, I’ll be eligible for a new-to-bank gift when applying for an OCBC credit card. And if the SingSaver gifts are anywhere as good as they are right now, I’ll happily forgo using OCBC cards for six months.
- Samsonite Volant Spinner 68/25 EXP + 2x Apple AirTags (worth S$570)
- Apple AirPods (Gen 3) + MagSafe Charging Case + MagSafe Charger (worth S$330.50)
- S$300 eCapitaVoucher
- S$280 cash
It’s even better if you opt for the cashback-earning OCBC 365 Card, where the new-to-bank gifts are:
- Samsonite Volant Spinner 68/25 EXP + 2x Apple AirTags (worth S$570)
- Apple iPad 9th Gen 10.2″ WiFi 64GB (worth S$503.65)
- Apple AirPods Pro Gen 2+ MagSafe Charger Bundle (worth S$421.35)
- S$320 cash
These gifts change from time to time, but they’re certainly a lot more generous than the acquisition offers we saw throughout 2021 and most of 2022.
I should probably mention at this juncture that banks do keep an eye out for customers who apply for cards, get the welcome offers and then cancel the cards as soon as they can. Doing so repeatedly can get you blacklisted as a gamer, with subsequent applications rejected.
That said, I have been spending consistently on my OCBC cards (well, at least the Titanium Rewards), and all of them have tenures of several years or more. Besides, I applied for all my OCBC cards way before the SingSaver gift bonanza started, so I’m not too worried in my particular case.
A funny thing about cancellation…
There’s a little bit of Hotel California when it comes to cancelling OCBC credit cards because, as I discovered, you’re not allowed to cancel all your credit cards at one go.
The CSO had no issue processing four card cancellations at one shot, until she realised that would leave me with no more principal OCBC credit cards. She then told me that I would need to wait for a call back from the bank, which would take five to seven working days.
I suppose this could be a retention call where some sort of bargain is proposed (e.g. don’t cancel your cards and we’ll give you X when you spend S$Y), but I don’t see why that couldn’t be done on the same call.
With the OCBC Titanium Reward’s impending nerf, I’ve decided to cancel the rest of my OCBC credit cards. I just don’t see any scenario where I’d be putting significant amounts of spend on them over the next few months, so I might as well start the countdown clock on when I can be considered new-to-bank once again.
In a way, the OCBC Titanium Rewards was the anchor holding everything together. With its key selling proposition now gone, I wouldn’t consider any OCBC credit card to be essential for miles chasers at the moment.