At first glance, most students would probably not consider the prospect of holding a credit card. After all, doesn’t it belong to the domain of working adults? Why would any bank grant a student who has no income a credit card?

Well, there are in fact credit cards in Singapore that are specially catered to students! No minimum income requirement is needed and you get to enjoy the saving benefits of using them. How do they work and which ones are the most suitable for you? Read on to find out:

What Are Student Credit Cards?

Student credit cards work a little differently from the regular ones in the sense that they usually come with a lower credit limit to protect the bank from default risk. Most rewards credit cards in Singapore we see on the market comes with an average credit limit of about $5,000, while student cards are usually limited at $500. There is also a minimum age limit requirement of 18 years old with parent’s consent or 21 years old without, which also means that the privilege of holding a credit card is largely confined to tertiary students only.

Another means of getting a credit card when you are not earning an income is to simply get a supplementary card from someone who trusts you. However, the main card-holder will then be liable for any late payments or unpaid debts from the supplementary card-holder.

But getting a credit card as a student can be a great aid to you financially, and also give you a taste of managing your own finances. What’s more, they usually come with great perks as well. Here is a list of some student credit cards you can find in Singapore.

Citibank Clear Card

  • No minimum income requirement
  • Age 18 and above, with parent’s consent.
  • First-year annual fee waiver, after which yearly card fees are at $29.96.

Highlights of Citibank Clear Card include free entry to one of the hippest club in Singapore, Zouk on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, and 1-for-1 drinks from Tuesday to Saturday at Zouk’s wine bar.

The card is largely a rewards card where you get to earn points to redeem for rewards. It gives you one point per dollar, and you can use the Citi dollars you’ve earned to offset your purchases on the spot or redeem for shopping and dining vouchers. Prefer something more practical like cash rebates? You can do that too, by redeeming your points for a direct cash rebate on your credit card bill.

Standard Chartered Manhattan Credit Card

  • No minimum income requirement
  • Age 18 and above, with parent’s consent.
  • First-year annual fee waiver, after which yearly card fees are at $32.10.

This card is essentially a cashback card, unlike the CitiBank Clear which is a rewards card. The Standard Chartered Manhattan card is made for those who prefers the practicality of getting cashback every time you pay with the card when you dine or shop. The cashback amount is 0.25% cashback every month on retail spending, which brings the maximum amount of cashback you can earn to $1.25. That’s not much, given that the other privileges are not very attractive as well, including 10% off your total bill at SaladStop! With a minimum $25 spending, and a $10 return visit voucher for every $50 spent at California Pizza Kitchen.

DBS Live Fresh Student Card

  • No minimum income requirement
  • Age 18 to 27 years old
  • 5-year annual fee waiver, after which yearly card fees are at $128.40.
  • Be an eligible Undergraduate student from NUS, NTU, SMU, SUTD, SIM, SIT, Nanyang Polytechnic, Ngee Ann Polytechnic, Temasek Polytechnic, Singapore Polytechnic and Republic Polytechnic

The DBS Live Fresh Student card stands out as one of our favourites because there is a 5-year fee waiver, and its benefits are as close as to what you can get with a regular credit card. You earn 3X DBS points on all your online shopping as well as your Visa PayWave purchases. Other than that, you get to enjoy all the benefits that a regular DBS credit card-holder is entitled to with the DBS Lifestyle App.

Maybank eVibes Card

  • No minimum income requirement
  • Age 18 to 30 years old
  • Existing tertiary student OR a NSF man accepted to the approved list of institutions
  • 2-year fee waiver. Subsequently, there is a quarterly service fee of S$5; waived when you charge to your Card once every 3 months

The Maybank eVibes card carries a similar credit limit of S$500, and is a cash rebate card that lets you earn 1% rebates on everything you buy. This brings the total rebate you can earn per month to $5, which we much prefer compared to the Standard Chartered Manhatten card. What’s great is that there’s no minimum spending required to qualify for the rebates as well!

Deals provided by the eVibes card is also pretty relevant to student life, such as 14% discount on online purchases on Lazada.sg and also earning a $10 cash credit for every successful referral of your friends! You will get to also enjoy the regular perks available to all Maybank card members with their year-long TREATS programme.  Other than that, it is the only student card that rewards the card-holder with an attractive activation gift – a stylish Adidas wristwatch worth $120 upon charging to your eVibes card within one month of card receipt.

Parting Thoughts

Some may frown upon the idea of holding a credit card even before you are earning a regular income, but who’s to stop you if you are able to repay your bills on time and use your holiday income wisely while getting the savings benefits from using a credit card?

Written by Lynette Tan

This article first appeared on ValuePenguin

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ValuePenguin is personal finance company based in New York. DJ is responsible for building ValuePenguin’s presence in Asia, from researching personal finance topics in the region to building relationships with financial and media institutions. He previously worked as an investment analyst at leading hedge funds in New York including Cadian Capital and Tiger Asia. His expertise is in the global technology, consumer and financial industries. He graduated from Yale University with a degree in Economics, and speaks Korean, English and Mandarin Chinese.

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