[Singapore] The GrabPay MasterCard (GPMC) – Review as at April 2020


23 July 2020

  • As per MileLion the vast majority of Visa cards no longer award top ups on GrabPay top ups. This makes the GPMC significantly less attractive, but not entirely without utility. The last remaining card that is known to award cashback is the American Express True Cashback Card.
  • I have updated wording below to reflect these recent changes

[Singapore] The GrabPay MasterCard (GPMC) – Review (It’s Fantastic – Even Post-Devluation) as at July 2020

The GrabPay Card has been an absolute revelation. The card was launched to targeted members in June 2019, before its proper launch in December 2019. Of all the mobile wallets with which it was compatible, it was compatible with Samsung Pay. And only Samsung Pay. Not Google Pay. Not Apple Pay, but specifically Samsung Pay.

They also have a physical card, but it wasn’t available to everyone. It was targeted to certain members (not me!), until it was made available to everyone in March 2020. That’s a big part of the reason why people were using GPMC to top up Revolut/YouTrip, because this became their pseudo physical GPMC. However, topping up Revolut/YouTrip earned 0 points – which surely isn’t surprising. So you had to make a decision between topping up and earning 0 points, but having a pseudo physical card, or keeping your money in GrabPay and only being able to use it “physically” via Samsung Pay (or the physical card, if you were lucky enough to be targeted) or at GrabPay merchants (you know, those that have the QR Code). Grab stopped allowing the top up of all the majority of prepaid cards in mid-Jan 2020.

Throughout this time, the GrabPay Card’s handy sidekick has been the UOB One Credit Card, which gave 10% cashback on monthly GrabPay top ups of $2000, provided this the $2000 top ups were maintained monthly for a (specific) quarter, based on your billing quarter.

However, the UOB One Credit Card promotion came crashing to an end in mid-March 2020. In addition to all this, up until 2 March 2020, all expenditure made via GrabPay (whether via QR Code, the virtual card or the physical card) would award the equivalent of ~2.6% cashback in the form of Grab Rewards, which was awarded in addition to any points/rebates/cashback/miles you earned for your initial top up to Grab. Post that date, the effective additional cashback dropped to 0.8%.

On 17 July 2020, All Visa cards stopped awarding points/cashback on GrabPay top ups, which was a significant and negative change.

So – I’ve waffled on about historics. And it sounds like things were great. So why am I writing about this now when it all sucks now?

Because whilst it’s not as good, it doesn’t suck. Well – it didn’t until July 2020 HAHA.

Why the GrabPay Mastercard Is Still Good

From 17 July 2020, this has been made much harder to justify, but this post is a modification of when it was still good.

However, the benefits were typically because through this “system”, you did not:

  • Have to consider categorised spending
  • Have minimum spend to consider
  • Have caps
    • Caps are still relevant to this system of GrabPay top ups, though

From July 2020, at best, you’re now getting 3% cashback on top ups up to $5000 with your American Express True Cashback card, and then 1.5% uncapped ongoing. Add on top of that the effective 0.8% cashback you get in the form of Grab Rewards points and you’re looking at an effective 2.3% cashback on almost all expenditure (barring a few exceptions)

This does not mean it’s never better to pay directly with your card. I’m just pointing out that Grab often simplifies this process with less catches. For example, if you know that you can consistently hit $2000/mth per quarter on direct expenditure on your UOB One Card, it’s hard to top getting 5% cashback. There are also situations where paying with your card gets your bonus cashback for specific categories which topping up your Grab account just can’t give you, such as Dining on the OCBC 365 Credit Card.

Which Cards Are Still Useful for GrabPay Top Ups?

  1. AMEX True Cashback – 1.5% cashback uncapped
    • There is also a promotion where you’ll earn 3% cashback on the first $5000 spent within 6 months, but I’ll focus on the “longer term” benefits of the card, i.e. the 1.5% cashback

Putting This All Together

Factor in what you’re getting on the top ups above, and then slap on another 0.8% in “effective” cashback. This 0.8% is calculated by determining the “value” of a Grab point, with the assumptions being that:

  • You are a Platinum member, and therefore earn 4 Grab Rewards per $ spent
  • You spend the points on a Grab service, which at current rates, are 2500 points for $5
  • You ignore the fact that Grab promo codes can be obtained from othersources, such as Shopee
    • Factoring this in, your rate drops to about 0.65%
  • You ignore the odd “flash deal” or other redemption options which actually offer superior value to 2500 points for $5 of value. These would give you an even higher level of cashback
  • You are not transferring your Grab Points to KrisFlyer miles
    • Not because this option is subpar, but because this would further complicate the calculation for “total” cashback. And the MileLion, whose focus is on miles, has this topic covered extensively 😛

Going by the assumptions above, it will take you $625 worth of expenditure to earn a $5 rebate, which works out to be 0.8% cashback.

By the way – those who visit Malaysia often – your rewards are (as at July 2020) marginally more valuable in Malaysia, because RM15 costs 2400 points. Going by an approximate rate of $1 = RM3, that’s an effective cashback of 0.83%. It used to be worth ~1.11% cashback, but there was a devaluation in June 2020.

Your cashback/miles earn rate then becomes:

  1. AMEX True Cashback – 2.3% cashback

In the future, I’m going to write about how you can still top up Revolut/YouTrip/Singtel Dash from GrabPay. Notice I crossed out the word “all” above when I mentioned that you can no longer top up prepaid cards from GrabPay? There are still ways, but it is certainly becoming harder.

As a bonus for Malaysians in Singapore, there will also be a little snippet in that post about how you can transfer money to Malaysia from your GrabPay balance.

Have I missed anything, or is any of my content out of date? I’m all ears and always open to hearing feedback, so please leave me comments and/or Facebook messages!

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