Best Credit Cards for Fresh Graduates in Singapore (2023)
As undergraduates who have recently graduated or are just a few months away from being done with university, owning a suitable credit card will probably be one of the important ones on your to-do list.
In case you’re wondering which credit cards will be helpful for managing your expenses, here's the lowdown on certain credit card eligibility requirements for fresh graduates in Singapore, and some recommendations for the different types of benefits that various credit cards offer.
Best Credit Cards Perks For Fresh Graduates
|Benefits||Great for those who spend on||Annual income requirement|
|OCBC Frank Credit Card||N.A.|
|DBS Live Fresh Student Card||N.A.|
|Citi Clear Card||1X Reward* for every S$1 spend||< S$30,000|
|Maybank eVibes Card||1% cashback on all spend||Travel accommodation via Agoda||< S$30,000|
|CIMB AWSM Card||1% unlimited cashback on dining, entertainment, online shopping and telco transactions||< S$30,000|
|Standard Chartered NUS Alumni Platinum Card||Up to S$200 cashback (with minimum spend of S$388)||Minimum S$30,000|
Best Credit/Debit Cards for Fresh Graduates in Singapore (2023)
DBS Live Fresh Card
How To Pick The Best Credit Card For A Fresh Graduate?
Understand your spending habits
Analyse your spending patterns and identify the categories where you spend the most. Look for credit cards that offer rewards or cashback in those categories. For example, if you spend a lot on dining or online shopping, find a card that offers rewards or cashback for those specific categories.
Consider affordable interest rates
Pay attention to the interest rates charged on outstanding balances. As a fresh graduate, it's important to manage your credit card usage responsibly and avoid carrying a balance from month to month. However, if you anticipate the need to carry a balance occasionally, choose a credit card with a lower interest rate to minimise the cost of borrowing.
Choose zero annual fees/minimal fees
By having a credit card with no annual fee charges and other charges such as foreign exchange rate and currency transaction charges, you'll be able to make significant cost savings as a fresh graduate. Moreover, you can focus more on building your financial foundation without the pressure of meeting minimum spending requirements or maximising rewards.
Go for promotions that work for you
Keep an eye out for any promotions or sign-up bonuses offered by credit card issuers. These credit cards promotions can include bonus rewards, cashback, or fee waivers, which can add extra value to your credit card usage.
Take note of credit limits
Evaluate the credit limits provided by different credit cards. Fresh graduates often have limited credit history, which may result in lower credit limits initially. Choose a card that offers a suitable credit limit based on your expected usage and needs.
Is There A Right Credit Card For You? Our MoneySmart General Manager weighs in
Whether you’re an avid shopper, frequent traveller, or gourmand, there will definitely be a card that’ll give you the best rewards. So how do you pick the right one?
Benefits Of Owning A Credit Card As A Fresh Graduate
Building a credit score
Using an undergraduate credit card responsibly and making timely payments can help students establish a positive credit history which will likely lead to a good credit score. A good credit history is essential for future financial endeavours, such as applying for loans, renting an apartment, or even securing a job.
Developing financial responsibility
Owning a credit card as a student can be an opportunity to learn and develop financial responsibility. It allows you to practise budgeting, track expenses, and manage monthly payments. These skills are crucial for long-term financial well-being.
Gaining rewards and perks
Some undergraduate credit cards may offer rewards programs or perks tailored to students. These can include cashback on certain purchases, discounts on student essentials, or access to exclusive events. While the benefits may vary, they can provide extra value for you as a fresh graduate as you tap on your credit cards responsibly.
Convenience when studying abroad
For students who study abroad or frequently travel internationally, having a credit card can be advantageous. It allows for easy currency exchange, provides travel insurance coverage, and may offer additional perks such as airport lounge access or airline miles accumulation.
A source for emergency funds
Having a credit card will be helpful in case of emergencies or unexpected expenses such as getting into a car accident during a school trip, having a family member who is the sole breadwinner in your family being permanently disabled due to an accident, or being diagnosed with cancer or a terminal illness, etc.
Frequently Asked Questions
Will I be able to use most credit cards internationally when I travel for studies?
- Yes and no. It really depends on which credit card network i.e. Visa, MasterCard, American Express, UnionPay, etc. your credit cards are tagged to. For cards which are tagged on Visa, Mastercard and American Express, and Discover networks, they are widely accepted globally. Certain networks like UnionPay have an extensive presence, but they are accepted by fewer merchants around the world.
How can I check credit card foreign exchange rate and currency transaction charges?
- As the majority of the banks in Singapore do not really state the credit card foreign exchange rates and currency transaction charges upfront, so you’ll need to check the terms and conditions of your credit card documents or your credit card bills. Many of the Help Centre and FAQs sections of the banks’ websites provide information on these charges as well.
Is there a credit card with no foreign transaction fee?
- At the moment, no. In Singapore, there are many credit cards which offer waivers of your foreign transaction fees, but you’ll have to call in or email or log into your account with your credit card issuing bank to request for it.
Is a debit or credit card better for fresh graduates?
- This depends on your spending habits locally and/or abroad as a fresh graduate. If you are going for rewards points to redeem for attractive perks such as air miles for your next airfare or dining and shopping vouchers or other tech gadgets, then using credit cards which are linked to reward programmes would be better. On the other hand, if you just want to withdraw amounts of cash, debit cards will suffice as it relieves you of the hassle of carrying large amounts of cash with you as you travel. Moreover, some debit cards let you earn bonus interest on money you spend overseas.