Best Credit Cards For Young Adults In Singapore (2024)

With younger Singaporeans taking up more debt these days and embracing the “Buy Now Pay Later” (BNPL) option whenever available, owning credit cards can be a tricky situation for the younger generation.

According to Aurobindo Ghosh, a Singapore Management University (SMU) assistant professor and the director of the Citi Foundation-SMU Financial Literacy Programme for Young Adults, younger Singaporeans have a higher risk of “getting into more debt than previous generations”, so this makes the decision of applying for the right credit cards even more important for the young adults in Singapore.

If you’re amongst the Gen Z and younger millennials here, or a parent/guardian who’s looking for the right credit card for your young adult, we’re here to help with some recommendations and tips.

Masthead Image

Best Credit Cards Perks For Young Adults

Credit CardBenefitsAnnual income requirementMinimum spend requirement
HSBC Revolution Card
  • 4 miles or 10X Points for every $1 spent on online and contactless transactions
  • Over 1,000 1-for-1 deals on dining, lifestyle and travel worldwide
  • S$30,000 (Singapore citizen and PR)
  • S$40,000 (Foreigners)
None
Standard Chartered Smart Credit Card
  • Up to 6% cashback with eligible merchants
  • No annual fees
  • S$30,000 (Singapore citizen and PR)
  • S$60,000 (Foreigners)
None
OCBC Frank Credit Card
  • Up to $100 cashback or 8% cashback on foreign currency transactions and online/contactless mobile transactions
  • Up to an additional 2% cashback on transactions at selected green merchants
  • S$30,000 (Singapore citizen and PR)
  • S$45,000 (Foreigners)
S$800 per month
DBS Live Fresh Student Card
  • Up to 5% cashback with eligible merchants
  • Up to 5% cashback with eco-merchants Up to 0.3% on all other spending category
  • S$30,000 (Singapore citizen and PR)
  • S$45,000 (Foreigners)
S$600 per month
UOB EVOL Card
  • Up to 8% cashback on online and mobile contactless spending
  • S$30,000 (Singapore citizen and PR)
  • S$40,000 (Foreigners)
S$600 per month
Citi SMRT Card
  • Up to 5% cashback with minimum spend of S$500
  • S$300 cashback upon application (new customers only) with a minimum spend of S$1,000
  • 5% rebate on participating taxi and public transport rides
  • 5% rebate on online transactions and groceries
  • S$30,000 (Singapore citizen and PR)
  • S$42,000 (Foreigners)
S$500 per month
KrisFlyer UOB Card
  • 3 KrisFlyer miles for every $1 spent on dining, online shopping, online travel and transport (including those on SIA, SilkAir, Scoot and KrisShop)
  • 1.2 KrisFlyer miles on every $1 spent on other categories
  • S$30,000 (Singapore citizen and PR)
  • S$40,000 (Foreigners)
S$500 per year on Singapore Airlines flights to get bonus miles
Maybank Platinum Visa Card Up to 3.33% cash rebates on all local and foreign spend
  • S$30,000 (Singapore citizen and PR)
  • S$60,000 (Foreigners)
S$600 per month
Citi Rewards 10X Points for every $1 spent on shopping and online purchases, including food delivery and groceries
  • S$30,000 (Singapore citizen and PR)
  • S$42,000 (Foreigners)
N
S$500 per month

*All information above is accurate at the time of writing as of 18 August 2023. All promotional details are subject to change as per the respective banks’ discretion.

Apply for the Best Credit Cards for Young Adults in Singapore (2024)

MoneySmart Exclusive
Earn Points for Everyday Spending
MoneySmart Exclusive
Earn Points for Everyday Spending

HSBC Revolution Credit Card

on Online Spend and Contactless Payments
S$1 = 10X Points
on All Other Spend
S$1 = 1X Point
for every 10 Points
Earn 4 Miles

Earn 3,950 SmartPoints or S$150 Cash via PayNow when you apply and spend a min. of S$500 from Card Account Opening Date to end of the following calendar month. T&Cs apply.
 
With 3,950 SmartPoints, unlock your favourite Apple iPhone 15, iPad 10, Macbook Air and more, at unbeatable prices. We've just restocked hot favourites at our Rewards Store, check them out before it's too late!

Valid until 31 May 2024
MoneySmart Exclusive
Earn up to 6% Cashback
MoneySmart Exclusive
Earn up to 6% Cashback

Standard Chartered Smart Credit Card

Cashback from Netflix, Spotify, fast food joints and more. *T&Cs apply.
6%*
Annual Fee
S$0
Minimum Spend
S$0

Get a Sony LinkBuds S Earbuds (worth S$309) or S$180 eCapita Vouchers or up to S$230 Cash via PayNow when you apply and meet the relevant spend criteria! T&Cs apply.

Valid until 31 May 2024
Earn up to 10% cashback
Earn up to 10% cashback

OCBC Frank Card

Cash Back
Up to 10%
Cash Back Cap per month
S$100
Min. Spend per month on Total Purchases
S$800
Online Promo
Online & Visa Contactless Spend
Online Promo
Online & Visa Contactless Spend

DBS Live Fresh Card

on Shopping & Transport Spend
Up to 6% Cashback
Min. Spend
S$800
Cashback Cap
Up to S$70
Online Promo:
Get S$388 cashback when you apply and make the min. spend of S$800 within 60 days of card approval. T&Cs apply.
Valid until 31 May 2024
No Minimum Spend for Cashback
No Minimum Spend for Cashback

Citibank SMRT Card

Cash Back on Eligible Spend
5%
Cash Back Cap per year
S$600
Min. Spend per month
S$500
MoneySmart Exclusive
Earn Miles on Everyday Spending | FLASH DEAL
MoneySmart Exclusive
Earn Miles on Everyday Spending | FLASH DEAL

KrisFlyer UOB Credit Card

on Singapore Airlines, Scoot, KrisShop, Kris+ purchases
S$1 = 3 Miles
on dining, food delivery, online shopping, online travel, and transport spend
S$1 = 3 Miles
on all other spend
S$1 = 1.2 Miles

[UP TO S$11,000 WORTH OF PRIZES]
Stand a chance to win up to 2 Grand Prizes when you apply through MoneySmart! No min. spend required! T&Cs apply.
 

  • A pair of Day 1 Category 1 Ticket for ASMeiR Max 2024 World Tour - Singapore (worth S$656)! [10 Winners]
  • Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra 512GB (worth S$2,458) or 68,000 Air Miles (worth a Business Class Round Trip to Taiwan for 1) or a Sony WH-1000XM5 Headphones (worth S$589)! [3 Winners]

 
PLUS get up to 31,000 miles plus first year annual fee waived for new-to-UOB credit card customers who successfully apply for an eligible KrisFlyer UOB Credit Card and spend a min. of S$2,000 within 60 days of the card approval date on their card. T&Cs apply.

Valid until 31 May 2024
MoneySmart Exclusive
Faster Gift Redemption
MoneySmart Exclusive
Faster Gift Redemption

Citi Rewards Card

on Online & Shopping Purchases
S$1= 10X Points
for all other purchases
S$1= 1X Point
Rewards Conversion
10X Points = 4 Miles

[FASTER GIFT FULFILMENT]
Get an Apple iPad (9th Gen), 64GB (worth S$508.30) or a Sony WH-1000XM5 Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones (worth S$589) or S$420 Lendlease E-Vouchers (can be used at 313@somerset, Jem, Parkway Parade, PLQ) or S$300 Cash via PayNow, in as fast as 6 weeks from meeting the S$500 spend criteria! T&Cs apply.

Valid until 31 May 2024

Is Owning One Or Multiple Credit Cards Better For Young Adults?

Here are some factors to consider when deciding whether to have one or multiple credit cards:

Financial responsibility

Having multiple credit cards can potentially lead to overspending and accumulating debt if not managed responsibly. It's important for young adults to assess their ability to handle credit responsibly before considering multiple cards.

It is also important to take into account how credit utilisation and other factors affect your credit score as having more than one credit card could complicate budgeting and tracking expenses. If you're organized and can manage multiple accounts effectively, it might not be an issue. To learn more about this, you can listen to one of CNA’s MoneyTalks episodes featuring tips from Abel Lee, our MoneySmart General Manager.

Credit score and history

By just managing one credit card will help you to focus solely on building a positive credit history and improving your credit score. On the other hand, having multiple cards may affect your credit score differently, depending on how high your spending is every month and how timely you pay off your bills or how many times you incur late payment fees. Having a longer credit history with a single credit card can be beneficial in the long run. If you keep switching or closing cards, it could potentially affect your credit history.

Rewards and benefits

As different credit cards offer different types of rewards such as cashback, air miles or other benefits on specific categories like dining, travel, or shopping, having multiple cards might help you maximise rewards in different areas.

For example, if you travel a lot for your studies or work abroad, a credit card that gives bonus air miles or frequent flyer air miles benefits for your air ticket purchases will help you save some money in the long run as you may be able to redeem those air miles for a free flight or flight booking discounts in the future.

Credit limit and utilisation ratio

Applying for multiple credit cards could potentially increase your total available credit limit. This can be advantageous in terms of credit utilisation ratio, but it also comes with the risk of overspending.

A lower credit utilization ratio is generally seen as favorable and can positively impact your credit score, and by having multiple credit cards which will most likely increase your total available credit, can lower your credit utilisation ratio (only if your spending remains the same).

For instance, if you have two credit cards with a total credit limit of $20,000 and you're using $2,000, your credit utilisation ratio is 10%. On the other hand, if you had only one card with a $10,000 limit and still used $2,000, your credit utilisation ratio would be 20%.

background image

Tips On Choosing Best Credit Cards For Young Adults

From understanding your needs and financial goals, to maximising the rewards that you can get out of your credit card, it is safer to start with one credit card first to learn how to manage your finances effectively and avoid getting overwhelmed, but it still boils down to how well you can afford to pay off the bills while still maintaining a healthy financial status.

Tip #1

Evaluate your spending

Evaluating your spending habits when choosing a credit card is important because different credit cards offer various rewards, benefits, and features that cater to specific spending patterns. By understanding your spending habits and needs, you can select a credit card that maximises your rewards and benefits, ultimately saving you money.

Tip #2

Find out which rewards you value most

Credit cards often offer rewards in the form of cashback, points, or miles for specific spending categories. For example, some cards may offer higher rewards for dining, groceries, travel, or online shopping. By knowing where you spend the most, you can pick a card or multiple cards that reward you the most in those areas.

Tip #3

Note the fees and charges

Consider the annual fee associated with the credit card you’re considering and make sure that the rewards you'll receive outweigh the cost of the annual fee. Some cards offer a waiver of the annual fee, which helps you make some savings. If you don't spend much in the categories that the card rewards, it might not be worth paying the annual fee.

Tip #4

Compare and research

After you’ve determined what kind of reward currency you value most and can get most out of your spending habits, you’ll need to compare between the cards which are available in that particular category or categories i.e. cashback, air miles, petrol discounts, dining privileges, etc. You may use a comparison tool such as MoneySmart’s Best Credit Cards page to find the card that suits your spending habits the most.

Some credit cards impose spending caps or minimum requirements to earn rewards. Try to estimate whether you're likely to reach these thresholds based on your current spending habits. If your expenses are higher, you might prefer a card or multiple cards with no caps or higher limits.

About the Author

Besides sharing money-saving hacks (for almost four years now) especially optimising the best cashback credit cards perks, this mother of two seeks to return to her Japan travel quest for the best matcha and of course, the best travel insurance coverage to go with it.

Are Your Parents To Blame for Your Poor Money Habits?

Frequently Asked Questions

Is having a credit card or none better for young adults?

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, a savings account with a debit card may suffice as it relieves you of the hassle of carrying large amounts of cash with you as you travel.

Will I be able to use most credit cards internationally when I travel?

Yes and no. This depends on which credit card networks your credit cards are tagged to i.e. Visa, MasterCard, American Express, UnionPay, etc., as some are accepted globally while others are only regionally accepted. 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?

You’ll be able to check these charges in the terms and conditions of your credit card documents or your credit card bills. As the majority of the banks in Singapore do not really state the credit card foreign exchange rates and currency transaction charges upfront, you’ll have to take extra effort to find out these aspects. Many of the Help Centre and FAQs sections of the banks’ websites do provide information on these charges as well.

Is there a credit card with no foreign transaction fee?

No, currently no credit cards in singapore offer the benefit of no foreign transaction fee charges. However, there are some 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.

What if I can’t make my repayments on time?

Most credit cards will charge a late payment charge and additional interest will be calculated on a daily basis at the most updated EIR determined by your credit card issuing bank at the point of your late payment.