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|Student credit card||Credit limit||Annual fee|
|DBS Live Fresh Student Card||$500||$192.60 (waived for 5 years)|
|Citibank Clear Student Credit Card||$500||$29.96 (waived for 1 year)|
|Maybank eVibes Student Credit Card||$500||$20 (waived if card is active)|
If you are already using a DBS or POSB savings account, getting a DBS student credit card makes perfect sense. The DBS Live Fresh Student Card is open to students of local universities and polytechnics, aged 18 to 27. It has a $500 credit limit as well as a 5-year fee waiver, and there is a modest 0.3% cashback on all spending with no minimum monthly spend required.
If you’re confident of staying on top of your credit card bills, Citibank’s student credit card — called the Citibank Clear Card — is another popular choice. It is open to students (18 years and above) from a wider range of tertiary institutions in Singapore, including foreign schools. The Citibank Clear Card comes with the standard credit limit of $500, and the annual fee is waived for the first year. Instead of cashback, you earn reward points on your spending.
Another student credit card to consider is the Maybank eVibes Card, which is open to students and NSFs enrolled in local tertiary institutions. The age range is 18 to 30 years old. The Maybank eVibes Card gives you 1% rebate on everything, which is very high for a student credit card. There is also no annual fee, but you will need to keep this card active by charging something at least once every 3 months to avoid a $5 quarterly service fee.
If you are going overseas to study, you may want to consider a multi-currency debit card such as the Revolut Standard Debit Card, which has no annual fees. This debit card is linked to your Revolut multi-currency account and lets you remit money, withdraw money and charge to your card overseas without incurring foreign currency and other transaction fees.
Even if you don’t spend a lot of money as a student, it is useful to have some kind of card to use for online payments and as a back-up in case you run out of cash. Although both debit cards and student credit cards perform the same functions and are equally widely accepted, they actually work differently. Debit cards deduct funds straight from your bank account. You will feel the pinch right away, but the good thing is that you do not have to remember to pay your bills. On the other hand, when you use a student credit card, you basically borrow from a bank and repay them within the month. You need to remember to pay your bills on time, or you will have to pay interest and late payment fees on top of everything. The benefit of a student credit card is that, if you get scammed, you can spot and block the fraudulent charge. With a debit card, it is difficult for you to get the deducted money back.
Every credit card comes with what is called a credit limit, which is the maximum amount you can charge to your card. For student credit cards, the standard credit limit is $500. In other words, $500 is the maximum amount that the bank is willing to lend you. At this point, if you want to continue using your student credit card, you will have to pay your credit card bill to reset it to $0. Debit cards have no credit limit because the bank does not lend you any money. Instead, since the funds are deducted from your bank account, the “credit limit” here is simply the amount of money in your account.
Other than student credit cards, you can also choose to stick to a debit card, which you might already have (since most bank accounts come bundled with debit cards). Debit cards are easy to manage, but you need to be careful about keeping your card secure. Apart from debit cards issued by banks, you may also consider a debit card issued by a multi-currency account provider like TransferWise, Revolut or YouTrip. These are useful if you are studying abroad, but you will need to maintain a multi-currency account separate from your regular bank account. Another alternative is to request a supplementary card from your parents. This “supp” card is linked to one of your parents’ credit cards, which means they will be able to track your spending. Finally, there are also prepaid cards like the FEVO card, which works like an EZ-Link card, except it’s more widely accepted. After topping up stored value, you can then use it as a normal credit card.