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Best credit cards for big purchases

Find a credit card that will benefit you most for your next large purchase.

If you are going to make an expensive purchase, it’s important to use the right credit card for you to maximise your rewards and benefits. This guide will take a look at all the benefits of charging your large expense on plastic and help you compare available options that are optimised for such transactions. Below is a list of top cards to consider.

Compare credit cards for large purchases

Name Product Reward Cashback Offer Annual Fee Min Income - Singaporean and PR
HSBC Revolution Credit Card
Earn up to 10X Reward points or 4 miles per $1 spent on qualifying purchases.
Receive up to 2.5% cashback for every dollar you spend.
Earn up to 10X rewards points (equivalent to 4 miles per dollar spent) when you charge online, dining and entertainment expenses to your card.
American Express Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Ascend Credit Card
For every $1 spent, earn 1.2 KrisFlyer miles on local purchases, 2 KrisFlyer miles on overseas spend in June and December, Singapore Airlines and KrisShop and 3.2 KrisFlyer miles on Grab.
Citi Prestige Card
Deals and discounts in more than 90 countries. Also, get six complimentary golf games across Asia
Up to 20% cashback at selected merchants
HSBC Visa Platinum Credit Card
Earn 1 Reward point for every $1 on all spend.
Up to 5% cash rebates on groceries, dining and fuel with minimum monthly spend of at least $600.
$0 annual fee for the first 2 years and $192.60 thereafter
Receive up to $1,000 worth of cash rebate yearly.
American Express Platinum Credit Card
Up to 50% off your food bill for unlimited visits at hotels around Singapore
Get 30,000 Membership Rewards points upon payment of annual fee and minimum spending of S$3,000 within 30 days from card approval. Existing card members can receive 16,000 Membership Rewards points. Also, receive 3,750 Membership Rewards points from your base earn rate for the $3,000 spent. T&Cs apply. Ends 3 April 2023.
Citi Cash Back+ Credit Card
Get up to 14% fuel discounts at Esso and Shell and 1.6% cash back on eligible retail purchases.
1.6% cash back on selected retail purchases
$0 annual fee for the first 1 year and $194.40 thereafter
HSBC Advance Credit Card
Receive up to $200 cashback when minimum spend requirements are met.
Enjoy up to 3.5% cashback on all purchases with no minimum spend
$0 annual fee for the first 1 year (permanently waived for HSBC Advance banking customers) and $192.60 thereafter
Enjoy up to 3.5% cashback on all purchases with no minimum spend.
American Express True Cashback Card
Enjoy 1.5% cashback on all purchases with no minimum spend or cap.
Earn 1.5% cashback on all eligible spending with no minimum spend or cap
$0 annual fee for the first 1 year and $172.80 thereafter
Apply today and get a 3% cashback bonus when you spend $5,000 in the first six months.
Citi Cash Back Card
Get up to 20.88% fuel discounts at Esso and Shell, 6% cashback on dining and 8% cashback on groceries.
6% cash back on dining, 8% cashback on groceries and petrol transactions. 0.25% cashback on other retail purchases, capped at $80 for all transactions per statement month.
$0 annual fee for the first 1 year and $194.40 thereafter
Aspire Corporate Card
Enjoy exclusive perks and discounts with Aspire's extensive range of partners, redeemable at anytime
1% Cashback for qualified spend of above S$5,000. T&Cs apply
A corporate debit card for SMEs and Startups with no annual fee and low FX fees. Enjoy 1% cashback on marketing and SaaS spend. T&Cs apply.

The only major drawback to charging your expenses on plastic is the tendency to lose sight of your purchases and racking up more debt than you’re able to settle. But if you have the capacity to pay for the amount that you spent on your card, then there’s little reason not to do so.

Here are some reasons to pull out your card when making a large purchase:

  • Your purchases are eligible for complimentary insurance. Some credit cards offer bonus perks such as purchase protection, extended warranty, and even complimentary travel insurance when you charge your purchases to the card.
  • You can earn or maximise credit card rewards on the purchase. Rewards are among the best features of any credit card. So if you’re already spending on your purchase, it definitely makes good sense to gain back some value in the form of reward points, miles or cashback.
  • Your credit card offers a 0% interest instalment plan. Your big-ticket purchases may be more affordable with interest-free payment plans. However, make sure to scrutinise the terms and conditions before committing.

    How to choose a credit card for large purchases

    When looking for the best credit card to charge your major expense on, there are several factors you should consider:

    • Rewards and limitations. The most prominent credit card reward schemes are points and cashback. While it ultimately comes down to your preference, understand that not all reward types allow you to maximise your earning potential. For example, most cashback cards advertise accelerated earn rates, but often cap the total cash rebate at S$60 to S$80 per month. If you’re looking to clock up travel rewards from your big purchases, the UOB PRVI Miles Card offers up to 6 miles for every S$1 spent on selected travel partners.
    • 0% interest instalment plans. Most credit card issuers offer 0% interest instalment payment plans, allowing you to spread out the cost of the large purchase into smaller segments and repay over 3 to 36 months without incurring any interest charges. However, make sure to check if there are any processing fees for this service and whether you’re entitled to rewards on the expenditure.
    • Interest rate. If you’re not paying for your purchase through an instalment plan, you should choose a credit card with lower APR in case you need to carry a balance. Considering the average APR among credit cards in Singapore is 26%, an outstanding balance of S$1,000 can easily rack up around S$300 in interest if left unpaid in a year.
    • Signup bonus. Premium credit cards usually offer attractive points or miles for new cardholders when they meet a minimum spending requirement, which typically several thousand dollars within a few months.
    • Purchase protection. This is a common complimentary credit card perk that offers theft and damage coverage on purchases charged through your card. Inclusions will vary from card to card, but products bought with your card are typically insured for up to three months. You can find out more about credit card purchase protection in our guide.
    • Extended warranty protection. A similar benefit to purchase protection, credit cards offering this perk will match or extend the manufacturer’s warranty. This can be especially useful if you’re purchasing appliances or electronics.
    • Fees and charges. Before applying for any credit card, you should be aware of all its potential cost such as annual fee, late payment penalty, cash advance rates etc.
    • Exclusive perks. There are plenty of prestige cards offering bonus points, complimentary hotel stays and one-for-one buffets, or elite status upgrades when you hit pre-defined spending thresholds. Since you’re going to charge a major expense to your card, you may want to consider taking advantage of these privileges. Check out the wide array of reward redemption options with UOB PRVI Miles Card.

    How to make large purchases using a credit card

    It’s important to carefully consider how and when you’ll be using your credit card for large purchases, as well as how soon you can repay the full amount. If you do decide to go with credit payments, here are some tips to help ensure that it stays affordable and convenient:

    • Check eligibility requirements for interest-free offers. Whether it’s 0% interest on purchases during the introductory period, interest-free days or an exclusive in-store financing option, research the card’s eligibility requirements and ensure that you meet all the criteria for enjoying your interest-free offer.
    • Budget for repayments. When it comes to repayments, it is crucial to exercise discipline and consistency. Stay on track with a budget for clearing your full balance as soon as possible to ensure that you save on interest and stay out of debt.
    • Pay more than the minimum every month. Avoid making only minimum repayments as interest charges will accrue on these unpaid balances. Keep your interest costs low in the long run by repaying as much as you can as early as you can.
    • Consider split payments. If possible, you can also pay for a portion of your purchase by cash or debit card, and put the rest on credit.

      What can I do if the purchase is above my credit limit?

      Once you’ve maxed out the credit limit of your credit card, you can no longer make any further transactions. However, there are a few options you can consider if your big-ticket item exceeds your existing credit limit:

      • Raise your credit limit. You may apply for a higher credit limit by updating your income document and submitting the bank’s credit review form. To increase your credit limit permanently, you’d need to have a solid credit history, meet certain income requirements and provide a reason for the request. Take note that the credit limit review is subjected to the bank’s approval and may take a couple of days.
      • Temporary credit increase. Banks in Singapore allow you to temporarily increase your credit limit for a short duration (e.g. 30 days) by simply calling the bank’s hotline or from the Internet banking platform. Due to MAS regulations, this option is only limited to travel, wedding, medical hospitalisation and compassionate purposes. Make sure to pay off the increased amount used before the temporary limit increase expiry date to avoid incurring an over limit fee.
      • Early repayment. If you need to refresh your credit limit before the end of the billing cycle, you can simply make an early repayment to pay off all the balance on your credit card bill.
      • Advance payment. If you have the funds for the purchase but wish to reap the rewards offered by your credit card, you can simply pre-pay the amount to your credit account to enjoy a higher limit.
      • Partial payment in cash. You may also settle part of the expense in cash and the rest with your credit card.

      MAS credit limit revision

      The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has implemented its third and final revision for the total unsecured credit limit, decreasing the total borrowing limit to 12 times a borrower’s monthly income.

      That means that if your total outstanding balance exceeds 12 times’ your monthly income across all unsecured credit facilities for more than 3 consecutive months, you’ll not be able to apply or access further credit.

      This measure is part of MAS’ ongoing efforts to help Singaporeans manage unsecured debt.

      Bottom line

      Instead of keeping track and accumulating multiple small purchases to a sizable amount, charging a big-ticket purchase can help you reel in these bonuses quickly. You can earn thousands of points and miles, activate an attractive spending bonus, receive a free hotel stay or even earn elite status with a partner loyalty program.

      So if you want a credit card that is optimised for big-ticket purchases, then start comparing your options here.

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