The Most Popular Credit Cards in Singapore Annual Fees

The Most Popular Credit Cards in Singapore Annual Fees

Ah, credit cards what would we do without them?

They give us the freedom to explore the world cash-free but confident that we still have the money we need to buy the stuff that we want. As an added bonus, they offer nice rebates and rewards in the long run. Yet, they have their flaws. The less appealing side of credit cards, the thing that each of us rejects deep down inside, is annual fees. We don’t want it, but we have to take it as part of a package deal. Of course, there is no such thing as the best credit card in Singapore, but when it comes to annual fees, there are several things you simply have got to know. Let’s go.

Annual Fees of the 5 Most Popular Credit Cards

Let’s look into the annual fees and requirements that the five most popular credit cards have.

Standard Chartered Credit Card

  • There is no fee for the first couple of years. After that, you will be deducted $192.60 from your account on a yearly basis. The fee covers the principal card. If you order a supplementary card, it will be for free.
  • Foreigners who want to obtain a Standard Chartered Card are subject to a $60,000 minimum annual income requirement. Singapore citizens’ income must be equal to or surpass $30,000 per year.

American Express Credit Card

  • The principal credit card entails an annual fee of $321. If you have a supplementary card, it will be free of charge. Fee applies immediately.
  • A requirement for minimum annual income applies to foreigners and citizens alike. The former are eligible for an AE card only when their yearly earnings exceed $60,000. The latter is entitled to receive a credit card if their income is at least $50,000 per year.

HSBC Advance Credit Card

  • The credit card is waived throughout the first year. Later on, it is charged $192.60 per year. This rule applies to the principal card. The supplementary one is free.
  • To qualify for HSBC, minimum annual income is required. Foreigners must earn $40,000 or more on a yearly basis, whereas citizens must have an income of $30,000 annually.

City Cash Back Credit Card

  • No fee is collected in the first year. A $192.60 fee applies on a yearly basis afterwards.
  • Citizens are required to have an annual income of a minimum of 30,000 to qualify. Foreigners must have an income of min. $42,000.

OCBC 365 Credit Card

  • A standard fee of $192.60 per year applies, but the first couple of years the card is free of charge.
  • The minimum annual income for citizens amounts to $30,000, whereas that for foreigners is $45,000.

Credit Card Type

Annual Fee

How Many Years before Fee Begins to Apply

American Express


0 years

HSBC Advance


1 year

City Cash Back (Visa)


1 year

Standard Chartered


2 years

OCBC 365


2 years

Why Are Fees so High?

Credit Card Fee

With great convenience comes a great price. If you are wondering why the annual fees are big, here is why. You are paying not only for the ability to make purchases anywhere and anytime you want but also for all the costs associated with maintaining the card. Think administrative fees and all the times that your card needs a replacement for some reason (i.e. it was stolen or damaged).

Not to mention, the bank hotline is open round the clock just to assist customers with their issues and answer their questions.

In addition, some card providers offer incentives when you top up the annual fee. They come in the form of cashback or free stuff.

For example, American Express provides the opportunity to earn points for each and every $1.60 spent at partner restaurants, retail outlets, and merchants. You can exchange the points for rewards that vary from electronics to fashion, dining, and free miles. They never expire providing you don’t cancel your card.

Standard Chartered offers discounts on petrol as well as 1.5% cashback on all purchases made around the world. As far as OCBS is concerned, a rebate of 3% on Internet bills, online shopping, local groceries, and dining on weekdays, that plus a 6% discount on dining on weekends applies.

HSBC has 2.5% cashback and other incentives when shopping worldwide. City Cash Back woos their customers with 8% cashback at cafes, restaurants, petrol stations, grocers, and other worldwide retailers. A 0.25% rebate applies to all other purchases.

As you can imagine, all this adds up to the final cost.

What You Can Do About It

You can try and have your annual fee waived. Mind you that not all companies are willing to offer such an option. Yet, it doesn’t hurt to give it a go.

You will be surprised to discover that this is the most demanded service regarding credit cards. Some banks even offer an automated system which is responsible for handling the waiver requests. The biggest plus is that you don’t have to speak to an actual person. Instead, the system makes the necessary calculations to see if you are allowed to get a waiver and pushes things down the road.

Now, if your request does not go through, there is something you can do before you freak out. You can always talk to a human being and have it figured out eventually. The machine will automatically forward you to the customer care department so you can toss your request at a human being.

So, what do they take into account when figuring out if you are suitable to get your fees waived? Frankly said, we don’t know all of the factors that go into the formula, but it sure is a complicated one. It is difficult to decipher it and there is really no need to do so since the system takes care of it by itself. In general, the formula is based on the frequency you use the card and the amount you spend. Another important factor is whether you pay your balance off on time.

Please note that some banks and card providers require that you have spent a certain amount of money for the past months in order to have your fee waived. The spending threshold will vary from company to company.

If you no longer would like to pay your fee and cannot have it waived either, consider cancelling the card. However, keep in mind that this will affect your credit card history and your rewards. Make sure to redeem all the points you’ve collected, if any, because they will be forfeited once you request cancellation.

If your credit rating is important to you (maybe thinking about taking out a loan), you will probably want to reconsider cancelling your credit card. Especially if it is one you’ve had the longest. In that case, it might be best to continue to pay the fee.