Big Nerf: Changes to GrabPay Earn Rates From 14th October

Grab just sent out an email and it’s majorly bad news for GrabPay users. From 14th October 2022:

  • GrabPay in-store payments will now earn a chance to win GrabRewards points;
  • GrabPay Card payments will now earn only 0.3% GrabRewards points on F&B spend

Until the nerf, using the Grab app to make a QR payment or paying with your GrabPay Card gives 1.2% in Grab points if you are a Platinum member. That’s a decent rate when coupled with topping up your Grab Wallet with UOB Absolute (1.7% cashback) or Amex True Cashback (1.5% cashback). That is set to change once this nerf kicks in.

After the nerf, only rides & deliveries, PayLater & GrabPay online, as well as PayLater in-store will get 1.2% in Grab points when paid through your GrabPay Wallet.

Seth
Seth

Easy deal: get up to S$160 by opening a Citi Plus account, and additional S$100 when you deposit $15,000!

The GrabPay Card will be virtually useless after this nerf

Needless to say, this is a big nerf to GrabPay Card. It is now at best a 2% rebate card (1.7% cashback from topping up with your UOB Absolute + 0.3% earn rate), which by itself is pretty awful, but they made it even worse by letting you earn the 0.3% of points only on food & beverage merchants.

This renders the card useless. Even if you are not a miles user, 4 mpd cards can easily give you 2% to 2.5% cashback, so there is very little reason to settle for 1.7% cashback + 0.3% rebate in Grab points.

One use case remains, and that would be using the GrabPay Card as a conduit to get cashback on things like insurance policies that accept Mastercard but not Amex cards.

GrabPay QR would perhaps still be of some use

Despite not earning points, GrabPay in-store payments are still an opportunity to get some cashback for merchants that don’t accept credit card payments. GrabPay QR codes are ubiquitous across our country’s heartland shops and hawker stores, and getting 1.7% cashback is surely getting none at all. A lucky draw chance per payment is quite a derisory replacement for a clear 1.2% rebate, but again, it’s better than nothing I guess.

Of course, users would naturally gravitate towards other wallet apps where possible. ShopeePay, ShopBack Pay, FavePay etc. are all still in the game for now.

GrabPay online continues to get points

GrabPay payments to online merchants continue to get 1.2% in points. A common merchant I make such payments to is Geneco, and those payments seem like they’ll continue getting 1.2% in points… until the next nerf.

What you can still use GrabPay for

Nobody knows how long this would last, but topping up the Grab Wallet with one of the two Amex cards fortunately still generates cashback. This allows you to continue getting cashback on payments like insurance, as mentioned before, and using Grab’s PayNow feature to pay AXS merchants like income tax, hospital bills and such. There were never any points awarded for such a use case, and as such this game remains unchanged for now.

As mentioned above, for places that only accept GrabPay, and there are many such heartland shops around, getting rewards on your top up is better than nothing at all.

Conclusion

Personally, I am surprised that they nerfed the earn rate of the GrabPay Card rather than going after rewards from topping up the Grab Wallet. I know of people who top up their Grab Wallet with PayNow, bank accounts, or other modes that don’t earn them rewards because they want to use GrabPay for the points, and GrabPay is now a lot less attractive for such people come mid October.

GrabPay Mastercard has been a longstanding “hack” for many of us rewards enthusiasts, and it’s definitely going to sting for a lot.

At least they didn’t remove everything.

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