Nerfed or Buffed? DBS LiveFresh Becomes an Entirely New Card Come 1st March 2024

DBS announced today changes to DBS LiveFresh that will completely upend the value proposition of the card for users. It might be a nerf for many of its users accustomed to its cashback mechanic, though I think there are silver linings to be found… in fact I find this to be an overall positive change. Put aside your pitchforks first and hear me out.

Thanks Oscar from the Telegram for pointing out the change

DBS LiveFresh

Promo code: SC388
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New Cardholders

  1. Apply and use promo code SC388 by 30th June 2024
  2. Charge a minimum of S$800 within the first 60 days from card approval date
  3. Get S$388 cashback!

Terms and conditions

Get 5% cashback on contactless and online transactions with S$600 minimum spend per month. Tap here for a review (I’ll update this soon™)

Nerfed: spend requirement increased to S$800 (from S$600)

The most obvious nerf would be the increased minimum monthly spend for the card’s higher earn rate to kick in. Instead of just S$600, you will need S$800 of spend in a single month to earn higher cashback after the revision.

In trading card game parlance, this is a “strictly worse” change. “Strictly worse” means there is totally no positives to this change, though one can always jest about how this change would indeed bring about some upside… to DBS’s profit margins.

Nerfed: eligible spend for higher cashback only includes shopping and transportation

The next major nerf to the card would be the narrowing of transactions eligible for higher cashback. Until the change kicks in, DBS LiveFresh users can get cashback on nearly anything they can buy online or in-store via PayWave. From 1st March, only shopping and transportation spending would count for the card’s bonus earn rate.

A major casualty of this would be dining transactions. Eating out can form a good chunk of many people’s credit card spending, so losing this might make the card unpalatable for most.

Groceries seem to also be excluded from the card’s bonus cashback. You could still buy supermarket vouchers to hit the minimum spend of the new DBS LiveFresh, but the transaction will only earn a meagre 0.3% cashback making it an unattractive thing to do.

Nerfed: removal of additional 5% Green Cashback

DBS LiveFresh gives a bonus 5% on top of the usual 5% cashback rate for things like SimplyGo transportation. This will no longer apply after the changes kick in.

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Buffed: higher earn rate of 6% (up from 5%)

Banks and the people they have in charge of such product changes are often quite mindful to throw a bone here and there so the overall revision can’t be said to be strictly worse. 6% cashback is the bone, up from the previous 5% cashback. It’s actually not too bad if we consider the next bone that was also tossed to us.

Buffed: sublimit of shopping category is higher than monthly spend requirement

The maximum bonus cashback one can get from the shopping category is S$50. This is reached when you spend S$877.19 of eligible shopping transactions on the new DBS LiveFresh, and this amount is higher than the S$800 monthly spend requirement. This means that you can buy something that costs say S$800 from Challenger and get true 6% cashback on the entire amount or S$48.

Until the change, such a spend would have hit the S$20 cashback sublimit of the Paywave category. Despite S$800 meeting the current S$600 minimum spend and unlocking the 5% cashback rate, the maximum cashback will only be S$20 – a mere 2.5% rate on such a spend.

It’s… actually a good change overall

For those who have been accustomed to DBS LiveFresh and are upset about this change, why have you not moved to UOB EVOL? Aside from the extra cashback on public transportation and other “green merchants” that DBS LiveFresh gives, UOB EVOL is just about the same with a better overall cashback yield of around 6.67% and very importantly works with the currently excellent UOB One account.

I made the switch years ago and continue to use UOB EVOL as a primary card which is why I actually welcome this change. Rather than being a mostly inferior card to the UOB EVOL, I foresee being able to use the new DBS LiveFresh more in future because this card will become useful in some scenarios where it was previously not. If you have about S$800 to S$1,000 worth of stuff to buy, say a midrange phone, clothes, furniture or what have you and you can only get it from a retail store, what other card can give you some 5% to 6% cashback?

A primary card becoming a situational one

While DBS LiveFresh may be more difficult to use as a primary card now, that slot has long been filled by UOB EVOL for many, many people including myself. Instead of being a distant runner-up at being a primary card, I think DBS has made it become a great situational card that comes in uniquely useful in certain spending situations.

Of course, the downside is that after losing OCBC FRANK, DBS LiveFresh was the sole backup option to the UOB EVOL as a primary cashback card given how similar the cards are. The triplets are no more with all of them quite different now, so if UOB EVOL also sees “revisions”, cashback users might find it difficult to find a good replacement. But that is probably something we should worry about only if it does happen and heave a sigh of relief that this isn’t a strictly worse nerf like the DBS Woman’s World Mastercard change is.

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1 thought on “Nerfed or Buffed? DBS LiveFresh Becomes an Entirely New Card Come 1st March 2024

  1. It changed from an everyday small spending card to a strictly shopping card. Not too bad for someone who buy stuffs all the time from Lazada/Shopee.

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