Nerfed: UOB Absolute Drops Cashback Rate to 0.3% For Healthcare, Education, Government and Other Transactions

While many of us are still reeling from the big UOB One nerf, another revision has been announced from UOB and this time it is on its UOB Absolute cashback card. Thanks to Terence from the Telegram group for spotting this.

UOB Absolute

🔥 👍🏼

S$350 Cash credits: 
The first 200 new-to-UOB credit card customers who successfully apply for an eligible UOB Credit Card between 1st April 2024 and 31st April 2024 (both dates inclusive) and spend a min. of S$1,000 per month for 2 consecutive months from their card approval date, will receive S$350 cash credit.

Terms and conditions

10% cashback:
For all new-to-UOB Credit Cardmembers who successfully apply for UOB Absolute Cashback Card by 30 June 2024, enjoy 10% cashback on the transactions charged to your UOB Absolute Cashback Card during your card approval calendar month and the following calendar month. Total bonus cashback is capped at S$100. Full terms and conditions apply.

Get 1.7% cashback on nearly anything excluding Grab top-ups which get 0.3% instead.

From 6th May 2024 onwards, selected Merchant Category Codes (MCC) will receive a reduced 0.3% cashback instead of its usual 1.7% rate on the following:

  • Charity
  • Education
  • Government
  • Healthcare
  • Utilities
  • Other professional services

These transactions join Grab top-ups in the sad group of payments that will not get the standard 1.7% cashback of UOB Absolute:

1.7% Cashback0.3% Cashback
Just about anything you can charge to UOB Absolute (Amex) that’s not in the right columnCharity
Other professional services
Grab top-up
See terms and conditions

1.7% cashback isn’t an exciting rate, but getting some cashback rather than nothing at all for iffy transactions like paying for government services or school fees makes the UOB Absolute a great card to own. Such spend are commonly excluded by other credit cards.

While these changes are not an outright exclusion, UOB is really putting the phrase “better than nothing” to the test. I helped my mum renew her S$372 road tax recently which got some S$6.32 of cashback. It’s ain’t much, but it is caifan with fish. The new 0.3% cashback rate will earn only S$1.11, barely enough for a bowl of plain rice.

Insurance, interestingly, managed to dodge this semi-exclusion, and you can still get 1.7% cashback when you charge insurance premiums to this card. Unfortunately, not all policies accept credit cards, and even fewer work with Amex cards which might be why this category was spared.


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Amex True Cashback is still a good alternative

At 1.5% cashback, the Amex True Cashback has been taking a backseat to the 1.7% UOB Absolute for a while now. After 6th May, however, it‘d be time for American Express’ very own cashback card to shine.

Currently, it only excludes Grab top-ups altogether and will continue to give its 1.5% cashback on the commonly excluded transactions making it a vital card where all other cards fail.

For a limited time there is also quite an attractive sign-up promo for new Amex cardholders. I could be wrong on this, but from my experience a few years ago, the 3% cashback works even if you have other Amex cards.

American Express True Cashback

New to Amex Basic Cards

New cardholder of Amex True CashbackBoosted 3% cashback on all eligible spend (except Grab-top) up to S$5,000 for the first 6 months
Fill up SingSaver Rewards Redemption Form and spend S$500 on eligible transactions within first 30 days from card approval$150 Upsized S$200 cash via PayNow

⚠️ No form = no reward

Tap here for terms and conditions (save a copy for future reference)

Last date to apply: 21st April 2024

1.5% cashback on transactions except Grab top-ups

CardUp and ipaymy are viable options

For some of the transactions, using CardUp or ipaymy could prove to be a better option than just settling with 0.3% cashback. It is certainly not as straightforward as charging your spend to your UOB Absolute card, but it is an avenue to either get some earnings from the difference between your card’s rewards and the fee these services charges.

Tap here for a guide to these services.

Other ways to pay for healthcare

Healthcare is one of the affected categories, and at least there are still ways to get card rewards from that.

Get your transactions in by 6th May

The bank is giving a lead time of slightly more than a month for you to get used to the new order of things, so remember to pay your bills before the change happens. It is likely that your transactions need to be posted before 6th May 2024 for it to enjoy the old cashback rate, so don’t wait till the last minute as posting can take several days from the transaction date.

There are still quite a few nerfs happening soon, so stay subscribed for updates and analyses. Given this piece of news I’ll also do up lists on cards to pay for things like school fees and utilities soon, so stay tuned for those.

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