Review: Amex True Cashback Card – How to Get 3.8% Cashback on Almost Anything, or 1.17% Off Your Income Tax

The Amex True Cashback is normally an unassuming 1.5% cashback card. Like most cards in its Tier, unconditional cards are generally rather unexciting, but this one has a few tricks up its sleeve that pushes it up a tier or two.

Features & Details

Amex
True Cashback

New customers

  • S$160 cash* or ErgoTune Classic (worth S$399)*
  • S$20 CapitaVouchers^
  • 3% cashback on first $5,000 within 6 months

Valid until 17th August 2021

Existing customers

  • S$100 cash*
  • S$20 CapitaVouchers^

Valid until 31st July 2021

  • min. spend of S$500 must be made within the first month of card approval
    ^ sign up with SingPass MyInfo and make one spend of minimum $1
ProviderAmerican Express
TypeUnconditional Cashback
Earn Rate– 1.5% normally
– 3% for 1st 6 months up to $5,000
ConditionsStandard list of exclusions that is less stringent that most other credit cards
LimitsNo limit

Current promo for new customers until 31st March: Sign up and get $80 via PayNow for spending $500 in the first month of card approval. Spend a total of $1,000 and get additional $60 Capitaland Vouchers. This is on top of the 3% cashback you’ll enjoy.

The Amex TCB has a pleasantly short list of exclusions, which is as unconditional as unconditional cards get. Unfortunately, it is also an Amex card, which is typically accepted at fewer places than VISA or MasterCard.

Thankfully, the Amex TCB is also one of the few surviving cards that give cashback on our favourite Grab top-ups which means you can still enjoy your cashback at places that either accept MasterCard (using GrabPay MasterCard), GrabPay QR, or even Fave using your Grab credits.

Supersizing a 1.5% card to 3.8% cashback

On the first $5,000 spend within the first 6 months, the card offers 3% instead of the usual 1.5% cashback. This is great as cards that give higher than 1.5-2% typically makes you fulfil certain conditions, while this has none. Also, cards with high cashback rates tend to have a relatively small limit, like LiveFresh with $800, but this has a roomy $5,000 cap.

On top of that, all one has to do is to top up their Grab card to get 3% cashback, then spend the credits through Grab which earns a further 4 points per dollar (0.8% cashback) for a total of 3.8% cashback.

Great sign-up gifts, and income tax season is upon us

By simply topping up $1,000, you’ll get $80 cash, $60 vouchers, and $30 of cashback all in a day’s work, and you can then slowly spend the $1,000 as you deem fit. At 3% cashback, I suspect many people would max out the $5,000 limit just by topping up their Grab accounts given there’s virtually no better alternative now.

You can then use GrabPay MasterCard coupled with ipaymy to great effect on your upcoming income tax payment. ipaymy transactions doesn’t seem to be awarded Grab points any more, but 3% cashback minus the usual fee of 2.25% still gives you a modest 0.8% cashback (slightly higher than 3% – 2.25% = 0.75% because you gain cashback on ipaymy’s fee too). That’s better than nothing, given how you can’t usually squeeze rewards out of your income tax payment.

If you use my code sethisfy as a new user, you get a reduced fee of 1.89%, making your effective cashback rate 1.17%. Almost 1.2% off your nation-building income tax? Count me in.

(Depending on your spending habits, UOB One with ipaymy may give you a better cashback rate, but you also have to maintain a consistent level of spending for at least a quarter for it to make sense. Amex TCB could be easily used for this one-time tax payment.)

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Conclusion

Given the various cards excluding Grab top-ups over the past few months, the stature of the Amex TCB has been elevated somewhat. By topping up $5,000 into your Grab, you secure a 3% cashback rate for almost anything you can use a credit card on, and get an additional 0.8% cashback in Grab points. Fuss-free 3.8% is a really a decent rate given the state of cashback cards at the moment.

The good:

  • Good rate of 3% on the first $5,000 of spend without conditions
  • List of exclusions is short compared to cards from other banks
  • Still works for Grab top-ups!

The bad:

  • Amex isn’t as widely accepted (although solved with Grab top-up)

The ugly:

  • Like Cinderella after midnight, this turns back into a 1.5% cashback after the first $5,000 is exhausted

3 thoughts on “Review: Amex True Cashback Card – How to Get 3.8% Cashback on Almost Anything, or 1.17% Off Your Income Tax

  1. Hi Seth, I just got my TCB card and was informed that Grab wallet top-ups is under the exclusion list for cash back earnings since 1 Mar 2020. Would you have any source inside AMEX to confirm otherwise?

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