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

Update 30/10/21: updated for 2021

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

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 approvalS$150 cash
⚠️ No form = no reward

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

Last date to apply: 30th June 2024

1.5% cashback on transactions except Grab top-ups

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

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

Refer to this updated article for tax payment.

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.)


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

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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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