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Review: DBS LiveFresh Card – 5% Cashback On Nearly Everything

This review was written shortly before the Tragic UOB One Nerf. Edits have been done to ensure relevancy.

The DBS LiveFresh card would be a familiar name for people in the cashback scene for a while. I recall that it was, at one point, the cashback card with the highest percentage. But ancient history doesn’t count in the game of credit card rewards, especially when we now live in a world of Maybank FnF and UOB One + GPMC, so does a 5% cashback card still have room in your wallet?

Features and Details

ProviderDBS Bank
TypeCashback
Earn Rate5%
ConditionsContactless and online transactions
$600 minimum spending
Limits$40 cashback on $800 spending
($400 contactless and $400 online)
Tracking– Calendar Month
– Transaction Date
ApplyClick here

Almost everything can be paid for online or contactless

Contactless (which includes tapping the card via PayWave, or using a mobile phone via Apple Pay and Google Pay etc.) is almost as good as saying “any shop that accepts credit cards” now due to the ubiquity of contactless payment terminals around Singapore.

Coupled with online transactions, this card is pretty versatile since just about any transaction is either done online, or performed via contactless at a physical store. There may be some places which still only accepts card via swiping, but these places are becoming non-existent as their payment terminals get upgraded over time. Even some push carts now accept contactless.

Minimum & maximum spending, as well as sub-limits. Ugh, sub-limits.

The card requires $600 of spend in a calendar month before it awards 5% cashback, and the maxmimum cashback you can get is $40, which is on $800 on spending.

What is really annoying is that there are sub-limits of $400 for both categories. Make an $800 purchase via contactless and you will only get $20 because of this, making your effective cashback rate a mere 2.5%. It also means that in order to get the full 5%, one needs to split at least $600 between contactless and online transactions up to a maximum of $400 each.

ContactlessOnlineCashback%
$400$400$405%
$400$200$305%
$500$0$00%
$500$100$254.17%

What I like is that DBS tracks the spending via calendar month and by transaction date. Some cards go by statement month, so it takes a little bit of memory work to recall when the last day of the statement month is, but there’s no ambiguity here for LiveFresh.

It also tracks transactions by transaction dates as opposed to posting dates. Transaction dates refer to when the transaction was made, while the posting date is usually a few working days after. Transaction date is a lot easier to track since you can do the transaction on the last day while you cannot control the posting date. If you’re $100 short of the minimum spending, you can spend $100 on the last day to qualify for 5%. You’d have to do it a week sooner for cards that go by posting date.

How does it fare on the Tier List?

Here is my ranking of the various tiers that exist currently:

CashbackMilesWinner
A+10%8 mpdDraw
A8%Cashback
A-5%4 mpdDraw
B3%3 mpdMiles
C2%2 mpdMiles
D1.5%1.2 to 1.5 mpdMiles

(Based on cards before 12th Feb)

If we ignore all conditions and limitations, 5% cashback is currently A- Tier. However, we have to consider LiveFresh’s strengths and weaknesses against that of other cards to evaluate its worthiness as a card.

Against cashback cards – not such a distant third

On the cashback front, LiveFresh occupies the A- tier, coming in third after the excellent UOB One + GPMC combination. There really isn’t a contest here because the 10% combo is on every and any kind of transaction, while DBS LiveFresh requires it to be either online or contactless, and also has a list of exclusions (pretty standard to most cards).

Of course, we don’t expect the 10% tier to last forever, so LiveFresh’s competitor in the cashback space is down to the Maybank FnF card. FnF is slightly more restrictive since you can only clock spend on certain categories, but gives a more generous 8% cashback on $800 of spend. LiveFresh’s eligible spend is more easily achieved, but gives only 5%.

Which card you would go for thus depends on your spending habits. One would obviously go for the FnF if their spend is heavily weighted towards groceries, phone bills, restaurants etc for the higher 8% cashback. LiveFresh would be for a wider variety of expenditure, and one good thing is that you don’t have to worry about whether a particular restaurant is indeed listed as a restaurant for its merchant category code which Maybank FnF users need to worry about.

5% may seem like a far cry from 10% and 8%, but it isn’t necessarily useless and could see a resurgence in popularity once our 10% tier is sadly no more.

With the Tragic UOB One Nerf of V-Day 2020, the A+ King of Cashback has now become a disappointing 3.33% cashback card if you only spend $500 or $1,000 per month, and you need to maintain a similar level of spending for a quarter in order to get 3.33% (ie. $500, $600, then $500 gives you no cashback on that extra $100 in the second month). If you can consistently hit $2,000 per month on your UOB One, you still get a good 5% on $6,000 total in a quarter, but it seems like for most, even LiveFresh is better now since it doesn’t require that kind of quarterly commitment.

Sigh, I would have been so prescient if I published this review earlier. RIP 10% cashback.

Against mile cards – sub-limits and minimum spend prove annoying

DBS LiveFresh, unfortunately, doesn’t hold its own that well against the mile cards within its tier. For online transactions, CitiRewards gives 4 mpd on up to $1,000 of spend per month, and DBS WWMC gives the same on up to $2,000 per month. Both have way higher caps, no minimum spending, and no annoying sublimits.

UOB Preferred Platinum card also gives 4 mpd on up to $1,000 of contactless purchases and online transactions, making it the closest mile contemporary to LiveFresh, and it too has no sub-limits nor minimum spend.

Sign up bonus

DBS
LiveFresh

New to bank
$220 cashback
Use code SHOP220

Conclusion

The A+ UOB One + GrabPay Mastercard cast a long shadow during the writing of this review, and even after its death it is the thing we hold cashback cards against. With Team Cashback losing its A+ Tier card, LiveFresh now becomes a viable option again to put spend on.

We have been spoilt by 10% cashback for some time, but 5% cashback really isn’t too shabby, and as long as you can fit your spending habits into LiveFresh’s Paywave/online sub-limits, I think you’ll do really fine with this card: I have been consistently getting $40 per month for the past six months at least.

The good:

  • Contactless transactions are accepted nearly everywhere
  • 5% cashback is a respectable rate
  • Tracks transactions by calendar month and transaction dates

The bad:

  • Sub-limits are annoying
  • $800 cap is a little low

The ugly

  • Being able to max out either contactless or online category but unable to find spend for the other
  • Having to use this because UOB One got nerfed 😭

★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
7 Stars of Sethisfaction

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