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Review: GrabPay MasterCard – 12.7% cashback and 5.14 mpd?!

It is barely 2020 and the GrabPay MasterCard is easily the best card of the year as it is right now, if the current situation persists (spoiler: it probably won’t). With every dollar spent as a Platinum member, one gets 10 Grab points. On top of that, topping up your Grab credits gives you whatever rewards your card accords you.

At the high end of cashback cards, UOB One offers 10% cashback (5% + 5%) if you can hit the highest tier of $2,000 spend per month for three consecutive months. Even if you can only hit $500, that’s 8.33% (3.33% + 5%).

For miles, cards like CitiRewards Visa and Amex KrisFlyer give 4 and 3.3 mpd on the first $1,000 and $200 spent on topping up Grab each month.

Thereafter, you can use your GrabPay MasterCard on any transaction that accepts credit cards and get a high cashback/mile earning rate without having to care about what transaction it is. Unconditional spend usually gets you only 1.5% cashback or 1.2 mpd at best.

Double Rewards!

On top of that, Grab points can be traded for cashback (in a way) and miles.

If you take Grab rides or order GrabFood deliveries, you get $10 off for 3,600 points. 10 points per dollar = 2.77 cents per dollar =  2.77% cashback. Other cash vouchers you can redeem for food and various services found in Grab’s rewards catalogue also hover around this 2.5 to 2.77% figure.

To obtain more miles, the current conversion rate is 1,400 points to 160 KrisFlyer miles, which makes it 1.14 mpd.

Bear in mind that this is all on top of the rewards you already earn by topping up Grab credits with your card, making the maximum possible rewards you can get 12.77% on cashback (10% cash + 2.77% Grab points) or 5.14 mpd! Incredible value.

Update: After the 2nd March 2020 nerfs, the figure is now closer to 10.8% (10% cashback + 0.8% Grab points) or 4.4 mpd

What’s the catch?

Such a great deal isn’t without some caveats. Cards traditionally do not give rewards on prepaid accounts (which GrabPay obviously is), and indeed, cards have over time excluded Grab top-ups from earning rewards. Most recently, MasterCard has retagged the MCC (Merchant Category Code) of top-ups to exclude many, many cards from earning rewards. I never noticed so many of my cards were MasterCard before this change.

8% on Maybank Family and Friends, 4 mpd on CitiRewards MC and DBS Woman World Card? Gone. UOB YOLO, which previously also offered 8% cashback, has since specifically excluded top-ups. It seems a matter of time before Grab points are the only thing left for this card to earn, and 2.77% cashback is a rather poor earn rate, especially since you’d have to spend that within the Grab ecosystem. There’s really little one can do aside from making hay while the sun still shines.

Don’t be nerfed please

On other annoyances, your GrabPay account doesn’t hold more than $5,000 at once, and each transaction cannot be more than that figure. There is also a rolling month limit of $10,000, which can be confusing to track if you have large purchases to be done within a time frame. (Rolling limit: If you spend $3,000 on 5th Jan and $7,000 on 7th Jan, you can only spend again on 5th Feb up to $3,000, and then another $7,000 is freed on 7th Feb.)

Lastly, it isn’t compatible with either Apple Pay or Google Pay, so your only choice for mobile payments is Samsung Pay 🤢

Other niceties

In any case, I quite like the sleek, pristine look of the card that comes completely without numbers or extraneous text on the front; the card is the second one after Apple Card to go numberless. It is such a duh thing to do in this age of smartphones.

Banks need to know it’s 2020. Do this for every card now.

Card details are stored safely in the Grab app, and it comes with an option to easily deactivate the card when you are not using it. I have twenty over credit cards and fear accidental loss or unauthorised charges, so I wish banks would start modernising their offerings to keep up with the times; tech companies are now making better credit cards.

Conclusion

The good:

  • High cashback/miles for just about any spending
  • DOUBLE REWARDS
  • Security features: no numbers, deactivate/reactivate card easily

The bad:

  • No Apple Pay

The ugly:

  • We all know it is going to be nerfed really soon

★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
10 Stars of Sethisfaction

(As long as I get rewards for top-ups 😠)

16 thoughts on “Review: GrabPay MasterCard – 12.7% cashback and 5.14 mpd?!”

    1. Go to your Grab app → Payment → View GrabPay Card Details.

      You may see either an option to request physical card, or request early access to getting the physical card. They seem to be rolling the card out in batches.

    1. If your insurer accepts online payments it should work. For hard copy forms, some have tried writing the number to varying degrees of success

  1. Hey Seth I read your article. I am a little confused, is this grab card a credit card? Or you have to TOP up credits into it to use?

    1. It works more like a debit card since you have to use your credit card to top up the credits.

  2. Great article Seth! So we can just top up 2k (split into 5 different transaction) using the UOB one card into grabpay? Or do we need to 4 other retail transactions?

  3. May I know how the 5.14mpd came from? By exchanging with grabpay reward points? If that’s the case why you add 2.77% to the sum of full rebates obtainable?

    1. 5.14 is by using a 4 mpd card then redeeming grab points for 1.14 miles.

      12.77% is derived by using UOB One then redeeming grab points at a rate of 2.77 cent per point

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