There’s a conspiracy going on in Singapore’s car industry. Our petrol tanks have all the endurance of an obese chain smoker, and require a top up every other trip. I don’t know about you, but my car is like a roving ecological death machine: built for the sole purpose of emptying global oil reserves by Thursday. The only thing that hits the zero mark faster than my fuel gauge is my bank account, so this calls for some specialized credit cards:
The following credit cards are rated primarily on petrol discounts. Beyond that, they’re rated based on side benefits (such as dining or shopping).
1. OCBC Platinum Master Card
The OCBC Platinum Master Card is more for dining than driving, but it has one of the best petrol offers around. It gives you a discount that stacks with Esso’s on-site discount, and has cashback on petrol. It’s also got the best dining deals of the card listed here, so it’s versatile; use it when buying petrol, and for your gala dinner later. Advantages include:
- Significant discounts at Esso
- High, unlimited cashback for petrol
- Wide range of dining benefits
- Fairly easy to qualify for (income of $30,000 a year)
The OCBC Platinum Master gives you a 10% discount at Esso, which stacks with Esso’s 5% on-site discount. On top of that, you’ll get 5% cashback on petrol you buy anywhere. There’s no stated limit on the cashback, which is another plus point.
The dining benefits should raise some eyebrows. There’s a lot of direct 15% price discounts, at places like Carnivore and Haagen-Dazs. You get 2% cashback on dining related expenses; combined with the cashback from petrol, your quarterly check from the bank should be sizeable.
Get this card if you frequent Esso, and don’t want to apply for separate cards for dining.
2. IKEA Friends Card
Yeah, I hear you. Why the heck is the IKEA Friends Card doing on this list? Maybe it’s because IKEA has a thing about people driving their own furniture home. Or it’s related to having the best, out-of-the-way meatballs in the country. Whatever the case, the IKEA Friends card actually has one of the biggest fuel discounts. Advantages are:
- Steep petrol discount
- The best possible discount for shopping at IKEA
- A decent rewards programme
- No annual fee
Because Swedes add extra detail to everything, the IKEA Friends card nets you not 10% but 11% off at Caltex stations. If you opt for Caltex Platinum 98 with Techron (which I assume is the petrol equivalent of crystal meth), the discount goes up to 15%. This is one of the steepest petrol discounts I’ve found on SmartCredit.
Needless to say, is the god of all credit cards when shopping at IKEA. You get half the interest rate (12% per annum) on IKEA products, and up to 36 months interest free on some items. But just 10 coupons for meals at the restaurant, which reinforces my belief that most of IKEA’s revenue secretly comes from meatballs.
The rewards programme gives you one OCBC dollar per dollar spent, and you can trade in for movie tickets or frequent flier miles. It’s not the best rewards programme, but most petrol cards fare worse.
Get this card if you frequent IKEA. Or if you frequent Caltex, then get this card and start frequenting IKEA.
3. DBS Esso Platinum Card
The DBS Esso Platinum Card is the ultimate card for drivers. Apart from steep discounts at Esso, the card has specific payment services for road tax and car insurance. Specialization is this card’s strong suite; it does away with frills like the occasional shopping discount, and is wholly geared toward your on-road costs. Advantages are:
- The best possible discounts at Esso stations
- One of the few cards that cater to road tax and car insurance
- Complimentary entry into Esso Smiles Driver Rewards
This card gives you up to 15% discount on petrol at Esso stations. Buy more than 250 litres, and the discount goes up to 15.7% instead. You also get complimentary entry into the Esso Smiles programme, which earns you points whenever you buy petrol. You can trade in those points for further fuel discounts, or for things like electronic chess sets, kitchenware, car care products, etc.
This card also pays your road tax and car insurance. Upon application, DBS will credit the money into your account, which you can use for these expenses. This amount can be repaid over 12 months in low interest instalments (subject to conditions like the overall amount).
If you already have another card for your shopping and dining needs, get this card for your car. It’s the ultimate for petrol, but rather narrow in other respects.
Get the Cards!
To get these cards, visit SmartCredit.sg. This free-to-use site compiles information from all local banks, and gives you access to the best credit cards. Just select the “driving” option, and you’ll see a range of options. Drag the cards onto the left hand column to make one-to-one comparisons.
You can also apply for the cards directly through the site.
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