There is no such thing as The Best Credit Card because no two credit cards are the same. There are so many credit cards out there and you have to choose the right credit card that can benefit you most based in your spending pattern. And if you got no clue where to start, you have come to the right place.
The first thing to look out for, when getting a credit card, is that it comes FREE FOR LIFE without any or minimal condition. If you need to use your credit card reward points earned from your spending to offset the annual fee, then you are not getting the card for FREE as you are paying in kind (you will lose the opportunity to redeem something else for FREE).
GenX’s CREDIT CARD RECOMMENDATIONS
Cheap No Good, Good No Cheap but FREE is the Best!
If you are a regular reader of mine, you’ll know that many Entry Level credit cards are actually very good. And the Entry Level credit cards everyone should get are as follows (click on the card to read my review):
Maybank 2 Gold/Platinum Cards (minimum annual income requirement RM30K/year) FREE FOR LIFE no conditions whatsoever – you earn UNLIMITED 5X TP (equivalent to 1.25% cash back) with the AMEX for all transactions except for Insurance, Government and Education. The AMEX can be use at many places including AirAsia, Malaysia Airlines, and even Agoda (up to 7% discount and you get to pay in Ringgit Malaysia). Effective 15 March 2017, the Maybank 2 Cards Gold & Platinum will once again reward the cardholder 5% Cash Back for any type of transactions on Saturdays and Sundays. I strongly recommend that you opt for the Visa and not select the MasterCard so that you get my Maybank 3 Cards GTR.
Maybank Islamic MasterCard Ikhwan Gold/Platinum (minimum annual income requirement RM30K/year) FREE FOR LIFE no conditions whatsoever – 5% Cash back for Groceries and PETROL every Friday and Saturday.
Maybank Ikhwan Petronas Visa – 8% Cash Back for Petrol at all Petronas stations on Saturday and Sunday!!! Capped at RM50/month.
CIMB Cash Rebate MasterCard Platinum (minimum annual income requirement RM24K/year) FREE FOR LIFE no conditions whatsoever – 5% cash back for online transactions (excluding Airlines, Insurance, Utility and Mobile Bills) capped at RM30/month. Maximum RM360 cash back per year from Online Transactions.
CIMB Enrich Platinum MasterCard – FREE FOR LIFE!!! And best of all you get 2X FREE entries to Golden Lounge without needing to spend a sen!!!
OR any FREE FOR LIFE no conditions whatsoever CIMB Gold or Platinum Credit Card because CIMB have really good promotions. Examples, you can get discount at Eraman, MPH Bookstore and 10% off hotel booking with Expedia.
Optional (add the following cards to your credit card collection based on your spending pattern and needs):
AEON Gold credit card (minimum annual income requirement RM24K/year) FREE FOR LIFE with minimum 12 swipes per year – if you want to enter Plaza Premium Lounges 6X FREE per year.
Hong Leong Bank Essential Visa (minimum annual income requirement RM24K/year) FREE FOR LIFE with minimum 12 swipes per year. New Cash Back Mechanism for 2016 – UNLIMITED 0.6% Cash Back for Insurance. Other transactions except petrol – 0.6% cash back for first RM5K and UNLIMITED 1% cash back for spending above RM5,000.
AEON BiG Visa Classic & Gold Credit Card – this card is great if you shop at AEON BiG stores and you can earn up to 15% cash back!!! Annual Fee waived with minimum 12 swipes per year. You also get 6 FREE access to KLIA and KLIA2 Plaza Premium Lounges and best of all you will also earn 5% cash back for petrol!!!
Public Bank Quantum Visa and MasterCard – Both the Quantum Visa and MasterCard are FREE FOR LIFE without any condition. You get 5% cash back for Entertainment and Departmental Stores with the Quantum Visa capped at RM30 per month. With the Quantum MasterCard, you get 5% cash back for Online and Dining transactions capped at RM30 per month. So apply for both cards, For a short Review of the Public Bank Quantum credit cards, please click here to my article titled The Best Credit Cards in Malaysia 2017.
IF you are spending much more than RM1K monthly on Insurance plus other stuff excluding petrol and groceries, it may be beneficial for you to go check out Hong Leong Bank Fortune Visa Credit Card. It is a tiered cash back card and if you go burn some brain cells on some homework, you may be rewarded handsomely.
If you are earning more than RM100K/year, based on your needs and spending pattern, you should add the following cards to the above FREE FOR LIFE cards:
AmBank World MasterCard and Visa Infinite (minimum annual income requirement RM100K/year) FREE FOR LIFE no conditions whatsoever . You get UNLIMITED FREE Entries to more than 20 airport lounges for FREE without whatsoever condition until 31 December 2016!!! And you get FREE green fees at selected golf clubs too,
CIMB World MasterCard and Visa Infinite (minimum annual income requirement RM100K/year) FREE FOR LIFE no conditions whatsoever. You get FREE green fees at selected golf clubs in Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia! You will also be entitled to discount for liquor, cosmectic and chocolates (15% until 31 December 2016) at Eraman Duty Free.
Public Bank Visa Signature (minimum annual income requirement RM100K/year) FREE FOR LIFE with minimum 12 swipes per year – if you want a cash back credit card for Internet Transactions and Dining and Groceries. You can earn up to RM600/year from the cash back.
Maybank Visa Signature – (minimum income RM70K to RM100K) FREE FOR LIFE subjected that you spend RM30K with it, for 5% cash back on Petrol and Groceries EVERYDAY.
If you want to fly Business Class for FREE, i.e. from your credit card transactions compared to any other credit card in the world, sign up for the No.1 Best Credit Card in Malaysia – Maybank 2 Cards Premier which is FREE FOR LIFE if you spend RM80K annually with it. If you are not aware, please click here and read my article titled A Little Bit Of This And A Little Bit Of That – Volume II, Chapter 1 to learn more.
And if you are freaking loaded and have attained the level of “chiak bui liow” (in Hokkien it means one cannot finish his/her wealth by spending on food), you should also sign up Premier/Priority/Privilege Banking status with the following banks to get FREE FOR LIFE Credit Cards:
1. Alliance Bank Privilege Banking – FREE FOR LIFE no conditions whatsoever Visa Infinite which is pretty good for both Local (2X Bonus Points) and Overseas (5X Bonus Points) spending.
2. CIMB Bank Preferred Visa Infinite – FREE FOR LIFE and you get 4X FREE access to Plaza Premium Lounge.
3. Citibank Gold – FREE FOR LIFE no conditions whatsoever Platinum Visa or MasterCard. However, generally all Citibank credit cards’ reward programs are not competitive compared to local bank’s credit cards.
4. Hong Leong Bank Priority Banking – FREE FOR LIFE no conditions whatsoever Visa Infinite which is pretty good for LOCAL spending if you are into Enrich Miles.
5. RHB Bank Premier Banking – FREE FOR LIFE no conditions whatsoever Visa Infinite which is excellent for OVERSEAS spending (8X Reward Points). This card is currently The Best Credit Card for Overseas Transactions if you are into Enrich Miles. You are also entitled to minimum 10X FREE entries to all Plaza Premium Lounges nationwide plus 5 overseas. Click here to my updated article titled The Best Credit Card in Malaysia 2017 to learn more.
6. UOB Privilege Banking Visa Infinite P – Annual fee waived with minimum 1 Swipe per month (not total 12 times a year) or minimum RM50K annual spending. 6X FREE entries to airport lounges worldwide with Airport Companion via DragonPass Mobile App.
Now, all the above mentioned banks DO NOT imposed any penalty fees should your AUM with them falls below the required amount to qualify for Premier or Priority or Privilege Banking status. And best of all, existing customers of the above mentioned banks are entitled to the respective banks’ new Fixed Deposit or Term Deposit Promos. For example, you can withdraw the matured FD money in RHB and go deposit into Hong Leong Bank to enjoy higher interest rate; and, when the HLB FD matures, you can return to RHB to enjoy higher interest rates again with their FD Promos.
HSBC also issues a FREE FOR LIFE Premier World MasterCard to their Premier Banking customers. However, if you are like me where I only am interested in Fixed Deposit Promos, there is really no point in getting HSBC Premier Credit Card. This is because, you are only entitled to one Term Deposit Promo (usually 3 months tenure only) with HSBC, i.e. existing Premier Banking customers are not entitled to HSBC new Term Deposit Promos! Therefore once your HSBC Term Deposit Promo matures, you are stuck with board rates with HSBC; and HSBC interest rates are amongst the worst for commercial and foreign banks in Malaysia.
Standard Charted Bank also issue their Visa Infinite to their Priority Banking customers. In 2017, Stand Chart Visa Infinite once again comes with UNLIMITED FREE entries to Airport Lounge worldwide. But is it worthwhile to get it? Click here to my Airport Lounge Page to read my comments.
If your AUM with SCB or HSBC falls below the required amount, you will be penalized and imposed monthly fees! Therefore, assuming you maintain RM250K deposit with HSBC or SCB in order to maintain your Premier/Priority Banking Status, you are stuck with the current 3.0% interest rate for 12 Months Term Deposit. Thus, you would have lost the opportunity to earn more money with other banks’ FD promos where you may be entitled up to 4% interest rate for 12 months. This means, you are losing RM2,500 for nothing! In other words, your so called FREE FOR LIFE HSBC Premier World MasterCard (or SCB VI) annual fee is RM2,500!!!
My advise to you is not to be “greedy” by signing up for Premier/Privilege Banking credit cards with banks that will impose penalty fees in the event your AUM falls below the required amount (i.e. SCB and HSBC). There are so many better FREE FOR LIFE credit cards in the market where you will earn more in returns compared to the HSBC Premier World MasterCard and Standard Chartered Bank Visa Infinite (SCB’s Credit Card Reward Redemption Program is unbelievable freaking useless).
Last but not least, the Hong Leong Bank Wise Visa credit card is a very good card for those who wants cash back from their petrol transactions. But you’ll need to pay the annual fee. There is no point getting the HLB Wise Platinum as you will earn the exact same cash back versus the Gold. Therefore, only a fool would go get the HLB Wise Plat and pay more in annual fees. Click here to read my Tutorial On The Hong Leong Bank Wise Credit Card where I will teach you how to optimize earning cash back with it (get even earn 10% cash back from Touch n Go top up . Unifi and utility bills).
Click here to read my article titled The Best Credit Cards for Insurance Premium and Utilities and even PTPTN too. A Special Edition To Assist All Malaysians to earn Extra FREE Pocket 🙂