One of the most popular uses of a credit card is for shopping or retail spends. Shopping can be a great joy especially when you throw caution to the winds and indulge to your heart’s content. But while the joy of shopping can tend to ephemeral dealing with the rather substantial hole in your pocket can be a continuing nightmare. Here we’ve tried to put together a few pointers to help you make the most of your credit card shopping sessions:
Analyze your spending patterns…
List all your monthly spending. As a first step try and categorize your spends under “essential” and “non-essential”. Its ok to have some non-essential spends; we’re human, after all. But if these spends seem to occupy a rather large portion of your budget, then its time you exercised a firm hand and reined them in.
Once this is under control, your next step would be to categorize your spends. Use categories like groceries, fuel, medical, public utility, apparel, travel, dining and entertainment etc. And finally use a few months data to identify those categories that consistently rank as your top spends.
Chose a credit card accordingly
There are various types of credit cards – petrol cards, travel cards, cashback cards, co-branded shopping cards, dining cards etc. Align your high-spend categories to the type of credit card you have in your wallet and you are well on your way to making the most of your credit card(s).
Don’t forget to check out the rewards on offer
Almost every credit card out there offers a host of rewards. Reward points, cashback, rebates, perks and privileges, complimentary offers etc. Its not just the issuing bank, card affiliates like Visa and Master are also doing their best with a host of offers, to pull you in! So, try and synchronize your high-spend categories to a card category to a highly “rewarding” card and you have an awesome threesome!
Using multiple cards
Kindly note: This is only for the advanced (read: disciplined) credit card user.
You’ve done the threesome-awesome, you settle your card bills in full, yet you feel that there is more to harvest. In that case, consider this: if you are maxing out on the rewards on your card but there is still some gas leftover in your high-spend categories then try going in for another same category-high rewards card, this time from another card issuer. You could possibly earn a little more from your unutilized high-category spends.
Tips while using your credit card for shopping
Things To Check For Secure Credit Card Use
Credit cards have become an important means of payment for many users due to the convenience and benefits they give. However, ensuring safe and proper use of your credit cards is also important to prevent fraud and misuse. We’ve tried and listed out some safety measures for you to follow at various situations:
Receiving your card / PIN– Your new / replacement card should arrive in a sealed package; your credit card PIN will be sent to you in a sealed envelope at a date later than when you received your credit card. If the package / envelope is compromised, contact your card issuing bank immediately.
Transactional security – Here is a collection of tips to ensure your card’s security when you use it at a retail outlet:
▪ Make sure your credit card (not someone else’s) is returned to you promptly after you’ve paid for a purchase
▪ Check the sales slip to see if your name and card details are in order, sign it and retain your copy
▪ Sign up for SMS / email credit card transactional alerts
ATM transactions –
▪ Use ATMs at well-lit and well frequented spots
▪ Make sure that there are no suspicious devices attached to the ATM
▪ Check that there is no one observing when you enter your PIN and
▪ Retain your card after use
Online shopping –
▪ Shop only at trusted merchants
▪ Sign up for the free Verified by Visa or MasterCard SecureCode for additional protection
▪ Use prepaid cards
Device security –
▪ Ensure your computer / mobile are protected by strong passwords
▪ Be aware of and in control of how your computer / browser / mobile app stores, retains and uses information
▪ Be cautious while responding to genuine looking links / emails / SMS
▪ Download banking apps only from the location prescribed by your bank
Loss/theft of credit cards – Promptly report loss or theft of your credit card to the card issuer and follow their instructions.
Credit card statements – Upon receiving your card statement, check your sales slips against the transactions listed on the statement and report any discrepancies immediately to your card issuer.
Identity theft – Identity thieves steal your identity and impersonate you to gain access to your account. Here are some ways in which you can protect your identity:
▪ Sign your card immediately upon receipt
▪ Do not disclose PINs or passwords and change them regularly
▪ Do not share your personal / card information with anyone unless for legitimate purposes and to a legitimate person
▪ Safely and effectively dispose of any documents containing your personal / card information
▪ Keep yourself updated about devices and techniques used by fraudsters and stay alert
5 things to do to get a Platinum Credit Card
A Platinum credit card is a symbol of exclusivity. It is not a card that anyone can get their hands on, placed as it is in credit card stratosphere. Platinum credit cards, as befits their status, carry a platter of premier benefits and privileges for those seeking platinum-level service and global recognition.
When you think Platinum think access to exclusive airport lounges, gourmet buffets, free drinks, free rounds of golf at the poshest clubs, always available “lifestyle managers” and much more.
No wonder, getting a Platinum credit card is reason enough to boast of or to throw a lavish party! Here we will try and look at ways in which you can add the Platinum edge to your wallet:
1. Have a high income
Platinum credit cards come with a high minimum annual income requirement that starts at about RM50,000 but is usually RM60,000 or higher. So, whether you are a salaried employee or a businessperson it pays to make more.
2. Spend more
Although Platinum cards enable you to save more while enjoying more they are not budget cards. Your benefits and rewards may be linked to minimum spends. Waivers like annual fee waivers may also be linked to minimum annual spends. Platinum cards come with a high credit limit and you may be expected to spend in keeping with your high income, status and the credit limit provided.
3. Be prepared to pay substantial annual fees
Annual fees on Platinum credit cards may start from RM250. Annual fees are also applicable for supplementary cards. There may be other charges also like Monthly Management Charges. In some instances annual fees may be applied only if spend falls below a certain amount annually. There are Platinum credit cards with no annual fees; they may, however, have higher eligibility or spend requirements.
4. Have a great banking relationship
Certain Platinum cards are not open for everyone to apply; they are invite-only. The only way to get such cards is by having a great, prior relationship with the bank. Such a relationship means that you have a high Assets Under Management (AUM; the total of your deposits and investments with the bank) relationship. Moreover, having a great relationship with your bank may help you get extra benefits, higher credit limits and more.
5. Islamic Platinum Cards
Islamic variants of Platinum credit cards are also available. One of their biggest advantages is that they do not carry compounding finance charges. These cards operate in strict conformance with Shariah law. They may be based on Tawarruq or Reverse Murabaha contracts. They carry the same range of benefits and privileges of their conventional Platinum counterparts.
How to apply for a credit card in Malaysia
A credit card is a great tool to have in your wallet. It provides you with an unsecured line of credit for use during emergencies and not-so emergencies and a wide range of rewards, perks and benefits that can make life easier. There are several ways to apply for a credit card, many enabled by advances in banking technology. Here, we will look at the main ways of applying for a credit card:
Application through a branch
Simply download and fill a credit card application form, attach all the required documents and walk into your bank branch. You can also find someone who will understand your requirements, clarify your doubts, suggest a credit card that fits your requirements and take you through the card’s terms and conditions of usage.
Online application via the bank’s website
You can also make a credit card application via the bank or credit card issuer’s secure website. This works in two ways. Some banks get a few essential details like your name, contact number, NRIC number etc through their online applications. You will then receive a call from the bank’s representative, from within a few hours to a few days, who will then guide you through the application process.
Some banks enable you to complete your application online. You will be asked to provide a number of details including your personal and income details and may also be required to submit scanned copies of required documents online. Here too, the bank may process your application and get back to you from within a few hours to a few days.
Online application via third party vendors
There are a number of third party websites that allow you to check and compare the features of the various credit cards offered by different issuers. You can check and compare different credit cards from various issuers based on a number of variables like interest rate, balance transfer, annual fee, promotion, cashback, rewards etc. Post-completion of the checking/comparing you can apply for the credit card(s) that you’ve shortlisted via the third party website. But before you apply by providing your details ensure that the vendor complies with the requirements of the Personal Data Protection Act.
Phone banking application
Most banks also allow you to apply for credit cards via their phone banking channel and many of them have toll-free numbers through which you can contact them. You may be informed that you would get a call back or you would be advised on the process to follow – whether you need to send in the documents or visit a branch; if you have an existing relationship with that bank you can expect faster turnarounds.
You can also email your bank’s customer service channel and they will take you through the various credit card products available and the process required to apply for a loan.
Different Types Of Credit Cards In Malaysia
With nearly 7.5 million Credit Cards in circulation, Credit Cards have become one of the most used (and often abused) financial products in Malaysia due to the ease and convenience of carrying and using them and because of the varied benefits that they confer.
And, in order to make Credit Cards even more attractive for their customers, banks have been constantly introducing different types of Credit Cards catering to their customers’ varying and evolving needs. Here are some of the different types of Credit Cards to be found in Malaysia:
Dining Credit Cards If you are a gourmet for whom eating out and delving into the intricacies of different cuisines is a passion or if you are required to frequently entertain your business contacts or if you are someone who just enjoys eating out, Dining Credit Cards are the one for you. They pack a host of deals and offers with a variety of restaurants and provide extra rewards in the form of enhanced rewards points, cashback or discounts whenever you pay with your Dining Credit Card.
Cashback Credit Cards These cards provide an incentive in the form of cashback; a part of the spend on this card is returned to the customer in the form of cash, check or credited to the Credit Card account. Depending upon the card and the bank, card holders can earn cashback either on certain categories of spend or on all spends.
Air Miles Credit Cards Card spends on certain categories or all spends are either directly converted to Air Miles or to Rewards Points which can then be converted to Air Miles or other rewards. These Air Miles can then be used on the airlines affiliated with the Credit Card to book tickets.
Rewards Credit Cards These cards have enhanced Rewards Points programs on certain categories of spends or when shopping at select merchant outlets. These Rewards Points can then be redeemed against a range of gifts and benefits.
Petrol Credit Cards If you are a citi dweller and hence not eligible for the Bantuan Rakyat 1Malaysia (BR1M), your best bet on saving on petrol bills is the Petrol Credit Card. They come in two types: multi-brand Petrol Credit Cards which provide discounts on petrol spends across all/most petrol kiosks and Co-branded Petrol Credit Cards which provide discounts only when used at the petrol outlets of the affiliated brand.
Business Credit Cards Businesses and professional practitioners (doctors, lawyers etc) can use these cards to pay for their business expenses and to keep their business and personal expenses separate.
There are other types of credit cards as well: Platinum cards for high-end clients, Online Shopping
Cards, Student Credit Cards and Social Networking Cards (not yet introduced in Malaysia but are available in Singapore) etc.
Business Credit Cards
A Business Credit Card is a card that is used to pay for expenses pertaining to the business and business only; they are not meant to cover the owner’s or the business person’s personal expenditure. To keep business and personal expenses separate, most entrepreneurs, business persons, and corporate people opt for a dedicated business Credit Card.
Before we list down the top 5 business cards in Malaysia, it would be good to first understand, at least a few key aspects of the business card that makes it different from the regular one.
First, a business credit card will, traditionally, carry a higher credit line than a personal card. It goes by the simple logic that businesses need more credit than an individual and no business person would settle for a low credit line; a lower line is something that is easily available, even otherwise, on a personal Credit Card.
Many business Credit Cards also have more flexible payment options, given that income and expenditure of a business are subject to a variety of market conditions. But then, there are also some points that we need to be careful about while using a business credit card because the restrictions that are there for the consumer segment do not apply to the business segment. Rates and fees can be tricky and need to thoroughly understood before usage.
1. Citibank Business Platinum Visa has one of the lowest interest rates at 8.88%. It is not a free card but it offers you substantial 1% cashback usage across a wide range.
2. A card that claims to manage your cash flow at lower costs, the Hong Leong Platinum business MasterCard comes with a 12.85% rate of interest, zero annual fees, and a 0% balance transfer.
3. Public Bank Executive MasterCard comes with an interest rate of 15% and is described as ideal for business needs. Compared to the Citi this does not give you a cashback option. It also does not have an annual fee.
4. Alliance Bank Business Platinum Card is said to offer a 13% cash rebate on interest paid or up to 56 days to repay the outstanding amount. It is an annual fee free card
5. RHB Platinum Business MasterCard comes at an interest rate of 15%, no annual fee and a cashback option of 1%.
While cards can be compared for interest rates, fee and cash back/miles options, other important aspects like daily cash withdrawal limit, cash withdrawal fee etc. play a crucial role in the day to day running of the business.
Learn more, read the fine print and look at the deciding factors more than on freebies and discounts before picking on one.
Also read, What are the different types of Credit Cards available in Malaysia.
Between 2009 to 2013 Malaysians made nearly 40 million trips by air, both domestic and overseas, a small but significant increase of nearly 2.5% over the period 2004 – 2008. For a population of about 28.33 million to make nearly 10 million air trips every year indicates a love of air travel!
This has translated into the growing popularity of Air Miles Credit Cards. Travel and Air Miles Credit Cards let you convert your eligible spends to Air Miles which can be redeemed against subsequent air travel. Your next business or vacation trip just got easier!
We will try and present the main features of these cards to make it easier for you to choose and make the best use of such a card:
1. Miles or Points earned / Spend Ratio
This is the number of miles or reward points earned for every Ringgit spent. In general this ratio would be 2RM: 1 point although other variants are also possible. These points can then be redeemed against Air Miles. Some cards even allow you to redeem these points against a range of gifts and benefits like any normal card.
Points/Miles earnings may be restricted to certain categories of transactions. It is also possible that some transactions can earn you more points than others. Another possibility is that points are linked to a tiered stucture of spends. For instance, with the Air Asia-Citi Gold Visa Credit Card, the first RM500 spent will earn 1 Air Asia point each going up to 2 Air Asia points for every 1RM spent when monthly spend exceeds RM2,499.
2. Points Expiry
Certain categories of rewards points have expiry periods associated with them. For instance, Malaysia Airlines’ Enrich Miles and Air Asia’s Big Points have an expiry period of three years associated with them. On the other hand, the Citi PremierMiles American Express Card’s premier miles never expire and can be converted to the Frequent Flyer Points of several airlines.
3. Participating Airlines
Some cards provide rewards points that can be redeemed against a number of airlines whereas others are associated with only a single airline (with a slightly enhanced rewards structure).
The Citi PremierMiles Visa Signature Card’s premier miles, for instance, can be redeemed against 90 different airlines. Always check if your chosen card covers all the major airline networks.
4. Additional Benefits
Travel is not a stand-alone affair. Waiting at airport lounges, dining out, shopping, travel-related purchases are all associated with travel. A card that can provide a full suite of travel related benefits needs to be seriously considered. The Air Asia-Citi Platinum Visa Credit Card provides complimentary 6X in-flight meals, 2X pick-a-seat deals and a travel and overseas accident insurance package.
5. Make the most
To make the most of your Air Miles card, focus all your spending especially the type that earns you air miles on this card. And, try and stick with one or two airlines; scattering your air miles amongst different airline networks may mean that you do not have sufficient points to redeem for a flight or an upgrade.