6 Best Cashback Credit Cards In Malaysia 2018

by Pang Tun Yau

Duit The Easy Way

6 Best Cashback Credit Cards In Malaysia 2018

(Update 8/7/2019: We've updated and cleaned up the list now that some cards have gone through revisions.)

At RinggitPlus, we constantly get bombarded with questions about the best credit card to apply for. In reality, there is no "best" credit card out there – there are many variables that need to be considered, as well as the spending habits of the individual to be taken into account. Most of the time, a credit card that’s great for one person may not be so for another individual.

That said, with over 300 credit cards to choose from in Malaysia, there are some good credit cards to look out for when it comes to one of the main perks of a credit card: cashback or cash rebates. This perk isn’t the most rewarding benefit of a credit card, but it is the most immediate and quantifiable.

Here, we take a look at six credit cards that are great for cashback. Each card has its own cashback mechanism, which we’ll explain alongside our reasons why we think they’re worth taking up a slot in your credit card arsenal.

Note that this list is presented in no particular order. Remember, there is no "best" credit card for everyone.

Maybank 2 Gold/Platinum

Benefits: 5% weekend cashback (Amex), max RM50/month
Minimum income requirement: RM30,000/year or RM2,500/month
Annual fee: Free for life

The Maybank 2 Gold is arguably the most popular cashback credit card in Malaysia. It’s an easy card to recommend because of its "clean" fine print – there’s no other requirement to be eligible for cashback beyond using the American Express card on weekends. There are no specific categories to adhere to (besides an exclusion for transactions made to utilities,government bodies, and e-wallet top-ups), nor is there a requirement to spend a specific amount every month. On weekdays, you can get 5x TreatsPoints for using this card. 

The Maybank 2 Gold’s low income requirement also means fresh grads may start enjoying the benefits of this card. But if you’re eligible for the Platinum, you should always apply for that, as it adds travel insurance when you make your travel-related purchases with the card.

The only drawback is the fact that Amex cards are still not as widely accepted as Visa or Mastercard, though it is much less of an issue today. Do note however that with the re-introduction of SST, every credit card you own will be charged RM25 per year – because Maybank 2 cards come in a pair (non-negotiable), you’ll be forking out RM50 a year in SST.

Public Bank Quantum Visa & Mastercard

Benefits: 5% cashback in 4 categories, max RM30/card per month
Minimum income requirement: RM36,000/year or RM3,000/month
Annual fee: Free for life

Public Bank’s answer to the Maybank 2 credit cards, the Quantum credit cards also come as a pair: a Visa and a Mastercard. Both offer cashback for two specific categories, with cashback capped at RM30 per card per month. The Visa offers cashback for entertainment and department stores, while the Mastercard cashback categories are online shopping and dining. This means the maximum cashback you can receive for these cards is RM60 a month.

You’ll also need to memorise which card offers cashback for which category, which we think will come naturally after some time. Finally, like the Maybank 2 cards, the re-introduction of SST means you’ll have to pay RM50 in tax for these cards, as they also come as a pair.

RHB Visa Signature

Benefits: Up to 6% cashback (local, 3 categories), up to 2% cashback (overseas), max RM30/month (local), RM100/month (overseas)
Minimum income requirement: RM80,000/year or RM6,667/month
Annual fee: Free for life

The RHB Visa Signature is an interesting card, and it’s clearly designed for the more affluent consumers. To hit the 6% cashback tier, you’ll need to spend at least RM3,500 – but the cap is a rather paltry RM30. So why are we highlighting this?

The saving grace for the RHB Visa Signature is in its travel and overseas perks. You get 2% cashback for when you spend above RM3,500 in overseas spending, and the cap is generous at RM100. Given that some would probably be shopping a lot when going on holiday overseas, this may not be too difficult to achieve.

Finally, you also get 5x free access to any Plaza Premium Lounge outlets in Malaysia, complimentary travel insurance coverage up to RM600,000, and even golfing privileges at selected courses in Malaysia.

Oh, it’s also free for life, with no conditions.

Standard Chartered JustONE Platinum

Benefits: Up to 15% cashback in auto billing, online, and petrol, max RM60/month
Minimum income requirement: RM24,000/year or RM2,000/month
Annual fee: RM250, eligible for waiver upon spending of RM20,000/year

The Standard Chartered JustONE Platinum Mastercard is the practical family man’s credit card of choice. The 15% cashback promise may be a gimmick, since it’s only capped at RM60 and you’d need to spend RM2,500 a month to unlock the 15% cashback tier.

That said, the RM60 cap is one of the highest monthly cashback returns you can get from credit cards in Malaysia. Since this card considers JomPAY transactions as online transactions, you can actually earn cashback by paying for bills, besides your online shopping sprees. Its other cashback categories are insurance premiums, groceries, and petrol – essentially, the payments every breadwinner would make for their family. A revision to this card's cashback features saw the introducion of a sub-cap of RM30 a month for online transactions on the card, which means cardholders need to split their transactions to effectively hit the RM2,500 spending and maximising cashback.

Therefore, it’s quite clear that this card isn’t for everyone. If your essential expenses don’t make up a huge chunk of the RM2,500 required to unlock the 15% cashback, there are better cashback credit cards in the market.

Maybank FC Barcelona Visa Signature

Benefits: 10% cashback in May & August, 2% cashback for other months, max RM100/month (May & August) or RM50/month (other months)
Minimum income requirement: RM48,000/year or RM4,000/month
Annual fee: Free for life

The Maybank FC Barcelona Visa Signature credit card is our top choice as the best "conditional" credit card, and we love this card for its straightforwardness. This is an especially useful card that should only be used under specific circumstances and is best used as a secondary card – except for May and August.

This card offers a whopping 10% cashback with a maximum monthly cap of RM100 on any retail purchases made in May and August – easily the best return you can find on any credit card on any tier. This should be your go-to card for all transactions during these two months – and stop once you’ve hit RM1,000 in spending. You’d have hit the monthly cashback cap, so spending more on this card has zero benefits. Do note that the card does not offer cashback for utilities, government bodies, and e-wallet reloads. 

For other months, you should use other credit cards with better benefits first and maximise the benefits there – the Maybank FC Barcelona Visa Signature should be a backup option only. 2% cashback is not much to merit usage as a main credit card, but if you’ve already hit the cashback cap for another card, this is a great option to use instead of a debit card (or even cash). 

There are also no annual fees for this card, so there’s no reason not to own this card as a backup from now until next May.

Citi Cash Back Credit Card Gold

Benefits: 10% cashback on petrol, groceries, dining, & Grab rides, max RM10/month per category
Minimum income requirement: RM36,000/year or RM3,000/month
Annual fee: RM120

Here is a credit card for the novices looking for something basic and simple. The Citi Cash Back Credit Card is pretty straightforward, offering 10% cashback for four categories (but capped at RM10 a month for each category), and 0.2% cashback for everything else. You’d need to hit RM500 spend every month with this card to activate cashback, however.

All four categories are sensible, as they are usually what most Malaysians would spend money on every month. The cashback cap per category is definitely low, and is easily hit thanks to the high 10% rate. If you hit all four cashback caps, you’re looking at an effective cashback rate of 8%, which is pretty rewarding.

The RM120 annual fee is high for a card at this level, but Citibank is offering a 3-year annual fee waiver for most of its credit cards for new applications this year.

Standard Chartered Liverpool FC Cashback Card

Benefits: Up to 5% cashback on all retail, max RM50/month
Minimum income requirement: RM36,000/year or RM3,000/month
Annual fee: RM175

A rebranded version of StanChart's old cashback credit card, the Liverpool FC Cashback Card is a solid card to earn cashback across a variety of categories. The LFC Cashback card offers cashback on all retail transactions except for petrol, insurance, and government-related transactions, while the maximum 5% cashback tier is unlocked with a minimum monthly spend of RM1,500. 

The RM175 annual fee cannot be waived, but Standard Chartered sweetens the deal by offering cardholders a free Liverpool FC home jersey upon payment of their annual fees from now until next year. 

Public Bank Visa Signature

Benefits: 6% cashback on online, dining, and groceries, max RM38/month
Minimum income requirement: RM80,000/year or RM6,667/month
Annual fee: RM338, waived with 12 transactions in a year

Like the RHB Visa Signature, the Public Bank Visa Signature is one of the rare premium cards that offer cashback and complimentary premium lounge access. Unlike RHB's offering, the Public Bank Visa Signature cashback has no minimum spend requirements, and has a higher monthly cashback cap (it doesn't offer cashback for overseas transactions though). Cashback is eligible for three common categories: online, groceries, and dining. For that, it is commonly seen as a higher-end variant of the Public Bank Quantum Mastercard.

This card is also basically free for life, as long as you use it at least once a month.

Pro Tip: Maximise cashback by combining credit cards!

Now that we’ve given our recommendations, we’ve got one final tip before we end this guide. Bank Negara Malaysia has a stipulation that limits those who earn less than RM3,000 a month to a maximum of just 3 credit cards.You don’t actually need that many – but having multiple credit cards for different types of purchases go a long way in saving you money in the long run.

Credit card combinations are a great way to circumvent the cashback restrictions set by individual credit cards. For example, you can complement your Maybank 2 Gold (which earns cashback only on weekends) with, say, the Public Bank Quantum or the Citi Cash Back Visa to be used during the weekdays. The Maybank FC Barcelona Visa Signature is useful as a secondary card when you’ve hit the cashback cap of your main card, whichever it may be.

We’ll delve deeper into this complex chemistry of credit card combinations for a later guide. Stay tuned to our weekly credit card reviews in the meantime!