19th October 2020 - 9 min read
Affin Bank has joined the likes of Maybank and Public Bank with its own take on the dual credit card model. The Affin Duo consists of a pair of Visa and Mastercard credit cards that offer cashback and rewards points respectively, and has quickly captured the attention of savvy Malaysians.
Let’s jump straight in and see why.
|Affin Visa Cash Back Card||Affin Mastercard Rewards Card|
|Benefits||3% cashback on
Cashback capped at RM80/month, with no minimum spend requirement
|3x rewards points on
No earning caps on rewards points.
|Annual Fee||RM75. Waived for the first three years, subsequently waived with 12 retail transactions of any amount||RM75. Waived for the first three years, subsequently waived with 12 retail transactions of any amount|
|SST||RM25||RM25, absorbed by Affin Bank for the first year|
|Income requirements||RM24,000 per annum or RM2,000 per month||RM24,000 per annum or RM2,000 per month|
The Affin Visa Cash Back Card offers 3% cashback on online, e-wallet, and auto-billing transactions. While the 3% rate may not seem very outstanding, there are several things about the Affin Visa Cash Back Card that make its cashback benefits worthy of the buzz.
For starters, the cashback is capped at a highly generous RM80 per month, which makes this the credit card with one of the highest cashback caps in Malaysia. Moreover, the Affin Visa Cash Back Card does not come with any minimum spend requirements or cashback tiers, so you don’t need to figure out what the effective cashback rate is – or be tempted to spend more than you usually do. You’ll earn cashback for every Ringgit spent up to RM2,667 each month, on the three categories – this means you can earn up to a whopping RM960 a year by using this credit card. It’s simple, straightforward, and more importantly, rewarding.
It’s interesting to note that Affin Bank has paid particular attention to the e-wallet spend category, listing as many as twenty e-wallets eligible for cashback – from the big players like GrabPay, Touch ‘n Go eWallet, Boost, and BigPay, to much smaller e-wallets like Mcash and Sarawak Pay. It appears Affin is explicitly telling you to use this card for e-wallet reloads and enjoy the generous cashback – unlike other banks.
Meanwhile, auto-billing transactions cover utility bills, telco bills, insurance payments, and online monthly subscriptions like Spotify and Netflix. Once again, the Affin Visa Cash Back shines – the inclusion of utility bills is a big plus as there are only a handful of credit cards that offer reliable rewards for utility bills these days. Furthermore, the high amount of cashback awarded is especially useful here as monthly bills tend to take up a big chunk of one’s expenses.
It’s worth noting that for cards that offer cashback for auto-billing and utilities – and in fact, online and e-wallet transactions – this Affin card currently has the highest monthly cashback cap among all credit cards in Malaysia. We haven’t seen such a generous cashback card since the Hong Leong Wise before its revision in July 2019 (previously RM100 cap with minimum spend RM2,000) or the old Standard Chartered JustOne Platinum (previously RM85 cap with minimum spend RM2,500). In fact, the Affin Visa Cash Back is an even better card: the previous versions of the two cards also came with high minimum spend requirements. Moreover, the Hong Leong Wise didn’t offer cashback for online spend, and the JustOne Platinum has cashback tiers. The Affin Visa Cash Back Card truly has it all: a great combination of cashback categories, no minimum spend requirements, no cashback tiers, and a high monthly cashback cap.
Meanwhile, the Affin Mastercard Rewards Card is equally straightforward, offering 3x rewards points on dining, groceries, and petrol – and 0 points for other transactions. There is no limit on the number of points you can earn, so big spenders don’t have to worry about hitting a cap each month. Affin Rewards Points expire three years from the points issuance date, which is standard for most credit cards. You can use these points to redeem the usual items and vouchers from the rewards catalogue, or for air miles (Enrich, Malindo, and AirAsia BIG Points).
However, even with the 3x multiplier the Affin Rewards Card isn’t as rewarding as its other half. It takes 30,650 points to redeem a RM50 voucher – which equals to RM10,216.67 of spending on your card – which translates to a paltry 0.49% rate of return. To make a rough comparison, claiming the same voucher using the Maybank 2 Cards yields a rate of 0.78% on the American Express (5x points). With the HSBC Platinum Mastercard, the rate of returns works out to 1.0% for 5x points on online, overseas and groceries expenses and 1.6% for 8x points on contactless spend. Therefore, the Affin Mastercard Rewards Card doesn’t offer too low a rate of returns as far as rewards cards go, but neither is it the best in the market.
Likewise, you will find that for air miles redemption, the Affin Mastercard Rewards Card is quite average too. The redemption rate for 1,000 Enrich Miles is 12,000 Affin Rewards Points, so you can claim 1,000 miles for every RM4,000 you spend using your credit card. This translates to an air miles conversion rate of RM4 per 1 Enrich Mile. That’s around the same range as popular air miles cards such as the Citi PremierMiles and Standard Chartered WorldMiles – still, not too bad for an entry-level card with no maximum points cap per month.
That said, you’re limited only to three airlines for redemption, and two of the three (Malindo and AirAsia) do not have extensive destinations, making this quite a drawback. In addition, there are similarly accessible credit cards such as the Maybank 2 Cards and CIMB e Credit Card which offer a conversion rate of RM2 (for Amex) and up to RM0.83 per 1 Enrich Mile respectively.
One last thing to note is that the categories of spend covered (petrol, dining, and groceries) are commonly considered basic expenditure for the average Malaysian household member. However, the popularity of these categories may actually score a negative mark for the Affin Mastercard Rewards Card, as there are many cashback credit cards catered to these types of spend with better returns. As we’ve seen from the calculations of returns above (0.49% effective), it is likely that you will find cashback rates that offer better value.
The Affin Duo isn’t the first pair dual credit cards in Malaysia, so how does it measure up against other duos in the market like the Maybank 2 Cards and the Public Bank Quantum cards? At first glance, some may give the Affin Duo a pass due to its “low” 3% cashback rate compared to these other cards, but let’s take a deeper look and see.
Like the Affin Duo, only one of the two Maybank 2 Cards bundle offer good benefits. The Maybank 2 American Express offers 5% cashback on all weekend retail spend, capped at RM50 a month. Despite its lower cashback rate, we think the Affin Duo has the stronger cashback benefits here. With the Maybank 2 Amex, you can only earn cashback on the weekends and at merchants that accept American Express. Moreover, the overall cashback given is lower, and Maybank doesn’t give benefits on any of its credit cards for e-wallet top-ups – which is honestly a major drawback. However, when it comes to the rewards points, the Maybank 2 Amex win out with its 5x multiplier on almost all retail spend – mostly due to its airmiles conversion rate which we’ve covered above.
The Affin Duo’s biggest contender is probably the Public Bank Quantum, which consists of a Mastercard offering 5% cashback for online transactions and a Visa card offering 5% on contactless transactions. With a monthly cashback cap of RM30 per month on each card, you can earn up to RM60 in cashback for up to RM1,200 worth in spending across both cards.
As you can earn cashback for some e-wallets with the Quantum Mastercard too, the Public Quantum quite closely matches the benefits of the Affin Duo, and is a better choice for those with relatively low monthly spending. While the Quantum cards don’t offer cashback on auto-billing, the Quantum Visa does give cashback for contactless spend, which is great for those who prefer to just tap and go for their daily expenses rather than fumble with e-wallets. However, do note that your contactless transaction must be a minimum of RM30 to be eligible for cashback, and the Quantum Visa does not give cashback for petrol transactions even if you pay by contactless methods.
Of course, if you’re great at card management, having a combo of the Public Bank Quantum Mastercard and an Affin Visa Cash Back could be extremely rewarding for high spenders. By spending on the Quantum Mastercard on the first RM600 and then switching to the Affin Cash Back Card for online spending, you could actually earn RM110 in cashback for RM3,267 in spending each month!
Affin Bank has surprised everyone with the Affin Duo. Out of the blue, the bank can now lay claim to having some of the best cashback credit cards in town. Besides the Affin Duo, there’s the Affin Visa Signature and its 3% cashback for contactless transactions with an equally generous RM80 cashback cap. Thanks to the synergy shared between the three cards (the Affin Visa Signature also has a similar translucent card design), it even created a “Affin Trio” moniker, a credit card combo that rewards online and offline transactions.
As for the Affin Rewards Mastercard, even with its 3x rewards points multiplier, we’ve shown above that it is easily blown away by other cashback or rewards cards.
But, it doesn’t take away the fact that it’s worth getting the Affin Duo just for the cashback half, which is a solid credit card that wholly justifies the hype it received. The Affin Visa Cash Back Card is a very appealing “online” cashback card, rewarding you for almost everything you spend online – not just on e-commerce but also on e-wallet reloads and utility bill payments, which are two extremely rare categories to earn cashback from. Combine that with the generous cashback cap, zero minimum spend requirement, and straightforward nature, and you have a genuinely rewarding credit card.
Apply for the Affin Duo today.
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