Which Credit Cards To Use To Reload E-Wallets?

by Pang Tun Yau

e-wallet

E-wallets are great. They make paying for things convenient and secure while also rewarding users in the process. For savvier consumers, e-wallets opens an opportunity to "double dip" the rewards offered by both credit cards and the e-wallets themselves.

With several e-wallets allowing users to top up funds with credit cards, users can earn cashback or rewards points from these transactions, and then enjoying other benefits of paying with the e-wallets. In the case of some credit cards, e-wallets circumvents some category-based requirements for cashback eligibility as well.

Naturally, banks would have been aware of these loopholes and some have begun revising the terms of their cashback credit cards. Standard Chartered has announced changes to its popular JustOne Platinum Mastercard, while Maybank went one step further by ceasing rewards for e-wallet reloads using any of its credit cards. Not to forget, UOB also excluded Grab transactions to be eligible for cashback for its YOLO card from June 2019.

We’re fairly certain that other banks will follow suit, but for now the question on everyone’s lips is simple: what other credit cards can we use to reload e-wallets and still earn cashback and rewards points? The list compiled below, divided into cashback and air miles cards, will help.

Most e-wallet reloads are classified as online transactions, which means credit cards that offer cashback for online transactions are shortlisted; though some banks may exclude cashback from some e-wallet reloads (such as Public Bank Quantum & Visa Signature for Boost, and UOB YOLO for Boost and BigPay). We also added other cards that offered cashback for all retail transactions, as well as rewards cards that offered air miles conversion.

Those cards were then narrowed to the 10 cards in this list.

Cashback Credit Cards

Public Bank Quantum Mastercard

Cashback: 5% on online and dining categories, capped at RM30 a month
Income requirements: RM36,000/year (RM3,000/month)
Annual fee: Free for life

One of the best cashback credit cards in this list, the Quantum Mastercard offers 5% cashback for online transactions with no minimum spend requirement. At a cap of RM30, you’ll earn cashback for up to RM600 in spending with this card.

Standard Chartered Liverpool FC Cashback Card

Cashback: Tiered, up to 5% capped at RM50 a month
Income requirements: RM36,000/year (RM3,000/month)
Annual fee: RM175

Besides the JustOne Platinum, StanChart’s rebranded cashback credit card is pretty good as well. You’ll need to spend at least RM1,500 to unlock the 5% rate, but the fact that cashback is awarded for all transactions except petrol and insurance means you’ll earn cashback for topping up any e-wallet in Malaysia.

Citibank Cash Back Card

Cashback: 10% on Grab, capped at RM10 a month
Income requirements: RM36,000/year (RM3,000/month)
Annual fee: RM120

Citibank’s revision for this card in January means it’s a decent card to earn RM40 in cashback every month with just RM100 in spending in each of the four categories: Petrol, Dining, Groceries, and Grab. Users have confirmed that topping up GrabPay wallet with this card earns 10% cashback – but be sure to spend at least RM500 on this card each month to unlock the 10% cashback. RM10 cashback may not sound like a lot, but given how reliant Malaysians have become to Grab’s suite of services, you’ll still be saving RM120 in a year.

Public Bank Visa Signature

Cashback: 6% on online, dining, and groceries, capped at RM38 a month
Income requirements: RM80,000/year (RM6,667/month)
Annual fee: RM388, waived with 12x transactions a year

It’s rare for a high-tier card to offer cashback these days, but the Public Bank Visa Signature is one of the better ones. Think of it as a higher-end Quantum Mastercard, with slightly higher cashback rates and monthly cap. With its RM38 cashback cap per month, you’ll earn cashback for up to RM633.34 spent with this card.

Ambank TRUE Visa Card

Cashback: 3% on online category, capped at RM30 a month
Income requirements: RM36,000/year (RM3,000)
Annual fee: Free for life

Previously overlooked for other cards with higher cashback rates, Ambank’s TRUE Visa credit card is now a solid choice for e-wallet top-ups. 3% cashback for online transactions may not seem like much compared to other cards in this list, but its zero minimum spend requirement makes it useful if you don’t spend a lot. At a cap of RM30, this card gives cashback for up to RM1,000 in spending.

Standard Chartered JustOne Platinum Mastercard

Cashback: Tiered, up to 15%, capped at RM60 a month (RM30 for online)
Income requirements: RM36,000/year (RM3,000/year)
Annual fee: RM250

Its benefits may be revised come July, but for some the Standard Chartered JustOne Platinum Mastercard still retains some value. This is one of only a few cashback credit cards that still offer cashback for utilities (albeit via auto-debit). With its upcoming introduction of a RM30 cashback cap for online spend, you’ll need to spend just RM200 on online transactions to hit the cap. But of course, note that you’ll need to spend a cumulative RM2,500 in a month with this card to unlock the 15%/RM60 perk, which may be too high for some users.

AEON BiG Visa Gold

Cashback: 2% on online category, capped at RM25 a month
Income requirements: RM36,000/year (RM3,000/month)
Annual fee: RM95, waived with 12x transactions a year

An underrated card that is usually overlooked by many, the AEON BiG Visa Gold is an interesting choice. Sure, 2% cashback for online spend is not much (comparable to the Maybank FC Barcelona Visa Signature) and its monthly cashback pool is tiny, but this is easily overcome by topping up your e-wallets at the start of every month. It’s also the only card in its income requirement range that offers complimentary 3x Plaza Premium Lounge entries nationwide.

Rewards Points Credit Cards

To be frank, there are few rewards points credit cards that offer exceptional air miles conversion rates comparable to the Maybank 2 Premier American Express Reserve and Visa Infinite cards. There are a few that may plug the gaping hole, and we’ve listed them here.

HSBC Visa Signature

Rewards points: 5x for every RM1 spent for online, capped at 15,000 a month
Air miles conversion rate: RM2.10 per Enrich Mile, RM3 per KrisFlyer/Asia Mile
Income requirement: RM72,000/year (RM6,000/month)
Annual fee: RM600

One of the five cards highlighted in our list of best air miles credit cards, the HSBC Visa Signature offers varying points multipliers for different spending categories, ranging from 5x to 8x. They’re quite specific in nature, so make sure you check the T&Cs before using. 5x points multiplier for online spend offers a decent conversion rate for Enrich Miles if used for topping up e-wallets, but do bear in mind the steep annual fee.

Alliance Bank Visa Infinite

Rewards points: 2 Timeless Bonus Points for every RM1 spent locally
Air miles conversion rate: RM3 per Enrich Mile
Income requirement: RM150,000/year (RM12,500/month)
Annual fee: Free for life

While its perks for overseas spend rival the Maybank 2 Premier cards’ air miles conversion rates, the Alliance Bank Visa Infinite’s local rate is more modest at RM3 per 1 Enrich Mile. Points accumulated with this card do not expire, which is a bonus point to some. Its high income requirement means this card is available for a select few, however – this card offers plenty of extra perks including unlimited lounge access globally.

Hong Leong Visa Infinite

Rewards points: Auto-conversion to Enrich
Air miles conversion rate: RM2.81 per Enrich Mile
Income requirement: RM150,000/year (RM12,500/month)
Annual fee: Free for life

The Hong Leong Visa Infinite doesn’t offer rewards points; instead, it automatically converts every Ringgit spent into Enrich Miles based on its pre-set rates of RM2.81 for local and RM1.81 for overseas spending. That’s slightly lower than the Alliance Bank Visa Infinite, but some way off the better rate offered by the HSBC Visa Signature.

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Looking at these rates, however, it does look like you might be better off earning cashback than accumulating air miles at unfavourable rates. Remember, banks may update its points conversion rate at its discretion, so you might be caught out with even poorer conversion rates while you’re accumulating points.

Try FavePay

Since it does not have a digital wallet feature - Fave founder Joel Neoh was even quoted as saying FavePay isn't an e-wallet - FavePay may not be considered as an e-wallet in Maybank’s eyes (we'll only find out from 8 July if it is). Unlike e-wallets, FavePay acts almost as a payment aggregator, allowing you to save credit card information and pay using them. Most importantly, FavePay supports American Express cards so you could still use them in places that don't accept credit cards but accept FavePay.

On top of that, FavePay gives cashback rewards to popular merchant partners, and enables card payment to smaller establishments. There are also weekly challenges that reward users for the amount of FavePay transactions made.

Currently, FavePay allows users to "triple dip" rewards, thanks to the ability to link Boost as a payment method in FavePay. (Maybank Amex + Boost Shake Rewards + FavePay partner cashback). But come 8 July, taking Boost out of the equation still means you’ll get to use Amex cards and continue to enjoy their benefits.

Final Thoughts

Thanks to the various e-wallets available in Malaysia, you can pay for a huge variety of things beyond retail items. E-wallets such as GrabPay, Boost, and TNG eWallet allows you to pay for food deliveries, prepaid top-ups, e-commerce store orders, utilities and other bills, tolls, and buy coupons for all kinds of other things. With the additional perks offered by these wallets, it only makes sense for the consumer to maximise the benefits for things they would already be paying for by combining credit cards with e-wallets.

In that scenario, banks end up drawing the short end of the stick, which is why Maybank’s move to remove credit card rewards for e-wallet reloads is to be expected. Therefore, it may be smarter in the long-term to not apply for a new card purely to reload e-wallets – you’ll never know when the bank will revise its cards’ benefits. Credit cards should be used to complement your spending habits, not change them.

But, if you already own any of the cards in this list, they are the best alternatives to use with your e-wallets.