Consumer's choice: Top credit cards this quarter in 2017

Consumer's choice: Top credit cards this quarter in 2017

Credit cards can be like fire – a good servant with the right care and direction but a harmful master if you let it rule your life.  So with the right research, questions and practice, you can look forward to picking the card that is best suited to your spending needs.  

To help you stay afloat in the maze of choices, here is a lowdown on the most sought after cards in the region for Q1 2017 that give that little extra for every dollar and allow for #comparisonmadeeasy. Whether you are looking for air miles to make your next destination a stronger possibility or shaving off retail savings when you shop across the globe, we’ll have you covered on all grounds.

Singapore’s big spenders get rewarded


Cards doling out perks on cashback strike a chord in Singapore as there are hordes of habitual shoppers hunting for the next big bargain. The ANZ Optimum World card is unique in that it allows cardholders to select their preferred rebate category every three months. Card users can maximise their spending with a 5% cashback on their selected category for the quarter while enjoying 1% cashback on all their expenditure. While there is no cashback cap, there is a cap of S$30 cashback per transaction.

Consumers in Singapore are also attracted to the allure of high cashback limits. Standard Chartered Manhattan World offers one of the highest quarterly cashback limits of S$200, with tiered cashback of 0.5% to 3%. Card holders who may have spent large amounts in a certain month need not continue spending high amounts consecutively in order to earn the highest tier of cashback, and this is an incentive for card holders who may feel pressured by minimum spend restrictions.



  1. ANZ Optimum Dining and Leisure
  2. Standard Chartered MANHATTAN World
  3. CIMB Visa Signature
  4. Standard Chartered SingPost Platinum
  5. Standard Chartered Unlimited Cashback 


Philippines’ card holders are all about rewards

An interesting observation shows that the top two credit cards used in the Philippines this first quarter came from Citibank.

Filipino consumers are more responsive to signing up with more established and popular players with Citi being one of the biggest operators in the market. It also shows how consumers respond well to the rates that are being offered by Citibank.

The popularity of top-ranking credit cards such as Citibank Citi Cash Back VISA, EastWest Everyday Titanium Mastercard and RCBC Diamond Card Platinum Mastercard show that Philippine consumers are taking rewards seriously and identify with it. Card holders are determined to maximise what they can get while still spending whether it’s for shopping for groceries or for booking domestic or international flights.

Gaining additional benefits with a credit card is something that is also consistent among all the top five credit cards. Both the Citibank Citi Cash Back VISA and Citibank Citi Premiere Miles VISA cards offer retail rebates and shopping and dining privileges when used and holders of EastWest credit cards receive additional reward points when they shop at partner establishments.


  1.      Citibank Citi Cash Back Card VISA
  2.      Citibank Citi Premiere Miles Card VISA
  3.      East West Everyday Titanium Mastercard
  4.      RCBC Diamond Card Platinum Mastercard
  5.      Metrobank World Mastercard

Cash is king in Thailand 


Cashback cards are also a mass-market draw in Thailand reining in the majority of users. Our numbers show among Thai consumers cash is king and that it supersedes other card benefits. The Citi Cashback Credit Card is one of the more appealing credit cards for cashback as its reward categories fit in with how consumers spend their money. For enthusiastic urban dwellers the card promises a 5% cashback for purchases at Boots, Watson and rides on Bangkok’s MRT subway and BTS sky trains. 

Cards that have benefits for families also fare well with Thai consumers. For card holders of SCB Family Plus with families, they receive a 5% cashback when they visit dining establishments on Family Day, Father’s Day, Mother’s Day and Children’s Day.


  1. Citibank Cashback Platinum
  2. SCB SCB Family Plus
  3. Krungsri JCB Platinum
  4. Citibank Citi Rewards
  5. SCB UP2ME 

In Hong Kong users geared equally towards mileage or cashback


Hong Kong is a place where competition for consumers’ attention is keen and where consumers are focused on getting what they want. The best-ranked cards on the island that see increasing use are Standard Chartered Asia Miles Mastercard, American Express I.T. Cashback Card and Hang Seng enJoy card.

These cards show that in deriving the maximum benefits, consumers in Hong Kong are certain as to whether mileage or cashback is their primary gain.

Co-branded cards such as the Standard Chartered Asia Miles Mastercard and the American Express I.T. Cashback Card also fare better as their benefits may outweigh the ones given by prestigious cards. It’s easy to sign up for these cards as they do not have a steep income requirement that excludes most people. It’s also to their advantage that the banks enter partnerships with other admired brands such as Asiamiles and I.T. to carve out the best deal for consumers.  

Hong Kong

  1. Standard Chartered Asia Miles Mastercard
  2. BOC i-Card
  3. Hang Seng enJoy Card
  4. American Express Blue Cash Credit Card
  5. BEA World MasterCard 

Vietnamese credit cards cater to a mixed crowd


Although Vietnam is a relatively new market, credit card companies have found a way to capture the needs of varied consumers. Card companies have been successful in analysing and understanding Vietnamese consumers to deliver offerings that best suit them. The most held cards in Vietnam include HSBC – Thẻ Visa Hạng Chuẩn card, Citibank Cashback card and the Standard Chartered WorldMiles card.

For Vietnamese card holders on the higher earning spectrum, they weigh the benefits of cashback, promotions and air miles against the annual fees. Together with their interests and hobbies they use these considerations to make the choice of card.


  1. Citibank Cashback    
  2. HSBC Thẻ Visa Hạng Chuẩn
  3. Standard Chartered WorldMiles
  4. VPBank VPLady
  5. ANZ Classic 

Malaysian cards keep up with everchanging consumer needs


Malaysian consumers are keen to sign up for a cashback card more than an air miles card or rewards card since the hike in fuel prices in April.  This could explain why cards such as Citibank Cash Back Platinum and CIMB Cash Rebate Platinum, both which offer rebates on petrol, fare well with users as Malaysians are looking out cards that provide cashback on petrol purchases. 

Card companies in Malaysia invest heavily in advertising for targeting the right consumer group. HSBC has its advertisements feature in restaurants and shopping malls across the country and this visibility drives demand for its credit cards. 

Electronic payments are also an increasingly viable option in Malaysia. Malaysians today prefer using payWave that is available in most hypermarkets and going cashless for safety reasons. Some of the most recognised banks in Malaysia for payWave services are Maybank and CIMB and its cards are highly preferred because of this ease and convenience.


  1. Hong Leong Bank Wise Card
  2. Citibank Cash Back Platinum
  3. Citibank Cash Back
  4. CIMB Cash Rebate Platinum
  5. HSBC Amanah MPower Platinum-i  
Credit card rankings are based on the number of page clicks from to partner websites for respective markets.