Best Credit Card Voting Results 2017

Best Credit Card Voting Results 2017

Did you know that there are 3.6 million credit card holders in Malaysia, as calculated by the Department of Statistics (DOSM) in June last year?

DOSM revealed the figure translated to 18% of 20 million Malaysians, aged between 20 and 74, while Bank Islam Malaysia Bhd chief economist Dr Mohd Afzanizam Abdul Rashid said consumption via credit card rose by 2.6% in May compared to the previous year.

The Malaysian Reserve also reported 8.4 million credit cards were circulated by May last year, while a survey discovered three out of five Malaysians prefer to use credit cards.

The evolution of technology has made it much more secure to make purchases with credit cards – DOSM recorded 368.3 million payments were made with credit cards from January to November 2017.

Hence, in a span of a month, we reached out to 292 people in search of their preferred cashback, rewards and travel cards to be crowned under the iMoney Best Credit Card Award.

In search of the plastic winners, several options from Maybank, Citibank, HSBC, Alliance and Standard Chartered were provided and the results are finally revealed.

So, which made it to the top?

Best cashback credit card

Winner: Maybank 2 cards

This card was in the headlines last year after its weekend cashbacks made a comeback (which you can read all about here).

It’s no surprise that 50% of respondents, aged between 28 and 48, named this as their preferred cashback card because weekend swipes get you 5% cashback.

Besides that, you also get TreatPoints, so, let’s zoom into the benefits offered by Maybank 2 Cards.

Maybank 2 Cards

Maybank2 American Express® Card5% weekend Cashback when spend on Maybank2 American Express Card.

5x TreatsPoints for all spend on your Maybank2 American Express Card in Malaysia or Overseas.
Maybank2 MasterCard/VISA1x TreatsPoints for all spend on your Maybank2 MasterCard/Visa Card.

However, the cashbacks and 5x TreatPoints are only valid on weekends with the Maybank 2 American Express Card, while the Mastercard/VISA is only entitled to 1x TreatsPoint per RM1 spent. The cashback is capped at RM50 monthly and up to RM600 per annum.

Who should swipe this? The Monday to Friday employee, who spends their weekends roaming malls for good deals.

Maybank 2 Cards

Maybank 2 Cards

Up to 5% cashback on weekend retail transactions

Earn 5x TreatsPoints when swiping in Malaysia or Overseas!

2nd place: Standard Chartered Platinum MasterCard

The second runner up was a close call with 20% of voters, aged between 22 and 45, naming this card as their favourite – understandable, because it does offer up to 15% of cashbacks!

Monthly retail spend
Cashback (Auto bill payments, online purchases and petrol)

Other categories
Cashback cap
Below RM1,000
RM1,000 – RM1,499.99
RM1,500 – RM2,499.99
RM2,500 and above

However, to get that 15% you must spend RM2,500 and above on auto bill payments (such as electricity and phone bills), online purchases and petrol, otherwise it’s a standard 0.2% regardless of expenditure amount.

Who should swipe this? The online customer –  if you’d rather stay home and make purchases or payments online, then you can enjoy the rebates without having to get out of the house.

3rd place: Citibank Cash Back Card

It’s got cashbacks for all your expenditure needs from petrol to even, pharmaceuticals. This card managed to win over 15% of voters, aged between 26 and 57.

But what are the cashbacks which attracted this group?



The cashback amount, when you accumulate RM20 or more within a month, will be automatically credited into your account.

But, keep in mind that cashback is subjected to an annual fee as listed below:

Fee (inclusive of 6%)

Citibank Cash Back Card
RM127.20 (principal card)
RM63.60 (supplementary card)
Citibank Cash Back Platinum Card
RM206.70 (principal card)
RM107 (supplementary card)

On the upside, your first-year annual fee will be waived for the principal card if you swipe three times within 60 days from card approval date.

Who should swipe this? The all-rounder – the typical spender because you get cashbacks for all the necessities such as petrol and groceries.

Best rewards credit card

Winner: Citi Clear Credit Card

We’re guessing the 31.8%, who voted for this card as their preferred rewards card, might be movie or coffee buffs.

Surprisingly, the respondents for the card which also has benefits for the “coolest places” such as Zouk Club KL and Topman, were aged between 28 and 46.

Now, let’s check out what type of rewards made it the champion:


GSC / TGV cinemas
(excluding Golden Screen Cinemas Signature and Golden Screen Cinemas Maxx outlets)

1 complimentary cinema ticket for every cinema ticket purchased using the card on Fridays
The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf (except HSBC Lebuh Ampang, KLIA Arrival Hall (MTB) and East Malaysia outlets)
1 complimentary drink per transaction from Monday to Friday of equivalent value or less
Borders/ Topshop/ Sakae Sushi/ La Senza/ GAP/ Vincci/ Topman/ Zouk Club KL/ G2000/ Roxy/ Quicksilver/
3x rewards points for every RM1 spent

However, before you hop on over to the cinema, keep in mind that:

  • Offer applies only to normal seats in a common cinema hall (i.e. not Gold Class or Premiere Class)
  • Tickets not applicable for digital 2D/3D movies
  • Not applicable for children’s tickets

Who should swipe this? The lover of life – age does not matter, if you are a millennial or live like one, this card is your best bud. You can watch movies every Friday, chit-chat over a cup of joe, and enjoy points for partying.

Citi Clear Credit Card

Citi Clear Credit Card

Get your daily dose of movies with a friend with a complimentary ticket for every TGV or GSC ticket weekly!

Buy coffee from CBTL and get another for free for you and your friend!

2nd place: HSBC Visa Platinum

And the first runner up goes to HSBC, which was beaten by 0.3% less votes at 31.5%! Close call.

Well, it was probably a hard decision for our respondents, aged between 26 and 57, considering this card earns up to 8x rewards points when you spend in one of 30 participating malls.

Check it out:


8x reward points
Mid Valley Megamall/ The Gardens Mall
5x reward points
Other participating malls listed here
1x reward points
Shops outside of shopping malls

However, this specific promo only runs until December this year and there is a maximum 700 million additional reward points to be given out based on a first come first served basis. Additionally, the monthly maximum reward points are 15,000 per eligible cardholder.

Bear in mind that, this programme excludes overseas retail transactions where you will only get the usual 1 reward point per RM1.

Who should swipe this? The old-school shopper – this refers to those who stray away from online purchases and love long walks in big malls.

3rd place: AmBank BonusLink Visa Gold

Popular reward system, Bonuslink, has been around for decades, so this was bound to make its way into this category. This piece of plastic doubles as a credit card and a Bonuslink card and was voted by 23% of people, aged between 26 and 30.

Let’s see how many points you can earn:

Bonuslink points

Collect 30 points for every RM10 spent on selected retail transactions
Shell Petrol/ Parkson/Dining/ Groceries/Online transactions/ Entertainment (movie tickets, bowling alleys, etc.)
2 sets of points
BonusLink Partners’ outlets to collect 2 sets of Points - one from AmBank and another from BonusLink Partners – listed here
3 points for every RM10 spent
Other local retail transactions

With Bonuslink, you can redeem your points for household items, gadgets and more. Moreover, you can redeem ‘cash credit’ –  a total amount of points you can trade in for cash, which will be credited into your account to offset the outstanding balance.

However, be reminded that the points are valid for a maximum of three years. So, if you don’t spend as much on the stated outlets, this card could be a waste for you.

Who should swipe this? The anywhere-anything-goes-person – the name says it all. If you’re the type to “go with the flow” then this card is best for you. You can collect points for petrol, shopping, dining, movies or whatever you choose to do that day.

Best travel credit card

Winner: Maybank 2 Cards Premier

Maybank 2 nabs another category as voted by 41% of our respondents, aged between 25 to 51, – well, can we blame them? The benefits are great – you can get insured, earn miles and reward points.

Check it out:


Redeem 1,000 air miles
Shell petrol/ Parkson/ dining/ groceries/ online transactions/ entertainment (movie tickets, bowling alleys, etc.)
Earn 1,000 miles
BonusLink Partners’ outlets to collect 2 sets of Points - one from AmBank and another from BonusLink Partners – listed here
Travel insurance
Other local retail transactions
Treats Points
Local and overseas spending – 5 TreatsPoints for every RM1
Utilities, education, Ezypay and insurance transactions – 1 point
Government Bodies, Education Institutions and Insurance Providers – 2 points
Golf privileges
Access to 86 Golf Clubs around the world until 31 December 31, 2018 listed here
Access to Plaza Premium Lounge
Free access to lounges listed here until December 31, 2018
Enjoy up to 50% savings
Valid at food & beverage at Shangri-La Kuala Lumpur

However, for the travel insurance, it is only valid for Maybank 2 Cards Reserve American Express® card and you must save your receipts as proof when making claims.

Furthermore, as much as we’d like our reward points to last forever, remember that TreatsPoints are valid only for three years – so, redeem them while you can!

Who should swipe this? The frequent flyer – if you’re the avid jetsetter, this is right up your alley. You can access the premium lounge as you wait for flights and ensure you are insured when on your travels. If you love golf, then, enjoy playing the sport at different venues worldwide this year.

2nd place: HSBC Visa Platinum

This is the same card that came in second under the best rewards card. While we already went through what rewards this plastic friend entailed us for, let’s zoom into the travel benefits and see why 22% voted for it.

This card is recognised worldwide and you can enjoy the ‘Home&Away’ programme, where you get to grab local deals, wherever you are. Just browse through the website and select which country you are to check out the deals.

Now, let’s move on to the other benefits:

What is it?

Cash Advance
Instant cash withdrawal worldwide to prep you for any emergencies where funds are short
Balance Transfer
Transfer outstanding balances into your credit card. Enjoy 3% interest in the first month with 0% interest for the next 5 months.
Grace Free Period
20 days grace free period on shopping transactions from the posting date of said transactions, if outstanding balances of previous month are fully settled.
HSBC Reward Program
Automatically be eligible for the rewards programme and redeem your points for gadgets, home appliances, dining and more when you spend.
SmartPrivileges programme
Enjoy exclusive deals and discounts nationwide at more than 6,500 outlets.

While being having access to cash at your fingertips with cash advances, be wary as you will be subjected to a 5.3% fee of the amount withdrawn or RM15.90 (including GST) – whichever is higher.

There could also be handling charges as determined by the bank when withdrawing from HSBC Group ATMS, Visa or Plus system and the Mastercard/Cirrus ATM networks. Also, a finance charge of 18% per annum will be added on the cash advance amount taken, which is calculated from the date of disbursement unless paid in full!

Who should swipe this? The worldwide buyer – if you enjoy shopping in different countries and bringing back souvenirs, then you can minimise your spending with the ‘Home and Away’ programme. With this you can get the best local discounts and enjoy a cash advance if you’re short on money.

HSBC Visa Platinum

HSBC Visa Platinum

Earn up to 8x rewards points when shopping in over 30 malls

Shop, diner and live the life you deserve today!

3rd place: AmBank BonusLink Visa Gold

Ambank managed to swipe its way through this category too, after taking the third place in the best cashback category.

While we’ve already outlined the benefits of its point system, the 19% of voters –  aged between 18 and 60 – think there are some pretty decent travel rewards you can reap too.


3 Bonuslink points
Every RM10 spent with the gold card
6 Bonuslink points
For every RM10 spent with signature card or platinum
Plaza Premium lounge access
5x complimentary lounge access throughout the year worldwide listed here
. 25% discounts on all lounges in Malaysia + 20% discount on overseas lounges for each accompanying guest
Travel insurance
Enjoy insurance when airline fares are paid via card

Gold card
Coverage up to RM500,000 per annum

Platinum card
Coverage up to RM1million per annum

Signature card
Coverage up to RM2million per annum

While you happily collect your Bonuslink points, remember, points are only valid for three years.

Another point to keep in mind is, if you have supplementary cards, the fourth card will be charged an annual fee of RM188 and RM75 per annum for gold cards.

Who should swipe this?  The family man. Those who go on family vacations often can enjoy travel insurance as this is applicable to the cardholder’s legally married spouse and dependent children aged up to 25.

And the grand winner is…

Maybank 2 Cards – these cards swept both the cashback and travelling categories. However, if you were to apply for these cards, keep in mind that they come in a package – meaning you get two cards for one application.

Therefore, you’ll have the American Express card as well as the Mastercard or VISA card. This allows you the flexibility to swipe your card almost anywhere. However, most of the perks are attached to the American Express card, which is not as widely accepted as Mastercard or VISA.Although, swiping a credit card is a good way to purchase items, watch your spending and keep in line with these tips.

  • Always look out for promotions – every credit card will have their monthly or year-round promotions for shopping, dining or travel deals. Before you embark on your shopping spree, check the respective bank website and check out what deals are around for you to save a little bit of cash.
  • Be a good paymaster – credit card interest is no joke, it can go up between 15% and 18%. To avoid paying way more than the amount you spent, try and settle at least 50% of your statement monthly and always pay on time.
  • Purchase necessities – When you’re low on cash and your savings account is almost drained out, it may be tempting to turn to your credit card when you see something you really want. However, it is advisable to stick to the necessities, such as fuel or groceries, to avoid regret of spending on something you didn’t really need.

Also, avoid increasing your spending limit and know when to consider the 0% instalment plans!

Happy spending (wisely)!

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