Is there such a thing as "the best credit card"?
I think not because there is no one single credit card that has everything a prospective cardholder is looking for in a credit card. Some credit cards offer rebate for petrol, some for shopping, others enable cardholder to accumulate points in exchange for products, yet some give discounts for movie tickets and the list of features go on.
If you are in the market for your first credit card or are still wondering about the "best" credit card or whether you have the credit card that meets your needs, or whether you are taking full advantage of the features of your credit card(s), here's a thread from the Lowyat forum that has some good information on Credit Cards. Posters on the thread offer some good tips and insights on the various credit cards and debit cards available in Malaysia.
In this day and age, owning a credit card is no longer a luxury. It is now more of a necessity in the way we conduct our day-to-day living. You wouldn't want to be carrying thousands of Ringgit to a travel agency to buy an air-ticket to London, for instance.
One wise poster on the Lowyat forum offers this list of Pros and Cons of having a credit card:
many people still don't understand benefits of credit card if used in the correct manner.
a) Bang for your buck - promotions/Discounts specific to issuing bank and also specific to Mastercard/Visa itself
b) Loyalty programs - earn points or rebates
c) Convenience & Safety - Don't need to carry cash around
d) Money management - you can automatically analyze where your money is going as everything is statemented.
e) Leverage on no interests period - which facility borrows you money without any interest for a month? Technically you can leverage on that cash to earn interest in a saving account first or for other investments
f) Fraud protection - For suspected fraud unauthorized transactions or even goods not received related claims, you can raise a dispute without having to pay first. Furthermore the bank is in the power to recall back the payment from the merchant, so it's much easier to "get" your money back instead of giving the merchant hard cold cash in the first place.
a) causes those with bad money management to overspend
b) Bad forex rates if swiping overseas (Foreign currency to US$ to Local currency billed to you)
And someone else offered:
you miss one important point, INSURANCE on the item you bought.
One poster said:
HSBC Visa-shopping discounts/rebates/special promotions
Alliance Visa-Local bank easier to get 0% installment plans with longer period. Eg. got 18 months installment instead of 12 months if use HSBC
CIMB Master-shopping discounts/rebates/special promotions
Must be good at handling finances, I pay promptly every month, credit card interest can kill ur finances if not managed properly.
I have used many credit cards over the years.
Here is my experiences.
HSBC Gold credit cards: Very good in term of Travelling Overseas. Cheaper Forex exchange. Many good promotions on discounts. Especially Armani Exchange outlet.. 15% discount. hehe
Citibank Credit Cards:
Gold: Very good. with 30 minutes you charge oversea, they will call you.
Platinum: Very good. with 30 minutes you charge oversea, they will call you. Access to Premium Lounge in KLIA, LCCT for free. Extra benefits. Free stay in YTL hotels. especially for PremierMiles (Platinum Class 1 Credit Credit Card)
Standard Chartered Credit Cards: Very limited and not good points and promotion.
CIMB Credit Cards:
** Free for life platinum:
Visa : Transfer Points very good. Many good promotions on discounts.
Petronas Mastercard: 5% on Petronas. 0.5% for others retails.
Very bad. Difficult to terminate. Lots of hassle.
** If you manage your financial properly, CC is the way to go.. Use 20 days free loan. Pay full every month.
i vote for CItibank Cash Back Platinum
5% on all petrol
2% on telecommunication
Think OCBC titanium and Maybank 2 Amex are superior, although the max cashback is 50 per month.
OCBC has 5% on:
Maybank 2 Amex has 5% on everything on weekends and 5X points and comes up to around 7.5% total discounts.
OCBC doesn't require you to reach blocks of RM50 before they credit you with the cash back, unlike Citibank. Not sure about Maybank.
I have 2 cards. The main one I am using is Citibank Air Asia. They have promotions on flights every week, and I have priority booking. Which is good for my company staff who wants to book tickets earlier.
Furthermore there is TGV promotion - weekdays each ticket is only RM 10 (ended already sad.gif) and weekend it's buy 1 free 1. biggrin.gif
The other card... HLBB. It's a spare card (just sign up so I can get free items), but now I use the card for online purchases (Paypal).
DEFINATELY AMERICAN EXPRESS PLATINIUM CHARGE CARD, been using for years now.
allow me enter premier lounge whenever i travel, hongkong, usa, tokyo, korea, singapore everywhere. worth every dollar..
although their annual fees is nasty but worth it. can have 5 supplement and all my family member can enter premier lounge and buying business class ticket cathay next one free..buy one free one.
Should you wish to check out more info, visit Lowyat forum..
Nowadays, banks have converted bankcards to also act as debit cards. It may be good to note that should your bankcard go missing (or due to fraud), all you have in your bank account (your savings, monthly salary, etc.,) may be lost/withdrawn. On the other hand, a standalone debit card has the advantage of you losing just the amount you have moved to your debit card account, not your entire savings sum. Does that make sense?
In the case of credit card, in the event of a fraud and you have reported it, you may not need to pay anything.
A suggestion on the forum:
The advantage of having debit card is you can leave it with no credit in it. When need to purchase something, only use your online banking to transfer the exact amount of money to it, then only use the debit card to buy. That is the safest online purchase you can do with a debit card.
My personal take is, whatever credit card you opt for, the key is to be able to manage your finances/expenditure. Not spending unnecessarily and spending within ones means is a good practice.