CIMB Visa Signature credit card review: Should you get this cashback card with no annual fee?

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Once upon a time, the CIMB Visa Signature Card was one of my favourite cashback credit cards. In its heyday back in 2018, it was offering a whopping 10 per cent cashback on dining, groceries and online shopping.

However, all good things come to an end, and in 2019, CIMB decided that the card would only offer 10 per cent cashback in the following categories: Beauty & wellness, online shopping, groceries, pet shops & veterinary services and cruises.

They also introduced an $800 minimum spending requirement and a $20 cashback cap on each category, which we’ll get into later.

Here’s our take on the revamped CIMB Visa Signature Credit Card.

1. CIMB Visa Signature review

CIMB Visa Signature has been around forever, and has gone through many incarnations, oscillating between useful and useless.

But one of the card’s most important and most enduring features is that it charges no annual fees. So, you can keep the card in your wallet forever whether or not you actually use it.

CIMB Visa Signature is what we would call a cashback card — it gives you a percentage of your money back when you use it for certain types of spending.

Currently, the card’s most important cashback categories include groceries and online shopping.

2. CIMB Visa Signature minimum income, annual fee

The CIMB Visa Signature is an entry level credit card that fresh grads with an income of $30,000 a year can apply for.

  CIMB Visa Signature Credit Card
Annual Fee
Annual Fee Waiver
Supplementary Card Annual Fee
Interest Free Period 23 days
Annual Interest Rate 25.9 per cent
Late Payment Fee $100
Minimum Monthly Repayment 3 per cent or $50, whichever is higher
Foreign Currency Transaction Fee 3 per cent
Cash Advance Transaction Fee $6 (minimum chare of $15)
Overlimit Fee
Minimum Income $30,000 (Singaporean / PR)
Card Association Visa
Contactless Payment Visa Contactless

ALSO READ: 'I don't know where my money went', says customer after CIMB Singapore banking service reportedly down for 3 days

3. CIMB Visa Signature Cashback

The CIMB Visa Signature Credit Card gives you 10per cent cashback for local and overseas transactions in the following categories:

  • Beauty & wellness – personal care facilities, pharmacies, cosmetic stores (excluding department stores), hairdressers, massage parlours and health and beauty spas
  • Online shopping – shopping websites whose main business activity is selling clothes, accessories, shoes, bags and electronics
  • Groceries
  • Pet shops & veterinary services
  • Cruises

As you can see, the definition of online shopping is quite strict, so you can’t rake in the cashback when you book air tickets online, for instance.

Cashback is capped at $100 per statement and $20 per category. That means you can only earn cashback on a maximum of $200 worth of spending in each category.

In order to qualify for the cashback, you need to spend $800 in a statement month.

4. CIMB Visa Signature travel insurance

The CIMB Visa Signature gives you and your family free travel insurance of up to $500,000 when you charge your full travel fees to the card.

This sounds good, until you realise that you cannot get any cashback on your air tickets. You might be better off using a card that gives you cashback or miles on your airline purchase, while at the same time offering free travel insurance.

5. How to maximise my CIMB Visa Signature Card?

The two spending categories in which you are likely to be able to regularly earn 10per cent cashback are groceries and online shopping. If you can hit the $800 spending target each month, be sure to use the card whenever you make such transactions.

But even if you don’t use it regularly, remember that the CIMB Visa Signature Card is free. So, it’s totally fine to just keep it as a backup until you need it.

For instance, if you need some pampering and decide to go to a spa, are booking a trip on a cruise or taking your pet to the vet, you can use the card in that month. Just be sure to hit the $800 minimum spending requirement in the statement month.

The main thing to beware of is that there is a cashback cap of $20 per category per statement month. So, you can earn that sweet, sweet 10per cent cashback on only $200 worth of spending in each category.

In addition, there is a cashback cap of $100 per statement month. So don’t bother spending more than $1,000 on the card as you won’t be rewarded for any excess amounts.

ALSO READ: CIMB FastSaver account review: A no-frills savings account

6. CIMB Visa Signature vs CIMB Visa Infinite

The CIMB Visa Infinite is a doppelgänger that often gets mistaken for the CIMB Visa Signature. Here are the main differences between the two cards.

  CIMB Visa Signature CIMB Visa Infinite
Base Cashback 0.2 per cent 1 per cent
Bonus Cashback 9.8 per cent 1 per cent
Bonus Categories Beauty & wellness, online shopping, groceries, pet shops & veterinary services and cruises Travel, overseas, online spend in foreign currencies
Annual Income $30,000 $120,000
Minimum spend $800 $2,000
Annual fee

The CIMB Visa Infinite is also a cashback card. It gives you 2 per cent cashback on travel, overseas spending and online spending in foreign currencies, with no cashback cap. To qualify for the 2 per cent cashback, you have to spend at least $2,000 in a statement month.

One of the card’s biggest advantages is that it has a very high base cashback rate of 1 per cent. So, even if you don’t meet the minimum spending requirements, you still get 1per cent cashback on ALL spending.

Like CIMB Visa Signature, CIMB Visa Infinite is also free for life. The catch? You have to have a minimum annual income of $120,000.

7. CIMB Visa Signature promotion

There are no sign up promotions at the moment, but as a CIMB cardholder you’ll be entitled to a bunch of promotions, including dining discounts and savings at retail stores. Check them out here.

8. Should I get the CIMB Visa Signature Card?

The promise of 10 per cent cashback sounds wonderful at first glance, but it is really not that easy to squeeze much cashback out of the CIMB Visa Signature Card.

The reason? That pesky $20 - per-category cashback cap. If you want to max out your rebates and get the maximum cashback of $100 in a statement month, you’ll have to somehow spend at least $200 on cruises, pet shop and vet services, and beauty and wellness.

Realistically speaking, you’ll probably only be able to regularly max out your rebates in the online shopping and groceries categories, which will earn you $40 at most.

And you’ll have to do that while still spending at least $800 within a statement month. Assuming you earn $40 worth of rebates (ie. on $400 worth of spending), you’ll still need to spend an additional $400 on the card that might not qualify for bonus cashback at all.

Bearing the above in mind, the CIMB Visa Signature Card is suitable for relatively high spenders who can hit that $800 minimum spending requirement. The card is particularly suited to those who regularly spend on beauty and wellness (eg. by going for spa treatments, massages or regular haircuts) and/or who spend a lot on their pets.

This article was first published in MoneySmart.