Instarem Amaze card review: How it works & best credit cards to link

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Between all the multi currency credit cards, prepaid debit cards with 0 per cent foreign transaction fees and cashback credit cards, consumers like us are spoilt for choice. Instarem’s Amaze card is the newest kid on the super crowded block.

So how does the Amaze card manage to stand out? Let’s find out!

What is the Instarem Amaze card?

The Amaze card is kind of like a VPN (virtual private network) for your credit cards.

If you know, you know – a VPN allows you to get around region restrictions to  watch certain shows or stream the World Cup in Singapore without paying exorbitant prices.

What if you apply that concept to your credit cards? 

In the same way you’d get around paying exorbitant prices for a show that you really want to watch, you’d use the Instarem Amaze card to get away from paying unnecessary foreign transaction fees for your overseas online purchases.

Of course, VPNs are somewhat in grey legal territory. But  the Instarem Amaze card is a fully legit method, regulated by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS).

How does the Instarem Amaze card work?

It’s quite simple – much like a VPN, you can link up to five Mastercard-issued credit or debit cards to your Instarem Amaze card. There are no top-ups involved, and you don’t have to wait for the card itself to arrive in your mailbox.

Here are the summary of the Instarem Amaze card benefits:

Core Mechanics:

  • Link up to five Mastercard-issued credit or debit cards
  • No-top ups required (unlike YouTrip, Wise, Revolut, BigPay or GrabPay)
  • Follows Mastercard’s forex rate – no markups 

Benefits:

  • Get 1 per cent cashback on top of your linked credit or debit card rewards
  • Transact in unlimited currencies
  • Real-time transaction tracking
  • Uncapped maximum spending limit, but max of $25,000 per transaction
  • SimplyGo enabled; use as public transport card in Singapore or when travel becomes a thing again

The caveat to that cashback mechanic is that it’s earned via a quarterly basis, and there is a minimum transaction amount of $5.

But of course, the cashback sounds a little too good to be true, and who’s to say that Instarem might adjust the cashback rate in the future? Get it while you can!

Illustration: Instarem Amaze card vs credit card vs multi-currency debit card

Anyone who knows me, knows that I’m a bit of a gaming nerd. Just like how my character is kitted out in the 1337est of gear, so too shall the person playing it. Coincidentally, my gaming mates have been complaining about my headphone’s mic quality, so I’m in the market to get a new pair of gaming headphones.

ALSO READ: Citi, Fave, convertCASH: New BNPL players enter the Singapore market (July 2021)

Shopping online on Amazon US

Specifically, I’ve got my eye on this pair of SteelSeries Arctis 7 Wireless Headphones that costs US$129.62 (S$174):

However, this *is* MoneySmart. Of course I’d be price-comparing the headphones against different cards:

Card Instarem Amaze Card Citi Cashback+ Credit Card BigPay YouTrip
Issuer Mastercard Mastercard VISA Mastercard
Exchange rate (caa 6 September 2021) 1.34394 1.34394 1.34399 1.34394
Fees None 3.25per cent foreign transaction fee None None
Rewards 1per cent cashback 1.6per cent cashback 30 AirAsia BIG points None
Price on checkout (SGD) $174.20 $179.87 $174.21 $174.20
Effective price (SGD) $172.49 $176.99 $174.21 $174.20

Slight note about the Citi Cashback+ credit card exchange rates; I wasn’t sure if Citibank had their own rates, so I just followed the standard Mastercard-issued rate.

Everyone knows that straight up cashback is better than points, which is why you’d want to use the Instarem Amaze card.

The above mentioned price you pay with the said card is if you were paying it with a no-reward debit card, but if you stacked it with a cashback credit card like the Citi Cashback+ credit card, you’d be able to get 1per cent + 1.6per cent cashback!

Shopping online on Taobao

What’s a gaming rig without a proper monitor stand? I find the ones on Amazon kinda meh, so I’ve looked towards Taobao for this. Of course, there are cheaper or better alternatives out there but this particular one speaks to my soul. Here’s the price comparison:

Card Instarem Amaze Card Citi Cashback+ Credit Card BigPay YouTrip
Issuer Mastercard Mastercard VISA Mastercard
Exchange rate (caa 6 September 2021) 0.20847 0.20847 0.20855 0.20847
Fees None  None None None
Rewards 1per cent cashback 1.6per cent cashback 20 AirAsia BIG points None
Price on checkout (SGD) $101.62 $101.62 $101.63 $101.62
Effective price (SGD) $100.60 $99.99 $101.63 $101.62

Unlike shopping on Amazon, using your credit card directly to pay on Taobao is the cheapest. This is even before Taobao’s credit card days – in the case of Citibank, it’s on Wednesdays. This particular screenshot shows that you will actually get a better deal with $10 off by just paying with your Citi Cashback+ card.

What you need to know about Instarem’s Amaze card cashback mechanics

The 1 per cent cashback is the main difference and advantage that the Amaze card has over its competitors like BigPay, Revolut, Wise (formerly TransferWise) and YouTrip. However, it’s not without strings – you can only earn that cashback on a quarterly basis.

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This cashback only applies to transactions that are $5 and above, and you need to accumulate at least $500 in transactions for that given quarter. 

There’s also a cap on how much cashback you can earn: it’s $100 per quarter. Also, you won’t earn cashback if you were to make top-ups to other e-wallets or get refunds from your online purchases.

It still beats nothing, though. Its competitors – BigPay, Revolut, Wise (formerly TransferWise) and YouTrip – offer no cashback on their similar card offerings. 

That being said, you might still want to compare all the remittance providers if you’re interested in sending money across borders, like remitting money from Singapore to Malaysia.

How to sign up for Instarem’s Amaze card

The good thing about having such a fintech product is that you don’t have to wait for the physical card to start shopping online. You can just get your details verified via Singpass and start shopping once it’s approved. You’ll have to wait for the card itself to arrive in your mailbox if you want to use it for public transport commutes, though.

Through Sept 23, 2021, signing up for the Instarem Amaze card and spending $500 on it can give you a chance to get a $50 foodpanda voucher. This is provided you are one of the first 500 people who sign up for the card. Full terms and conditions here.

Best credit cards to pair with the Instarem Amaze card

The best way to take advantage of the Instarem Amaze card cashback is to pair it with another cashback credit card.

Citi Cashback+ Mastercard

Citibank’s Citi Cashback+ card is currently the highest cash back credit card that’s issued by Mastercard. It offers 1.6 per cent cashback on most spends, and it comes with a sweet sign-up deal if you’re new to Citibank’s offering. It’s only beaten by the Amex-only UOB Absolute Cashback, which offers 1.7 per cent cashback.

ALSO READ: Denied a personal loan? How to improve your credit score now

Standard Chartered Unlimited Cashback Mastercard

This is the runner-up to the Mastercard cashback race, offering 1.5 per cent cashback on all spending. To make up for that loss of 0.1 per cent cashback that the Citi card has, it has a two-year annual fee waiver and you get up to five free supplementary cards.

Citi Rewards Mastercard

If you’re into points and rewards, your best bet is to get the Citi Rewards card. Getting this card means that you will entitle yourself to 10x rewards points, or the equivalent of 4 miles for every $1 spent.

Most cards’ conversions are about 2 to 3 miles for every dollar spent. However, there is a cap of 10,000 points per month.

Even though the multicurrency card and credit card landscape in Singapore is very crowded, Instarem offers an elegant solution to the card bloat that many of us have with the Amaze card.

Hopefully, there would be more cards like this offering even more competitive cashback in the future, as well as a more consolidated solution to keeping tabs on each card’s statement.

This article was first published in MoneySmart.