Are you a loyal user of cash and debit card? I was one of the loyal users. This is because my parents told me that cash is king from young. That is why businesses that deal with ‘Cash Only’ would have healthy cash flow. On the other hand, credit card was painted as a devil. Interest rates from credit card is high and you can get bankrupt with it. These perception holds on to me well even after I join the work force. Therefore, I tried to use cash or debit card whenever possible. However, once I learned the benefits of credit cards and E-wallets, I seldom use cash or debit card nowadays.
Pros and cons of cash/ debit card
By using cash or debit card, you can only purchase things that you can afford. This is good as you would not overspend your budget. Besides that, you would most likely think twice before purchasing something. This is because psychologically we feel more painful paying with cash. In addition, you do not need to track the credit card balance and paying interest if you missed out any payment.
On the other hand, it can be hard to track your spending unless you track it manually or via apps which I introduced here. Besides that, you can easily drop your cash unknowingly and there goes your money. And for debit card, if someone has access to it, it means they have access to your money in your bank account. Therefore, your loss can be uncontrolled. It can be a minor or total loss depending on how much you saved in that bank account.
Increase the value of your money with credit card
By using cash or debit card, the value of RM1 equals to RM1 and thus the end of a transaction. However, if I use a credit card to pay for RM1, when I pay the RM1 balance, the value is more than that. When you use a credit card, you will either get cash back or credit card points. For example, if you get 5% cashback from credit card for paying RM1, you will get RM0.05. In other words, you have increased the value of RM1 by 5%.
However, for credit card points, the calculation is not so straightforward. But you can follow the steps below:
- Calculate the points you can get with RM1
- Check the bank catalogue for the item that you wish to redeem
- Divide the points required by the points you get with RM1
- Research the market price of the item
- Divide the market price of the item by the points you obtained from step 3
- The additional value for RM1 will be the number from step 5
For example, let’s take Maybank 2 Gold Cards to do some calculation. On weekdays, you get 5 TreatPoints with the American Express card. Next, let’s say we redeem the Panasonic 40” LED TV from the catalogue. The market price that I got from Shopee is RM1299. Therefore, the steps are as below:
- You get 5 points with RM1
- Panasonic 40” LED TV
- We divide 643k points by 5 points which comes to 128,600 points
- RM1299/128600 points
- RM0.01 which is 1% of RM1
Therefore, you increased the value of RM1 by 1% if you use the AMEX card on weekday. However, there are various things that will affect the value. For example, during Maybank’s Treats Fair, you can redeem the same item with lesser points.
Further increase the value of your money with E-wallet
You can even increase the value of RM1 further by double-dipping with E-wallets. This can be done by topping up your E-wallets with credit card. However, do take not that Maybank do not give cashback or TreatPoints when you use their cards to top up E-wallets. We can use the calculation for credit card points for E-wallets as well. Let’s take Grab for example. If you are a Platinum member, you get 3 points for every RM1 spent. And let’s say we will use 800 points for RM5 Tesco voucher.
- You get 3 points with RM1
- RM5 Tesco voucher
- We divide 800 points by 3 which comes to 267 points (rounded up)
- RM5/267 points
- RM0.0187 which is around 2% of RM1 if rounded up
Therefore, by using credit card to top up your E-wallet, you get cashback/credit card points + E-wallet points.
You can even triple-dip with Samsung Pay where you will get cashback/ credit card points + E-wallet points + Samsung Reward points. You can read in depth the articles here written by GenX GenY GenZ.
Be a smart consumer
Since it is free to register for E-wallets, do sign up for them as more merchants now accepts E-wallets. The main ones that I use are Grab, Boost, Touch n’ Go, and Fave. Fave is used to link my AMEX card to get cashback or TreatPoints. If you have expiring AirAsia BIG points, you can link it to Fave to offset your purchase amount.
On the other hand, there are requirements to sign-up for credit card which you can research with CompareHero, RinggitPlus, and iMoney. If you are not rushing to get a credit card, wait for offers before signing up. If you are a new to bank customer, there are usually free items for Standard Chartered, HSBC, and Citibank cards from the platforms above.
Besides that, not all cards are created equally. If a person pumps a lot at Petronas, he or she might use a Petronas Maybank Visa Gold to get 8x points on weekends. However, if you do not pump at Petronas, the card might not be so useful for you. You can use the platforms that I mentioned above to research. Or you can also start off with the articles created by GenX GenY GenZ.
In addition, do look for credit card that has no annual fee for life with no conditions. Then, you will not need to keep track of how much you have spent or how many times you have swiped with a particular credit card.
Last but not least, credit card is double-edged sword. If used wisely, it will be your best friend. Or else, it can make your life miserable.
Pros and cons of credit card/ E-wallet
In my article here, I mentioned that credit card has the highest interest rate. If you currently have credit card debts, stop using it and pay it off first. The additional value you add to your money is not worth the interest rate. Besides that, there are a lot of scams nowadays through calls, messages, and emails. Do not click into any link that is from the bank or someone claiming they are from the bank asking for your credit card info. Always use the number behind your card to call to the bank. Same goes for E-wallets, do not share your PIN with anyone.
By using credit cards and E-wallets, you can track your transactions easily. Besides that, for huge sum purchases, instead of carrying around a bag stacked with cash, you can pay with ease with your credit card or E-wallet. In addition, it is easier to reverse a fraud transaction from a credit card than a debit card. Lastly, to encourage credit card and E-wallet usage, banks and E-wallet companies occasionally give out special promotions that will be added bonus for you.
Even though you can increase the value of your money by using credit cards and E-wallets, do spend within your means. A penny saved is a penny earned. By purchasing things that you do not need to get cash back or points is not worth it. And with the convenience of mobile phone, you can link credit cards and E-wallets to shopping apps such as Lazada and Shopee which makes spending so much easier. It can go out of hand before you realize it. Therefore, think twice before you click the ‘Buy’ button. Pay your credit card balance in full before the end of the billing cycle. Most importantly, do not disclose the sensitive information of credit cards and E-wallets to anyone.
Feel free to share your favorite credit card and E-wallet that you are using in the comments section below.