CIMB AWSM Card Review: What's the Verdict?

Cashback in Key Spend Areas for Students & Low Income Adults
CIMB AWSM Card
CIMB AWSM Card

CIMB AWSM Card Review: What's the Verdict?

Cashback in Key Spend Areas for Students & Low Income Adults

4.4/5.0

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Rewards
Perks
Fees

Pros

  • Students, NSFs & low-income consumers earning less than S$30,000/year
  • People with high spend on dining, entertainment, online shopping & telco
  • Individuals interested in discounts & deals in Indonesia and Malaysia

Cons

  • Individuals who earn more than S$30,000/year
  • People who tend to eat in, and prefer to shop offline
  • Young adults looking for cashback on their utilities spend
CIMB AWSM Card
CIMB AWSM Card

CIMB AWSM Card is the best on the market for low income working adults earning less than S$30,000/year. In fact, CIMB AWSM Card is the only no-fee cashback card available to individuals who are under 35 years old and earning just S$18,000/year. As standard, CIMB AWSM Card is also available to students and NSFs with no income. All cardholders earn a respectable 1% cashback on dining, entertainment, online shopping, and telco, and have access to special offers across SE Asia with CIMB Deals & Discounts.

CIMB AWSM Card Features and Benefits

  • Annual Fee: None, Perpetual waiver
  • Income Requirement: S$0.0 for Students & NSFs (age 18-29); S$18,000 for salaried employees age below 35; S$30,000 for age above 35 for citizens & PRs, S$30,000 for foreigners
Key Features:
  • Annual fee: free
  • 1% unlimited cashback on dining, entertainment, online shopping & telco
  • No minimum spend requirement
  • S$500 credit limit
  • Access to CIMB Deals & Discounts
Promotions:
Promotions:

What Makes CIMB AWSM Card Stand Out

CIMB AWSM Card offers students, NSFs, and low-income working adults a great way to earn cashback in key spend categories. In fact, CIMB AWSM Card is one of the few available to salaried employees earning just S$18,000–the other being Standard Chartered Manhattan S$500 Card–and unlike its competitor, CIMB AWSM Card does not charge an annual fee. Cardholders also earn cashback at a respectable 1% rate, compared to as little as 0.25% with competitors.

Unlike a few similar cards, however, CIMB AWSM Card only rewards spend in select categories. Cardholders earn 1% cashback on dining, entertainment, online shopping and telco. While these are key spend areas for most consumers, groceries, petrol, offline retail and more do not earn rebates. Utility payments are also ineligible for rewards. Consumers looking for cashback on practical expenses may prefer a flat rate alternative like Maybank eVibes Card.

Ultimately, CIMB AWSM Card is great for students, NSFs, and low income working adults because of its accessibility (no minimums, no caps, no fee) and respectable rewards rate.

How Does CIMB AWSM Card’s Rewards Program Work?

Use our quick and easy-to-read guide below to learn how you you can redeem card rewards.

  • Every 1 dollar of cashback earned is equal to S$1
  • Cashback is credited to the cardholder's account in the following month
  • Cashback is automatically forfeited and is non-transferable when an account is closed

CIMB AWSM Card Rewards Exclusions

Some credit card expenditures are ineligible for earning rewards. We identify these exclusions below.

Any cash advances; late payment charges or interest charges on any card; fees payable to CIMB Bank Berhad, Singapore Branch (“CIMB Bank”) (or any other third party) for transfer of any debit balance on any other credit card to a card; any other interest, fees and charges (including without limitation, cash advance, annual or monthly fees or charges) imposed by CIMB Bank from time to time; balance and/or funds transfers to or from the card account; credit card transaction(s) that was/were subsequently cancelled, voided or reversed for any reason
Any payments to insurance companies; payments to government institutions (this includes but is not limited to government services, government related postal services, government related purchases, court costs, fines, bail and bond payments and tax payments); donations or payments to non-profit organisations (this includes but is not limited to religious and charitable organizations and social services); payments for utilities (this includes but is not limited to electric, gas, heating oil, sanitary and water utility bill payments); gambling-related transactions; quasi-cash transactions; payments done via any AXS network

How does CIMB AWSM Card Compare Against Other Cards?

CIMB AWSM Card
CIMB AWSM Card
Consider this if you earn S$18,000 and S$30,000 per year and are below the age of 35
  • Pros
    • Students, NSFs & low-income consumers earning less than S$30,000/year
    • People with high spend on dining, entertainment, online shopping & telco
    • Individuals interested in discounts & deals in Indonesia and Malaysia
    • Cons
      • Individuals who earn more than S$30,000/year
      • People who tend to eat in, and prefer to shop offline
      • Young adults looking for cashback on their utilities spend

      Read our comparisons of CIMB AWSM Card with other cards and learn what makes each card unique in their own way. We compare and contrast each card to highlight its uniqueness to help you identify the card that you need.

      CIMB AWSM Card performs below the market average for value-to-consumer after two years based on a monthly spend of S$1,500

      CIMB AWSM Card v. Standard Chartered Manhattan S$500 Card

      Standard Chartered MANHATTAN $500 Card
      Standard Chartered MANHATTAN $500 Card
      Consider this if you are a low-income working adult
      • Pros
        • Low-income young adults earning less than S$30,000/year
        • People looking for a straightforward cashback card
        • Cons
          • Students & NSFs looking to maximise cashback rewards
          • Consumers seeking cards with extra benefits & rebates
          • People who want to avoid card fees altogether

          Standard Chartered Manhattan S$500 Card is also available to low income working adults making just S$18,000/year. However, it charges a S$32.1 fee (waived 1 year). Also, cardholders earn just 0.25% cashback. While this is a flat rate–rather than category specific–it’s much lower than that offered by CIMB AWSM Card. Low income employees who spend more on groceries than on dining, or shop offline, might prefer SC Manhattan S$500 Card.

          CIMB AWSM Card v. Citi Clear Card

          Citi Clear Card
          Citi Clear Card
          Consider this if you frequently visit Starbucks and Subway
          • Pros
            • Great for student/young adult budgets
            • Good rewards at Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts and Subway
            • Cons
              • Not suitable for salaries above S$30,000/year
              • Lacks rewards on education and bills

              Students and NSFs without income can earn the equivalent of 0.4 miles per S$1 spend with Citi Clear Card. Cardholders also have access to great dining discounts through Citi Gourmet Pleasures. Low income working adults, however, are not eligible for the card. Such individuals, as well as those with spend focused on entertainment or online shopping, may instead be interested in CIMB AWSM Card.

              CIMB AWSM Card v. Maybank eVibes Card

              Consider this if you want to maximise cashback on everyday spending
              • Pros
                • Students & NSF earning less than S$30,000/year
                • People looking for easy cashback on all spend
                • Individuals hoping to avoid paying an annual fee
                • Cons
                  • Low-income working adults (ineligible for this card)
                  • Young adults who’d prefer a card with EZ-Link functionality

                  Maybank eVibes Card offers top rewards rates to students and NSFs, with 1% rebate on all spend with no minimums or earning caps. New cardholders also receive an Adidas wristwatch as a welcome gift. However, this card isn’t available to low income working adults; such individuals may benefit instead from CIMB AWSM Card.

                  Zoryana Melesh

                  Zoryana is a Senior Research Analyst at ValueChampion, who focuses on evaluating credit cards, savings and fixed deposits in Singapore. She holds a BA in Political Science and an MPA in International Finance and Economic Policy, both from Columbia University. Prior to joining ValueChampion, Zoryana worked in treasury management consulting.

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