Credit Cards

Should You Get Your University-Bound Child a Supplementary Credit Card?

As your child takes on new responsibilities along the way to university, should you consider offering them a supplementary credit card?

Transitioning into university is a major life experience and comes with many new expenses (beyond tuition and education loan payments). While it may seem easier to manage your child's spending personally, or to send them off with a student credit card, it can be far more rewarding–both for you and your child–to provide a supplementary credit card associated with your own primary account. Based on common 1st-year student expenses, we've identified some of the best credit cards available for such occasions.

Top Miles for Spend at Fast Food Outlets On & Near Campus

For university students, dining is often all about convenience. While there are a variety of options, food delivery and fast food outlets are amongst the cheapest and easiest. While your child could simply use cash to buy meals, the right supplementary credit card could substantially reward such purchases. American Express Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Credit Card, for example, offers up to 3.1 miles per S$1 spend with merchants like Foodpanda, Deliveroo, Starbucks, McDonald's, Subway and more. Considering the average cost of a fast food meal is S$8.94, this could add up to nearly 2,500 miles earned in a semester, just from weekly lunch.

With a supplementary rewards credit card, it's possible to quickly accrue miles or cashback for everyday spending

Additionally, supplementary cardholders need only be 18+ years old. While there's a S$53.5 annual fee, it's waived the 1st year. Furthermore, Amex SIA KF Card is a great deal for primary cardholders, offering some of the best sign-on promotions on the market. Primary cardholders can not only earn up to 12,500 miles as a welcome bonus, they also receive 1,500 bonus miles per added supplementary card–another reason to consider Amex SIA KF Card both for you and your university-bound child.

Lose the Uniforms, Earn Points for Clothes Shopping

From primary and secondary school up to junior college, your child has likely had to wear a school-prescribed uniform. Now that they're university-bound, such uniforms have gone out the window, leaving your child with the opportunity to express themselves through fashion. Unfortunately, new clothes can be expensive. If your child is building a wardrobe in preparation for their 1st year, you may want to consider a supplementary shopper card, such as OCBC Titanium Rewards. Supplementary cardholders enjoy the equivalent of 4 miles per S$1 spend on shopping (retail fashion plus merchants like Lazada & Qoo10) and even receive free eCommerce Protection.

With OCBC Titanium Rewards Credit Card, it's possible to enjoy both miles rewards as well as discounts on select fashion retail

OCBC Titanium Rewards' supplementary card is accessible to individuals 18+ years old, and its S$96.3 annual fee is waived for 2 years. Even better, primary cardholders can avoid a fee altogether when they spend S$833/month and enjoy perks like airport lounge access and complimentary use of JetQuay Quayside.

Turn Weekend Entertainment into Easy Cash Rebates

Weekends are a great time to seek reprieve from stressful studying. If your child is likely to hit the town on their time off, you may want to consider providing them with a UOB YOLO supplementary card. UOB YOLO is uniquely tailored to young adults, offering up to 8% rebates on weekend Grab, dining, and entertainment. While the primary cardholder must be 21+ years old and earn S$30k+ per year, supplementary cardholders need only be 18+ years old. Even more–unlike with other options–supplementary cardholders never have to pay an annual fee.

Young adults can earn rewards for weekend spending–including Grab rides–with the right supplementary credit card

With UOB YOLO Card, supplementary cardholders also earn additional rebates and discounts on everything from local restaurants to movie tickets. And, because of the ageless appeal of dining out and enjoying weekend entertainment, adult primary cardholders are likely to benefit too.

Foster Financial Independence in a Semi-Controlled Way

Perhaps the best reason to provide your university-bound child with a supplementary credit card is to teach them responsible personal finance habits while still remaining personally engaged. Because supplementary transactions show up on the primary cardholder's transactions, you can keep an eye on your child's spending behaviour. Additionally, all miles or cashback earned are credited to the primary cardholder's account, allowing you to allocate rewards on your own terms. Ultimately, becoming an adult involves both new expenses and new responsibilities. A supplementary credit card offers young adults an opportunity to learn how to properly use a rewards credit card, while also providing a substantial return.

Carrie Arndt

Carrie is a Senior Analyst at ValueChampion, helping consumers find the best credit cards and other financial products based on quantitative and qualitative analysis. She previously led consumer studies worldwide as a Senior Research Executive at MMR Research, and led development & operations and BellaVetro. She attended Duke University and Penn State University, graduating with a degree in Political Science and Government. Her work has been featured on a variety of major media such as Yahoo Finance, Asia One, Buro, Zuu Online and more.

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