It’s hard to keep up with the latest offers for bill and tax payments lately. Just last week we waited for CardUp and ipaymy to reveal their 2020 income tax payment deals before writing an extensive analysis on the best way to settle your IRAS bill this year.
Earlier today Citi started offering 25% more miles for income tax payments through its PayAll facility using your PremierMiles card, and now it’s Standard Chartered introducing an improved deal for those using its SC EasyBill service.
EasyBill is a way for Standard Chartered’s credit card customers to earn the usual rewards points or cashback for outgoings not usually allowing credit card payments, like rental payments and education expenses.
Here are the available payment categories:
Payments towards the monthly rental amount specified in a tenancy agreement as entered into between you and your landlord.
Payments made towards the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore for individual tax or property tax purposes.
Insurance premium payments due towards any insurance policies including health insurance, motor insurance, life insurance, foreign domestic worker insurance and travel insurance.
Payments towards any educational service like school fees, university fees, polytechnic fees, fees related to training institutes, for enrichment centres and day cares, pertaining to extracurricular activities (e.g. dance, music, painting, cookery, yoga, gardening, language programmes), fees for hobbies, for any sports activity involving an instructor, and tuition fees.
SC EasyBill still only supports one-time payment requests and not recurring payments. We had hoped that would change since it’s especially inconvenient for rental payments, as you’ll have to set up a new payment each month in that case, but alas no progress yet.
The new rate
When first launched, SC EasyBill had a flat 2% fee, however that has been reduced today to 1.9%, meaning a more competitive cost per mile for these payments using the service.
|Card||Cost per mile
|Cost per mile
* For the SCVI card, the earn rate of 1.4 mpd remains subject to a minimum spend of S$2,000 in the same statement period. EasyBill payments do count towards the total. Otherwise you will earn 1 mpd.
Importantly you still wouldn’t use this facility to pay your SCVI Income Tax bill, because the Income Tax payment facility for that card is still being offered at a 1.6% fee.
That method allows for an excellent 1.14 cents per mile fee, though amazingly this year there are still some better options using ipaymy with some 1.6 mpd cards.
|SCVI||SCVI Income Tax Facility||1.6%
Remember this earn rate (and therefore cost per mile) still requires at least S$2,000 spending in the same statement cycle as your tax payment is processed.
SC EasyBill should only be used for one of the other categories (Rent, Insurance or Education) using the SCVI card.
How EasyBill works
Previously you had to send an SMS to Standard Chartered to find out if you were eligible for the SC EasyBill service, then if you were a link was provided to complete the application process.
That’s now changed and the SC EasyBill website has a much more helpful ‘Apply Now’ button.
You’ll then be prompted to log on to your online banking portal, using the same details you would to access your SCVI or X Card account for example.
Once you’ve logged on, you will be presented with the application form for the SC EasyBill service.
Select the payment type (in this example IRAS) then enter the relevant details.
You’ll be able to select which Standard Chartered credit card you wish to use for payment from a drop-down list if applicable. In my case I can choose either my SCVI card or X Card.
Finally you can see the fee applicable (1.9% in this case, for a S$10,000 income tax bill), plus the miles you’ll be awarded for the transaction. In this case using the SCVI card I would get 14,000 miles (10,000 x 1.4 mpd).
If I change the payment card from the drop-down menu to my X Card, the new miles total appears, as shown below.
Note that to confirm your EasyBill payment you will not be asked up upload any supporting documents at this stage, such as an invoice or tenancy agreement, or for the IRAS example your NoA. However Standard Chartered may ask you to submit “documents evidencing that the transaction made using SC EasyBill is an Eligible Payment” before processing the application.
How long does it take?
Standard Chartered specifies a 7 business day period from submission to payment date for an EasyBill transaction.
Will the SCVI income tax payment facility remain?
This latest change does make us wonder whether Standard Chartered will continue to offer its SCVI Income Tax Payment facility at a 1.6% fee.
This one does require a copy of your latest NoA, but crucially pays the balance into your personal bank account (while charging your credit card by the same amount, plus the fee), then it’s up to you to arrange payment to IRAS – the so-called ‘Return Payment Method’.
SC EasyBill on the other hand settles your IRAS bill directly, the so-called ‘Direct to IRAS Method’.
Here’s how the two methods work:
It gives the SCVI Income Tax Payment Facility the great advantage of being able to be processed, after which you use the money they give you to settle your credit card statement the following month, then you pay your IRAS bill off by monthly GIRO installment.
That benefit would be lost if the facility was ditched in favour of SC EasyBill, so it’s not only the change from 1.14 cents per mile to 1.36 cents per mile that would be bad news if that happened.
Luckily the facility still seems to be going strong, and it wasn’t removed when SC EasyBill was first introduced, so we’re hopeful it remains available for this tax year at least. After that, with the SCVI already closed for new applications, it’s anyone’s guess what will happen.
Is 1.9% for everyone?
Not necessarily. Ever since SC EasyBill started, Standard Chartered has maintained that:
“The SC EasyBill Fee is not a fixed amount as it will vary according to the SC EasyBill Facility chosen by the Qualified Cardholder in the Online Application”
Thing is, that never seems to be the case. For both Eddie and I the fee used to be 2% for all payment types and since today it has been reduced to 1.9% for all payment types.
When we first wrote about EasyBill we asked our readers to let us know what rate they had been offered for the service and the answer was always the same – 2% (at the time).
That leads us to safely conclude that everyone is now receiving the 1.9% fee, though do let us know in the comments section below if that’s not the case.
Terms and conditions
The terms and conditions for SC EasyBill haven’t been updated – they still refer for example to the need to send an SMS to determine eligibility and complete the application form, even though it’s now done through online banking (desktop).
In fact when we send the SMS today (the old way) and follow the link it still charges us both the old 2% fee – so do it the new way and apply via this link for the new 1.9% deal.
Click here to read the (current) full terms and conditions for SC EasyBill.
Our income tax payment analysis
We’ve fully updated our detailed analysis of which credit card and which payment method to use for your upcoming 2020 income tax payment, in light of this new 1.9% rate from Standard Chartered for the EasyBill service.
Sadly it does not result in a lower cost per mile than ipaymy’s 1.75% fee offer in any case, so your method probably isn’t going to change as a result.
As IRAS Notice of Assessments continue to be sent out, the credit card companies are still trying to corner the market by offering more competitive income tax payment options of their own.
Unlike Citi though, who’ve logically undercut both ipaymy and CardUp with their PremierMiles 25% bonus miles offer through PayAll, Standard Chartered hasn’t really changed the game here.
Reducing its EasyBill fee to 1.9% fee for its three primary miles earning cards still results in a cost per mile above that ipaymy are offering for those cards this year.
On the plus side, SC EasyBill now offers a potentially better value option than Citi PayAll for other payments like Rent, Insurance and Education, with the X Card now boasting a superior cost per mile than the Citi PremierMiles option for these payments, and the SCVI coming out ahead of the Citi Prestige.
The big question of course is the Standard Chartered Visa Infinite direct tax payment facility, still offering a 1.6% fee for 1.4 miles per dollar earn rate on income tax bills of S$2,000 or more (or even less than that provided you top up your spend to >S$2,000 in the same statement cycle).
Will that excellent method to earn miles at a cost of 1.14 cents each remain for much longer? Let’s hope so.