Credit Cards News

HSBC adding rewards exclusion categories from July, including insurance payments

HSBC is cutting a raft of spend categories from miles earning and cashback from July, including education, utilities and insurance payments. CardUp, ipaymy and RentHero transactions will also be affected.

HSBC Building SS

HSBC has announced that it is updating the categories of qualifying and eligible transactions for HSBC Rewards Points earning or cashback from 1st July 2020, adding a swathe of spend exclusions including insurance, education and utilities payments.

Payments made through CardUp and ipaymy will also become ineligible, so do be aware if you’re using the HSBC Visa Infinite or Revolution cards though these channels for bill or tax payments.

Note that miles earning rates and frequent flyer programme transfer ratios all remain the same even after these changes, only spend exclusion categories are affected.


Current exclusions

Currently the following transactions are not eligible for HSBC Rewards Points (and therefore miles) earning, until 30th June 2020:

  • Fund transfers, balance transfers, cash advances, finance charges, late charges, and any other fees and charges pursuant to HSBC’s credit card cardholder’s agreement
  • Charges to a card under HSBC’s Cash Instalment Plan, any expenditure incurred as part of a ‘Points plus cash’ redemption, any expenditure relating to a corporate or business transaction
  • Transactions relating to the trading of securities of any kind including but not limited to any top up of any cash amount required by a financial institution, transactions relating to any stored value card including but not limited to EZLink and Transitlink facilities.
  • Transactions relating to any payment or money transfer facilities, any un-posted, cancelled, disputed and refunded transactions and such other categories of transactions which HSBC may exclude from time to time without notice or giving reasons.

Source: HSBC Rewards Programme T&C (Sep 19)

New exclusions

From 1st July 2020, the exclusion list is expanding to cover the following categories:

  • Foreign exchange transactions (including but not limited to;
  • Donations and payments to charitable, social organisations and religious organisations;
  • Quasi-cash transactions (including but not limited to transactions relating to money orders, traveler’s checks, gaming related transactions, lottery tickets and gambling);
  • Payments made to financial institutions, securities brokerages or dealers (including but not limited to the trading of securities, investments or crypto-currencies of any kind);
  • Payments on money payments/transfers (including but not limited to Paypal, SKR, CardUp, SmoovPay, iPayMy);
  • Payments to any professional services provider (including but not limited to GOOGLE Ads, Facebook Ads, Amazon Web Services, MEDIA TRAFFIC AGENCY INC);
  • Top-ups, money transfers or purchase of credits of prepaid cards, stored-value cards or e-wallets (including but not limited to EZ-Link, Transitlink, NETS Flashpay and Youtrip);
  • Payments in connection with any government institutions and/or services (including but not limited to court costs, fines, bail and bond payment);
  • Any AXS and ATM transactions;
  • Tax payments (except HSBC Tax Payment Facility);
  • Payments for cleaning, maintenance and janitorial services (including property management fees);
  • Payments to insurance companies (including but not limited to sales, underwriting, premiums and insurance services);
  • Payments to educational institutions;
  • Payments on utilities;
  • The monthly instalment amounts under the HSBC Spend Instalment;
  • Balance transfers, fund transfers, cash advances, finance charges, late charges, HSBC’s Cash Instalment Plan, any fees charged by HSBC;
  • Any unposted, cancelled, disputed and refunded transactions.

Source: HSBC Rewards Programme T&C (Jul 20)


Which cards?

The following HSBC credit cards are affected by the change. We have provided links to the relevant current and new terms and conditions documents in each case.


HSBC Visa Infinite

HSBC Revo Card Small

HSBC Revolution


HSBC Visa Platinum


HSBC Premier

Card small

HSBC Advance

Income tax

If you were hoping to use your HSBC credit card to settle your annual IRAS income tax bill this year, don’t despair.

The bank’s own HSBC Tax Payment Facility will continue to be considered an eligible transaction for Rewards Points earning even after 1st July 2020, and actually comes out cheaper than the CardUp / ipaymy options anyway.

Card Method Fee Mpd Cost
Step up
HSBCtrans 1.5% 1.25* 1.20¢*
HSBCtrans 0.5% 0.4 1.25¢
Step up
(until 30 Jun)
ipaymy.png 1.75% 1.25* 1.38¢*
Step up
(until 30 Jun)
CardUp Trans 1.75% 1.25*  1.38¢*
HSBCviNEW.pngHSBC VI HSBCtrans 1.5% 1.0 1.50¢
(until 30 Jun)
ipaymy.png 1.75% 1.0 1.72¢
(until 30 Jun)
CardUp Trans 1.75% 1.0  1.72¢
HSBC Revo Card.pngHSBC Revo HSBCtrans 0.7% 0.4  1.75¢
CardHSBC Visa
HSBCtrans 0.7% 0.4  1.75¢

* Step up earn rate is only applicable from year 2 of card membership onwards, provided you spent at least S$50,000 in the previous year

HSBC’s own tax payment facility also has the advantage of being a ‘Return Payment Method’, whereby the bank will actually transfer your IRAS NoA statement balance to your bank account for you to then make payment yourself.

That gives you the option to use the funds to settle your credit card bill the following month, and continue to pay IRAS by monthly GIRO instalment, not an option with CardUp or ipaymy.


Rental payments

Since all payment types using CardUp or ipaymy will become ineligible for miles earning through HSBC cards from July, you’ll have to be careful if you are using any of these cards (like the HSBC Visa Infinite) to make your monthly rental payment through these channels.

Singapore Condo Pool
If you’re paying your monthly rental using an HSBC credit card through CardUp or ipaymy, you’ll want to change this arrangement before July 2020

We also assume that RentHero, who offer a competitive 1.75% fee monthly rental payment option and currently support the HSBC Visa Infinite card as a miles-earning payment type, will also become ineligible as part of these changes.

We checked with the RentHero team and they confirmed that the new list of exclusions would very likely mean payments using the HSBC VI through their portal would also not earn rewards points from 1st July 2020, and they will be advising of this in due course.


Alternative cards

Some alternative cards to HSBC you can consider from 1st July 2020 for these transaction types are:

Insurance payments

Education payments

  • Amex Singapore credit cards (incl. SIA co-brand cards)
  • BOC Elite Miles (see note above)
  • Maybank Horizon Visa


  • Amex Singapore credit cards (incl. SIA co-brand cards)
  • Standard Chartered credit cards (e.g. X Card, SCVI)
  • UOB credit cards (e.g. PRVI Miles, KrisFlyer UOB)


Most of our readers will only be holding either the HSBC Visa Infinite (see our review) or the HSBC Revolution card, so if you’re using either of these for payments like insurance, education or utilities payments do be aware of these new exclusions kicking in from 1st July 2020.

HSBC Revo Card Small

The HSBC Revolution card takes quite a hit here, due to its uncapped 2 mpd rate for online spend, which was useful for online education, insurance and utilities payments. These will soon earn no miles at all.

Make sure you complete these types of online transaction by 30th June 2020 if you can, then switch to a different card after that.

HSBC Singapore Building (HSBC Group)
HSBC Singapore credit card customers won’t earn rewards points or cashback on a range of additional transaction types from July 2020. (Photo: HSBC)

If you were considering using your HSBC Visa Infinite for an income tax payment through CardUp or ipaymy this year (which you probably shouldn’t be – given that HSBC’s own tax payment facility is cheaper), make sure you complete your payment before 30th June 2020 otherwise you won’t earn any rewards points for the transaction.

We’ve updated our comprehensive guide to paying your income tax by credit card in 2020 to take account of these changes from HSBC.

(Cover Photo: Shutterstock)



    1. Yes you’re right, thanks! I had an older copy of the T&Cs. Looks like they excluded insurance since 1 March 2020. Corrected.

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