Credit Cards: Cashback vs. Rewards Team Team

Last updated 31 October, 2019

Credit Cards: Cashback vs. Rewards

What makes a credit card more rewarding? Is it getting your money back in the form of cashback or earning rewards points that you can use to redeem cash vouchers and other merchandise? Read on to find out more about how they measure up against each other.


Credit Cards: Cashback vs. Rewards Are cashback credit cards really all about the money?


What Is A Cashback Credit Card?

A cashback credit card is a credit card that offers you a rebate called 'cashback' by your issuing bank. Cashback (a.k.a. ‘cash back’) is an incentive offered by banks for their credit cards in order to get you to spend more using the card. You will be refunded a percentage of the amount that you spend into your credit card’s account.

For example, the OCBC 365 MasterCard offers 1% cashback for the first RM1,000 every month and 0.5% cashback for subsequent amounts above RM1,000 that you spend with the card.

This means you receive RM10 cashback for the first RM1,000 and 0.5% of whatever you else you spend on with the card. So with that in mind, it’s not wrong to think of a cashback credit card as a permanent discount on everything you spend on.

What Should I Look For In A Cashback Credit Card?

When choosing a cashback credit card, make sure to get one that rewards you most for the most frequent spending category you will be using it for. Some cards like the Hong Leong WISE Platinum let you choose the categories you get to enjoy its 10% cashback on. Others like the Shell-Citi Gold Card reward you for pumping petrol at Shell Stations or give you unlimited 1% cashback for online transactions like the OCBC Titanium MasterCard.

You can also refer to this list of cashback credit cards that we’ve picked out for you:

Category Cashback (%) Monthly Cap Credit Card
Retail • 1% for first RM1,000• 0.5% for above RM1,000 Uncapped OCBC 365 MasterCardMinimum income requirement: RM24,000 per annum
Petrol • 8% on Shell fuel with minimum spend of RM2,500

• 4% rebate (RM300-RM999) Max monthly Shell fuel capped at RM250• 6% rebate (RM1,000-RM2,499) Max monthly Shell fuel capped at RM500

• 8% rebate with (>RM2,500) Max monthly Shell fuel capped at RM800

Shell-Citi Gold CardMinimum income requirement: RM24,000 per annum

• 1% for all online and overseas spending• 0.1% on all other spending

• Uncapped

Uncapped OCBC Titanium MasterCardMinimum income requirement: RM24,000 per annum
Travel & Entertainment • 10% on chosen category with 10 retail transactions (RM50 min) Capped at RM100/month Hong Leong WISE PlatinumMinimum income requirement: RM60,000 per annum

See also: How To Compare Cashback Credit Cards

What Is A Rewards Credit Card?

A rewards credit card is a credit card that earns you more rewards points from your issuing bank. Rewards points are another form of incentive offered by banks that are calculated based on the amount of money you spend with your credit cards. By collecting rewards points on all your transactions, you can redeem different types of products, such as electronics, furniture, shopping vouchers and other products or services offered by the bank.

What Should I Look For In A Rewards Credit Card?

Just like cashback credit cards, there are different tiers for the amount of rewards points that you can earn based on the spending category. So again, you should always choose a rewards credit card that gives you the most value based on your spending habits. And if you’re smart with your spending, you can continuously redeem points to get more value for your ringgit.

Check out these rewards credit cards that we’ve picked out based on the spending categories:


Rewards Rewards to Cash Ratio

Credit Card


• 20,000 Welcome Citi Rewards Points• 5x Citi Rewards Points all year round for up to five categories (First two categories are free for the first year; each RM15,000 spend per year also entitles you to a free category)

• 1x Citi Rewards Points for other spending

Worth RM1.89 for every RM100 spent Citi Rewards Platinum CardMinimum income requirement: RM36,000 per annum



• 8x TreatsPoints on weekends• 5x TreatsPoints on weekdays at PETRONAS

• 8x TreatsPoints on weekends for groceries

• Enjoy free petrol by redeeming petrol vouchers using TreatsPoints

Worth RM1.74 for every RM100 spent

Maybank Islamic Petronas Ikhwan Visa Gold Card-iMinimum income requirement: RM30,000 per annum



 • 5x TreatsPoints for all spending except at government bodies, education institution and insurance providers• 2x TreatsPoints for spending at government bodies, education institution and insurance providers Worth RM1.09 for every RM100 spent Maybank 2 Gold CardMinimum income requirement: RM30,000 per annum

Travel & Entertainment

 • 10X Reward Points on overseas hotel room & dining spend• 8X Reward Points at Mid Valley Megamall & The Gardens Mall

• 5X Reward Points on airline tickets, room and dining spend at local hotels and all spend at 30+ malls nationwide

Worth RM3.33 for every RM100 spent (Overseas hotels and dining spend) HSBC Visa SignatureMinimum income requirement: RM100,000 per annum


So which should I choose?

That depends on the type of spending you intend to use the credit card for and the type of incentive that fits you best! There are also different features that you also need to consider, such as the annual fees, airmiles conversion ratio and interest rates.

In some cases, a cardholder could prefer the Citi-Shell Gold Visa because they feel that the monthly income requirements are lower and that it is more convenient to get the cashback directly into their account. For those who prefer an Islamic credit card or feel that the monthly cap for amount of Shell fuel eligible for the cashback is too little, they may choose to use the Maybank Petronas Ikhwan Visa Gold Card-i.

Credit cards can be a very powerful tool to collect cashback or to earn rewards points on your spending. Check out's credit card comparison tool to find yourself the best rewards or cashback credit card today!

Julian-Profile PicBy Julian M. Edwin

Julian is the Content Manager of He can usually be found reading up on the latest financial news, life hacks or money-saving tips.


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