When and How to Move Beyond Your First Credit Card

Fatin Haris

Fatin Haris

Last updated 14 September, 2023

Credit cards are like your financial sidekicks, offering convenience, rewards, and a sense of financial responsibility. Many of us start our credit card journey with a basic card, but as our financial situation evolves, so should our plastic companion. In this guide, we'll explore when it's appropriate to consider switching to a different credit card or having a second credit card and the steps involved in upgrading. Buckle up; it's time to elevate your credit card game!

Before we go into details, let’s understand the terms that we’ll be using in this article:

Upgrading: This is when you apply to switch to a different card from the same issuer. You will keep your account history and credit limit, but you may get different benefits, such as a higher reward rate or lower interest rate.

Getting a second credit card: This is when you apply for a new credit card from a different issuer. You will get a new account and credit limit, and you may get different benefits than your first card.

What are the signs that indicate I should upgrade or obtain a
second credit card?

Wondering if it's the right time to level up your credit card game? Let's figure that out together. Before you dive into upgrading or getting a second credit card, here's a checklist to ensure you're fully prepared:

Get a second credit card if you have improved your credit score

Signs: Your credit score has significantly improved since you first got your card, reflecting responsible financial behavior.

Why: An enhanced credit score acts as your golden ticket. It unlocks cards with lower interest rates, higher credit limits, and more appealing rewards. Imagine paying less in interest and having more financial flexibility!

Suitable Card: If before this, you’re on a ZERO annual fee card, you are now ready for:

Standard Chartered Simply Cash Credit Card


  • Up to 15% Cashback on Petrol, Selected E-wallets, Selected Grocery & Dining spend
  • Annual Fee waiver for the first year
  • e-Commerce Purchase Protection (coverage up to USD200)


  • Minimum monthly income: RM3,000
  • Annual fee: RM250 (waived in the first year, subsequent years waived with minimum spend of RM12,000)

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Consider an upgrade if your lifestyle is changing.

Signs: Is your lifestyle undergoing shifts? Perhaps your income has seen a boost, or you're finding yourself jet-setting more often.

Why Upgrade: Different cards cater to different lifestyles. Upgrading allows you to sync up your plastic companion with your new circumstances, maximizing rewards and benefits. More income might mean a card with higher credit limits, while frequent travel could lead you to a card offering airline miles and travel perks.

Suitable Card: Depending on your lifestyle, if you're traveling more, consider getting:



  • Get a 2,000 UNIRM bonus when you make a retail spend at least 3X per month (minimum spend applies and with limited redemptions)
  • 5X UNIRM for overseas spendUp to 5X UNIRM Points for Airlines, Hotels & Travel Agency spend, all capped at RM5,000 combined
  • 50% OFF on Grab Rides (up to RM10 off and with limited vouchers)


  • Minimum monthly income: RM5,000
  • Annual fee: RM198

Upgrade your credit card to enjoy better rewards and perks

Signs: You find yourself underwhelmed by the rewards and perks your current credit card

Why Upgrade: Upgrading to a card with juicier rewards and exclusive perks can transform your financial journey. Think cashback, points, or miles that make your everyday spending more rewarding.

Suitable Card: Contact your credit card issuer and have them suggest the best card for you if you’re thinking of an upgrade. Just #FYI, one of the best rewards and perks credit cards is:

RHB Cash Back Visa Credit Card


  • Up to 12% cashback on dining and grocery spend done online (capping conditions and minimum spend apply)
  • Up to 5% cashback on restaurant, petrol, groceries and utilities spend (capping conditions and minimum spend apply)
  • 0.2% cashback on all other spend, no cap and minimum spend required


  • Minimum monthly income: RM2,000
  • Annual fee: RM70 (Annual fee waived for the first year. Waive your annual fees when you make a minimum spend of RM10,000 yearly)

Related: Choosing Your First Credit Card In Malaysia: What You Need To Know

Now that you've checked off these important criteria, you're ready to explore the steps to upgrade or get a second credit card. Let's dive into that process:

Steps to upgrade or get a second credit card

  1. Check your credit score. A higher credit score can qualify you for better cards. Obtain a free credit report from a reliable source, like CTOS.
  2. Research card options. Understand what's available in the market and what suits your needs by comparing credit cards online, and considering interest rates, rewards, annual fees, and benefits.
  3. Contact your current issuer. Your Current Issuer might offer an upgrade option without a hard. Call the number at the back of your current card to inquire OR
  4. Apply elsewhere and choose a card that aligns with your financial goals. If your current issuer doesn't have suitable options, apply elsewhere and choose a card that aligns with your financial goals.
  5. Activate and use your credit card.

Here are some additional tips for upgrading or getting a second credit card:

  • Be sure to read the terms and conditions of any card you are considering before you apply.
  • Make sure you understand the annual fee and any other fees associated with the card.
  • Only apply for cards that you are likely to be approved for.
  • Use your new card responsibly and pay your bills on time to build your credit history.

Upgrading or getting a second card is a strategic financial move that can lead to better rewards, financial flexibility, and improved financial health. As you consider upgrading, keep in mind your financial goals and evolving needs. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you'll be well on your way to enjoying the benefits of a credit card that aligns perfectly with your current circumstances. Upgrade wisely, and watch your financial life soar to new heights.



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