Life Hack #4 – FavePay

If you have been following all the life hacks so far, I hope you come to realize there are just a few things you need to do (right) to extract the maximum value EVER – and it’s incredibly fun when you can check the price tag of any item (in store /or online) and derive the rebate (cashback / miles) with a few permutations of payment options at your disposal.

Did anyone say knowledge is power? I actually think being resourceful is a step better because no one truly knows everything.

Well if anything goes, I have quite a few hacks to share before we wrap up this topic in the next couple of weeks, and tip our toes into the blue ocean around CPF, SRS and investing (for all those who believe in the FIRE movement).

So today brings us to FavePay – which in my opinion – is a wonderful addition to GrabPay (almost akin to having a twin brother who shares the same joy as you). Albeit I say this metaphorically as I don’t have one (but who cares?)

So what exactly is FavePay?

It functions as a few things altogether – first, a system where you can get cash back rebates after you visit merchants who accept FavePay as a payment method, or second – a marketplace where you can get some cheap good deals from a list of merchants (think GroupOn). But what gets me excited about them is really the cashback component. Let me bring this to life with an example below –

You have decided to get a new phone at Huawei store in Somerset 313, and upon checking out, you realize that the store accepts FavePay. You open your FavePay app, and search for the store, and realize that the store gives a 1% cash back. What that means is if the phone is $500, you would get a 1% cash back which is $5 if you use FavePay to pay.

The catch here is you can only use the rebate in your subsequent purchase.

Ok, I know this is not a good example because you are more likely to only buy a phone once (and not anytime soon), but you never know when you are going to buy some accessories to go with it. So say you decided to buy 2 or more items in the same store, the trick here is to split the purchases into two so you get a rebate on the second payment.

Pay for Huawei transaction using FavePay

Once you get the idea of how FavePay works, the sky is really the limit here. Below is a screenshot of some restaurants (small sample size) that accept FavePay, but you get the drift – the more often you dine, the more rebates you get in totality.

Just search for nearby to see what places accept FavePay

For example, I like Harvest for their quality of clean/good protein food so you can see I have $1.44 stored in FavePay under Partner Cashback. That means the next time I patronize Harvest and pay via FavePay, the total bill will be offset by $1.44 (how lovely).

The beauty of FavePay is really the wide selection of food merchants that they have managed to secure. Food Republic is probably a household name that you might be familiar with (available in some shopping malls) so the next time you dine there, remember to use FavePay. Following which, you get to store the rebates for your next visit, and they can be applied at any food stall (i.e. the rebate you get from purchasing at Stall A can be applied at Stall B).

So I talked quite a bit about the cashback but you must be wondering how exactly do I ‘pay’ FavePay – must be some form of a wallet where I need to top up right?

Well, yes and no. All you need to do is top up your Grab wallet, and link it to your Fave app. Once that is done, all your subsequent FavePay transactions will be deducted from your GrabPay wallet. You don’t need to manage another wallet (in this case with Fave).

Stored cashback rebates for every store you paid previously using FavePay

Wait wait. Am I reading this right? Does that mean we get all that juicy rebates we talk about in life hack #2? Yes, yes and yes.

I’m too lazy to repeat myself again, but the TL;DR version is you get (at the bare minimum) a triple dip –

Dip 1: Top up Grab Wallet using Citi Rewards – 4mpd (valued at $0.02 per mile)

Dip 2: Get cashback when paying for your transaction using FavePay (valued depending on the merchant cashback %)

Dip 3: By means of auto deducting from GrabPay wallet, you get Grab Rewards points

So the next time you see a FavePay sign at the merchant sales counter, do what I do – smile secret;y to yourself!

If you found this article useful and want to give FavePay a shot, download using this affiliate link and both of us get a $1 each (peanuts I know, but better than nothing). T&C applies.

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Life Hack #3- GrabPay MasterCard (GPMC)

I’m probably quite late to the game when it comes to getting the physical GrabPay MasterCard but better late than never.  Now you might ask me – what’s the point of activating the physical card if we already have a virtual version of GPMC? Well, I like to think of it as complimentary more than anything. 

The physical GrabPay MasterCard

So – GrabPay wallet as it stands today is limited to retailers who accept GrabPay as a form of payment where you would scan a QR code at the sales counter, and enter the price you like to pay using the wallet. The virtual GrabPay MasterCard doubles up as your go-to when it comes to online payment because you can use it as your normal credit card (and hence, enjoying the double dipping as highlighted in life hack #2). But there used to be a problem with offline purchase where retailers don’t accept GrabPay.

Well, the problem ceases to exist now, (now) that we have the physical GPMC. You can use it via PayWave or simply use the card to pay for bills at any restaurants that accept MasterCard. With this option, you get to achieve the holy grail of 4 mpd, including the additional Grab Rewards point that comes with it. Previously without this physical card, you would have to resort to using standard general credit card that gives you a measly 1.2 to 1.6 mpd (Examples of such are DBS Altitude, Citi PremierMiles)

Now, I like to show you how you can achieve quadruple dipping if you were to do grocery shopping in NTUC in a Capitaland Mall.

Note: I’ll save you the trouble of the math in calculating the cashback value for every dip (but if you are interested in the workings, read life hack #1 & #2)

1st dip: Top up GrabPay wallet using Citibank Rewards card

Benefit: 8.8% cashback (in the form of miles to redeem flight tickets)

2nd dip: Scan your Plus! card at the point of sale (NTUC self check out counter)

Benefit: 1.33% cashback (in the form of cash rebate)

3rd dip: Pay for your groceries bill via PayWave using the physical grabpay MasterCard

Benefit: 0.8% cashback (in the form of cash vouchers)

4th dip: Take a photo of the receipt in the CapitaRewards app

Benefit: 0.5% cashback (in the form of cash vouchers)

Popcorn, popcorn. Guess what the total cashback value will be?

Drumroll please

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8.8 + 1.33+ 0.8 + 0.5 = 11.43%

In other words, you will get back $0.1143 rebate (miles + cashback) for every $1 spent using the physical GPMC.  

If 11.43% cashback doesn’t excite you, let’s isolate dip benefit #1 and look at the rewards solely from a miles redemption for flight ticket perspective. Let’s assume that we top up GrabPay $1k per month using Citi Rewards card. At the end of the year, we would have accumulated 48k miles (12k x 4). 48k miles can net you a business class round trip to Hong Kong via Singapore Airlines during their KrisFlyer spontaneous escape promotion with 6k miles to spare.

Standard miles redemption (You would need 61k miles to redeem for a HK J class ticket)
Spontaneous Escape promotion – You would now need 42k miles to redeem the same ticket

Now let’s work backwards. The price of purchasing a business class round trip to HK is $1727. Since I can now redeem the flight for free (using miles), the cashback I would get from topping up 12k into GrabPay Wallet would be 14.39% (instead of the 8.8% if we were to take the face value of each mile at $0.02).

A random search on Singaporeair.com for a business class flight to Hong Kong

This argument would only work if you have to spend $1k every month for anything really – which is realistic. So if you can make your dollar work harder for you (to get the most out of rebates), I don’t see why you wouldn’t.

Take time to digest the above. Hopefully you are as excited as me the next time you go to the grocery store (or running other errands) – knowing that you are one step closer to redeeming a free business flight by doing a few steps right. I will throw a teaser here by saying (accumulate your miles to redeem a flight to a further destination, and you will be surprised how much your cashback will increase)

To the advanced folks – Before I let you go, it’s worth noting that there is another alternative with using OBCB titanium card (in specific outlets) as they are currently giving 8mpd promo (which translates to roughly 16% cashback). Again, we use $0.02 as the value of each mile (read more here if it fascinates you). So my take is use this till the end of May (but bear in mind that there is cap of $500 spend limit). Once you have utilized that card, go back to the GPMC using GrabPay wallet top up using Citi Rewards card.

Ending off – sometimes all good things will come to an end, so enjoy it while it lasts. (There are murmurs that the 4mpd for topping up GrabPay wallet may be nerfed at some point).

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Life Hack #2 – GrabPay

Whilst I will focus entirely on GrabPay in this post, it’s worth calling out that there are other useful payment apps /or extensions – i.e. FavePay and GPMC (abbreviation for GrabPay Mastercard) that I suspect not many are utilizing them to the fullest; but I’ll save it for another day.

Let’s talk about GrabPay.

By design, it is relatively easy to use. You can top up your GrabPay wallet using any credit card of your liking, and use the existing credits in the Grab wallet to pay for stuff (i.e. merchants who accept GrabPay as a mode of payment). Now, in the majority of cases, I don’t see why you would choose to NOT use GrabPay if the option presents itself (simply because you can take advantage of double dipping).

Before you get lost, let me explain where and how you get 2 benefits for the price of 1.

Dip Benefit 1: You get miles from the credit card you use to top up GrabPay wallet

Dip Benefit 2: The moment you pay for a transaction using GrabPay, you get Grab Reward points (4 GrabReward points for every $1 spent).

In this exercise below, let’s assume you are a Grab Platinum user.

With sufficient Grab Reward points, you can redeem it for a variety of stuff within the Grab app. My choice of poison is usually the $5 Grab ride voucher (which you can redeem for 2500 Grab Rewards points). If we do the math, it tallies up to 0.8% cashback for every $1 you transact using GrabPay.

Note: If you have been a long time Grab user and have been using this feature, you would know that this reward used to be a lot better where Grab was more lenient (read: generous) in giving out more Grab Reward points. At the same time, they were kind enough to ask for lesser Reward points from you to redeem the vouchers but the days are over. I’ll save the nagging but if you like, you can read more here)

Anyway, let’s go back and wrap up dip benefit 1. The trick here is to maximize the miles you would get from the credit card for topping up GrabPay wallet. And the last I checked, Citi Rewards card is still the best option in the market, which gives you 10 Citi points for every dollar spent. When you log in to Citi website, you have an option to redeem the Citi points in exchange of miles for any of their preferred airline partners. Personally I like to fly with Singapore Airlines so I would go for the KrisFlyer program. You will need 25,000 Citi Rewards points to redeem 10,000 KrisFlyer miles. In other words, for every $1 you charge to Citi Rewards card, you get 4 KrisFlyer miles.

To the nerds, this is the exact calculation: To get 25000 Citi Rewards points, you need to spend $2500 (25000/10) $2500 spend will get you 10000 miles. $1 spend will get you 4 miles. Now, without going too much into details, the standard valuation of a mile is $0.02 here in Singapore. So every dollar you spent will give you $0.08 worth of miles.

So here comes the popcorn – if I were to sum up benefit 1 + benefit 2 in terms of cash value for every $1 spent, it would work out to be $0.08 + $0.008 (0.8% cashback for GrabPay) = $0.088 (8.8% cashback for every dollar spent).

Now there is a contentious part of the argument about this credit card cashback because you need to use the miles you have to redeem for the flight ticket. The miles value in itself will vary depending on the flight price (so for simplicity, I have set it as $0.02) but if you are lucky to snag one ticket redemption (usually at 30% discount) during SIA spontaneous escape, the value of your KrisFlyer mile will increase (since the price of the flight ticket remains the same).

Take some time to digest the above. Once you understand the concept, I hope you come to realize why credit cards that generates miles is almost always better than cashback credit cards (simply because there is cap to the latter).

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Life Hack #1 – Mall Apps, Plus!

Having WFH-ed for the last 3 weeks, I’ve gained a deeper appreciation for stay-home moms and dads – simply for the sole fact that the house /or home you stay in does not take care of itself (read: maintenance, or in business context: BAU). It’s a duh statement whatever but for what it’s worth, there are various elements (read: housework, and that includes preparing meals) when it comes to making sure a home stays a functional home (and not just a place you come back from work to chill, sleep and repeat).

I’m guilty as charged as I write this, and so I’m committed to show you (through a series of life hack posts while adding value of course) that running domestic errands expertly requires skills (and I think it is almost a full time role that deserves more credit). Anyhow, life hack starts off with this problem statement – How do you maximize every dollar that you spend in stores and extract the best value?

And before I go further, there are many ways to skin the cat, and I intend to articulate my experiences grouped in different hack categories, starting with this hack #1 on covering at the bare minimum – the baseline value.

Look, value here is not looking at the quality of stuff you buy, or looking at the promotional discount on offer. Those are extremely important, but I will argue that it is hard to apply them at scale (meaning: (1) the thing on offer may not be what others need, and (2) quality is extremely subjective (and I don’t even want to describe that in the slightest bits to prevent myself going down a rabbit hole). So, the value here is the things you can do to get something back in return (TLDR: rebates, vouchers) because that is the money you have set aside for home errands and will spend anyway (whether Covid or not).

Disclaimer: If your time is extremely precious or am a high roller who gives no f, you can stop reading now. But if you like hunting for value with minimal time invested, let’s get cracking.

I’m laying out three options below, and they can be stacked (or used together) in some instances. As a caveat, they are by no means an exhaustive list (but it is something that has worked for me).

Option 1: Get yourself a Plus! Card Get the basic Plus! Card because it’s completely free (no annual fees or sign up charges). Let’s assume we go to NTUC to get our groceries. With that card, you can tap it at the Point of Sales (POS) counter before payment, and get 2 Link Points for every $1 spent. And once you accumulate enough Link Points, you can use it to offset your transactions on the spot. The last I checked, 150 Link Points = $1. With a bit of math, this works out to be 1.33% cash rebate.

Option 2: Download My NexRewards App This could be any shopping mall that you patronize and near where you stay (as long as they have something like a mall app). I stay a train stop away from Serangoon so NEX is one of the most convenient options for me to get the groceries in check, and they launched the My NexRewards App a while back.

So how it works is you check the participating partners in the app, and make sure the store you intend to visit has exactly what you want. Let’s assume you want to buy bread at BarCook (and your family loves the raisin cream bun) – as long as you can spend a minimum of $20, you can kindly ask the cashier to scan the QR code in your app to get 20 Nex Rewards points (1 Nex Rewards point for every $1 spent). In fact, you get double the points in the month of Mar and Apr (as there is a promotion going on). In other words, you get 40 rewards point for $20 spent.

And once you accumulate enough Nex Rewards points, you can redeem them for cash vouchers.The one I prefer is the $5 eNEXvoucher which requires 1000 points. So the cash rebate here is 0.5%, or 1% (if you are taking advantage of the double reward promotion this month).

Option 3: Download CapitaStar App I’m going to give the gist here that while CapitaStar is great because it covers all 7 Capitaland malls in Singapore, the cash rebate is extremely weak so unless you have to buy something here (or can use this on top of other life hacks – which I will go through in another post), you should consider this as the last option. Every dollar you spent gets you one reward point.

The mechanics is simple. You take a photo of the receipt using the app, and indicate the price you have paid. Let’s assume you went to NTUC in SingPost mall, you can get 100 rewards points if you spent $100 (it’s 1:1). Take note that the minimum amount for a single transaction receipt to be eligible is $20. So anything less than that, CapitaStar will consider that as invalid. You need 5000 rewards point to redeem a $5 voucher, which works out to be a 0.1% cash rebate.

The consolidation here though is if you have used separate NTUC vouchers to offset the purchase, CapitaStar app will give you rewards points based on the receipt price (in other words, if you bought $100 worth of stuff indicated in the receipt, but paid $0 because you used 2x$50 vouchers, you can still scan the receipt in the App and CapitaStar will give you 100 rewards points).

I honestly don’t know if that is a flaw in the app, but thanks anyway.

So there you have it, the three options for life hack #1 to get the baseline value out of your purchases. In the next post, I will cover the intermediate payment apps you can use (as either complimentary to the 3 options listed above, or as standalone). And the validated use cases will be better than using your credit cards directly.

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