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290322 Instarem Singapore Amaze Card

Instarem amaze Card Review: What Are the Changes From 1 April 2022?

profileRebecca Liew

Back in 2019, during a closed-door Instarem x Seedly meet-up, the digital cross-border payments giant Instarem unveiled its contactless card, which aims to consolidate a user’s debit and credit cards into one seamless app.

The Instarem amaze card was officially launched in December 2019.

Over the years, the card has gone through a massive revamp and has added new features as well.

Here’s all you need to know about it!

Disclaimer: This non-sponsored article is updated as of 29 March 2022. Do note that the information provided by Seedly serves as an educational piece and does not constitute an offer or solicitation to buy any product(s).


TL;DR: Insatrem amaze Card Review — What Are the Changes From 1 April 2022 Onwards?

 Before 1 Apr 2022From 1 Apr 2022
Additional Cashback Rate (On Top of Existing Credit Card Rewards)*1%1% (Non-SGD transactions)
&
0.5% (SGD transactions)
Cap on Cashback Per QuarterS$100S$50
Minimum Transaction Amount Per TransactionS$5S$10
(Or currency equivalent)
Minimum Spend Per QuarterS$500S$1,500 (Or currency equivalent)

What is Instarem?

Instarem is a digital cross-border payment service that has been quietly making waves since 2014 and offers highly competitive rates for overseas money transfers.

It aims to improve the transparency of traditional money transfers, which usually comes with unfavourable forex rates and additional hidden fees.

They offer mid-market exchange rates – which is to say, real-time rates with no fx mark-ups.

Of course, a nominal fee is imposed depending on the amount you intend to transfer.

Is Instarem A Digital Bank?

Nope, it isn’t – but Nium (the platform where Instarem is hosted) holds the Payment Services Act license and is regulated by the Monetary Authority of Singapore.

It’s also in the midst of acquiring an Electronic Money Institution (EMI) licence in several countries, much like what it has in the EU.

An EMI essentially sits one tier below a full-fledged bank.

Instarem’s Mastercard-issued card (which we’ll get to shortly!), amaze, is therefore not under a bank per see.

Instarem’s amaze Card

If you’re anything like me, you’re probably more curious about amaze than anything else.

Unsurprisingly, the Singapore-exclusive card doesn’t exist solely for digital money transfers (duh).

Instead, you’re allowed to link up to five Mastercard debit or credit cards, eliminating the need to carry multiple cards with you.

You’ll be able to choose a specific card from your wallet to transact with at any point in time.

There’s no need to wait for a physical card, either: you’ll instead be offered the option of a virtual card, which can be immediately used for online purchases.

However, if you’re overseas, any cross-border transactions will take place on your amaze card, minus unpredictable currency conversion fees. In this respect, it’s very much on par with YouTrip and Revolut’s respective cards.

Here’s a look at what else amaze has to offer:

  • No top-ups required
  • Zero margin fx rates from Mastercard, i.e. no weekend mark-ups. (Yay!)
  • 1% cashback for transactions processed in any foreign currency (i.e. non-SGD) and 0.5% cashback for SGD transactions made on your amaze card on top of other card rewards. But you need to fulfil the following criteria to be eligible for the cashback:
    • Minimum spend of S$10 (or currency equivalent) for each transaction
    • Minimum spend of S$1,500 (or currency equivalent) per quarter,
    • Maximum S$50 maximum cashback per quarter
  • The cashback is credited by Instarem to your amaze wallet on the 25 of the month after every quarter. For example, for amaze transactions from January to March, you will receive the cashback on 25 April.
  • Doubles up as a public transport card (Mastercard-enabled contactless payment)
  • Unlimited currencies to transact in
  • Transactions are viewable in real-time
  • Option to combine selected transactions from various cards into one listing for corporate claims
  • No maximum spending limit, apart from per taxation limit of S$25,000
  • View transactions with the transaction tracking feature, with transactions being automatically categorised.

But unfortunately, from 1 April 2022, Instarem will nerf the card’s cashback in the following ways:

 Before 1 Apr 2022From 1 Apr 2022
Additional Cashback Rate (On Top of Existing Credit Card Rewards)*1%1% (Non-SGD transactions)
&
0.5% (SGD transactions)
Cap on Cashback Per QuarterS$100S$50
Minimum Transaction Amount Per TransactionS$5S$10
(Or currency equivalent)
Minimum Spend Per QuarterS$500S$1,500 (Or currency equivalent)

*A note:
The 0.5% – 1% cashback comes in addition to existing cashback on your linked debit and credit cards.

Insatarem amaze Card MCC (Merchant Category Codes) Exclusions

Here’s the list of MCCs excluded from amaze cashback from 1 January 2022 onwards:

MCCDescription
4111Railroads, Transportation Services
4784Tolls and Bridge Fees
4900Utilities: Electric, Gas, Water, and Sanitary
5047Medical, Dental, Ophthalmic and Hospital Equipment and Supplies
5199Nondurable Goods (Not elsewhere classified)
5960Direct Marketing: Insurance Services
5993Cigar Stores and Stands
6012Financial Institutions: Merchandise, Services, and debt Repayment
6211Security Brokers/Dealers
6300Insurance Sales, Underwritting, and Premiums
6513Real Estate Agents and Managers: Rentals
6540Non-Financial Institutions – Stored Value Card Purchase/Load
7299Other Services (Not elsewhere classified)
7349Cleaning, Maintenance and Janitorial Services
7523Parking Lots, Parking Meters and Garages
8062Hospitals
8211Elementary and Secondary Schools
8220Colleges, Universities, Professional Schools, and Junior Colleges
8241Correspondence Schools
8244Business and Secretarial Schools
8249Vocational and Trade Schools
8299Schools and Educational Services
8398Charitable Social Service Organisations
8661Religious Organisations
8675Automobile Associations
8699Membership Organisations
9211Court Costs, including Alimony and Child Support
9222Fines
9223Bail and Bond Payments
9311Tax Payments
9399Government Services
9402Postal Services

Please note: MCCs are assigned by payment card organisations (e.g. Visa, MasterCard). Instarem does not have a say in the assignation of these codes. A merchant’s registered MCC may not always correspond with its nature of business.

Domestic and Cross-Border Payments

At its core, Instarem’s sole purpose remains in affordable cross-border money transfers, as we’ve touched on earlier.

Here’s what you should know about its money remittance service, which can quickly be done via its mobile app or website.

  • Allows for payouts across over 50 countries
  • Allows for real-time, account-to-account payment across 270 corridors
  • Eliminates multiple middlemen by building direct relations with financial institutions globally, meaning quicker transfer times.

Note, however, that there will be minimum money transfer amounts for different foreign currencies.

Preliminary Thoughts

I’d initially delved into my research on Instarem’s amaze card with scepticism. Another multi-currency card? How different could it be?

Yet it so far sounds promising; being rewarded in the form of cash backs and having the option to store unlimited currencies in my virtual wallet is reason enough to give the card a chance.

Are you a fan of multi-currency cards or hope to find the best overseas money transfer service?

Take a look at real user reviews to help you with your decisions!

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About Rebecca Liew
Lactose-intolerant, but also BS-intolerant. Having written for the likes of Marina Bay Sands and Time Out, I now spend my days saving up for my stationery shop retirement dream.
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