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The amaze Card by Instarem_ The One Card Everyone Needs In Their Arsenal

The amaze Card by Instarem: The One Card Everyone Needs In Their Arsenal

profileJustin Oh

Traveling overseas and want to maximise your spending with credit cards?

What if I told you that you can actually “hack” the system and change your overseas spending into local spending for more credit card rewards, plus avoid pesky foreign currency conversion (FCY) fees?

Enter the amaze card by Instarem, a “Virtual Private Network (VPN)” card that lets you link up to five MasterCards!

Here’s why every finance-savvy Singaporean should have the amaze card and how it works!

Disclaimer: This is a non-sponsored article. The information provided by Seedly serves as an educational piece and is not intended to be personalised investment advice. 


TL;DR: amaze Card by Instarem

Features:

  • Zero margin fx rates from Mastercard, i.e. no weekend mark-ups.
  • Link up to five Mastercard debit or credit cards (and mask foreign spending as local spending)
  • No-top ups required
  • 1% cashback on foreign spending 

Jump to:


How Does the amaze Card Work?

With the amaze card, you can link up to five Singapore-issued Mastercard credit or debit cards to it and set one to be used when you are paying with your amaze card.

When payment is made with the amaze card, the underlying Mastercard you have chosen will be charged.

If you are paying in foreign currency with the amaze card, it will convert the foreign currency into Singapore dollars based on the prevailing Mastercard exchange rate before charging that the Singapore dollar amount to the underlying Mastercard.

That’s why it is considered the “VPN” of cards as it converts any foreign spending into local spending as if you were buying a product locally.

The best part is that you are not charged any FCY fees (banks usually charge about 3% to 3.5%) and can continue earning credit card rewards for your chosen credit card. 

However, there is an implicit FX spread loss of about 2% now (according to online forums). So technically, the amaze card is just making it about 1% – 1.5% cheaper when you can use it overseas compared to just using the bank’s credit cards itself.

When you make a purchase with your amaze card, the underlying credit card will have a transaction processed:

This is awesome for credit cards that grant bonuses for online transactions such as the Citi Rewards card as it turns your regular tap and pay (offline) at retail outlets into online transactions. 

Unlike VPNs (which are a grey area), using the amaze card in this method is completely legal as Instarem, the company behind the amaze card, is regulated by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS).

How to Use the amaze Card Overseas?

Now that we know that the amaze card changes our offline transactions into online ones, and charges the underlying credit card in Singapore dollars, we can simply tap and pay overseas with our amaze card just like we would in Singapore and still get our credit card rewards!

You can use either the physical card or use the digital version of the amaze card with your NFC feature turned on. Both ways will work and any transactions will be charged to your underlying credit card.

amaze Card Cashback

Aside from being a “VPN” and avoiding FCY fees, using the amaze card also awards you with some cashback, albeit rather restrictive when it comes to redeeming it.

Here are the details:

  • 1% cashback for transactions processed in any foreign currency (i.e. non-SGD)
  • Cashback criteria:
    • 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
    • Redeemable in blocks of 2000 InstaPoints ($20)
  • 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.

With such stringent criteria, you’ll really have to be spending quite a bit overseas to get the cashback.

Even then, you can only spend your cashback via the amaze wallet, which is another Instarem product separate from the amaze card.

The amaze card no longer gives cashback on local spending since its update on July 2022.

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.

What Is The Amaze Wallet?

Briefly, the amaze wallet is a multi-currency account similar to the ones you have with YouTrip, Revolut, and Wise.

Should you earn enough InstaPoints to redeem for cashback, it will be transferred here. To use the amount in your amaze wallet, all you have to do is use your amaze card and switch the funding source to your amaze wallet instead.

For more information on the amaze wallet, read this article.

What Are The Best Cards to Pair With the amaze Card?

If you were fans of the amaze card like we were way back in 2019 when Instarem unveiled it to us, you’ll know of the multiple nerfs over the years.

Sadly, DBS cards no longer earn any credit card rewards with amaze transactions. Some cards such as the Maybank Family & Friends card that awards bonuses based on transaction description are also ineligible to pair with the amaze card for credit card rewards.

On the bright side, there are still a number of credit cards that we highly recommend to pair with amaze:

amaze Card PairingEarn RateCapRemarks
UOB Lady's Card6 mpdS$1K per calendar monthSelected MCCs and for women only
UOB Lady's Solitaire6 mpdS$3K per calendar monthSelected MCCs and for women only
Citi Rewards Card

Apply Now
4 mpd or 2.27% cashbackS$1K per statement monthExcept travel
OCBC Titanium Rewards Card

Apply Now
4 mpd or 2.78% cashbackS$13.3K per yearSelected MCCs
KrisFlyer UOB Credit Card

Apply Now
3 mpd
(min. S$500 SIA Group spend per year)
NoneSelected MCCs
UOB PRVI Miles Mastercard

Apply Now
1.4 mpdNone1.4 mpd as spend is counted as local spend.

Should You Use the amaze Card by Instarem?

If you want to earn credit card rewards overseas with the cards recommended above, it is a definite yes!

Even if you aren’t a miles chaser, the amaze card is a great way to reduce the bulk in your wallet and has nifty features such as:

  • The option to combine selected transactions from various cards into one listing for corporate claims
  • Ability to view transactions with the transaction tracking feature, with transactions being automatically categorised

Plus, it’s completely free to sign up for. So why not?

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About Justin Oh
Your average Zillennial who is obsessed with anime, games, movies and of course, personal finance. Join me as I break down personal finance into easily digestible and fun bits!
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