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NTUC Union Membership Programme_ Is It Worth $117 A Year_

NTUC Union Membership Programme: Is It Worth $117 A Year?

profileJustin Oh

You’ve probably heard of NTUC FairPrice and Linkpoints being thrown around by your parents when you’re going grocery shopping.

Sometimes, my parents will say “let’s go shop at NTUC”, leaving little me confused cause I swore that the signage said “FairPrice” as I walked into the grocery store.

So, what exactly is NTUC and the associated NTUC Union Membership Programme?

Source: GIPHY

NTUC is short for National Trades Union Congress. So yea, saying that you want to shop at NTUC is weird in proper English. But who cares right?

That aside, we’re more interested in the NTUC Union Membership Programme with a $117 annual fee which gives us a variety of perks and discounts such as rebates when shopping at NTUC FairPrice.

Is it worth your money, though?

Let’s take a closer look at its ecosystem of benefits and programmes.


TL;DR: NTUC Union Membership Programme – Is It Worth $117 A Year?

Jump to:


Membership Types and Fees

As we’ve established, the NTUC Union membership costs $117 annually – $9 monthly from January to November, and $18 in December itself. You may pay fees via interbank GIRO, VISA/Mastercard credit and debit cards.

To successfully sign up, you’ll first need to:

  • Be over 16 years of age
  • Have a valid NRIC/FIN

However, it isn’t open to personnel from the Singapore Police Force, Singapore Prison Service, Auxiliary Police bodies (including Certis Cisco, Aetos and SATS) or foreign domestic workers.

Union members are split into either Ordinary Branch (OB) or General Branch (GB) membership.

You’ll automatically fall under the GB member category if your workplace has no union.

This means while you do get some support on an individual basis, you don’t get representation rights in the workplace – whether for wage negotiations or workplace issues – whereas OB members do.

But more on this in a bit.

NTUC’S nEbO Membership

As an aside, students or non-working individuals aged between 12 to 25 are also welcome to be part of the nEbO community.

The junior membership arm of NTUC, nEbO is a lifestyle club that engages and supports youths in their interests and passions in life, cultivating them to be Work, World, and Life-Ready. Furthermore, youths will get to enjoy an extensive variety of F&B, lifestyle, and entertainment privileges and benefits.

NTUC Link Rewards Programme

Source: NTUC Link

No article about the NTUC Union membership will be complete without first introducing the NTUC Link Rewards Programme (previously known as the Plus! rewards programme).

Essentially, this is a cash rebates and rewards programme that helps you maximise your spending at NTUC partner outlets such as FairPrice, Unity, Kopitiam, and more.

Do note that being a Link member is NOT equivalent to being an NTUC Union member. You can be a Link member without being an NTUC Union member.

Link members can earn Linkpoints at a rate of 0.50 Linkpoints for every $1 spent or a bonus of 0.83 Linkpoints with a minimum monthly spend of $400 at FairPrice, Cheers, FairPrice Xpress, Unity or Warehouse Club. Bonus Linkpoints will be credited on the 1st of the following month when the minimum monthly spend is met.

You can redeem 100 Linkpoints for $1 in stores only.

This equates to a 0.5% cash rebate and a total of 1.33% cash rebate if you hit the minimum monthly spend.

For NTUC Union members, they can choose from member-exclusive Link cards that provide an accelerated Linkpoints earn rate.

Aside from redeeming for cash rebates, Linkpoints can also be used to redeem discount vouchers and other rewards.

NTUC Union Member Exclusive Link Cards

As there are a handful of cards that you can earn Linkpoints with, I’ll only be focusing on the ones exclusively for NTUC Union members.

You may find out which card best suits you here.

NTUC Union members can select any of these three cards for an accelerated rate of earning Linkpoints:

  • NTUC Card
  • NTUC Link Debit Card by Trust Bank
  • NTUC Link Credit Card by Trust Bank
Source: NTUC Link

Despite their (very similar) names, they’re in fact quite different.

The NTUC Card is a standalone rewards card. This means that you do not need to sign up for a Trust Bank account. However, you can only enjoy savings of up to 5.33% on FairPrice Group spend.

Meanwhile, the other two cards require you to sign up via the Trust bank app and link your NTUC Union membership to enjoy up to 21% savings on FairPrice Group spend.

Source: Trust Bank

NTUC Link Debit Card Benefits – Up to 11% Savings (Effective 1 June 2023)

  • 2.5% base rate
    • Earn unlimited savings of 0.5% on FPG groceries^ and 0.22% on all other eligible spend^^. Exclusive for FairPrice members only! Earn additional 2% on FPG groceries^, capped at 12,000 Linkpoints a year.
  • 2.0% monthly bonus
    • Earn 2.0% on FPG spend^^^ when you meet a monthly minimum eligible spend of S$200 outside of FPG, capped at 3,500 Linkpoints.
  • 4.5% quarterly bonus
    • Earn 4.5% on FPG spend^^^ when you meet your monthly minimum eligible spend for 3 consecutive months, capped at 3,500 Linkpoints.
  • 2.0% FairPrice annual member bonus^^^^
    • Earn 2% once a year on FPG groceries^, capped at 12,000 Linkpoints.

NTUC Link Credit Card Benefits – Up to 21% Savings* (Effective 1 June 2023)

  • 2.5% base rate
    • Earn unlimited savings of 0.5% on FPG groceries^ and 0.22% on all other eligible spend^^. Exclusive for FairPrice members only! Earn additional 2% on FPG groceries^, capped at 12,000 Linkpoints a year.
  • 6.0% monthly bonus
    • Earn 6.0% on FPG spend^^^ when you meet a monthly minimum eligible spend of S$350 outside of FPG, capped at 5,500 Linkpoints.
  • 10.5% quarterly bonus
    • Earn 10.5% on FPG spend^^^ when you meet your monthly minimum eligible spend for 3 consecutive months, capped at 7,500 Linkpoints.
  • 2.0% FairPrice annual member bonus^^^^
    • Earn 2% once a year on FPG groceries^, capped at 12,000 Linkpoints.

*Up to 21% savings is a promotional offer until Oct 31, 2023.

^FPG groceries refer to FairPrice, FairPrice Finest, FairPrice Xtra, FairPrice Xpress (excluding Esso outlets), FairPrice online, Warehouse Club, Unity, Cheers (excluding Esso outlets). The FairPrice member savings is applicable for all purchases at FPG groceries (excluding Cheers). T&Cs apply.

^^Eligible Spend refers to all Visa transactions made on your credit or debit card, excluding FPG spend and ineligible transactions. You will receive 0.22% Linkpoints rebates on all Eligible Spends, with no cap. See our FAQs or Product Terms to find out what transactions are ineligible.

^^^FPG spend refers to purchases at FPG groceries and FPG food (which includes Kopitiam and Kopitiam top-up cards). T&Cs apply.

^^^^2% FairPrice members bonus (for FairPrice Members only) is applicable for FPG groceries (excluding Cheers) and is subject to approval at the FairPrice Annual General Meeting, capped at 12,000 Linkpoints per annum.

For the uninitiated, the two Trust bank cards are essentially the replacement for the OCBC NTUC Plus! Visa Credit Card which has been phased out since 1 Feb 2023.

Membership Deals

NTUC membership has its own catalogue of deals.

And if you’ve applied for the NTUC Link credit/debit cards by Trust Bank, you’ll also have access to deals over on the Trust app.

FairPrice Member Benefits And Dividend

 

One notable benefit for NTUC Union members is the additional benefits and dividend available for FairPrice members.

You can earn up to $240 FairPrice member benefits in Linkpoints on your groceries, health & wellness products and services when you shop at FairPrice and Unity.

One must first be an NTUC Union member to be eligible for a FairPrice membership. Then, to be eligible for FairPrice member benefits and dividends, you must sign up as a FairPrice member through a subscription of 20 shares at S$1 each and a one-time non-refundable entrance fee at S$3.

Alternatively, you can sign up under the Join-Now-Pay-Later scheme, where FairPrice will accumulate the value of the member benefits to offset the value of the shares and entrance fee ($23) in full before you start receiving the upfront component (i.e. 2% upfront of their purchases in Linkpoints) and patronage rebates* from your membership benefits.

*Subject to approval at Annual General Meetings of the co-operative.

FairPrice Members will receive benefits in the form of Linkpoints when making purchases at FairPrice Group outlets island-wide (including FairPrice, FairPrice Finest, FairPrice Xtra, FairPrice Xpress, Warehouse Club and Unity Pharmacies but excluding Cheers, Foodfare and Kopitiam outlets) and FairPrice online.

This benefit is given in two portions.

  1. A 2% upfront of their purchases (up to a cap of S$6,000 annually) in Linkpoints at point of purchase.
  2. Additional patronage rebates*, which will be disbursed in Linkpoints for their spend in the following year as approved at the Annual General meeting.

You’ll need to present the FairPrice App, NTUC Card, NTUC Link Credit/Debit Card or NTUC membership QR code in the MyNTUC app to the cashier if you are shopping at the physical stores. For online shopping, or payment via the FairPrice app at physical stores, please ensure your Link membership is linked with your FairPrice online account before checkout.

NTUC Members-Only Insurance Policies

Source: Flaticon

NTUC Union members who are below 65 years old also enjoy automatic group insurance coverage – under what’s called NTUC GIFT.

That includes coverage of up to $40,000 for death or total and permanent disability (TPD); union leaders, meantime, get double the sum assured. Union members’ spouses below 65 years old are also covered against death and TPD.

If you’re looking to complement your group policy plan, LUV Term Life Insurance protects members, their spouses and children in cases of death or total and permanent disability.

Who?Minimum entry ageMaximum entry ageMaximum age of coverage
NTUC member and husband or wife16 years old64 years old70 years old^
Child15 days old17 years old25 years old

^If you take up this policy at 60 years old and below, you will be covered until the age of 70. If you take up this policy after 60 years old, you will be covered until the age of 65.

Assistance Programmes

Source: NTUC Link

U Care Assistance Programmes were designed specifically to help lower-income NTUC Union members defray everyday costs.

Key ProgrammesWhat is it?
NTUC Care Fund (e-Vouchers) programmeThe NTUC Care Fund (e-Vouchers) programme offers eligible members up to $100 worth of assistance on daily essentials and schools supplies, with an additional $100 for each eligible school-going child.
CapitaLand – U Care Resilience & Enablement Fund (CAP+Ure Fund)CAP+Ure Fund targets to provide interim financial support for low-to-medium income union members* who are impacted by sudden loss of income. The funds would be disbursed to help an estimated 2,500 children over 2 years or when the funds are fully drawn down, whichever is earlier.
U Care Hardship GrantThe U Care Hardship Grant provides a one-off assistance to low-income union members in the event that the member suffers hardship arising from one of the following circumstances which is of a non-industrial nature:
a. Death
b. Total and permanent incapacity
c. Serious chronic medical condition*
d. Registered fire or flood victim

There are quite a number of programmes ongoing so click here to find out about the latest programmes and find out if you are eligible.

Representation and Legal Advice

What happens when you’re stuck in a workplace whose unethical practices have inadvertently affected you? That’s where the NTUC Workplace Advisory comes in. GB members receive advice on handling such situations from professionals at no cost.

And if you’ve personal matters that need sorting, NTUC members also enjoy free legal advice from pro bono lawyers – whether for wills or matrimonial matters. The initiative’s a collaboration between NTUC, LawWorks, and The Law Society of Singapore.

The NTUC Family

With the NTUC Family, members are given access to training, job placement, and networking opportunities. Here’s an overview of what falls under its umbrella:

 Who It's ForWhat It Offers
NTUC-Affiliated Unions and Associations  Working PeopleWorkplace representation and protection, e.g. wrongful dismissals and retrenchment benefits
U AssociateProfessional Guilds and AssociationsCareer and skills development opportunities across sectors
U PMEProfessionals, managers and executivesWorkplace, Career and Professional Development
U SMESmall and medium enterprisesAnnual SME symposiums
Conferences, training workshops, networking sessions
U FSEFreelancers and self-employedResources and networking opportunities
NTUC benefits and privileges (training grants, insurance, seminars, etc.)

All union members can also seek advice on workplace-related issues with the Tripartite Alliance for Dispute Management (TADM).

Career Growth Opportunities and Advice

It’s all about lifelong learning – and just like SkillsFuture, NTUC’s Labour Movement arm aims to help working adults remain relevant in the workplace with career support advice and programmes.

 Who It's For What You'll Get
NTUC LearningHub Learning eXperience Platform (LXP)All NTUC membersOn-the-go access to over 75,000 courses at only $5 per month
e2i's Professional Development Programmee2i-subsidised skills-upgrading courses across various industries
Union Training Assistance Programme (UTAP)50% off course fees for up to $250/year to defray training/course costs
Enhanced UTAPEnhanced UTAP
Union members aged 40 and above get a further boost to upskill, with higher course fee support, capped at $500 per qualifying member per year. This applies to courses attended from 1 July 2020 to 31 December 2025.

Is The NTUC Union Membership Worth The $117 Annual Fee?

The NTUC Union membership definitely has a lot to offer for an annual fee of $117. And the answer really depends on who you ask.

For credit cardholders

If you’re in it for the bonus Linkpoints, the membership may not be so worth it considering the competition from other credit card reward programmes UNLESS you spend a lot at NTUC’s partners such as FairPrice, Unity, etc, AND concentrate your spending on the NTUC Link Credit or Debit Cards.

Lastly, there are way too many hoops to jump through in order to get the full savings of 11% or 21%.

Thus, it’s probably a better idea to stick to your miles or cashback credit cards and opt for the Link Rewards Card which has no membership fee.

Source: NTUC Link

You’ll be essentially double dipping and earning a 0.5% rebate with Linkpoints plus whatever miles/cashback from your credit cards when you shop at NTUC partners.

For non-credit cardholders

For those who aren’t eligible for credit cards, the NTUC Union membership can be a consideration if you spend a lot at NTUC partners. With the membership, you can opt for the normal NTUC card which gives up to 5.33% in savings, or the NTUC Link Debit Card by Trust Bank which gives up to 11% in savings.

To make your $117 annual membership fee worth it, you just have to spend enough to offset the membership fee.

When Is The NTUC Membership Worth It?

If you choose to attend eligible courses under UTAP, you’ll easily recoup the annual fee with the $250/year course subsidies.

That said, the main draw of the NTUC Union membership is actually the non-monetary benefits like representation and legal advice. Hence, for those who want to be protected in their careers or are wanting to get some support, the NTUC Union membership would be a great recommendation.

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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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