First Look: HSBC’s NEW Live+ credit card

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HSBC has launched a new specialized cashback credit card in Singapore, and it is called HSBC Live+.

This new card is replacing the HSBC Visa Platinum card.

HSBC Live+ Visa card

Key details

  • Earn 5% +3% cashback on Dining, Entertainment and Shopping (min. spend S$600 per calendar month, in a calendar quarter)
  • Receive +3% cashback on the above categories only till 31 Dec 2024
  • Cashback amount is capped at S$250 per quarter (S$3,125 spending in a quarter, and an average of S$1,042 a month)
  • Earn 5% cashback on fuel spending at Caltex & Shell (in Singapore only, subject to the same cap and min. spending)
  • Earn 0.3% cashback on other spendings
  • Min. annual income requirement of S$30k for Singapore Citizens and PRs, S$40k for foreigners
  • Annual fee of S$196.20 (first year waived)
  • Terms & conditions
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What counts towards 8% cashback?

Here are Merchant Category Codes (MCCs) that will get you 8% cashback:

Dining
MCCs
Description
5811Caterers
5812Eating Places and Restaurants
5462Bakeries
5814Fast Food Restaurants
Shopping
MCCs
Description
5262Marketplaces
5309Duty Free Stores
5310Discount Stores
5311Departmental Stores
5331Variety Stores
5661Men’s and Boys’ Clothing and Accessories Stores
5621Women’s Ready to Wear Stores
5631Women’s Accessory and Specialty Stores
5641Children’s and Infants’ Wear Stores
5651Family Clothing Stores
5655Sports and Riding Apparel Stores
5661Shoe Stores
5691Men’s and Women’s Clothing Stores
5699Miscellaneous Apparel and Accessory Shops
5941Sporting Goods Stores
5948Luggage or Leather Goods Stores
Entertainment
MCCs
Description
4899Cable, Satellite and Other Pay Television/Radio/Streaming
Services
5735Record Stores
5815Digital Goods Media – Books, Movies, Digital
artwork/images, Music
7832Motion Picture Theaters
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When will the bonus cashback be credited?

Bonus cashback will be credited within 2 months, after the end of each calendar quarter.

For example, bonus cashback for the quarter of January to March, will be credited by May.

Sign-up bonus

New cardholders may choose to receive one of the following sign-up gifts, when they spend at least $500 by the end of the following calendar month, and provide marketing consent:

  • Samsonite ZELTUS 69cm Spinner Exp (worth $680)
  • $200 cashback
Samsonite ZELTUS 69cm luggages

As a launch offer, new cardholders can receive an additional $100 cashback after just 1 qualifying spend (any amount).

Existing cardholders can receive $50 cashback after meeting the same minimum spending requirement.

These sign-up bonuses are fulfilled by HSBC Singapore. Sign-up bonus terms and conditions.

P.S. A SingSaver offer for this card is launching at 5pm on Monday, 24 Jun 2024.

Should I get the HSBC Live+ card?

Let’s first compare the HSBC Live+ card to its best competitors:

CardCashbackBonus
Categories
Min.
Spend
Max.
Spend
HSBC
Live+
5-8%• Dining (5% +3%)
• Entertainment (5% +3%)
• Shopping (5% +3%)
• Caltex/Shell (5%)
$600/m,
for entire
quarter
$3,125/qtr
($1,042/m)
Citi
Cash
Back
6-8%• Dining (6%)
• Groceries (6%)
• Ride-hailing (8%)
• Petrol (8%)
$800/m$1,000/m
UOB
EVOL
6.67%• Online (6.67%)
• Contactless (6.67%)
$600/m$600/m
Maybank
Family &
Friends
8%Choose 5 categories:
• Groceries
• Transport
• Dining & Food Delivery
• Retail & Pets
• Data Comms & Online TV
• Online Fashion
• Entertainment
• Pharmacy
• Sports & Sports Apparels
• Beauty & Wellness
$800/m$312.30/
cat/m

Unlike most Miles cards, specialized Cashback cards tend to come with minimum spending requirements, and in many cases, even additional hurdles like category caps (e.g. Maybank F&F, UOB EVOL and DBS Live Fresh).

I don’t know about you, but I’m not a fan of the “tracking” effort required to achieve the advertised cashback amount.

As shown in the above table, Citi Cash Back has the simplest mechanics: Spend $800 to $1,000 per month, and you’ll get 6-8% cashback on the bonus categories, as advertised. Also, as this card has Groceries as a bonus category, cardholders can easily purchase supermarket vouchers (for future use), to “top-up the difference”, when they have difficulty meeting the min. spending for the month.

The HSBC Live+ card, on the other hand, requires cardholders to meet the min. spending requirement in every month of the calendar quarter, or miss out on the bonus cashback entirely (a little like the UOB One card). However, it has a lower monthly min. spending requirement of $600.

So, who is the HSBC Live+ for?

Firstly, I would ignore the Caltex/Shell bonus entirely. There are far better cards out there for fuel spending.

For the card to make sense to me, I’ll have to be sure that I am consistently spending at least $600 per month, every month, on Dining, Entertainment and/or Shopping. The keywords here are every month, or at least for 3 consecutive months in a calendar quarter (i.e. Jan-Mar, Apr-Jun, Jul-Sep, Oct-Dec).

Once I am sure of that, the HSBC Live+ card would be a no-brainer; till 31 Dec 2024 at least, before the bonus cashback rate drops to 5%.

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