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Standard Chartered Unlimited VS HSBC Advance VS American Express True Cashback: How Do You Choose A Credit Card If All 3 Cards Are Similar?

The Standard Chartered Unlimited, HSBC Advance & American Express True Cashback are like 3 graduates vying for one job offer.

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Given the choice, it makes financial sense to be paying for the items that you buy using your credit card. Paying through your credit cards doesn’t cost you anything extra but at the same time, allows you to earn reward points, air miles or cash back.

To compete for the limited space in our wallets, most credit card companies do their best to differentiate what their credit cards offer, from what their competitors are giving. You can read more about how the various air miles cards are different from each other in this article.

Nonetheless, there are times where we may find ourselves evaluating credit cards which appears almost identical. How then do we decide which credit cards we should be applying for?

Standard Chartered Unlimited VS HSBC Advance VS American Express True Cashback

There are three popular (and similar) cashback credit cards currently in the market – Standard Chartered Unlimited Card, HSBC Advance Credit Card and the American Express True Cashback Card.

All of these cards give you a headline cashback rate of 1.5%, with no minimum spend required. Minimum income requirement for all three cards is $30,000 per annum.

Naturally, most consumers will think that all three cards are the same and they are right to a certain extent – the three cards are all indeed very similar. But what should you be looking out for if you are considering one of these three cards?

Key Features Of Standard Chartered Unlimited, HSBC Advance & American Express True Cashback


Standard Chartered Unlimited


HSBC Advance


American Express True Cashback


Cashback Rate



No cashback cap, no minimum spend


1.5% (for $2,000 and below)

2.5% (above $2,000)

Cap of $70 per month ($125 for HSBC Advance customers)

*HSBC Advance banking customers enjoy an additional 1%



No cashback cap, no minimum spend



Notable Benefits


+ Able to use card as an ez-link card

+ Get access to Standard Chartered’s The Good Life


+ Get access to ENTERTAINER with HSBC


+ Fraud Protection


Annual Fee


$192.60 (waived for first two years)


$193 (waived for first year)

+ Perpetual annual fee waiver on your HSBC Advance primary and supplemenary credit card(s)


$171.20 (waived for first year)


Welcome Benefits


+ Get up to $120 cashback from bank

+ Receive $20 cashback when you apply using MyInfo


Choice of $150 cash back or Samsonite T5 Spinner worth S$560 (T&Cs apply)

+ Receive $20 Grab vouchers when you apply using MyInfo


+ Welcome bonus of 3% Cashback on up to a total of S$5,000 spend in your first 6 months.

+ Receive up to $60 CapitaVouchers upon a minimum spend of $500 in the first month

+ Apply via MyInfo and get an additional $20 Capitavouchers


Notable Differences Between These Three Cashback Cards?

Even though all three cashback cards provide a cashback rate at 1.5% per annum, with no minimum spend required, there are some notable differences between all three cards.

Cashback Rate + Maximum Cap

HSBC Advance Credit Card gives the highest cashback rate among the three cards.

That’s because if you spend more than $2,000 a month, you will receive a cashback rate of 2.5%. If you are a HSBC Advance customer, you get an additional 1% cashback, which brings your total cashback up to a maximum 3.5%.

However, the HSBC Advance Credit card is also the only card among the three which has a cashback cap of $70 per month, or $125 for HSBC Advance customers.

Both the Standard Chartered Unlimited and American Express True Cashback gives you 1.5% with no minimum spend or cashback cap.

Additional Perks

As a simple rule of thumb, it makes sense to choose one card over another if you don’t already have any credit card from the issuing bank. By having a credit card from the bank, it allows you to enjoy any discounts or perks that the bank is offering to its cardholders.

Standard Chartered Unlimited Card: Gives you access to Standard Chartered’s lifestyle programme – The Good Life. If you don’t have an existing Standard Chartered card, this could be one reason to apply for the Standard Chartered Unlimited Card.

HSBC Advance Credit Card: If you are a foodie who can’t resist a great deal, you will be glad to know that the HSBC Advance Credit card would give you access to ENTERTAINER with HSBC. If you don’t have an existing HSBC card, this would be one reason to choose the HSBC Advance Credit Card.

American Express True Cashback: Fraud protection is one of the value-added services that American Express provides for its customers. This comes in particularly handy if you are travelling overseas and may be using your credit cards for payment. In general, with all things being equal, we tend to prefer using our American Express card for overseas payment whenever it’s possible. So if you are looking for an American Express Cashback card, the American Express True Cashback card would be a good choice.

Annual Fee

Annual fees for the three cards are relatively similar. However, HSBC promises to waive your credit card fee perpetually if you are an HSBC Advance banking customer.

For both the Standard Chartered Unlimited Card and the American Express True Cashback cards, there are no notable perks for paying the annual fee so you are better off requesting for an annual fee waiver.

Read Also: Interest-Free Instalments On Your Credit Card: 7 Important Things You Need To Know