How I maximize the value of the MCO Visa Card

There is one debit card that I frequently recommend to people because of its attractive perks, and that’s the MCO Visa Card (review here).

It’s a multi-currency debit card with between 1% to 5% instant rebates on all spend, comes with excellent exchange rates for travel, and free overseas ATM withdrawals, with no annual fees and no monthly minimum spends.

In this post, I want to share a few methods that I utilize to maximize the value of my MCO Visa Card.

This review has been updated in August 2020 to reflect the latest changes to the program.

#1: Pay for my income tax

You can pay for your income tax with the funds in your wallets.

You would need a CardUp account to do that. If you don’t already know, CardUp is a local fintech company that enables the payment of certain expenses using credit cards, such as tax bills, rental bills, insurance fees, tuition fees, etc.

What you can pay with CardUp
Supported payment options in CardUp, including GrabPay

CardUp acts as the intermediary between you and IRAS, and helps you faciliate the income tax payment on your behalf. They allow you to pay such bills with your existing credit cards, but charge a small fee (2.25% till June 2020 with promo code GET225, otherwise 2.6%).

With the two promotions, I terminated my deferred GIRO arrangement and paid my income tax upfront instead.

Alternatively, another popular option is ipaymy, which is currently offering a promotion on tax payments with fees of just 1.75%.

#2: Pay insurance premiums and get rebates too

You can also pay for your insurance premiums directly. Some insurance providers (I won’t name here) actually allow Visa/Mastercard credit card payments directly so you can avoid the 2.25% CardUp/ipaymy service fee.

On other months, you’d still get between 1% to 5% unlimited rebates on your insurance premiums depending on your card tier, which has already been banned on most credit cards.

Those with large insurance premiums are in luck because you can really offset a lot of the cost of insurance by prepaying your insurance premiums as well.

You go figure – I won’t say much here but you can extrapolate.

#3: Stake CRO and earn 100% rebate on Spotify

This tip involves making an investment decision so I’ll leave the decision to you. Personally I chose to stake the CRO tokens for a metal card so that I could receive 100% rebates (in the form of CRO tokens) each month on my monthly Spotify subscriptions.

Staking involves buying the CRO tokens and locking them up for 6 months, where you cannot access them. Depending on the amount of tokens you buy, you qualify for different tiers of rewards.

The cheapest staking option is 1000 CRO, at current prices, costs around S$0.22 per token. So that’s an upfront capital outlay of around S$220.

This S$220 gets you 2% unlimited rebates on your purchases, 10% rebates (from the special measures promotion), capped at S$75 per month for three months (unfortunately as of this post it’s the final month), and 100% rebates on your Spotify subscription up to US$9.99 per month – so this covers the Family Plan at S$15 too.

To breakeven on this investment, assuming you max out all existing promotions and unlock the signup bonus (US$50 = S$70) when you use my referral code h6xukdg2ch during signup and stake at least 1,000 CRO:

in SGD
CRO Stake-220
Signup Bonus (US$50) if you stake70
Residual Investment-150
Breakeven calculation assuming CRO stake was done at S$220. Negative number refers to cash outflow.

If you subscribe to Spotify Family, at S$15 a month, your time to breakeven is 150/15 = 10 months.

If you don’t subscribe to Spotify Family, then your amount of spending required to break even based on a 2% rebate is 150/0.02 = S$7500 in spending (including income tax and insurance premiums).

And, if you can get the CRO stake at an even cheaper price, then you should be able to breakeven faster.

This investment payoff is worthwhile if you already have a Spotify Family plan or if you have an upcoming $7500 spending in the next several months.

At the end of 6 months, you can leave the staking untouched and continue earning 2% transaction rebates and 100% rebates on Spotify until they change the terms.

There’re also other CRO tiers such as 10,000 CRO and 100,000 CRO which have other benefits such as earning 6% returns on your CRO stake but it’s beyond the scope of this article.

I’ve created a spreadsheet if you’d like to play with the variables –

MCO Visa Card returns calculator

#4: Pay for any overseas purchase and get rebates + save on the foreign exchange rate

This one is huge, because if you spend thousands of dollars on overseas purchases such as Amazon US, ASOS, Target, Taobao etc, you might have been paying exorbitant foreign exchange rates that have been marked up by 2-3% by the bank or credit card network, and pay a dynamic conversion fee (2%) on top of that.

DBS’ ridiculous credit card fees on foreign currency purchases, you don’t see these!

That’s hundreds to thousands of dollars lost over a lifetime on fees alone, which is daylight hidden robbery – more than what they are giving you back in miles or cashback!

Using the MCO Visa Card for overseas purchases will help you save money, and give you rebates at the same time. It’s similar to other debit cards like Revolut, YouTrip, and TransferWise, but with rebates, even on the free tier!

Sign up for the MCO Visa Card here and we both get US$50 if you stake 1,000 CRO! Use the referral code h6xukdg2ch during signup.

Use this free spreadsheet to calculate your CRO returns based on your spending habits.

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    1. Good question – I am not sure if they can legally operate here, but they issue debit cards through a partnership with Wirecard Asia Pacific which has the necessary licenses to issue, maintain and operate the payment infrastructure here.

      1. Ok so the card is issued by Wirecard? But MCO tokens must be held by MAS has given token operators some time to come onboard so I am concerned why they have not done so. I personally won’t trust them with my money until they have done so.

  1. Now MCO has the 0% fees promotion for topping up via credit cards. Which CC will you recommend?

    1. I personally use DBS debit cards to top up. Credit cards might be free but I have been charged cross border fees on Citi credit cards. I think UOB credit cards are ok too

  2. Topping up GrabPay wallet with MCO seems to succeed only very rarely for me, do you face similar issues?

    1. It’s usually ok for me, I don’t face any issues to withdraw funds out of MCO. However I have top up issues on MCO end now maybe due to issues with their payment processor.

    1. I think it is a temporary suspension – most fintechs that depend on Wirecard for payment processing are affected, but some like Curve have resumed services. For now, the most ideal way of topping up is funding your Xfers account and buy crypto (MCO, ETH, BTC) then cash it out into your card wallet but you lose some money due to the spread.

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