Here's how to do a CPF top up and get up to 3% cashback

The Straits Times file

Singaporeans are polarised when it comes to Central Provident Fund (CPF) ; some can’t stand it, while some are huge CPF fans.

Speaking of CPF fans.

On Wednesdays (Dec 1, 2021), the CPF board (via The Business Times) said in a statement that:

Granted, the 220,000 CPF members make up only 5 per cent of Singapore’s 4.08 million CPF members (as of Q2 2021).

But the crazy thing is that each person, on average, topped up about $18,181 to their CPF accounts.

If you happen to be one of them or are considering topping up your CPF this year.

You’ll definitely want to read our article.

TL;DR: How to top up CPF and get cashback

This method has been tested and is proven to work as of Thursday, Jan 13, 2022.

Should you top up your CPF?

That’s the million-dollar CPF question.

Aside from boosting your retirement savings, topping up your CPF with cash can help you build up funds to meet your housing and healthcare needs.

In other words, if you are a Singaporean or Permanent Resident, you can use cash to top up your CPF Ordinary Account (OA), Medisave Account (MA) and Special Accounts.

Not to mention that top-ups to your CPF MA and/or SA are tax-deductible too. Note that top-ups to all three CPF accounts are non-tax deductible.

But crucially, I would like to remind you that any top-ups you make to your CPF accounts are IRREVERSIBLE.

Before you make the decision to top up your CPF, I urge you to read our article that will help you decide if you should top up your CPF:

Step by step guide: How to top up CPF and get up to 3 per cent cashback

With that out of the way, let’s dive into how you can get cashback on your CPF top-up.

Step 1: Apply for an AMEX True Cashback Card and/or UOB Absolute Cashback Card

The first step would be to apply for either the AMEX True Cashback Card (1.5 per cent cashback) or the UOB Absolute Cashback Card (1.7 per cent cashback) , as these are the only credit cards in the market that still give you cashback on GrabPay top-ups.

The best part? You’ll avoid Grab’s $1 Visa GrabPay top-up fee with these cards.

You might be wondering, which card should you use?

If you do not have an AMEX credit card, you should first apply for the AMEX True Cashback card first as the card has generous sign-up promos.

New sign-ups will receive a sign-up gift of either the Apple AirPods (3rd Generation) (worth $269) or $160 cash.

In addition, they will get to enjoy 3 per cent or double the cashback for the first six months. But note that there is a $5,000 spend cap.

After your welcome bonus, you will continue to earn 1.5 per cent Cashback on all eligible purchases with no minimum spending and no earn cap.

AMEX True Cashback Credit Card requirements

Do take note of AMEX’s application requirements:

  • You’re over 21 years of age. Supplementary Card applicant should be over 18 years of age.

  • For Singapore Citizens and Residents, you have earnings that provide an income of over $30,000 p.a.

  • For Expatriates, you have earnings that provide a minimum income of over $45,000 p.a.

If you already have an AMEX credit card, you should apply for the UOB Absolute Cashback Card as it gives a marginally higher cashback of 1.7 per cent compared to the AMEX True Cashback Card’s 1.5 per cent cashback.

If you are a new UOB card member, the bank also offers a sign-up promotion.

The first 100 new-to-UOB Credit Card members per calendar month who successfully apply for a UOB personal credit card from Jan 1, 2022 to Feb 28, 2022 and spend a minimum of $1,500 within 30 days from the card approval date will get to enjoy a $150 cash credit . Terms and Conditions apply.

UOB Absolute Cashback Card requirements

  • Minimum 21 years old
  • For Singapore Citizens and Permanent Residents
    • A minimum annual income of $30,000 is required OR
    • Fixed Deposit collateral of at least $10,000#
  • For Foreigners
    • A minimum annual income of $80,000 is required OR
    • Fixed Deposit collateral of at least $10,000#

#Terms and conditions apply. Please visit UOB Branches for more information on secured card applications. Supporting documents (NRIC or passport) will be required.

Step 2: Setup GrabPay Wallet and Connect Either AMEX Card to Your GrabPay Wallet

The next step would be to download the Grab app and complete the user identification process in the Grab app to set up a Premium Wallet account.

After setting up your GrabPay Wallet:

the next step would be to link either AMEX card to your GrabPay wallet.

Step 3: Top Up Your GrabPay Wallet With the AMEX Cards

Once you have linked either AMEX card, the next thing to do would be to top-up the amount you want to top up to your CPF to your GrabPay wallet.

Note that credit card top-ups cannot be transferred out of your GrabPay wallet.

Step 4: Top Up Your CPF Using the GrabPay Wallet’s PayNow Feature

The next step would be to log in to your CPF account, make the request to top up your CPF and choose PayNow as the payment method.

Open your GrabPay wallet and click on the Scan to Pay function.

Scan CPF’s PayNow QR code to make payment using your GrabPay wallet.

You would have earned up to 3per cent cashback on your CPF top-ups!

Of course, you have to take note of a couple of limits.

1. AMEX Credit Card Limit Singapore

Of course, the first limit is your personal credit limit on the AMEX card you have applied for.

2. GrabPay Top Up Limits

The second type of limit are the GrabPay wallet limits.

GrabPay Wallet Balance Limits

Note that the maximum amount you can hold in a GrabPay wallet anytime is:

Basic Wallet: $1,000

Premium Wallet: $5,000.

GrabPay Wallet Transaction Limits

There are also GrabPay wallet transaction limits, and annual transaction spend limits you need to take note of:

  Basic Wallet Premium Wallet
Daily Sender (P2P) Limit NA $1,500
Daily Receiver (P2P) Limit $1,500 $1,500
Monthly Cumulative Sender (P2P) Limit NA $6,000
Monthly Cumulative Receiver (P2P) Limit $6,000 $6,000
Single Transaction (spend) Limit $1,000 $5,000
Annual Transaction (spend) Limit
(per calendar year) *Limit will reset on 1st Jan annually
$5,000 $30,000*

*The $30,000 limit applies to most consumers but may vary depending on individual risk profiles.

So if you want to top up more than $5,000 to your CPF, you have to make more than one transaction.

3. Annual CPF Top Up Limits 2022

There are three types of schemes and limits you have to take note of when you want to make top ups to your CPF accont.

1. CPF Voluntary Contributions to 3 Accounts (VC-3A) Scheme Limit: Top Up Your CPF OA + MA + SA

First, we have the CPF Voluntary Contributions to three Accounts (VC-3A) scheme.

At the time of writing, the maximum you can voluntarily contribute to all three CPF accounts at once in a year is $37,440. This is also known as the CPF Annual Limit.

But, the maximum amount you can top up each year is capped. You can only top up the difference between the CPF Annual Limit and your mandatory CPF contributions made during the course of the calendar year.

As such, do factor in your mandatory CPF contributions that you’ll be getting for the calendar year before making top-ups.

If your total mandatory CPF contributions and top-ups exceed the CPF Annual Limit in the calendar year, any excess top-ups will be refunded without interest.

You can also check your top up limit here.

2. CPF Voluntary Contributions to MediSave Account (VC-MA) Scheme Limit: Top Up Your MediSave Only

Even if you exceed the CPF Annual Limit, you still can still top up your CPF MA under the CPF Voluntary Contributions to MediSave Account (VC-MA) scheme.

However, the maximum amount you can voluntarily top up to your MediSave Account is the difference between the current Basic Healthcare Sum (BHS) and your current MediSave balance.

In 2022, the BHS for members who are younger than 65 is $66,000. But for members who turn 65 years old in 2022, the BHS will be fixed at $66,000 for the rest of their lives.

Here’s an example of how this works.

Sarah currently has $50,000 in her MediSave account.

The BHS in 2022 is $66,000.

With this new rule, she will instantly know that she can contribute up to $16,000 ($66,000 – $50,000), which is the difference between her current MediSave balance and the current BHS.

Once you have hit the BHS in your CPF MA, you can no longer make any voluntary top-ups to your MA. If you exceed your BHS from the top-up, the full amount of your top-up will be refunded to you.

3. CPF Retirement Sum Topping Up Scheme (RSTU) Limit: Top-Up Your SA or Retirement Account (RA)

Apart from the VC-3A and VC-MA, you can still make top ups to either your CPF SA or RA under the RSTU.

The amount you can top up is determined by your age:

  • Below 55: Up to the Full Retirement Sum (FRS) which is $192,000 in 2022
  • 55 and older: Up to the Enhanced Retirement Sum (ERS) which is $288,000 in 2022.

If you exceed the FRS or ERS from the RSTU top-up, the full amount of your top-up will be refunded to you.

And there you have it, cashback on your CPF top-ups.

You’re welcome.

This article was first published in SeedlyAll content is displayed for general information purposes only and does not constitute professional financial advice.