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5 Ways Uni Students Can Optimize Their Payments

Stretch your dollar with these simple hacks!

Delay school fee payments using a tuition fee loan

If you are paying your school fees in full using GIRO, you are losing out! MOE offers an interest-free tuition fee loan program to all students in local polytechnics and universities. The loan covers the majority (up to 90%) of the school fees payable and interest only starts to accrue once you graduate, so instead of paying your fees upfront, you can park the money elsewhere in the meantime and earn interest on it. Use Singlife, Dash EasyEarn and Etiqa Gigantiq, which offer fairly flexible withdrawal arrangements and high interest rates of 1.8% to 2%.

Earn rewards on school payments

Update: The double dipping trick no longer works - Singtel Dash has blocked GrabPay Wallet topups using their Visa card. However, you can still pay for your school fees and earn points with either card!

Even if you utilize the tuition fee loan program, there will be other fees that you will still need to pay, such as the remainder of the school fees, or fees for campus housing. Because local universities are classified as government institutions for payment purposes, you won't be able to earn points even if you use your parents' credit cards!

But fret not, because there's another (hacky) way for you to earn points. You even get to double-dip! Here's how you can do it:

  1. Create a Singtel Dash account.

  2. Apply for a GrabPay Mastercard.

  3. Top up the Singtel Dash account.

  4. Use the Singtel Dash Visa card to top up your GrabPay Wallet.

  5. Use your GrabPay Mastercard to pay your school fees.

And in the process, you will earn both Dash rewards points along with GrabRewards points. But always test with a small amount first, because they might just nerf this benefit without warning!

Use NETS FlashPay instead of NETS QR

Most university canteens and foodcourts these days utilize the NETS QR terminal for payments, which typically only supports the banks' apps and don't give any kind of rewards. But did you know that the same terminals are able to support NETS FlashPay payments as well?

Just like for school payments, use your Dash Visa card to top up your NETS FlashPay card. But don't try it with the GrabPay Mastercard - they've smartly excluded it from earning points already. You can then use the NETS FlashPay card to pay for your meals at your canteen, all while earning points at the same time!

Apply for student credit cards

Credit cards are also available for students, albeit with lesser perks and a fixed credit limit of $500. Some of the cards that you can apply are:

Although the rewards for these cards leave much to be desired, they are often better than the cashback or point earn rates of debit cards. Do keep a lookout for sign-up promotions - DBS once gave out Apple AirPods as a sign-up bonus for their DBS Live Fresh Student Card!

Stack rewards with ShopBack and FavePay

Depending on your choice of reward program - whether it is credit card, Dash or Grab, both ShopBack and FavePay are both great tools to help you squeeze out more bang for your buck.

With ShopBack Go, you can link your Visa/Mastercard cards to ShopBack Go, and when you shop at businesses that support ShopBack Go, cashback will automatically be tracked based on your spend. All you need to do is to pay as per normal. However, if you are using Dash or GrabPay with ShopBack Go, make sure that you pay with the card instead of QR code payment or the cashback will not get tracked!

With FavePay, you can earn cashback which can be used once again at the same business, or any of its other outlets. Some places do not accept credit cards, but accept FavePay, making it a great hack for accumulating credit card spend. You can also link your Dash or Grab accounts directly to FavePay and Fave will automatically deduct the amount directly from the linked wallets, all while earning Dash or Grab rewards points.​​​


1 more comments

Nicholas Beh

Nicholas Beh

19 Jan 2021

Hey there! I just tried removing and adding my Dash Visa card to Grab and it worked fine. I also tested with a top-up amount of $10 and it went through! Maybe it's a technical glitch? Do note that you need to have at least $1 in your Dash account so that Grab can do a test transaction (which will be refunded). I will give the SCB debit card a go and see if it gets cashback on Dash. Dash and GrabPay top-ups code similarly and so if one gets points, the other should as well, unless the bank specifically excludes them. Most banks already exclude them specifically so I did not mention it in my post. Thanks for the useful data points!



19 Jan 2021

I just got my Dash card saved to GrabPay, maybe it's a problem with saving the 16 digit card number from Dash. I got it to work when I keyed it in manually. Agreed, I would expect Dash top-ups to earn 1% cashback with the SCB debit card since it works for GrabPay, but I haven't personally tested it so I can't say for sure. Guess we'll have to wait to the end of the month to find out!