Credit Cards Spending

DBS Live Fresh vs Citi SMRT – What’s The Difference?

DBS Live Fresh vs Citi SMRT

Last updated on March 29th, 2022

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There are a lot of credit cards in Singapore that can give you great rewards and savings. If you are looking for a card that can provide good cashback even for minimal spending, two options you may consider are the DBS Live Fresh and Citi SMRT cards.

Here’s what you need to know to help you choose the best card for you:

The difference between DBS Live Fresh and Citi SMRT

Both the DBS Live Fresh and Citi SMRT cards offer 0.3% cashback for all purchases with no minimum purchase, and 5% cashback for qualifying purchases. However, the DBS Live Fresh card offers an additional 5% for any Sustainable spending, which will increase your cashback to 10% (subject to limits).

Here is a further comparison between these 2 cards.

Cashback Rewards

Both DBS Live Fresh and Citi SMRT offer 0.3% cashback for all general spending, regardless of the amount that you spend on the card.

If you wish to hit the bonus cashback of 5%, you will need to meet the minimum spend for either card:

DBS Live FreshCiti SMRT
$600 $500 

Here are the different categories that you can earn cashback on for either card:

DBS Live FreshCiti SMRT
Contactless SpendingGroceries
Online SpendingOnline Spending
Sustainable SpendingPublic Transport and Taxis

The Citi SMRT card has some exclusions to online spending that will receive cashback:

  • Mobile wallet top-ups
  • Travel-related transactions

Apart from that, all other online spend will be eligible for cashback.

The DBS Live Fresh card has a rather long list of exclusions for their online spend, which can be found in Clause 6 of their Terms and Conditions.

For contactless spend, DBS Live Fresh allows you to earn cashback for most transactions. Meanwhile, Citi SMRT only allows you to earn cashback for public transport, taxi or groceries.

As such, DBS Live Fresh is much more flexible in the cashback that you can earn for non-online (contactless) spending.

DBS offers additional cashback for Sustainable Spending

DBS Live Fresh is the first eco-friendly card in Singapore, being made of 85.5% recycled plastic. It boasts an additional 5% cashback for purchases on eco-eateries, retailers, and transport services.

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Source: DBS

This means that if you use your DBS Live Fresh card to purchase online or contactless on any of the listed eco-businesses, you can get up to 10% cashback in total!

Since bus and train rides are listed as one of the Sustainable Spending categories, you will be able to receive 10% cashback for your MRT rides!

To use either credit card for MRT and bus rides, you will need to add them to your SimplyGo account first. Moreover, you are able to add these cards to Apple Pay, so that you can use them for public transport too.

Citi cashback can be redeemed as vouchers

While DBS’ cashback is through direct crediting back to your card, Citi’s cashback is given to you in the form of SMRT$ which you can redeem as cash rebates (similar to DBS) or as shopping vouchers.

Cap on cashback

DBS and Citi also have different caps on the yearly cashback that you can receive:

DBS Live FreshCiti SMRT
Maximum Annual

While Citi SMRT has an annual cap, DBS Live Fresh has a monthly cap of $75.

Moreover, there is a cap to how much cashback you can earn per month for each category for DBS Live Fresh:

CategoryMaximum Cashback
5% Sustainable Spending$15
5% Online$20
5% Contactless$20
0.3% Cashback$20


Both DBS and Citi require applicants to be 21 years and above with a minimum annual income of $30,000 for Singaporeans.

They differ in the minimum annual income requirement for foreign nationals.

DBS Live FreshCiti SMRT
Age21 years old21 years old
Minimum Annual
Income (Singaporeans)
Minimum Annual
Income (Foreign Nationals)

Other Rewards

DBS and Citi both offer a wide range of benefits for their cardholders:

  • Shop Discounts
  • Frequent Flyer Programs
  • Flexible Payment Plans

If you are living an eco-friendly lifestyle and would like to participate in eco-friendly workshops and have the chance to win in giveaways, the DBS Live Fresh card offers just this.

It has an ongoing program called #FreshDropFriday wherein they host workshops such as that of gardening, and sometimes offer raffle coupons for giveaways.

Source: DBS

On the other hand, if you love to shop and dine and would like to redeem your cashback through shopping vouchers, the Citi SMRT offers a wider range of redemption methods you can choose from.


The annual fee for both the DBS Live Fresh and the Citi SMRT cards is the same. However, Citi offers a longer waiver for the annual fee payment than DBS.

DBS Live FreshCiti SMRT
Annual Fee – Principal Card$192.60$192.60
Annual Fee – Supplementary Card$96.30$96.30
Waived Annual Fee1 year2 years

There is also a difference in the interest rates for the two cards, with DBS offering a lower interest for card transactions, and Citi offering a lower interest rate and fees for cash advances.

DBS Live FreshCiti SMRT
Interest – Card Transactions26.80% p.a.26.90% p.a.
Interest – Cash Advances28% p.a.26.90% p.a.
Cash Advance Fee8% of the withdrawn amount6% of the withdrawn amount

Final Verdict

Here is a summary of these 2 credit cards:

DBS Live FreshCiti SMRT
Cashback for
General Purchases
Minimum Spend
For Bonus Cashback
Online Spend
Bonus Cashback
5% (except exclusions)5% (except mobile top-ups
and travel expenses)
Contactless Spend5% (except exclusions)5% (only for groceries,
supermarkets, and transportation)
Sustainable SpendAdditional 5%NA
Annual Cashback
$900 ($75 per month;
subject to limits)
Interest Rate26.80%26.90%

With the difference in cashback, which one is better for you?

DBS Live Fresh is perfect for eco-warriors

The additional 5% cashback offered for sustainable spending is really beneficial, especially if you’re using the bus or MRT rather often.

This will allow you to get up to 10% for your public transport expenses, which is higher than Citi SMRT!

Furthermore, you will be able to earn cashback for most contactless spend, which has greater variety compared to Citi SMRT.

However, the cashback is limited to caps for each category, and you will need to make a higher minimum spend compared to Citi SMRT ($600 vs $500).

Citi SMRT is best for regular spenders

If you are a frequent spender for groceries, supermarkets, and transportation, Citi is the better option. It has a lower minimum spend compared to DBS Live Fresh, which allows you to reach the bonus cashback faster.

However, the cashback is in the form of SMRT$, instead of cash being credited to your account!

Choose an alternative card if you can’t hit the minimum spend requirement

The spending requirement for both cards are rather high ($600 and $500).

If you can’t hit these amounts, you may want to consider a credit card that does not have any minimum spend, such as the Amex True Cashback or UOB Absolute Cashback.

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DBS Live Fresh

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