Debit Cards Lifestyle

Ride For Free: Up To S$20 Transport Rebates With DBS/POSB Cards

Public transport costs in Singapore are ever on the rise, with the next fare hike scheduled to take effect in December 2023.

As a necessity, this inevitably impacts all of us, but DBS is running a promotion to lend a hand by awarding cash rebates on public transportation.

Here’s what you need to know.

Promotion Mechanics

From now until Jan 2024, DBS offers up to S$20 cash monthly rebates on public transport when you spend on groceries and shopping with your DBS debit card.

With 4 months left, you can earn up to S$80 cash rebates through this promotion.

To enjoy the cash rebate, follow these steps:

  1. Register for the promotion via the DBS PayLah! app
  2. Meet the monthly personalised spending goal on groceries/shopping transactions with an eligible DBS debit card
  3. Make public transport transactions via SimplyGo with an eligible DBS debit card
Registration & Promotion Periods

This promotion spans several months with separate promotion periods for each month.

In order to participate in the promotion every month, you’ll need to register every month.

Here are the dates to take note of.

Pre-registration PeriodPromotion PeriodCashback Crediting
21 to 31 Aug 20231 to 30 Sep 2023End Oct 2023
21 to 30 Sep 20231 to 31 Oct 2023End Nov 2023
21 to 31 Oct 20231 to 30 Nov 2023End Dec 2023
21 to 30 Nov 20231 to 31 Dec 2023End Jan 2024
21 to 31 Dec 20231 to 31 Jan 2024End Feb 2024
Source: DBS

Registration for each month’s promotion period opens on the 21st of the previous month, though you can still register during the month itself if you missed the pre-registration period.

However, note that each promotion period is limited to 100,000 registrants, so it’s best to register as early as possible.

Spending Goal

To receive the transport rebate through this promotion, you’ll first need to meet your personalised spending goal during the promotion period on an eligible DBS debit card.

Everyone’s spending goal will vary as it is personalised, and it may also change between promotion periods.

Spending towards your spending goal will only be clocked after you have registered for the promotion.

Qualifying Spend

You can clock your spending goal by making qualifying spends on your eligible DBS debit card.

This refers to groceries and shopping transactions, online and in-person.

ShoppingDepartment Store, Apparel Shop, Online e-commerce
Marketplace, Electronics Appliances Store, Bookshop,
Cosmetics Shop, Home Furnishing Stores, Jewellery, etc.
GroceriesCold Storage, NTUC, Sheng Siong, Redmart, etc.
Source: DBS

Note that all qualifying spends must be charged to the card during the promotion month and posted by the 10th of the following month.

Spending towards your qualifying spend will only be clocked after you have registered for the promotion.

Transport Spend

Cash rebate will only be awarded on your transport spending, which refers to SimplyGo transactions for bus/MRT commutes charged to your eligible DBS debit card.

Only transactions made after registering for the promotion during each promotion period will be eligible to earn the cash rebate.

Transactions must be charged to your card during the promotion period and posted by the 8th of the following month.

Also, note that only SimplyGo transactions are counted as transport spending.

Most cards will be compatible with SimplyGo by default, but for some cards, you will need to enable SimplyGo:

  • Check the back of your DBS/POSB Debit Card for the CEPAS logo
  • If your card contains the CEPAS logo, you will need to switch the payment mode of your card to enable SimplyGo to pay for your Bus/MRT rides
  • Place your card on a General Ticketing Machine reader at any MRT station
  • Select “Check Transit Payment Mode” and follow the onscreen prompts
Eligible DBS/POSB Debit Cards

Only the following DBS/POSB debit cards are eligible for this promotion:

  • DBS Private Bank Visa Debit Card
  • DBS Takashimaya Debit Card
  • DBS Treasures Visa Debit Card
  • DBS Treasures Private Client Debit Card
  • DBS UnionPay Platinum Debit Card
  • DBS Visa Debit Card
  • HomeTeamNS-PAssion-POSB Debit Card
  • PAssion POSB Debit Card
  • PAssion POSB Platinum Debit Card
  • SAFRA DBS Debit Card

If you own a DBS/POSB bank account, chances are that you’ll have either the DBS Visa Debit Card or PAssion POSB Debit Card.

Cashback Crediting

If you are eligible for cashback on your transport spending, it will be credited to your card account by the end of the following month.

For example, October’s cashback will be awarded by the end of November.

How To Register

To register for the promotion, you need to have the DBS PayLah! app.

From the app, select ‘Rewards’ at the bottom menu bar, then tap ‘Join Now’ on the ‘Ride for Free with DBS/POSB Debit Cards’ promotion banner.

If you have successfully registered for the promotion, it should appear under ‘Enrolled Promotions’.

Terms & Conditions

To check the details of this promotion for yourself, you can refer to the terms & conditions here.

Promotion Checklist

If you’re interested in taking part in this promotion, here’s a checklist of the things you need to have/do.

  1. Have an eligible DBS/POSB debit card
  2. Download the DBS PayLah! app
  3. Be the first 100,000 users to register for the promotion each month via the DBS PayLah! app
  4. Make qualifying spend with your DBS/POSB debit card to meet your personalised spending goal
  5. Enable SimplyGo on your DBS/POSB debit card
  6. Make transport spend with your DBS/POSB debit card via SimplyGo

Final Thoughts

How good this promotion is for you really depends on your personalised spending goal, since this determines how much you need to spend in order to earn the transport cashback.

Remember that you need to spend with your DBS/POSB debit card in order to clock your spending goal, which means you’ll be forgoing credit card rewards.

Still, it’s probably a good deal if you’re able to receive the maximum transport cashback of S$20 every month.

Also, this promotion is depicted in an extremely misleading way in the DBS PayLah! app.

It’s not mentioned anywhere in the promotion that you need to meet your spending goal by spending on shopping and grocery transactions.

This is only mentioned when you search for the terms and conditions of the promotion online, on DBS’ website, where they define what constitutes a “qualifying spend”.

Also, the progress towards the spending goal that is shown in the DBS PayLah! app tracks transport spending on SimplyGo, not the qualifying spending.

However, the prerequisite to be eligible for the transport cashback is meeting the spending goal with qualifying spending, and not transport spending.

Update Oct

I have received my transport rebate for the month of September, and can confirm that the T&Cs of the promotion are accurate.

I met my spending goal with the qualifying spend, ie groceries/shopping transactions, but did not hit $20 on SimplyGo transactions.

I received the transport rebate based on my total SimplyGo spending amount in September.

This confirms that the requirement to be eligible for the transport rebate is meeting your spending goal with qualifying spending transactions.

As it stands, I’m not even 100% sure what exactly this promotion’s mechanics are, but I’ve broken down the information as best as I understand it.

I’ll update this post if I find out any more information about this promotion.

Will you be taking part in this promotion? Why or why not? Let me know in the comments below!

8 replies on “Ride For Free: Up To S$20 Transport Rebates With DBS/POSB Cards”

Just want to drop a comment to thank you for writing about this. I am hesitant about it as it’s misleading and unclear. Never knew that the progress on PayLah app tracks transport spending instead.

If the spend goal on my app indicates $80, I have to know it myself that I have spent $80 on groceries/shopping? Whereas the current spend is a tabulation of the transport spending for rebate? Does this mean the current spend indicator has nothing to do with the spend goal? Sounds strange.

Hey Jas,

Thanks for checking out my blog and leaving a comment!

I agree that it’s misleading and unclear, even after reading through the terms & conditions multiple times, I can’t seem to understand why they did things the way they are.

From what I understand through the T&Cs, yes, a spending goal of $80 would mean you need to hit $80 spending on groceries/shopping, which is NOT the amount shown on your progress indicator on the PayLah! App – you would need to keep track of it by yourself.

It’s confusing for me since my spend goal is $20, and the transport rebate cap is also $20, so I can’t say for sure which is which. But from my experience, the spending progress follows my SimplyGo transactions.

sorry i still don’t understand how it works…. does that mean i have to spend $20 using paynow/paylah in supermarkets? 🤔🤔🤔 why does the app still say $0 spend when I spend using paylah/paynow and the simplygo is already activated

Hey S T,

Thanks for checking out my blog and for leaving a comment!

The promotion requires you to spend on a DBS/POSB debit card, not on PayLah/PayNow.

The amount you need to spend depends on your spend goal, which is personalised (it may be more than $20). You can check the amount in the promotions page in the DBS PayLah app.

The process is:
1. Sign up for the promo on PayLah app
2. Shop at supermarkets/online spending to hit the spend goal using a DBS/POSB debit card
3. Pay for bus/mrt with a DBS/POSB debit card
4. If you hit the spend goal in part 2, you will get rebate on your SimplyGo spending capped at $20

Note that points 2 and 3 can be done concurrently.

Hope this helps!

Hello! Thanks for your very descriptive post and also results of testing the mechanics. Would like to know roughly how much was your transport spend and how much did you receive for the rebate. Reason for asking is because I want to find out if it’s worth the effort doing this since I can get cashback using other cards. Thanks in advance!

Hey Melvin,

Thanks for checking out my blog and for leaving a comment!

The transport rebate for the promotion is capped at S$20/month, regardless of how much your spending goal is.

If you take the public transport every day, you will definitely hit the S$20 cap. Even with cashback cards, you probably won’t get as much of a rebate as this, so this promotion is actually quite good.

Hope this helps!

Today I happened to notice that the spending goal raised to $300 for month April for the ride free promotion for using the DBS/POSB DEBIT CARD. Last few months was capped at $80 why sudden change??

Hey Siew Choo,

Thanks for checking out my blog and leaving a comment!

DBS has a habit of increasing the spending criteria for their promotions when you consistently meet their previous spending criteria. Note that this amount is targeted, ie someone else might have a different spending requirement from you. At a spending requirement of $300, this is probably no longer worth it, so ditch the promotion for this month and hopefully they reduce it next month.

Hope this helps!

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