What The Milelion Missed About The MCO Visa

KS Chong
KS Chong
Oct 23 · 5 min read

This article is primarily intended for readers in Singapore and only makes sense where the MCO card is available.

UPDATE: The MCO Visa Card can now be topped up directly with credit/debit cards as of 13 Nov 2019. This article has been updated to remove reservations in the use of this card due to previous card top up friction.

I read about the recently posted article by Milelion “Why I wouldn’t touch the MCO Visa (and neither should most people)” and before I go into what he overlooked, I must say that his is an otherwise fair review. I also support the author’s point that some articles might oversell the lifestyle aspect of it without properly qualifying the risk of cryptocurrency, of which the MCO token that is needed to get the metal tiers is one. The MCO Visa is founded around cryptocurrency and when it comes to this new genre of assets/currency, everyone should do their due diligence.

However, this does not mean it does not fill a gap in my wallet. In the review, Milelion focuses a lot on the staking involved and the price uncertainty of the MCO cryptocurrency which could result in losses. He makes a good argument about how selling MCO after the staking period reduces the rewards of the card, but in his thorough analysis, he misses one approach the average person could benefit: get the Ruby MCO card and never unstake.

Forever stake the Ruby MCO card (even if you are not into cryptocurrency)

At time of writing, the MCO price hovering around USD 3 to 4 and this means staking and getting the Ruby card will cost you USD 200. If you combine this with the referral & stake reward of USD 50 (ask around from your friends or use mine: pw2nqg05bc) from an existing user after you stake for a metal card, the net cost is about USD 150 or about SGD 200. This one-time cost (if you never unstake) is about the same as the annual fee for one year for most accessible credit cards (at time of writing), such as the 1.5% cashback Amex and Standard Chartered cards. While this is a prepaid Visa card that you have to load before spending, it:

  • Has 2% cashback (in the form of MCO) for all card transactions (except loading other prepaid card/services like Grab and Revolut), which means you can get cashback for services like HDB season parking and utility. The monthly POS limit is SGD 15K.
  • Has SGD 400 monthly ATM withdrawal fee-free limit for both local ATM5 machines and overseas Visa ATMs.
  • Gives you 100% rebate for Spotify (in the form of MCO), which subsidises the cost of the card (though this perk may be removed in future).
  • Converts at interbank rates for foreign currency spend (up to SGD 4K monthly), which is sufficient for most short overseas trips and/or monthly subscriptions. The cashback also applies on foreign/overseas spend.
  • Is a metal card (if that matters to you).

One may argue that Revolut card has higher limits on their premium and metal tiers with other features like virtual cards, but from a pure financial ROI perspective, the staked Ruby MCO card is superior. The SGD 199 per year (SGD 232 per year if you pay monthly) metal Revolut card gives you 1% overseas, while the Ruby MCO 2% cashback is both local and overseas. Credit cards may have higher rewards when spending overseas but also higher transaction fees while Revolut, Transferwise and MCO have minimal spreads on their interbank rates (to a limit for MCO). The list of reward exclusions for credit cards has also been growing lately. To reiterate, the MCO cashback also applies on overseas and foreign currency spend where interbank rates apply, and this outclasses other cards.

The forever staked Ruby card allows you to get higher than average cashback and interbank rates from more merchants for a relatively low one-time cost rather than recurring.

For this reason alone, the MCO card deserves a slot in my wallet. I put any spends that otherwise would not earn miles or cashback on this card (e.g. government services or insurance companies that accept it), use for online purchases or subscriptions in foreign currency spend (like Amazon.com, Hulu, etc) and bring it along for short trips. I would still bring along my Revolut and Transferwise cards overseas as backups but my primary spend overseas would be on the MCO card until I hit my limits.

When it comes to using the card that can get you the best miles or cashback, the staked MCO card is usually your best alternative to specialised spend cards, and top choice for overseas spend because of cashback on top of interbank rates.

Some caveats…

Currently, you can only sell the MCO earned in cashback and rebates at a minimum of 4.5 MCO or about SGD 25 at time of writing. Crypto.com is in testing stages of removing this limit as they need to ensure that they do not compromise other systems like their Vortex Trading Engine.

In addition, you can only top up the the card directly with a debit card without fees. Using a credit card to top up incurs a 1% fee (currently waived). Lastly, there is an annual top up limit of $20K (and community reported daily top up limit of $2K) when using credit/debit cards to top up the MCO card. For general spend, this is more than sufficient for most.

So what you can do now is…

  1. Sign up at http://getmco.com (there’s a bonus for referrals so if you have a friend, use their code, or mine)
  2. Buy 50 MCO and stake for at least Ruby card.
  3. Enjoy your Spotify subscription on this card and receive 100% rebate each month. Where you have better rewards on your specialised spend cards, you should use those and use the MCO card where the cashback bests the other cards.
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