Wondering which card is better for overseas use - Trust card vs YouTrip? We compared the fees and exchange rates and also included an alternative option Wise
If you love to travel or shop with international ecommerce stores you may be looking for ways to cut the costs of cross border spending. As regular credit cards often charge international transaction fees, getting a specialist card designed for spending in a foreign currency can mean you save.
This guide walks through some of the best credit cards for overseas spending available in Singapore. As credit card overseas charges can be fairly high, we’ll also introduce an alternative - the Wise card. The Wise card is a debit card, not a credit card, which means there’s no interest to pay and no minimum income requirement, plus you get mid-market rate currency conversion for overseas spending. More on that later.
|Table of contents
We’ll walk through some of Singapore’s best international credit card options one by one in a moment, with a comparison and more details to check and compare. However, it’s worth investing a bit of time thinking about what’s important for you in a credit card for overseas spending - so you’ll be able to pick the perfect card for your needs.
If you love to shop overseas with ecommerce retailers, look for a low foreign transaction fee. Foreign transaction fees are added onto your bill every time you spend in a foreign currency, often pushing up your costs by 3% or more.
As most credit cards will have a foreign transaction fee to pay, one common tactic is to look for the card which has the highest cashback on international purchases. This can also be good if rewards are important to you - but you’ll need to compare the costs with the benefits to see if they really balance out.
In general, looking for a credit card with the lowest foreign transaction fee - or picking an alternative like the Wise card, which has no foreign transaction fees - works best.
If you’re planning on getting a credit card for overseas use, it’s important to know the exchange rate that’ll be used to convert your spending to SGD. Usually this is the network rate - so Visa, Mastercard or American Express for example. Network exchange rates are pretty fair, but the overall cost is then inflated if there’s a foreign transaction fee tagged onto overseas purchases.
To see how your card network rate shapes up, it’s helpful to compare it to the mid-market rate, which is the rate the card network gets when buying and selling currencies in the first place. Check out the network rate for your card type online, and compare it to the mid-market rate (same rate you see on Google) to see if any markup or extra fee has been tucked away here.
If you’ll be making ATM withdrawals or buying foreign currency in cash, check if there’s a cash advance fee payable - this can push up the costs significantly. Cash advance fees are usually a percentage of the withdrawal value, subject to high minimum amounts. Interest may also accrue instantly, and can be at a higher rate compared to purchases.
The other thing to watch out for is DCC - dynamic currency conversion. This is where the ATM asks you if you want to pay in SGD instead of the local currency wherever you are. If you agree you’ll get a less favourable exchange rate, paying even more for your foreign currency spending
|Learn more about how to avoid DCC
One of the major perks of a credit card is the option to earn while you spend.
If you expect to travel often you might want to choose a card which offers Air Miles and travel related perks like airport lounge access or insurance. On the other hand, if your card will be for local use as well as international, look for the best cashback across both local and cross border purchases, and any specific discounts and offers which suit your habits. Weigh up the costs of your card against the benefits you could accrue to check it’s worthwhile.
To give you some inspiration and kickstart your search, we’ll look at 5 credit cards from different providers, comparing them across key features and fees.
We’ve also included a look at the Wise card in the comparison as an extra. The Wise card isn’t a credit card, it’s a debit card, which means it comes with different benefits and drawbacks, features and fees, which you may want to compare alongside your credit card options.
|Foreign transaction fees
|ATM withdrawal fees
|Annual fees / eligibility requirements
|Wise card (debit card)
|No foreign transaction fee
|2 withdrawals to 350 SGD/month fee free¹² 1.5 SGD + 1.75% after that
|Mid-market rate, conversion fees from 0.43%
|No annual fee No minimum salary requirement
|Partner merchant offers available
|DBS® Altitude Card¹
|Up to 3.25%²
|15 SGD or 8% cash advance fee
|Visa® /AmEx rate + foreign transaction fee
|194.40 SGD annual fee Salary requirement: 30,000 SGD for Singapore citizen, 45,000 SGD for foreigner
|Up to 10 miles per dollar spend on travel purchases
|Citi® PremierMiles Card³
|Up to 3.25%⁴
|15 SGD or 6% cash advance fee
|Mastercard® rate + foreign transaction fee
|194.40 SGD annual fee Salary requirement: 30,000 SGD for Singapore citizen, 42,000 SGD for foreigner
|2 miles per dollar on foreign currency spend, 1 mile per dollar on other spend
|UOB® PRVI Miles Card⁵
|15 SGD or 8% cash advance fee
|AmEx rate + foreign transaction fee
|259.20 SGD annual fee Salary requirement: 30,000 SGD for Singapore citizen, 40,000 SGD for foreigner
|Up to 6 miles per dollar on travel spend, 1.4 miles per dollar locally, some complimentary insurance offered
|CIMB® Visa Signature Card⁷
|15 SGD or 8% cash advance fee
|Visa rate + foreign transaction fee
|No annual fee Salary requirement: 30,000 SGD for Singapore citizen Other applicants can apply for a secured card
|Up to 10% cash back on select spending, travel insurance and benefits
|KrisFlyer Credit Card (American Express®)⁹
|AmEx rate + foreign transaction fee
|178.20 SGD annual fee Salary requirement not disclosed; subject to credit checks
|Up to 3.1 KrisFlyer miles per dollar, 1.1 miles on local spending
Wise doesn’t offer credit cards, but the Wise international debit card is a great option for frequent travellers and anyone who spends in foreign currencies regularly.
You can open a Wise account online or in the Wise app, add money in SGD and spend in 40+ currencies with the mid-market exchange rate and low fees from 0.43%¹¹. Either exchange to the currency you need within your account in advance, or let the Wise card automatically convert to the currency you need to pay at the point of purchase.
There’s no annual fee, no minimum income requirement, and you’ll get some fee free ATM withdrawals every month¹².
As you’d expect DBS offers a broad range of credit cards, including some with perks for travellers and people who spend in foreign currencies regularly. The Altitude card has a good balance of cashback for local spend, with extra cashback available when you’re booking trips abroad, or spending in a foreign currency.
However, there are fees you’ll need to consider, including a 3.25% foreign transaction fee and a cash advance fee if you make ATM withdrawals.
Citi’s PremierMiles Card offers double the miles earning for overseas spending compared to SGD spend, which can be attractive. You’ll also get lots of travel related perks like lounge access, discounts on holiday bookings and exclusive benefits from time to time.
Bear in mind the foreign transaction, annual and cash advance fees which can push up the overall costs here.
The UOB PRVI Miles Card is a fairly flexible option which allows you to earn 1.4 miles per dollar at home, with boosted earning rates overseas and when spending on travel with select UOB partners. There are also handy benefits like some insurance, although you’ll have to remember to activate this before you travel to qualify.
Compare the cash back or miles earning options against the overall fees, costs and foreign transaction charges before you sign up.
CIMB promotes its Visa Signature Card for Singapore citizens and PRs, although you may also be able to get a secured card with a deposit of 10,000 SGD if you find you don’t qualify under the other eligibility routes. There’s the option to earn a high cash abc of 10% on selected categories, with some extra travel benefits like complimentary insurance and concierge services.
KrisFlyer Credit Card (AmEx)
If you frequently fly with Singapore Airlines (SIA) you may like the KrisFlyer Credit Card from AmEx. You’ll get some extra benefits when you sign up and can then earn miles on local spend, with boosted earning rates on some categories, including Grab. The annual fee is waived in the first year which is a benefit but there are still other costs to consider when you choose this product, including foreign transaction fees.
There’s no single best credit card for overseas spending - your choice will come down to your spending habits and personal preferences.
Whichever card you select, also check out the Wise card as a smart way to spend at home and abroad - and make withdrawals when you travel - using the mid-market exchange rate with no foreign transaction fees. You might find you can save.
- DBS Altitude Visa Card
- DBS card fees
- Citi PremierMiles Visa Card
- Citi card fees
- UOB PRVI Miles Card
- UOB card members agreement
- CIMB Visa Signature
- CIMB card fees
- KrisFlyer Credit Card (AmEx)
- AmEx fees
- Wise will not charge you for these withdrawals, but some additional charges may occur from independent ATM networks.
This publication is provided for general information purposes and does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from Wise Payments Limited or its subsidiaries and its affiliates, and it is not intended as a substitute for obtaining advice from a financial advisor or any other professional.
We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether expressed or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.
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