What is the best debit card in Singapore? We compared the most popular options

Hannes Ausmees
30.06.22
7 minute read

Having a debit card can make day to day life easier. Pay for goods and services quickly, tap in and out of public transport, and shop online without hassle - and because it’s a debit card not a credit card, you’ll always know you’re spending only money you already hold in the account.

Debit cards can certainly be cheaper than credit cards. But that doesn’t mean they’re free - it is still important to look at the fees and charges before you pick the perfect debit card for you.

This guide covers the best debit cards we found in Singapore. Before we dig deeper, here's a breakdown of some most important features for different cards we researched:

Maintenance feeDigital cardMobile paymentsATM feesForeign transaction fee
Wise CardNo feeAvailableAvailable2 withdrawals a month, to 350 SGD fee free. 1.75% after thatNo fee
SAFRA DBS Debit CardNo fee as long as you remain a SAFRA memberNot availableAvailableFree in network withdrawals

Out of network withdrawal fees of up to 7 SGD may apply¹
3.25%²
DBS Visa Debit CardNo feeNot availableAvailableFree in network withdrawals

Out of network withdrawal fees of up to 7 SGD may apply
Up to 3.25%, depending on the linked account
PAssion POSB Debit CardPAssion fee of 12 SGD/5 years is waived as long as you hold the debit cardNot availableAvailableFree in network withdrawals

Out of network withdrawal fees of up to 7 SGD may apply³
Up to 3.25%, depending on the linked account⁴
OCBC Debit CardNo feeNot availableAvailableFree to use OCBC ATMs Overseas fee of 3% - from 5 SGD to 20 SGD⁵Up to 3.25%, depending on the linked account
OCBC FRANK Debit CardFall below fee may apply once you reach 26 years oldAvailableAvailableFree to use OCBC ATMs

Overseas fee of 3% - may apply from 5 SGD to 20 SGD
Up to 3.25%, depending on the linked account
HSBC Debit CardNo feeNot availableAvailableFree to use HSBC ATMs

Out of network fees may apply, depending on the linked account
Charges may apply, based on the linked account
UOB Debit Card18 SGD - can be waived by hitting eligibility requirementsNot availableAvailable5 SGD out of network fee⁶ Foreign transaction fees may also apply3.25%
Citibank Debit CardAccounts may have service fees of 15 SGD/month - check terms and conditions for more informationNot availableAvailableNo fee for in network and partner bank withdrawals. Foreign transaction fees may apply2.5%

*Correct as time of research - 30/06/2022

Things to consider when choosing a debit card

If you’re getting a new debit card, you have a few decisions to make. While different cards - and accounts - will suit different customers, there are a few key considerations to think about. Here are some pointers:

  • Choose a card which is on a widely accepted network, such as Visa or Mastercard, for ease of use
  • Pay attention to the foreign transaction fees added if the card is used abroad or for online shopping with international retailers
  • Look at fees for ATM use - at home and abroad
  • Check if you need to pay an annual charge for the card, and what happens if you need a replacement
  • Make sure the online banking options which are connected to the card and account are user friendly
  • Consider whether you need travel protection
  • If you’re choosing a card because of a promotion or offer, read the small print carefully to ensure you’re eligible

Let’s dive right into our roundup of the best debit cards in Singapore - we’ll walk through some top options and look at each in more detail, next.

Wise Card - for travelling and shopping online

The Wise multi-currency account and Wise Card can make it 6x cheaper to transact internationally compared to using your normal bank.

Wise-card

Top up your account in the currency of your choice, switch to the currency you need online or in the Wise app - or let the card’s auto-convert feature do it for you. Either way, you’ll be able to spend with no sneaky foreign transaction charges, and you’ll always get the real mid-market exchange rate, with low, transparent transaction fees.

  • Visa card - widely accepted globally - plus Apple Pay and Google Pay compatible
  • Hold and exchange 50+ currencies, get local bank details for 9 currencies (including SGD, USD, AUD and others)
  • Currency exchange uses the real exchange rate and low, transparent fees
  • Smart auto-convert feature means you’ll always get the lowest possible conversion fees, even if you don’t hold the currency you need in your account
  • Withdraw at 2.3 million ATMs worldwide
  • Check your balance, add and exchange funds, get transaction notifications and freeze your Wise Card - all in the app

You don’t need to worry about holding any minimum balance in your Wise account - signing up is free and there’s no monthly fee either. Just a one time 10 SGD charge to get your physical card - and you can get started spending right away with handy digital cards for mobile and online payments.

Learn more about the Wise card

SAFRA DBS Debit Card - cash back and privileges for SAFRA members

If you’re an existing SAFRA member, and already bank with DBS or POSB, the SAFRA DBS Debit Card⁷ might mean you can earn cash back and access a broad range of privileges including exclusive access to 6 SAFRA clubhouses around the island. Cash back varies depending on where you’re spending - but can be up to 2% on key items like grocery shopping and public transport.

safra-debit

  • Issued on the Mastercard network, contactless supported
  • Get up to 2% cash back on card spending - can be redeemed as account credits, or when spending with SAFRA clubs or participating merchants
  • Available to SAFRA members who hold an eligible account with DBS or POSB
  • Exclusive benefits available from participating merchants and partners

DBS Visa Debit Card - link to your DBS account and spend in 11 currencies

DBS customers with multi-currency accounts may be interested in linking the DBS Visa Debit Card⁸ to their account, to spend currencies they hold without foreign transaction fees. There’s no annual card fee - although you may run into maintenance, currency conversion and transaction fees on your linked account, depending on which you select.

Want to learn more about the DBS Visa Debit Card? Check out this full guide.

dbs-visa-debit

  • Easy spending online and in person - on the Visa network for convenience
  • Link to a DBS multi-currency account to spend in 11 currencies without further foreign transaction fees
  • Get cash back up to 4% on selected spending
  • You must hold an eligible DBS or POSB account to apply for this card

PAssion POSB Debit Card - PAssion Card and Debit Card combined for convenience

Why carry both a PAssion Card and a bank issued debit card, when you can combine both in one - and have the PAssion membership fee waived, too. If you have an eligible account with POSB or DBS you’ll be able to apply for the PAssion POSB Debit Card⁹ and get cashback and offers as you spend.

passion-debit

  • Issued on the Mastercard network, contactless enabled
  • Up to 4% cash back with selected merchants
  • Special offers through PAssion membership including money off and deals with partner merchants

OCBC Debit Card - for handy cardless ATM withdrawals

The OCBC Debit Card¹⁰, which is offered in place of the OCBC Yes Debit Card for new customers, has unlimited 1% cash back on a range of spending categories, and free ATM withdrawals within the OCBC network. Another great perk is the option to make cardless withdrawals through the OCBC app - meaning you don’t need to carry your card around with you even when you need cash.

ocbc-debit

  • Visa and contactless payments supported globally
  • Free OCBC ATM withdrawals, even overseas - plus card free withdrawals using the OCBC app
  • 1% cash back on spending with an impressive range of merchants
  • Card holder privileges and perks with partner merchants
  • Link to a multi-currency account to spend currencies you hold with no foreign transaction fee - a 3.25% charge applies otherwise

OCBC FRANK Debit Card - for students

OCBC FRANK¹¹ can be a great option for students looking for a card and account for day to day spending, with the possibility to earn interest and cash back, as well as getting a personalised card from over 60 different designs. There’s no monthly fee to pay until you’re 26, and even after that you can waive the charge by holding a minimum balance in your linked OCBC account.

frank-debit

  • Visa card with contactless and digital payment options
  • Up to 1% cash back with selected merchants
  • Choose from a broad range of card designs
  • Save and invest through OCBC using your FRANK account
  • Link your card to different OCBC accounts depending on your preference

HSBC Debit Card - for contactless and mobile payments, plus fee free ATM withdrawals at HSBC

HSBC customers can link a debit card to their preferred HSBC account, to spend and make withdrawals, and access handy mobile payments¹². There’s no ATM fee if you stick with HSBC ATMs, including for international withdrawals.

hsbc-debit

  • Visa and NETS payments, plus Apple Pay for mobile transactions
  • Discounts and benefits with selected merchants
  • Customers must hold an eligible HSBC account to apply for a linked HSBC Debit Card
  • Use your card in public transport to simply tap and go

UOB One Debit card - for up to 3% cash back on card spending

The UOB One Debit Card¹³ is described as Singapore’s most generous cash back on daily spending, with 3% rebates on a pretty wide range of merchants and spend types. There’s an annual fee, but you can have this waived by using your card regularly - and some overseas ATM withdrawals at UOB ATMs are free too.

uob-one-debit

  • Mastercard issued with contactless and mobile payment functionality
  • Strong cash back offer, plus other merchant promotions and deals
  • Free UOB international withdrawals in several countries in the region
  • Use your card to tap and go on public transport, too

Citibank Debit Card - for free withdrawals at Citibank and partner banks

Depending on which Citibank account you hold, the Citibank Debit Card¹⁴ could offer a simple way to spend at home and abroad. You may even be able to access multiple currencies to make international spending easier, as well as contactless and mobile spending, and a range of Citibank privileges extended to card holders.

citibank-debit

  • Mastercard issued with contactless and mobile payment functionality
  • Strong cash back offer, plus other merchant promotions and deals
  • Free UOB international withdrawals in several countries in the region
  • Use your card to tap and go on public transport, too

Looking for a business debit card?

Debit cards are also a great way for entrepreneurs and business owners to make it easier and more convenient to make payments. If you’re interested in finding the right business debit card for your needs, check out this full guide to the best business debit card in Singapore.

Summary

Using a debit card can be a good way to make daily spending simple - particularly if you pick a card with great features and low fees. As usually, the best debit card available in Singapore for you will depend on your specific needs.

Check out the selection offered here to decide which presents the best possible value, convenience and benefits for you - and remember to take a good look at the Wise multi-currency account and Wise Card if you love to travel and spend internationally. With no foreign transaction fees and currency conversion which uses the real exchange rate, you could stand to save 6x with Wise.

wise-account


Sources:

  1. DBS ATM fees
  2. DBS foreign transaction fees
  3. POSB card fees
  4. POSB Foreign transaction fees
  5. OCBC pricing guide
  6. UOB Debit Card fees
  7. SAFRA DBS Debit Card
  8. DBS Visa Debit Card
  9. PAssion POSB Debit Card
  10. OCBC Debit Card
  11. OCBC FRANK Debit Card
  12. HSBC Debit Card
  13. UOB One Debit Card
  14. Citibank Debit Card

Sources checked on 30/06/2022


This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication. The information in this publication does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from TransferWise Limited or its affiliates. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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