DBS multi-currency account review: Fees, exchange rates and more

Hannes Ausmees

DBS has a couple of popular multi-currency account options for Singapore personal customers - the DBS My Account, and the DBS Multiplier Account. Which one will suit you depends on the type of transactions you’ll make frequently, and the services you require.

To help you decide, this guide includes an introduction to the multi-currency accounts DBS offers, the exchange and interest rates available, a comparison between the 2 DBS account products - and how to apply.

We’ll also compare DBS multi-currency features against an alternative provider - Wise - which allows you to hold and exchange 40+ currencies right from your phone.

Table of contents

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How to use DBS multi currency account - benefits

If you’re living in Singapore and need a multi-currency account for day to day spending, the key DBS account products to know about are the DBS My Account and the DBS Multiplier Account.

It’s useful to know that DBS organises accounts by customer status and need. So some accounts are available only to Singapore citizens and PRs, with others designed for expat customers. Check out the eligibility carefully when you’re choosing a product, to make sure it suits your needs.

As you’d expect, different accounts have different fees, including service fees, fall below fees and overdraft fees. However, the charges relating to foreign currency services such as spending with your card overseas, or sending an international transfer are typically the same across all account types.

My Account¹

DBS My Account is a multi-currency account option which offers flexibility and ease of use. You can customise the way your account works, linking any of a whopping 150 different banking services according to your needs.

For foreign currency requirements you can hold and exchange up to 13 currencies using the digital banking feature. You’ll also be able to link your account to a Visa debit card which gives access to foreign currency travel wallets when spending overseas.

Multiplier Account²

Hold, transact and save up to 13 currencies, and earn increasing interest on your balance the more you access DBS services. The interest you earn could be up to 3.5%, depending on how you use your account, your age and a selection of other factors.

Overview of DBS multi-currency accounts

Let’s look at a head to head of the 2 key DBS multi-currency account options you might want to consider, so you can compare the important features.

DBS My AccountDBS Multiplier account
Available currencies1313³
Eligibility requirementsSingapore legal resident - minors can open a joint account with a parent or guardian18+ years old, Singapore legal resident
Interest rateVaried by currency, 0.05% for SGD⁴Up to 3.5% depending on how you use your account
Fall below feeNone5 SGD if balance falls below 3,000 SGD
Card spending and ATM feeUp to 3.25% international fee for any foreign currency spend7 SGD overseas ATM feeUp to 3.25% international fee for any foreign currency spend7 SGD overseas ATM fee
International transfer feeIncoming: 10 SGDOutgoing: 1/8% (min 10 SGD, max 120 SGD) + cable charge 20 SGD + any relevant agent fee⁵Incoming: 10 SGDOutgoing: 1/8% (min 10 SGD, max 120 SGD) + cable charge 20 SGD + any relevant agent fee
Foreign transaction feeUp to 3.25%⁶Up to 3.25%
Early close feeNone30 SGD

*Interest rate and fee information correct at time of writing - 6th April 2023

DBS Multi Currency Account exchange rate and foreign transaction fee

Whenever you send or spend foreign currencies, it’s smart to look at the exchange rates being used. A bad rate can mean you pay way more than you need to for your purchase or payment.

Most currency exchange for the accounts highlighted above will use the DBS exchange rate - which you can find online on the DBS website. If you’re spending a foreign currency you don’t hold you may find the exchange rate used is the one set by the card network - Visa, for example. You’ll probably have to pay a foreign transaction fee in this case, which can be as much as 3.25%.

Compare the DBS exchange rate against the mid-market rate - which you can find on Google - to see if any markup or margin has been added for your destination currency. If it has you may be better off with an alternative provider, like Wise, which uses mid-market exchange rate for all currency conversion.

Learn more here about the rates of DBS overseas transfers

DBS vs Wise - multi currency feature comparison

Let’s look at an alternative to DBS, if you want to hold, send, spend and exchange currencies conveniently online and in-app - Wise. Here’s how Wise and DBS look in a side by side comparison of international features and fees:

DBS My Account/MultiplierWise Account⁷
EligibilitySingapore residents onlyAvailable globally
Available currencies1340+
Interest rateMy Account: Variable based on currencies involved, 0.05% for SGDMultiplier: Variable based on how you use your account, up to 3.5%3.11% interest rate with Assets
Exchange rateDBS rate, which may include a markupMid-market rate
Fall below feeMy Account: NoneMultiplier: 5 SGDNone
Local bank detailsNot availableAvailable in 10 currencies, including SGD, USD, GBP and more
International ATM fee7 SGD2 withdrawals to 350 SGD/month for free - low fees after that¹⁰
International transfer feeIncoming: 10 SGDOutgoing: 1/8% (min 10 SGD, max 120 SGD) + cable charge 20 SGD + any relevant agent feeFrom 0.43%
Foreign transaction feeUp to 3.25%None

Pricing/fees: Please see Terms of Use for your region or visit Wise Fees & Pricing for the most up to date pricing and fee information

As you can see, Wise allows you to hold and exchange a far broader selection of currencies - plus you’ll get your own local account details for up to 10 currencies. That makes it easy to get paid fee free like a local from 30+ countries (with the exception of USD wire transfers).

Wise accounts can be opened online or in the Wise app, with a fully digital verification and onboarding service for convenience. Just upload images of your ID and you’ll be able to get started in no time at all!¹¹

Get a free Wise account


How to open a DBS multi-currency account

You can open a DBS multi-currency account online or in the DBS app very easily if you have Singpass. If not you’ll need to manually upload verification documents, or head to a branch to set up your account in person.

Here’s how to get started online if you’re a Singpass account holder:

  1. Go to DBS digibank online desktop site
  2. Select Apply, then pick the account you’re looking to open
  3. Use Singpass to auto populate your information
  4. You may need to upload an ID or address document, depending on your residency status and nationality
  5. Get verified and pay your opening deposit if required
  6. Once your account documents are prepared you’re ready to go

Eligibility and requirements for opening a DBS multi-currency account

You can open a My Account as long as you’re a Singaporean resident - even kids can open an account as a joint holder with a parent or guardian. The Multiplier Account is available for Singapore residents who are 18 or older only.

The documents you need will vary based on whether you’re using Singpass to apply or uploading information manually, but in general you’ll have to supply⁹:

  • Your contact information
  • Proof of ID
  • Proof of residential address
  • Proof of ownership of the phone number you link to your account
  • Proof of tax residency

Summary

Getting the right multi-currency account can make life easier if you enjoy travel or shopping with companies based overseas. As a local Singapore bank with an international outlook, DBS has a couple of good, easy to use, multi-currency account products. However, the fees and flexibility aren’t always the best out there. Some services - such as sending or receiving international transfers - can be pretty pricey with DBS, which can cause a problem if you live an international lifestyle.

Check out the various options available from DBS and compare them with a few other account types, including the Wise account, to make sure you find the perfect fit for your needs.

Frequently asked questions

Can I deposit foreign currency into a DBS Multi Currency account?

You can not deposit foreign currency cash into a DBS multi-currency account. You can receive payments to your DBS account as bank transfers. Fees apply for incoming transfers - usually 10 SGD every time.

Can I withdraw foreign currency from a DBS Multi Currency account?

Use your DBS card to withdraw foreign currency cash when you travel - you’ll find DBS ATM fees of 7 SGD apply in most cases, and if you’re withdrawing a currency you don’t hold in the account, there could also be a foreign transaction fee of up to 3.15%.

What is the DBS Multi Currency Account fall below fee / minimum balance?

The DBS My Account has no minimum balance and no fall below fee. The DBS Multiplier has a minimum balance of 3,000 SGD, and a fall below fee of 5 SGD a month if you have less than that in your account.

Does DBS also offer a card with its multi-currency account?

You can link a range of several DBS Visa debit cards to your multi-currency account or travel wallet, to get a full range of overseas card services.

Learn more about the DBS multi-currency card here.

A multi-currency account with POSB? DBS offers its products to POSB clients as well

It’s worth knowing that POSB customers can also access DBS multi-currency account products. In fact, if you bank with POSB and require foreign currency services, you’ll be directed right to the DBS currency conversion information page.¹²


Sources:

  1. DBS My Account
  2. DBS Multiplier Account
  3. DBS Multiplier Account FAQ
  4. DBS Interest rates
  5. DBS fees
  6. DBS card fees
  7. Pricing/fees: Please seeTerms of Use for your region or visit WiseFees & Pricing for the most up to date pricing and fee information
  8. Wise Assets
  9. DBS documents needed
  10. Wise will not charge you for these withdrawals, but some additional charges may occur from independent ATM networks.
  11. Wise may request additional documents to verify a customer's identity.
  12. POSB Foreign Exchange rates

Sources checked on 04/06/2023


Please see terms of use and product availability for your region or visit Wise fees and pricing for the most up to date pricing and fee information.

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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