ICBC Global Travel card: All you need to know

Aman Saxena

Before the introduction of multi-currency accounts, one of the best ways to pay while abroad was with travel credit cards. They tend to free you from having to carry cash and can be accepted in any country or currency that the credit card company is in. ICBC has its own travel credit card called the ICBC Global Travel card. With this handy card, you can dine, travel and shop abroad. And this card, in particular, has some attractive cashback offers.

But what it also comes with some hefty fees and unattractive exchange rates. Learn more about the ICBC Global Travel card as we go through how it works below.

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What is the ICBC Global Travel card?

One of the credit card options that ICBC bank offers is the Global Travel card. It works like a traditional credit card, but it gives extended access to be used overseas wherever Mastercard is available. It is a physical card with contactless and chip capabilities. Compared to multi-currency accounts that require you to load up on currencies in the account, the Mastercard lets you swipe and use the card as you need and the purchase is converted using their exchange rate. It is then expected to be repaid monthly in Singapore Dollars. You can also, of course, use the card in Singapore too.

You can apply online through your phone, or PC to sign up for the card. If you are already an ICBC credit cardholder, you can use the simplified application. To qualify for this card, you must be at least 21 years old and have a minimum annual income of SGD 30,000. If you do not qualify due to a lack of documents or the income minimum, then you can also get a secure version of the card with a minimum deposit of SGD 10,000.¹

What can I use the ICBC Global Travel card for?

The ICBC Global Travel card can be used for travel purchases, shopping, dining and everything else you need. Since it can be used in Singapore, it can be used for domestic purchases too. One of the major perks of the ICBC Global Travel card is that it offers attractive cashback features.

With the card, you get 1.5% cashback in SGD on every domestic purchase and 3% cashback in SGD on any purchases overseas. The cashback is unlimited and there is no minimum you have to spend to get it. There are certain restrictions on the type of purchases, for instance, real estate purchases do not qualify, but for the majority of shopping and traveling needs, you will be able to avail this perk.

There are additional promotional offers that run such as cashback on bus or MRT rides, and free VIP lounge service at high-speed railway stations and airports. These promotions are for specific offer windows and may not always be available.

For repayments, the ICBC Global Travel card has a minimum payment of 3% of the monthly outstanding balance, plus any outstanding payments from the last statement. The repayment grace period is 25 days from the statement date.²

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Overseas ATM withdrawals with ICBC Global Travel card

Overseas withdrawals can be found to be quite expensive with the ICBC Global Travel card. There is a 5% transaction fee on the amount withdrawn, with a minimum charge of SGD 15 per transaction. On top of that, there is a finance charge of 24% per year that is chargeable on a daily basis on the amount withdrawn for each cash advance and continues to accrue until it is repaid. As you can see, if you want to withdraw cash from this credit card, it may not be the cheapest option out there.

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What are the currencies in the ICBC Global Travel card?

The ICBC Global Travel card can be used for any currencies and countries where Mastercard is accepted, which is approximately 210 countries and counting. One thing to note is that when you are purchasing in a currency that is not SGD or USD, once the purchase goes through the currency is going to be converted first into USD, and then from USD into SGD for your account³. However, these currencies will not be available to you at the real mid-market exchange rate, so you will be losing money on every transaction.

Are there any fees for ICBC Global Travel card?

There are quite a few fees associated with having and using the ICBC Global Travel Mastercard.

First, there is an annual fee of SGD 150 for the principal holder; it is SGD 75 for the supplementary cardholder. This fee, however, is waived for the first 3 years.

The SGD interest rate is 24% per annum, and as mentioned the minimum payment is 3% of the monthly balance. If there is a late payment, you will be charged at the greater of 5% of the minimum payment amount or SGD 40. If you exceed your credit limit, an overlimit fee of SGD 40 will be applied.

An administrative fee of 2.5% is also added to any non-SGD currency amounts charged to the card.

There are also additional fees to see your balance at an ATM, for getting a new card, for having insufficient funds in your payment account and requesting additional copies of account statements.

On top of all of these fees, there is the exchange rate. The card uses the exchange rate that Mastercard sets for all conversions. This is usually weaker than the actual exchange rate that you see on Google in order to take a cut from the transaction. In that way, it becomes a hidden fee for you. A few cents of difference in the exchange rate can start to add up to quite a few dollars when using the card frequently. Plus if you use Dynamic Currency Conversion for your purchase with the merchant or operator, Mastercard will also put an additional 1% fee on the transaction.⁴

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Sources used for this article:

  1. ICBC Global Travel Mastercard Eligibility
  2. Repayment
  3. Currency Conversion
  4. Fees

All sources checked as of 13 November, 2019


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