OCBC foreign transaction fee Singapore: What you should know

Elle Kasser

Whenever you spend money overseas using your credit card - when you travel, or shop online with international retailers - you may find you pay extra fees. These charges include foreign transaction fees, currency conversion costs and cash advance fees if you make an ATM withdrawal.

It’s important to understand the fees associated with using your credit card for international spending, so you don’t get hit by unexpected costs. This guide covers all you need to know if you hold an OCBC credit card, and also suggests a helpful way to cut the cost of managing and spending your money with the Wise multi-currency account and card.

OCBC overseas transaction fees

The key cost you need to know about when spending overseas is the foreign transaction fee charged by your bank, card network - or both. In general terms, foreign transaction fees have been on the rise in recent years, with many major banks and card issuers in Singapore hiking costs¹ OCBC is no exception.

The foreign transaction fee you’ll pay when using an OCBC card overseas is now a total of 3.25%.

That’s made up of a 1% fee levied by your card network, and an additional 2.25% which goes to the bank itself.

This charge went up from a flat 3% on 3 December 2019 - and comes on top of any other fees you need to pay, like cash advance charges and interest.²

You can avoid foreign transaction fees entirely - and cut the costs of spending overseas - with the Wise multi-currency account and card.

Open your account online for free, and you’ll be able to convert your SGD to the currencies you need for travelling or online shopping - or allow the smart autoconvert technology to do it for you for the lowest available fee.

All Wise currency conversion uses the mid-market exchange rate with no markup. It’s free to spend any currency you hold using the linked debit Mastercard - and because it’s a debit card you can’t spend more than you plan to, and won’t need to pay any interest charges. See if you can save with Transferwise today.

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What other fees should I know about?

With OCBC - and most other credit card issuers - there are also a few other costs to consider when spending overseas. Key charges to look out for include:

  • Exchange rate markups
  • Currency conversion charges
  • Cash advance fees
  • Dynamic currency conversion costs

Here’s what you need to know:

Exchange rate markups

When you spend in a foreign currency with your credit card, the card issuer or network will decide the exchange rate that’s used to convert your spending back to Sing dollars.

The rate applied will be the bank or network rate on the day the transaction is processed - not necessarily the day of the transaction itself - and may include a markup on top of the regular mid-market exchange rate.

Currency conversion charges

If you’re charged by a retailer in Singapore dollars, but the transaction is processed overseas, there’s a 1% charge to pay. This can happen if you’re shopping online with a retailer which publishes prices in SGD, but is based abroad, for example.²

Cash advance fees

Using your credit card to make ATM withdrawals is expensive. In addition to any other costs involved such as exchange rate markups, you’ll pay an 8% fee, with a minimum of SGD15 per withdrawal, plus interest. ²

Dynamic currency conversion - DCC

A final charge to watch out for is related to DCC. This is where you’re asked when spending or making a withdrawal overseas, if you want to be charged in SGD instead of the local currency wherever you are.

Opting to be charged in SGD will mean you pay more as you’ll definitely be charged the OCBC currency conversion cost detailed above, and may also pay extra fees added by the retailer or rolled up in the exchange rate used to process your payment. Always pay in the local currency when you’re abroad, to get the best available deal.

Learn more about dynamic currency conversion here.

The costs involved with using your credit card for international spending can be high - and some may come as an unwelcome surprise. Make your money go further when you’re abroad, with the Wise multi-currency account and card. Cutting the costs of international purchases means you have more to spend on yourself.

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  1. Milelion - OCBC increasing foreign currency transaction fee to 3.25% from December 2019
  2. OCBC - Fees & Charges for Credit Cards

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 Wise Payments 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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