Prepaid credit card Singapore: Overview, plus virtual credit cards

Elle Kasser

Prepaid and virtual credit cards can be a convenient way to protect your card and account details when shopping online or spending abroad.

A virtual card is typically linked to your regular card, but uses dummy numbers which can be easily limited.
And a prepaid card will only ever let you spend the balance you top up. Both offer ways to increase the security of your spending if you’re concerned about your card being cloned, or your details stolen when you shop.

This guide takes a look at how to get the benefits of prepaid and virtual cards in Singapore, and introduces a few popular options including the free Wise multi-currency card. Wise also offers virtual cards.
If you’re shopping with international retailers, or making ATM withdrawals abroad, the low fees and great rates on offer from Wise could save you money. More on that later.

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Prepaid and virtual credit cards

As more and more of our spending moves to mobile and online, physical credit cards are becoming less relevant. This has opened the way for virtual cards, which are increasingly popular and are already a big hit in B2B sales in some regions.

Prepaid cards come in a whole range of guises, from the familiar EZ-Link card which can be used for travel and some purchases, through to fully active and versatile cards backed by major card issuers.

Before we move on, let’s take a look at these 2 card types in more detail, including a little on how and when you might choose to use them.

What is a virtual credit card?

When you use a virtual card, you generate a new set of credit card numbers which is linked to your credit card account, but not the same as those printed on the physical card. These card details can be limited to one use only, given an expiry date, or have a specific spending limit on them.

The primary advantage for many customers is that you can use virtual details when shopping online with a retailer you don’t know much about.

If you’re concerned your details may be stolen or used inappropriately, a virtual card allows you to break the link back to your main credit account.

As a personal customer, you might use a virtual card to sign up for an ongoing subscription - but limit the card to the value of the subscription to stop any additional costs being deducted by the retailer.

And as a business customer, you could offer virtual cards to your team members who make purchases on behalf of the company - using your chosen expiry date and monthly spend limit to control costs.

Virtual credit cards are not particularly popular among consumers in Singapore - in part thanks to the fact that the existing security around online shopping here is so good.

But if you want to try out virtual cards, why not start with checking out Wise?

How do prepaid cards work?

Chances are you’re familiar with prepaid cards such as the EZ-Link card ¹ used by many people in Singapore to ride public transport.

However, you can also get other prepaid cards which work on major card networks like Visa, Mastercard and American Express. These can be used wherever you see the relevant symbol displayed, for spending and ATM withdrawals.

The advantage of using a prepaid card again often comes with security and control. These cards do not offer credit - you can only spend the amount you have already topped up on the card.

That means that if the card is stolen or cloned - or if someone steals your details online - they won’t be able to run up unlimited debts.

Choosing the right prepaid credit card for you

Prepaid cards come in a range of types, and the costs, limits and features of different cards can vary widely.

You’ll find some cards which have relatively low fees and limits, which could be good to help a teenager learn about managing money, for example.

Some virtual and prepaid cards are set up to function with Apple Pay and other mobile payment platforms. And others are specifically designed to support spending in foreign currencies. When you choose a card product you’ll want to think carefully about how you intend to use it, and check out the fees you’ll likely need to pay for the services which matter to you.

When you’re looking at the fees applied to your card, it’s worth reading the small print carefully. You may find charges to top up the card, to make withdrawals, to spend in a foreign currency, or if the account goes dormant for example. If you intend to use the card to shop and make withdrawals internationally, you’ll also want to check out the exchange rates available.

It’s common for card providers to use a marked up exchange rate or a foreign transaction fee, which pushes up the price of buying goods online from retailers overseas, or when taking a trip abroad. Looking for a specialist product like the Wise multi currency Mastercard can help. Wise allows customers to exchange their money for 50+ different currencies using the mid-market exchange rate with no markup. There’s just a low conversion fee, and then it’s free to spend any currency you hold with your Mastercard. Simple.

What to look for in a prepaid credit card

Here are a few points to think about when comparing prepaid card options:

  • Are all the services you require available, and at a reasonable cost?
  • Where will the card be accepted? Is it on a major network like Visa or Mastercard?
  • What limits apply - how much can you load, hold, and spend?
  • How do you reload the card, and is there a fee for this?
  • What are your options for managing your card - is there an app for example, to manage your money on the go?
  • How is your money protected? What security features are in place?
  • What have previous and existing customers said about the card? Read online reviews to make sure you’re choosing a popular, tried and tested card option.

Prepaid credit cards in Singapore

The range of prepaid cards available in Singapore is relatively limited, but you’ll still find a few great options on major card networks.

Different cards come with very different features and fees, so do make sure you research the details thoroughly before you choose.

Here’s a rundown of some of the best available options:

Card Important fees Exchange rate and foreign transaction fees Supported currencies
Wise multi currency Mastercard No fee to get cardNo monthly feeNo reload fee Free to withdraw up to SGD350/month from overseas ATMs Mid-market rate, no foreign transaction fee to spend any currency you hold Convert to 50+ currencies, spend wherever you see the Mastercard logo
YouTrip² First card issued is free, SGD10 for a replacement card SGD5 for ATM withdrawals overseas - local withdrawals not supported³ ⁴ ⁵ Exchange rate is displayed in the app, no foreign transaction fee Convert in app to 10 currencies, spend wherever you see the Mastercard logo
Fevo Prepaid Mastercard (only available for existing customers and corporate clients)⁶ ⁷ SGD18 card purchase fee, + SGD3.50 for secure delivery Top-up online fee - 1% of top-up value Top-up using i-banking - SGD0.50⁸ Mastercard exchange rate +1.5% for cross-border transaction, Mastercard exchange rate +2.5% currency conversion fee Not specified
Vivid Card⁹ First card issued is free, SGD20 for a replacement card Minimum initial deposit to open linked account - SGD500, minimum ongoing balance - SGD200¹⁰ SGD5 for ATM withdrawals overseas Mastercard exchange rate +3% currency conversion fee¹⁰ Not specified
GrabPay Card¹¹ Refundable deposit of SGD10 to receive a card or 5,000 GrabRewards points SGD5 for ATM withdrawals overseas¹² Mastercard exchange rate +2% currency conversion fee 1% fee for cross border purchases in SGD¹² Not specified
Wirex Card - Coming soon to Singapore¹³ Wirex Card is not yet available in Singapore - coming soon¹⁴ Wirex exchange rate available in the app, no foreign transaction fee listed Convert and hold 7 traditional currencies, spend in 150 currencies wherever Visa is accepted
Revolut¹⁵ Revolut account fees vary by plan Fees vary by plan Exchange rate fee may apply for weekend and out of hours conversion, or if you convert over SGD9,000 per month Exchange 28 currencies and spend in 150+

Protecting our money from fraud and losses is a priority for most of us - and using prepaid and virtual cards can help, especially when spending overseas or with retailers we don’t know.

By finding a card option which comes with extra features, like mid-market rate currency exchange and no monthly fee, you can get peace of mind and some great perks too. Check out the Wise multi currency Mastercard as a simple and safe way to spend online and abroad, no matter where you go.


Sources:

  1. EZ-Link
  2. YouTrip Singapore
  3. YouTrip Help Page - Is there any fee for ordering a replacement YouTrip card?
  4. YouTrip Help Page - Are there any withdrawal fees?
  5. YouTrip Singapore - General Terms & Conditions – YouTrip Singapore
  6. Fevo
  7. Fevo - Personal cards temporary halt
  8. Fevo - Applicable fees and top-up limits
  9. Vivid Prepaid MasterCard by Singapura Finance
  10. Singapura Finance - Charges guide
  11. GrabPay Card
  12. GrabPay Help Page - The fees associated with GrabPay Card
  13. Wirex
  14. Wirex - Fees & Limits
  15. Revolut Singapore - Cards

All sources checked on 8 December 2020


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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