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7 Best Singapore Credit Cards For Overseas Use (2022)

Best Singapore Credit Card For Overseas Use
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Do you love to shop while on a business trip or holiday? While you always need to have cash on hand, using a credit card will simplify your overseas spending.

For one, you don’t have to worry about converting currency. Secondly, there are also credit cards that reward you with cashback or miles for spending in foreign currencies. To use your credit cards overseas, simply activate your card for foreign travel via SMS, online banking, or mobile banking.

That said, choose the right credit card. One that offers higher rewards on overseas spending but also charges low foreign currency transaction fees. Here is a list of the best Singapore credit cards for overseas use.

 

Best Singapore Credit Card For Overseas Use

Credit Card Overseas Spending Rewards Foreign Currency Transaction Fee Minimum Spend per Month
DBS Altitude Signature Card S$1=2 Miles

S$1=3 Miles online travel spend

2.50% S$0
Citi PremierMiles Card S$1=Up to 2 Miles 3.25% SS0
UOB PRVI Miles American Express Card S$1= 2.4 Miles 3.25% S$0
HSBC Advance Credit Card 2.5% base cashback[R1]  2.8% S$0
American Express Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Ascend Credit Card S$1= 2 Miles 2.95% S$0
OCBC 90°N Card S$1= 2.1 Miles

 

2.1% cashback for overseas spend

3% S$0
Standard Chartered Infinity X Card S$1= 2 Miles 3.5% S$0

1. DBS Altitude Signature Card – Best For Online Travel Bookings and Hotel Transactions

With DBS Altitude Signature Card, you can quickly accumulate miles that never expire. This card offers 2 miles for every S$1 overseas spending and another 3 miles for every S$1 spent on online flight and hotel transactions.

That said, DBS Altitude Signature Card is perfect for travel bookings and overseas hotel transactions. It also charges a relatively low 2.50% foreign currency transaction fee.

Annual Interest Rate: 26.80%

Annual Fee: S$192.60

Minimum Income Requirement:

  • Singaporean/Permanent Resident: S$30,000
  • Foreigner: S$45,000

 

2. Citi PremierMiles Card – Best For Average Spenders Who Enjoy Travel Perks

Aside from earning 1.2 Citi Miles for every S$1 local spend, this card offers promotions with travel booking partner sites. For instance, If you book tickets on Agoda, Expedia, or Kaligo, you can earn up to 10 miles per S$1 spent.

Best of all, Citi cardholders can enjoy free travel insurance and up to 2 complimentary lounge visits per year.

Annual Interest Rate: 26.90%

Annual Fee: S$192.60

Minimum Income Requirement:

  • Singaporean/Permanent Resident: S$30,000
  • Foreigner: S$42,000

 

3. UOB PRVI Miles American Express Card – Best For General Spending

UOB PRVI Miles offers 2.4 miles for every S$1 spent overseas. This is one of the best earn rates for overseas credit cards. However, your miles will expire within 2 years.

You can also earn up to 6 miles per S$1 spent on selected hotel and flight bookings, such as Expedia and Agoda. Best of all, no minimum spend required! The only downside is that it charges a slightly higher foreign transaction fee of 3.25%.

Annual Interest Rate: 25.90%

Annual Fee: S$257

Minimum Income Requirement:

  • Singaporean/Permanent Resident: S$30,000
  • Foreigner: S$40,000

 

4. HSBC Advance Credit Card – Best For Easy, Low-Maintenance Cashback

Despite not having a minimum spend requirement, HSBC Advance Credit Card is perfect for budgets between S$2,000 and S$8,000. Cardholders can enjoy up to a 3.5% cashback bonus rate with a minimum spend of S$2,000. That said, it is perfect for maximizing cashback with little maintenance.

On top of that, you’ll also enjoy a complimentary travel insurance coverage of up to S$500,000 when you use your credit card for your travel expenses.

Annual Interest Rate: 25.90%

Annual Fee: S$192.60

Minimum Income Requirement:

  • Singaporean/Permanent Resident: S$30,000
  • Foreigner: S$40,000

 

5. American Express Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Ascend Credit Card – Best For Enjoying Perks and Convenience For Frequent Flyers

With this card, you can earn 2 miles for every S$1 overseas spending in June and December. Additionally, cardholders can also enjoy a complimentary one-night stay at participating Hilton Properties each year. On top of that, you can also enjoy complimentary airport lounge access pass every year.

For added convenience, there is no need to redeem points as all your miles are automatically credited to your KrisFlyer account. But since travel isn’t ideal these days, you can still earn 3.1 KrisFlyer miles through eligible Grab Singapore transactions.

Annual Interest Rate: 26.90%

Annual Fee: S$176.55 – First year fee waiver

Minimum Income Requirement:

  • Singaporean/Permanent Resident: S$50,000
  • Foreigner: S$60,000

 

6. OCBC 90°N Card – Best For Overseas Online Shopping (No Conversion Fees)

If you want to earn a mix of miles and cashback rewards, OCBC 90°N Card is an excellent choice. This card offers 2.1 miles for every S$1 spent in foreign currency. This is one of the highest earn rates on the list. Additionally, you don’t have to worry about the redemption period since rewards never expire.

Best of all, it doesn’t charge conversion fees, making it ideal for purchasing in foreign currency. However, it has a 3% foreign transaction fee but it is still relatively low compared to other cards.

Annual Interest Rate: 26.88%

Annual Fee: S$193

Minimum Income Requirement:

  • Singaporean/Permanent Resident: S$30,000
  • Foreigner: S$45,000

 

7. Standard Chartered Infinity X Card – Best For Frequent Wealthy Travelers

This card stands out for its generous welcome offer. You can earn up to 300,000 bonus welcome miles upon sign-up. It also offers 2 miles per S$1 spent overseas. On top of that, Standard Chartered X Card offers special privileges such as Hertz Asia rental car and exclusive hotel privileges.

The downside? It has one of the highest annual principal fees at S$695.50.

Annual Interest Rate: 26.90%

Annual Fee: S$695.50

Minimum Income Requirement:

  • Singaporean/Permanent Resident: S$80,000
  • Foreigner: S$80,000

 Read Best Cashback Credit Cards in Singapore.

Verdict

The right credit card will help you get higher rewards. The best credit card overseas will depend on your spending habits and personal preferences. However, one of the things you should consider is the rewards for overseas spending as well as the transaction fee.

From the list above, the DBS Altitude Signature Card is one of the best credit cards overseas. It boasts a high earn rate of 2 miles for every S$1 overseas spending and another S$3 miles for every flight and hotel transaction. Best of all, it has one of the lowest foreign currency transaction fee.

Another great choice is the UOB PRVI Miles for general spending. It offers a slightly higher earn rate than DBS Altitude Signature Card – 2.4 miles per S$1 overseas spending. However, it has a higher foreign transaction fee of 3.25%.

So how do you choose the best credit card overseas? Here are a few factors you need to consider.

Factors To Consider When Choosing The Best Overseas Credit Card

1. Lifestyle and Spending Habits

Are you a frequent traveler? Do you travel for business or for holidays? When choosing a credit card, you must first evaluate your lifestyle. Additionally, you must understand your spending habits. For instance, if you don’t spend a lot in a month, it’s best to choose a card with no minimum spending requirement.

2. Rewards

Do you prefer to earn Miles and exchange it for a free ticket? Or do you want to save up by earning cashback?

Most credit cards overseas offer Miles rewards. Typically, credit cards offer 2 miles per S$1 overseas spending. However, there are some that offer a much higher earn rate. On the other hand, some credit cards offer a fixed percentage cashback for every foreign currency spending. So choose what type of reward will best benefit you.

3. Foreign Currency Transaction Fee

This is a fee charged by the bank for every overseas purchase – or on online foreign currency spend. Typically, a foreign currency transaction fee ranges between 2.5% and 3.5%. That said, it’s best to choose a credit card overseas that charges a low foreign currency transaction fee.

4. Additional Perks

There are also credit cards that offer free travel insurance. Additionally, some cards also offer hotel accommodations and airport lounge access for cardholders. These perks can make your travel experience more enjoyable.

That said, if this is something that is attractive to you, take this factor into account when choosing an overseas card.

Read 10 Credit Card Benefits That You Can Enjoy

Swipe Credit Card with Credit Card Terminal

Tips For Using Credit Cards Overseas

1. Compare The Fees Charged By Your Credit Card Issuer

Most credit cards charge a combination of fees. For instance, credit cards can charge an annual fee, foreign transaction fee, and currency exchange fee. That said, it’s best to compare the total fees you’ll be charged when using your credit card overseas.

The best way is to simply call your bank and ask. Or you can check the terms and conditions of the credit card. Here are a few things to consider:

  • Your credit card issuer
  • Is your card a Visa, MasterCard, or Amex?
  • Does your card offer waivers or discounts on a foreign currency transaction fee?

2. Contact Your Credit Card Provider Before Travelling

It’s a good idea to alert your bank that you’re traveling. Take note of the number you can call in case you need assistance while overseas. In doing so, you will avoid unnecessary problems that may arise due to suspicious activity.

However, there are some banks that do not require cardholders to alert them before leaving for a trip. For example, American Express uses a fraud technology that helps determine when cardholders are traveling. That said, you can freely use the credit card abroad wherever American Express is accepted.

3. Pay in Foreign Currency

When spending overseas, you may want to pay in Singapore dollars through Dynamic Currency Conversion (DCC). This is a credit card feature that allows you to make overseas purchases using the currency of your home country. However, you may end up paying more with this option.

It may add an extra percentage to your bill just for the convenience of showing you how much you’re paying in SGD. That said, avoid paying in Singapore dollars. You’ll save more with foreign currency. Plus, you’ll also enjoy additional rewards from paying in foreign currency.

4. Use A Credit Card That Rewards You for Overseas Spending

Choose the right credit cards for overseas spending. Maximize your foreign spending by making sure that you are rewarded. For instance, DBS Altitude Signature Card rewards 3 Miles for online travel and hotel transactions. If you want to accumulate miles fast, then you may find that this compensates for the foreign currency transaction fee and extra fees charged.

Should You Get Credit Cards For Overseas Spending?

If you travel frequently or make transactions in foreign currencies, then you should definitely get credit cards for overseas spending. Here are a few things to consider:

  • Do you make online purchases from foreign websites?
  • Do you travel overseas, whether it’s for business or leisure?

However, using a credit card abroad will have a few extra fees. However, the miles and cashback you earn may help make up for it.

On top of that, you may want to consider your travel money options. That said, it’s a good idea to have different ways to access money while you’re traveling abroad. Aside from carrying a credit card, you may also consider bringing:

  • Foreign Cash: It’s good to have cash on hand in case your credit card fails. You may go to a place that doesn’t accept credit cards, such as taxis or markets.
  • Debit Card: You can also use a debit card overseas. But keep in mind that your card issuer may charge currency conversion fees. Additionally, be aware of possibly compromising your account.
  • Prepaid Card: Another option is to use a prepaid card load. When you transfer SGD to a supported foreign currency, the currency exchange rate is locked in. This means you can avoid fluctuating rates and better manage your budget. Additionally, when you spend using foreign currency, you can avoid paying currency conversion fees.

How Does Foreign Currency Conversion Work?

When you use your credit to purchase or transact in a foreign currency, the amount will be converted into SGD. The conversion process may vary based on several factors:

  • The credit card issuer
  • The type of credit card – American Express, Visa, Mastercard
  • The conversion rate

Remember, currency conversion exchange rates are updated on a daily basis. Additionally, most banks use an exchange rate that’s less competitive than the standard rate.

What Other Fees Should You Watch Out For?

  • Annual Fees: Most credit cards charge annual fees. Some may offer a 1 to 2-year waiver while others may come with high yearly fees. If your credit card charges an annual fee, make sure that the rewards and perks you get outweigh the cost.
  • Purchase rates: If you’re using your credit card for overseas spending but you’re not going to pay back the balance in full, you need to consider the purchase interest rate.
  • Merchant Fees: You may find that some merchants add a surcharge to your transaction for using an overseas credit card. That said, check your bill before paying to avoid such fees. Make sure you have cash on hand for such instances.
  • Exchange Rates: As previously mentioned, exchange rates are updated daily. So keep an eye on the exchange rate, plus the additional fees for currency conversion.

Frequently Asked Questions For Using Credit Cards Overseas

1. Which Credit Card Is Best For International Transactions?

If you’re a frequent traveler who loves to shop overseas, then choose a credit card that offers high rewards for overseas spending. On top of that, the credit card must also charge low foreign currency transaction fees.

Based on the list above, the DBS Altitude Signature card stands out with its high Miles earn rate and low foreign currency transaction. In fact, with a 2.50% foreign transaction fee, it has the lowest charges in the market.

However, if you don’t mind paying a slightly higher foreign transaction fee for higher rewards, then you may want to consider the UOB PRVI Miles Card.

2. What Is A Foreign Transaction Fee?

A foreign transaction fee (FX fee) is an added charge for using your credit card overseas. You will also be charged an FX fee for any online spend on a foreign currency website. That said, if a foreign bank is involved in the payment process, it is considered a foreign transaction.

As previously mentioned, foreign transaction fees are usually between 2.5% and 3.5% of your total purchase.

3. How Can I Avoid Foreign Transaction Fees On My Credit Card?

Unfortunately, there’s no way to avoid foreign transaction fees. However, there are ways to help you get more savings and maximize your overseas spending. Keep these in mind when comparing credit cards:

  • Choose a credit card with a low foreign transaction fee. For instance, there are credit cards that charge between 2.5% and 3% FX fees.
  • Look for a card with generous rewards. For instance, a credit card may be offering high cash rebates or bonus rates on foreign currency transactions. Make sure to check the minimum spend requirements.
  • Check the bank’s website to determine their real-time currency conversion.
  • If possible, avoid using your credit card for cash advances while traveling. You may have to pay for a cash advance fee, ATM fees, and international transaction fees as well.
  • Activate your credit card before traveling overseas.

4. How To Activate Your Credit Card For Overseas Use?

To use your credit card abroad, you need to activate it for overseas usage. Most banks offer different ways to activate your credit card.

  • Visiting the bank and informing them of your travel plans
  • Through mobile or online banking
  • Via SMS activation
  • Through ATM
  • Talking to a virtual assistant or calling a customer service

You need to check the procedure with your credit card provider. There are credit cards, such as American Express, where you don’t need to inform the bank that you’re traveling.

5. Do I Need A One Time Password (OTP) When Using A Credit Card Abroad?

A One Time Password (OTP) is a security feature offered by most banks. With this feature, you can verify your transaction using a passcode sent to your mobile phone number. Some transactions may require the use of OTP, such as making online credit card transactions.

If your credit card requires the use of OTP, you may need to turn on your global roaming services on your mobile phone to receive the OTP SMS. However, for some banks, you can generate a one-time PIN through the bank’s mobile application.

Conclusion

Key Takeaways:

  • The use of a credit card overseas simplifies spending while traveling.
  • Choose a credit card that offers high rewards for overseas or foreign currency spending.
  • Make sure you understand your card’s international fees. Plus, choose a card that charges low foreign transaction fees.
  • Inform your credit card issuer of your travel plans in advance so they don’t assume that your card has been stolen or used without your consent.

Using a credit card with low foreign transaction fees and offers high rewards for overseas spending will help keep your costs to a minimum. That said, take your time comparing your options. Additionally, consider other features offered by the card to find one that suits your needs.

If you’re traveling abroad but need extra cash, you can always turn to licensed moneylenders. Find the best deals by requesting up to three loan quotes at Loan Advisor. They are a reliable loan comparison website that offers up-to-date information about the top licensed moneylenders in Singapore.

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