Whether we live, work or play in Singapore, we increasingly need and want better access to foreign currencies. Moreover, a relatively strong Singapore Dollar (SGD) also means we can get more bang for our local bucks on our travels.
Today, e-commerce is part and parcel of our daily lives. There are virtually no barriers to online shopping on international websites to buy clothes, electronics, furniture or even subscriptions and digital services in foreign currencies.
Singapore is also a regional and global financial hub, attracting investments and regional headquarters. This means many foreigners come to Singapore for work, and may need to regularly send money overseas. Many Singaporeans can also leverage on stock brokerages for access to global investments in foreign currencies.
As more of us handle foreign currencies more frequently, finding the best exchange rates can save us a tidy sum of money. Apart from that, we cannot ignore security when spending in foreign currencies. When we travel, not having to walk around with so much physical cash, and being able to pay on a card without incurring hefty transaction fees will give us peace of mind. Whether we are shopping online or at a physical outlet overseas, multi-currency cards also offer easy and convenient access to our funds back in Singapore – which we can exchange into foreign currencies that we need on demand.
We look at popular multi-currency accounts, wallets and cards, and look at what they offer Singaporeans spending and investing in foreign currencies.
Top Multi-Currency Accounts And Wallets In Singapore
Launched by You Technologies Group in 2018, YouTrip is a popular multi-currency mobile wallet and card in Singapore.
Fiat Currency Exchange: When you start using YouTrip, you first download the mobile application, which allows you to store and exchange 10 selected currencies: Singapore Dollar (SGD), US Dollar (USD), Hong Kong Dollar (HKD), Australian Dollar (AUD), Thai Baht (THB), Great Britain Pound (GBP), Euro (EUR), Japanese Yen (JPY), Swiss Franc (CHF), and Canadian Dollar (CAD).
Foreign Currency Spending: You can also apply for a free contactless Mastercard, allowing you to make online or physical card payments in over 150 foreign currencies without incurring any transaction fees and at a wholesale rate.
Remittance: YouTrip Send enables you to send up to 10 foreign currencies to other YouTrip users.
ATM Withdrawals: With your YouTrip card, you can also withdraw up to $400 (in SGD terms) for free, at wholesale exchange rates. Amounts above the first $400 will incur a 2% withdrawal fee – with a daily withdrawal limit of $5,000.
You can withdraw at any overseas Mastercard, Maestro or Cirrus ATMs by keying in your ATM pin, selecting your “Saving account”, and withdrawing in the country’s local currency to avoid DCC charges for currency conversion. You should also note that some overseas ATM operators may impose additional fees and/or caps on maximum withdrawals.
If you have lost your YouTrip card or suspect there may be fraudulent transactions taking place, there’s also a handy function to instantly lock your physical and/or virtual cards via your mobile app. You don’t have to wait to connect to a customer service operator or cancel your card.
You can simply unlock your card again if you find the physical card or realise the “suspicious” transactions were indeed made by you.
Use the promo code DNS5 during your YouTrip registration to receive a welcome credit of $5 in your YouTrip account.
Launched in 2019, Revolut offers three tiers for its cards – Standard (free), Premium ($9.99/mth), and Metal ($19.99/mth).
Fiat Currency Exchange: Revolut’s free Standard tier allows you to exchange 33 currencies, including the Singapore Dollar (SGD), Hong Kong Dollar (HKD), US Dollar (USD), Australian Dollar (AUD), New Zealand Dollar (NZD) Euro (EUR), Great Britain Pound (GBP), Japanese Yen (JPY), Canadian Dollar (CAD), Thai Baht (THB), and others. This fiat currency exchange is capped at S$5,000 per month for Standard tier users and the currency would be stored within your Revolut wallet. Premium users can exchange up to $15,000 per month, while Metal users have unlimited usage.
Foreign Currency Spending: You can spend in over 150 different foreign currencies, both online and offline, at the interbank exchange rate with Revolut. The in-app exchange rates are constantly changing to reflect the real-time dynamic rate at which banks swap currencies. There are no hidden fees and any fees charged (if any) would be shown before the exchange transaction is made.
Remittance: Revolut goes a step further to offer foreign currency transfers or remittances at the interbank exchange rate. To use this service, you need to take note of the $5,000 foreign exchange limit per month. If you want to exchange more, you may incur a fee. Its Premium and Metal tiers allow you to exchange $15,000 and unlimited amount respectively.
ATM Withdrawals: If you want to make cash withdrawals from ATMs overseas, there will be no charges for the first $350 a month (or up to 5 withdrawals) for Standard users. For larger limits for no-fee cash withdrawals, consider subscribing to Premium (up to $700 per month) or Metal (up to $1,050 per month). Any withdrawals above the limit would incur a 2% charge.
There are also other useful functions on the Revolut app, including setting up recurring payments, using the Budgeting function to track and limit your expenditure as you prefer, as well as a Vault function to round up your expenses and set them aside as savings. For parents, the Revolut <18 feature allows you to teach your child good money habits while having control over their cashless payments.
Additionally, you can also invest in commodities (e.g. gold and silver). This would incur a fee of 1.5% for Standard users and 0.5% for Premium and Metal users. You can also invest in US stocks, for a low brokerage fees of US$0.99 per order.
On Revolut, you can receive instant alerts for transactions so you know immediately if your card is being misused. You also have the ability to turn off certain functions of your card if you lose it or suspect certain fraudulent activities.
Finally, Revolut offers a unique “Disposable Virtual Card”, where the card number is generated and can only ever be used once. This can be useful when you are making transactions on online sites that you may not fully trust.
A Smarter Way to Send, Spend and Save in Multi-Currencies with Revolut
Make day-to-day spending on your online purchases, overseas holidays and foreign currency money transfers a breeze. When you sign-up with Revolut today, you also get $15 topped up in your account. Terms & Conditions apply.
Wise, also formerly known as TransferWise, offers competitive rates and one of the largest currency options on the market
Fiat Currency Exchange: Wise allows you to store and exchange over 40 currencies, including Singapore Dollar (SGD), Malaysian Ringgit (MYR), Hong Kong Dollar (HKD), US Dollar (USD), Australian Dollar (AUD), New Zealand Dollar (NZD) Euro (EUR), British Pound (GBP), Japanese Yen (JPY), Canadian Dollar (CAD), Thai Baht (THB), and others. This is the most out of all the players in the market today. Wise is also the only card providing access to the Malaysian Ringgit, which may prove to be useful for those travelling there often, for leisure or work.
Foreign Currency Spending: Wise also allows users to spend in more than 160 currencies worldwide, both online and offline, without any foreign transaction fees.
Remittance: You can send money to over 70 countries. What’s unique about Wise is that you actually get your own international bank details to receive currencies for free for 8 countries, including Singapore, Australia, UK, Euro, New Zealand, Canada, Hungary and Turkey accounts. There are no hidden fees. To see how much fee you may incur, you can check the calculator provided.
ATM Withdrawals: You also get two free withdrawals worth up to $350 in cash from overseas ATMs. Subsequent withdrawals are charged at 1.75% to 2.0%. You are also able to lock or freeze your card, if you have misplaced it or suspect fraudulent activities.
#4 DBS My Account
Banks in Singapore also provide foreign currency exchange and transfers. You can apply for the DBS My Account. This was formerly known as the DBS Multi-Currency Account (MCA). You can also set up a travel wallet to enjoy foreign currency spending, and earn 2% cashback on all your foreign currency spends and make cash withdrawals from your foreign currencies.
Fiat Currency Exchange: With the DBS My Account, you can buy and save 13 currencies, including the Singapore Dollar (SGD), Hong Kong Dollar (HKD), US Dollar (USD), Australian Dollar (AUD), New Zealand Dollar (NZD) Euro (EUR), Great Britain Pound (GBP), Japanese Yen (JPY), Canadian Dollar (CAD), Thai Baht (THB), Chinese Renminbi Offshore (CNH) and others.
Foreign Currency Spending: Using the Visa payment network, you would be able to pay in the majority of the countries that were also quoted by the card earlier. However, linked card access is not available for CNH.
While there isn’t a foreign currency conversion fee or transaction charge when you use the linked DBS Visa Debit Card, you need to have sufficient foreign currencies within the multi-currency account for the transaction. Otherwise, you may incur foreign transaction fees.
Remittance: DBS users also have access to DBS Remit which also you to make transaction-free, same-day online transfers (or remittances) to over 50 countries including Australia, Canada, China, Eurozone countries, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Myanmar, New Zealand, Philippines, Thailand, UK and the US. Those who are transferring $50,000 or more also receive preferential foreign currency conversion rates.
ATM Withdrawals: Overseas ATM withdrawals may be deducted from your primary account. If you have the option, you can try to select “Checking/Current Account” to withdraw your foreign currencies instead. If you do not have sufficient foreign currencies, it may be deducted from your SGD wallet.
DBS also provides a stock brokerage service. Utilising services from the same bank, such as DBS Vickers and DBS My Account, we can also save on foreign currency exchange rates when we invest in companies that are listed in foreign currencies.
A change from the previous DBS MCA, DBS My Account doesn’t charge a fall-below fee. Only an account fee of $2 per month is incurred if you require paper statements (this is waived if the account is on e-Statement).
Being a local bank, customers get to enjoy protection under the Singapore Deposit Insurance Scheme (SDIC), where up to $75,000 of their funds with the bank are insured. However, do note that only your local currencies in the account will fall under this coverage, while foreign currencies will not.
#5 UOB Mighty FX
UOB also offers a multi-currency solution with its UOB Mighty FX, which has to be linked to any of the following UOB SGD base account: One Account, iAccount, Wealth Premium Account, Privilege Account, KrisFlyer UOB Account.
Fiat Currency Exchange: There are 10 currencies you can store and spend on the UOB Mighty FX, including Singapore Dollar (SGD), Hong Kong Dollar (HKD), US Dollar (USD), Australian Dollar (AUD), New Zealand Dollar (NZD) Euro (EUR), Great Britain Pound (GBP), Japanese Yen (JPY), Canadian Dollar (CAD), Chinese Renminbi offshore (CNH) and others.
Foreign Currency Spending: Depending on the base account chosen, a Mighty FX Debit Card or KrisFlyer UOB Debit Card will be issued. Since the card is supported by Mastercard, payments may be made worldwide. Currency conversion rates and foreign transaction fees may apply for transactions outside of the funds within your Mighty FX.
The UOB Mighty FX does not require a minimum balance to be maintained. However, there is an annual fee of $18 that is waived for the first three years. After which, the fee is waived when a minimum of 12 Mastercard transactions are performed in a year
Remittance: Being a bank, UOB also offers a separate remittance service.
ATM Withdrawals: There will be a $5 charge per cash withdrawal at overseas ATMs.
Customers get to enjoy protection under the Singapore Deposit Insurance Scheme (SDIC), where up to $75,000 of their funds with the bank is insured. Again, this will not encompass your foreign currencies.
#6 Instarem (amaze Card)
Instarem (by Nium) is a popular option for those who mainly require foreign currency exchange for remittance purposes. Focusing on global payments, Instarem offers low fees (varying between 0% and 1%) and access to send money to over 60 countries. To check whether the recipient card is eligible for instant transfers, you just have to enter the card details on the ‘Recipient’s page’ and Instarem will automatically notify you.
Unlike the other multi-currency accounts listed above, Instarem doesn’t have a wallet function, meaning that it does not allow you to convert and store foreign currency. Nevertheless, users get InstaPoints for transactions worth a minimum of S$500. These points can be used to redeem discounts on your money transfers or for cashback.
However, Instarem’s amaze card does allow you to spend foreign currency while taking advantage of their competitive FX rates.
Exclusive For DollarsAndSense Readers: Use the promo code DNS15 to receive an additional SGD $15 when you make an initial transfer of at least SGD $1,000.
Other Options For Foreign Currency Conversion
Aside from the multi-currency players mentioned above, there are also other options for foreign currency conversion that may be suitable for your purposes.
#7 OCBC Global Savings Account
OCBC also has an option for multi-currency accounts: OCBC Global Savings Account. However, it has a higher initial deposit requirement for each foreign currency, which may make it less feasible for people who make smaller transactions.
OCBC Global Savings Accounts allows you to make transactions in 10 currencies: Australian Dollar (AUD), New Zealand Dollar (NZD), Canadian Dollar (CAD), Chinese Yuan Offshore (CNH), Hong Kong Dollar (HKD), Euro (EUR), British Pound (GBP), Japanese Yen (JPY) and United States Dollar (USD). For account opening, you would need to make an initial deposit of $5,000 for AUD, CAD, CNH, EUR, GBP, NZD, USD, $50,000 for HKD and $500,000 JPY. This is also the minimum daily end balance you need to earn interest rate on your foreign currencies.
You may also link an OCBC Debit Card to make foreign currency transactions for free. However, if there are insufficient funds in the relevant foreign currency in your Global Savings Account or you don’t hold the foreign currency, you may be charged in Singapore dollars (SGD) and incur currency conversion rates and foreign transaction fees.
You can also withdraw foreign currency held in your OCBC Global Savings Account overseas at OCBC ATMs for free. This can be useful in Hong Kong and Macau where you can withdraw HKD at OCBC Wing Hang ATMs.
Being a local bank, customers enjoy protection under the Singapore Deposit Insurance Scheme (SDIC), where up to $75,000 of their Singapore Dollar funds with the bank is insured.
#8 Citibank Global Foreign Currency Account
The main draw of the Citibank Global Foreign Currency Account is the ability to withdraw foreign currency at Citi ATMs worldwide without fees. Considering their wide international presence, this can be a significant advantage for global travellers.
The Citibank Global Foreign Currency Account allows you to transact and exchange 14 foreign currencies including Australian Dollar (AUD), Canadian Dollar (CAD), Euro (EUR), Hong Kong Dollar (HKD), Japanese Yen (JPY), New Zealand Dollar (NZD), Sterling Pound (GBP), Swiss Franc (CHF), US dollar (USD), UAE Dirham, South African Rand, Swedish Krona, Norwegian Krone and Danish Krone.
You can also use the linked Citibank Debit Card for foreign currency spending without additional currency conversion fee.
Unique to this account is the checking facilities. You can request for a USD checkbook upon account opening, at no charge.
As Citibank is a locally regulated bank, customers enjoy protection under the Singapore Deposit Insurance Scheme (SDIC), where up to $75,000 of their Singapore Dollar funds with the bank is insured.
#9 HSBC Everyday Global Account
Another international bank, HSBC Everyday Global Account offers the ability to transact in 11 currencies including Australian Dollar, Canadian Dollar, Euro, Japanese Yen, New Zealand Dollar, Pound Sterling, Swiss Franc, US Dollar, Hong Kong Dollar and Chinese renminbi, and Singapore Dollar.
Similar to Citibank, a key advantage of HSBC Everyday Global Account is the ability to withdraw foreign currency at HSBC ATMs worldwide without fees. This is limited to HSBC ATMs (except in Argentina, France, Brazil, Greece, Malta, Mexico, New Zealand and Turkey) for HSBC Personal Banking Everyday Global Debit Card Cardholders. Premier and Jade Everyday Global Debit Card Cardholders can withdraw for free at all ATMs worldwide.
The basic tier, HSBC Everyday Global Account (Personal Banking) requires a minimum average daily balance of SGD2,000 (or its equivalent) in a single currency or in combined currencies.
Since HSBC is a locally regulated bank, customers enjoy protection under the Singapore Deposit Insurance Scheme (SDIC), where up to $75,000 of their Singapore Dollar funds with the bank is insured.
This article was first published on 18 November 2019 and updated with new information.
This article contains affiliate links. DollarsAndSense may receive a share of the revenue from your sign-ups. You can refer to our editorial policy here.