This article was written in collaboration with DBS. Views expressed in the article are the independent opinion of DollarsAndSense.sg
(Editor’s Note: We’ve updated this article on 08 April 2019 to reflect changes to amounts insured under SDIC)
It is undeniable that a global experience is part and parcel of tertiary education today. Be it studying abroad, overseas exchange programmes or even overseas internships, global exposure is so valuable to the extent that some universities even made overseas stint a compulsory graduation requirement.
One of the biggest concerns for students headed overseas is arranging for the foreign currency they would need during their overseas stay. Opening a bank account overseas is one common option. However, it can be a hassle opening an overseas account before departure as you may need to submit documents to the overseas bank.
The other alternative for students will be to simply carry cash over, similar to what many of us do when we are going on a short holiday trip. However, this would be rather inconvenient, not to mention, unsafe, as carrying thousands of dollars in cash overseas when you are alone would make one an easy target for crime.
For those who want to avoid the trouble, there’s a more convenient solution available for them – the DBS Multi-Currency Account (MCA).
The DBS MCA enables account-holders to store up to 12 foreign currencies and the Singapore Dollar (SGD) in one single account.
Here are some reasons why opening an MCA before heading abroad for your studies may make sense for you.
# 1 Enjoy Enhanced Convenience
One of the perks of studying overseas is the opportunity to travel to nearby countries which are around the country you are based in. However, this adds to the stress of having to carry a larger stash of multiple currencies, which is neither safe nor convenient.
With your MCA, there is no longer a need to carry so much cash when you travel. For example, if you choose to travel to America before going to Canada, or vice versa, you can convert your money to both Canadian Dollar (CAD) and US Dollar (USD) in your MCA first.
You can then use your DBS Visa Debit Card, which is linked to your MCA, for your overseas purchase in USD or CAD. The amount used for each of these transactions will automatically be deducted from the respective USD or CAD wallet in your MCA.
On top of this, you can also make cash withdrawals from overseas ATMs with the card. This way, you would have access to the relevant currencies when you need it while having the peace of mind that your money is safely stored in your account.
# 2 Convert When You Need, Where You Need
Having problems deciding on how much money to convert to foreign currency is an all too familiar traveller woe. Change too little and you find yourself scouring for moneychangers overseas, often settling for an unsatisfactory exchange rate due to your urgent need.
With DBS MCA’s 24/7 foreign exchange accessibility, you can bid goodbye to much of your currency conversion woes. The DBS digibank app lets you convert money in your MCA to your desired foreign currency whenever you need and wherever you need. This on-the-go conversion feature allows the flexibility of keeping the bulk of your money in SGD, while you convert smaller sums of it into your required foreign currencies as and when you need it.
# 3 Getting favourable exchange rates
Remember the time you saw a favourable exchange rate only for it to worsen by the time you actually want to make the conversion?
More often than not, getting an optimal exchange rate depends on the timing of your conversion, rather than the place of conversion.
With the DBS MCA, you no longer need to keep a constant lookout for an ideal exchange rate since you can set a FX rate alert that would notify you when your ideal rate is met. You can then convert at that point in time.
Now, you no longer have to travel all the way to Raffles Place to join snaking queues just to change your money, or rush to have your money changed just so that you can capitalise on a favourable exchange rate.
# 4 Avoid Unnecessary Conversion Fees
You would typically incur a foreign currency transaction fee as well as receive an unfavourable foreign exchange rate spread when you use your Singapore credit cards for overseas purchases.
The DBS MCA enables you to make overseas transactions as it automatically deducts the respective foreign currencies directly from your account via your linked DBS Visa Debit Card, without incurring any additional foreign currency transaction fees or currency conversion fees.
For example, if you make a purchase for USD100, this exact amount of – USD100, will be debited from your MCA, with no extra charges similar to what you would expect if you paid for the item in SGD. However, if you pay for your purchase using your Singapore credit card, you can expect additional transaction and FX conversion fees which would make your final cost higher than USD100.
For students travelling on tight budgets, these cost-savings can amount to a tidy saving over the long-term.
Signing Up For The DBS MCA Is A Breeze
If you are interested to open your own DBS MCA account and to sign up for a DBS Visa Debit card today, you can do so online through your DBS ibanking. There is no need for you to head down to a bank branch.
In addition, for those who are age 29 and below, there is no minimum balance required in your MCA. Hence, students intending to use this for their overseas travel do not have to worry about keeping a minimum balance in their account.
If you are unsure on how you can open an account, you can watch this demo video:
Special DBS Promotion:
From 5 now till 31 August, you get to enjoy 5% cashback on your foreign currency spend with your DBS Multi-Currency Account and DBS Visa Debit Card. Simply register on the DBS Lifestyle App and spend in foreign currencies with your DBS Visa Debit Card to enjoy this deal. Terms and conditions apply. SGD deposits are insured up to S$75K by SDIC.