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Singapore - what credit card etc to use while on holiday

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#1 Jembo

Posted 17 July 2019 - 11:06 PM

Hi, we are going on our first overseas family holiday to Singapore soon and as it has been 20 years since I have left the country have no idea of what we should do to access our money while there without getting hit with scary fees when we return.

Do we just use our normal credit cards (have ANZ credit & BOQ debit credit card), take cash, or get a special travel card we load money on?

Also our mobile?  Is there plenty of free wifi.  We can do without needing phone contact while away, but will need to google a billion things I would imagine

#2 -Belinda-

Posted 18 July 2019 - 12:24 AM

We got an ANZ travel card with spare card included - we were able to move more money from our everyday account onto the travel card as we needed it, mostly withdrew cash as we went so we could keep track of what we were spending.

Used free hotel WiFi for searching and WhatsApp for messaging.

Singapore was our first overseas trip since having kids ~10 years ago and it was a very easy city to navigate. Have fun!

#3 blackcat20

Posted 18 July 2019 - 02:49 AM

Get a Citibank debit card. The exchange rates are better and there's no currency conversion fee.

#4 WTFJerk

Posted 18 July 2019 - 05:15 AM

We’ve got anANZ card and we just used that.  We put it into positive balance a few days before we left.

#5 Prancer is coming

Posted 18 July 2019 - 05:39 AM

We are overseas at present and using our anz credit card for most things.  Have a look at the terms, but it is generally a 3% fee per transaction.  We thought this was pretty good, as even those travel cards seemed to have a few and a start up cost to buy. Exchange rate seems reasonable. Like above, we just put heaps of money on the credit card before we left.

We exchange cash before we go too.  There are always a few places that do not take cards or charge a heap extra.  I have no idea about the availability of eftpos facilities in Singapore.  It is also handy for when you just want a cup of coffee or want to give the kids money to buy themselves an ice cream.

I had no idea about phones neither but did some research and decided just to take my phone.  I turned mobile data off and put it in flight mode, so not going to cost me anything or ring.  We have free wifi in the hotel and whilst there are hotspots I have found I would not rely on free wifi when out and about, but we do all our planning at the hotel.  Have a great holiday!

#6 BornToLove

Posted 18 July 2019 - 05:59 AM

We travel overseas a fair bit to see family. We have used our ING bank card the last few trips and it’s been awesome. No fees to use the card or withdraw cash. Exchange rate very, very good. Transactions take a few days to clear but overall I can’t fault it.

#7 all-of-us

Posted 18 July 2019 - 06:06 AM

We got back from Singapore last week.  Our first trip O/S in 14 yrs and kids first trip.  We had a fantastic holiday.  

Check with your hotel they may have a phone you can use while visiting - we stayed at the Concorde and this happened for us.

We took a pre paid visa not associated with our accounts and cash.

#8 28 Barbary Lane

Posted 18 July 2019 - 06:19 AM

View PostBornToLove, on 18 July 2019 - 05:59 AM, said:

We travel overseas a fair bit to see family. We have used our ING bank card the last few trips and it’s been awesome. No fees to use the card or withdraw cash. Exchange rate very, very good. Transactions take a few days to clear but overall I can’t fault it.
That’s what we use now as well. Love not having worry about getting slugged with fees (but you just have to make sure you’ve met the criteria before you go). We also take a bit of local currency (to use on arrival) and US$ as well (as a backup)

#9 born.a.girl

Posted 18 July 2019 - 06:42 AM

One of the very few credit cards around that won't charge the 3% AND have a very good exchange rate is Latitude 28 degrees card.  Bonus is the use the rate on .xe so you know it's not inflated.

We've used it every overseas trip. Accidentally used our normal Westpac credit card a few times and the exchange rate was much worse.

The travel cards are usually expensive, plus you'll pay again when you convert the unused money back to A$.

We take whatever cash we think we'll need and that and the 28 degrees covers almost all of it.

Citibank debit has the same great reputation, only reason we don't have one is last trip was Cuba, which don't accept it (or 28 degrees for that matter).

28 Degrees also don't have any annual fee, and a generous interest free period. In the many decades I've had it, it's been used fraudulently twice, and each time they picked it up first and sorted it all very efficiently.

#10 born.a.girl

Posted 18 July 2019 - 07:01 AM

Also, make sure you let them know, any that you're taking, where you're going and when.  With some you can do it on your website.

I don't know how many times I've read complaints from people about their card suddenly being blocked when they've landed overseas, and they didn't realise you had to let your bank know.

One bloke writing to Traveller in The Age, was dumbfounded that his Westpac card wouldn't work in Cuba, and that's all he had and was stuffed, so clearly he hadn't done that because it comes up quite clearly on their website that it won't work there, when you enter it in as a destination.

#11 TinyGiraffe

Posted 18 July 2019 - 09:46 AM

We got back last week, while we were there we swapped to a local sim card ($18 Singtel tourist sim - valid for 7 days and can be purchased at any 7/11) from memory it included unlimited local calls, 30 mins international calls and a huge amount of data. It includes your MRT card and $3 MRT credit that you can just add funds to as needed (public transport system card).

#12 dadwasathome

Posted 18 July 2019 - 09:48 AM

ANZ black CC isn't too bad for travelling, but other ANZ cards have some additional charges. Worth reading up.

And then also deciding whether the hassle of setting up new account etc is worth what you might save over the course of a short holiday.

#13 pascalls

Posted 18 July 2019 - 12:45 PM

I've just set up a Citibank Global Currency Account. It's a savings account where you can add up to 10 currencies and you can transfer funds between the different accounts. The exchange rate looks ok too. Much better than the Qantas Money Travel card we used to use! It comes with a Visa Debit card that you can link to any of the currencies. If you are using the currency the card is linked to then there are no fees.

We are going to Singapore in December & then on a cruise from there. So I've set up 3 accounts - Aussie Dollars (happens automatically), a Singapore Dollar one & a US dollar one because the cruise payments will be in USD. You can change which currency the card is linked to at any time through the app or the website.

We have used the Qantas Money card in the past in the US and it didn't have any load fees or transaction fees (just a fee for ATM withdrawals from memory), but the exchange rate is not as good as Citibank. And while the funds are sitting in the AUD Citibank account it's easy to transfer back to our normal bank account if needed.

#14 MrsCee

Posted 18 July 2019 - 12:57 PM

View Postblackcat20, on 18 July 2019 - 02:49 AM, said:

Get a Citibank debit card. The exchange rates are better and there's no currency conversion fee.

We have one and use it to withdraw local currency at an ATM.

We also have a fee free BankWest credit card which we use as a credit card to pay for anything on card where we can. We prefer using credit over debit where possible.

You have greater protection using a credit card for purchases, where you can dispute a payment or get hacked, rather than trying to recover your own money.

We had this card used fraudulently while we were in the UK a couple of months ago and while a bit painful, we weren’t left out of pocket.

Both Citibank debut and BankWest credit cards are fully free and don’t charge exchange rates - which can be costly.

#15 Charli73

Posted 18 July 2019 - 12:57 PM

We used our ING debit card in Singapore for everything and it had no international fees, it was brilliant. Carried a small amount of cash too. Also was able to get money out of ATMs also.. going back in a couple
Of months time..

#16 ~LemonMyrtle~

Posted 18 July 2019 - 12:59 PM

We use our ING visa debit. No fees. No preloaded currency, just our money

For my phone I added a daily roaming data pack last time, it was expensive, but for a 1 week trip it was fine. This time around we are going for 2 weeks and will likely use a local phone and data sim.

#17 born.a.girl

Posted 18 July 2019 - 01:06 PM

View PostMrsCee, on 18 July 2019 - 12:57 PM, said:

Both Citibank debut and BankWest credit cards are fully free and don’t charge exchange rates - which can be costly.

Can they ever.  I accidentally put our fares, nearly $10k worth on our local westpac CC (which is all we use locally) because the whole website was in A$ and I didn't stop to think.

I use our 28 degrees for overseas transactions and it's the same as BankWest.  I calculated it saved us about $300 last trip of about three weeks.

#18 MissMilla

Posted 18 July 2019 - 03:41 PM

There is an online credit card called revolut, which is amazing for travel. It doesnt charge any fees to convert money when you pay with it overseas. And i think you can even withdraw a small amount without a fee from a bancomat in case of an emergency.
It doesnt draw directly from your bank account, you have to load credit on it. With this card you can pay directly with your phone/smart watch.

Its very convenient!

#19 Jembo

Posted 18 July 2019 - 07:58 PM

Awesome thanks so much for all the advice, will look into cards etc mentioned.

#20 LucyGoose

Posted 18 July 2019 - 08:13 PM

Definitely worth into getting a debit/credit card with ING,  the no fees make a big difference both for withdrawals and transactions.  

Those preloaded cards seem like they are a good option,  but I’ve done the sums and they are not better than most credit cards.

Also,  make sure you notify the bank that you are travelling overseas.

When we travelled to the USA we bought a US sim for both of us with included data and unlimited calls to US numbers and between our phones.   I’m sure you could get similar for Singapore.

#21 can'tstayaway

Posted 18 July 2019 - 10:34 PM

Singapore is a very modern city and have fast wifi, lots of ATMs, eftpos accepted most places etc.

I prefer not to use the free wifi because I’m a conspiracy nut so either use the Telstra international roaming pack thingie or if we will be away for longer, but a local SIM which is much cheaper. I use my phone for banking and all sorts that I’d rather not make it easier for someone to access my information.

I have managed a few days in Singapore without using any cash. I do try to have some for tipping but it’s not expected. Mostly for taxi drivers and in hawker markets. They don’t have the same labour laws that Australia does so there’s no minimum wage protection of the most vulnerable. A few dollars means very little me but may mean a lot to them. I am often amazed how often a little old lady with rush after me at a hawker centre to return 50 cents to me.  

As for cards, I agree that a credit card offers you better protection. I travel enough to have a separate credit card for overseas use that is not directly linked to my everyday accounts. It sucks when your card is compromised but would be a million times worse if your bank accounts also got drained. I always have a back up card (with a different bank) so I’m never stranded in case something goes wrong with my bank.  

I don’t keep much money available on my card so if it does get stolen, not much can be used. Yes, the bank will refund you but it can take weeks where you’re out of pocket. With a small limit, at least the damage is minimised at worse.

My children have CBA travel money cards in my name and attached to my accounts. It makes it easy to let them be in charge of their own spending rather than harassing us for everything they want. There’s no extra fees if there’s enough funds in the local currency and I chose it because the fund transfers are instant via NetBank. Moving money between banks can sometimes take a day and I find that annoying.

As I said, I’m a bit of a conspiracy theorist so do tend to be over cautious. I’ve not had any major security issues on my accounts, touch wood. DH likes to use the one credit card and it gets compromised semi regularly. It’s an absolute pain having to go through the whole cancelling, reissuing dramas. But he’s happy with that and continues on.

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