Choose the right credit card for overseas spending Whether you are a frequent flyer setting off on your first adventure overseas or even someone who just loves to shop on websites based overseas, having a credit card with you is always helpful. Overseas spending attracts certain fees and charges, and any discount on that will help you save some dollars. So a card that rewards you whenever you use it overseas and doesn’t have any hidden charges, is even more helpful.
Here is why you should use a credit card specifically designed for overseas use:
- They offer better currency conversion rates.
- The currency conversion charges may be lower.
- The highest reward points are offered on overseas transactions
Compare the Best Cards for Overseas Use
Some banks in Singapore offer conversion fee and administrative fee waivers on certain credit cards. In addition to charges and fees, there is also the convenience factor to consider when using your credit card overseas. Some banks offer cashback offers and airmile reward points for overseas spending. Ensure your credit card is accepted worldwide. Also, having a 24/7 customer service hotline number to resolve your credit card related queries can come in handy. The table below contains all the credit cards that you can use for overseas spends:
|Cards Name||Annual Fee||Earning Rate||Min. Spend Requirement|
|BOC Visa Infinite Card||S$350||1.5% currency exchange fees waived on all overseas transactions||N.A.|
|BOC Chinese Scholars & Students Association Platinum Elite Card||Perpetual fee waiver||Up to 2 bonus points for every S$1 on overseas spends||N.A.|
|BOC Dual Currency Diamond Card||S$190||Up to 2 bonus points on all overseas transactions (apart from RMB spends)||N.A.|
|BOC SCCCI Great Wall Affinity Card Platinum||Perpetual fee waiver||2 bonus reward points on overseas spends||N.A.|
|BOC World Mastercard||S$190||3 reward points for all overseas spends||N.A.|
|CIMB Platinum Mastercard||Perpetual fee waiver||0% admin fee on overseas transactions||N.A.|
|CIMB Visa Infinite||Perpetual fee waiver||2% cash rebate on overseas spends||S$2,000 per month|
|CIMB Visa Signature||Perpetual fee waiver||0% admin fee on overseas transactions||S$500 per month with at least 8 transactions of S$30 or higher|
|Citi Rewards Card||S$192.60||10 points (equivalent to 4 Citi Miles) for every S$1 spent on overseas shopping||N.A|
|Citi PremierMiles AmEx Card||S$267.50||2 Citi Miles for every S$1 spent overseas in a foreign currency||N.A.|
|Citi PremierMiles Visa Card||S$192.60||2 Citi Miles for every S$1 spent overseas in a foreign currency||N.A.|
|Citi Prestige Card||S$535||5 Citi Dollars (equivalent to 2 Citi Miles) for every S$1 spent overseas||N.A.|
|DBS Treasures Black Elite Card||S$535||2.4 miles for every S$1 spent overseas||N.A.|
|DBS Woman's World Card||S$192.60||3 DBS points (or 6 miles) for every S$5 spent overseas||N.A.|
|HSBC Visa Infinite Credit Card||S$488 for Premier customers S$650 for other customers||Up to 2.25 air miles for every S$1 spent overseas||N.A.|
|ICBC Global Travel MasterCard Credit Card||S$150||3% cashback on overseas spends||N.A.|
|Maybank Horizon Visa Signature Card||S$180||2 air miles on every dollar spent overseas||S$300 per month|
|OCBC Titanium Rewards Card||S$192.60||10 OCBC$ for overseas spends||N.A.|
|OCBC Voyage Card||S$488: With 15,000 complimentary miles S$3,210: With 150,000 complimentary miles S$10,000: With 500,000 complimentary miles||2.3 Voyage miles for every S$1 spent overseas in a foreign currency||N.A.|
|OCBC 365 Credit Card||S$192.60||3% cashback on overseas dining||S$600|
|UOB Lady's Card||S$192.60||5 UNI$ for every S$5 spent overseas||S$3,000|
|UOB Lady’s Solitaire Card||S$406.60||10 UNI$ for every S$5 spent overseas||S$3,000|
|UOB PRVI Miles AmEx Card||S$256.80||2.4 miles on every S$1 spent overseas||N.A.|
|UOB PRVI Miles Visa Card||S$256.80||2.4 miles on every S$1 spent overseas||N.A.|
|UOB PRVI Miles World MasterCard||S$256.80||2.4 miles on every S$1 spent overseas||N.A.|
|UOB UnionPay Card||S$192.60||2% cash rebate on overseas spends||N.A.|
|UOB Visa Infinite Card||S$1,926||2 miles for every S$1 spent overseas||N.A.|
|UOB Visa Signature Card||S$214||10 UNI$ for every S$5 spent overseas||S$1,000 per month (spend in foreign currency)|
|UOB YOLO Card||S$192.60||8% rebate on weekend Grab rides, dining and entertainment overseas||S$600|
|AmEx Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Card||S$176.55||2 KrisFlyer miles per S$1 spent overseas in a foreign currency in June and December||N.A.|
|AmEx Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Ascend Card||S$337.05||2 KrisFlyer miles per S$1 spent overseas in a foreign currency in June and December||N.A.|
|AmEx Singapore Airlines Solitaire PPS Card||S$551.05||2.4 KrisFlyer miles per S$1 spent overseas||Above S$3,800|
|AmEx Singapore Airlines PPS Club Card||S$551.05||2 KrisFlyer miles per S$1 spent overseas||Above S$3,800|
Who Should Use Overseas Credit Cards?
One of the biggest expenses you may face while making overseas transactions are the currency exchange fees involved. These rates differ based on the card issuer. You should consider using a credit card for overseas use if you are a frequent traveller and charge most of your spends to your card.
How Does It Works in Singapore?
Credit cards, as you know, offer you different benefits as part of their rewards program. Some will offer you cash rebates, some points, and others will reward you with air miles. But how do all of these work? Let’s break it down. If you are a CIMB Visa Signature cardholder and you have met the minimum monthly spend criteria of S$500 with at least 8 transactions of S$30, then you earn a 10% cash rebate. This rebate is capped at S$60 per month. Post this cap, all your transactions will earn a rebate of 0.2%.
|Monthly Spend||Cash Rebate||Cash Rebate Earned|
|S$650||10% on S$600 0.2% on S$50||S$60 Rebate Earned: S$60.1|
While this card has no currency conversion fees, most cards may charge a fee that ranges from 1% to 3%. However, if your card offers a rebate of even 5% on overseas spends, you will still end up saving. This makes these cards the ideal option for overseas travels. To understand how the rewards points system works, let’s use the Citi Rewards Card as an example. This card offers 10 reward points for every S$1 you spend on overseas shopping.
|Overseas Spend||Reward Points||Points Earned|
You can redeem your points for vouchers or convert them to air miles and redeem them for flight tickets. Moreover, these points have a 5 year validity period. This way you can accumulate points and redeem them for anything on your wishlist. With 87,500 points you could gift yourself with round-trip tickets to Seoul! The UOB PRVI Miles Credit Card, on the other hand, very simply offers you 2.4 miles for every S$1 that you spend overseas. Cards that offer you miles are especially useful if you travel abroad frequently.
|Overseas Spend||Miles||Miles Earned|
|S$1,000||2.4 miles per S$1||2,400|
It is important to keep in mind though that each card may have a minimum spend requirement or a cap on the rewards that they offer.
Best Credit Cards with Cash Rebate for Overseas Spending
Listed below are the best credit cards with cashback offers and reward points for overseas spending:
- Citi M1 Platinum Visa Card: Earn up to 5% Citi rebate on overseas retail purchases
- Citi Rewards Card: Earn 20X reward points for overseas spending.
- Citi Prestige Card: Earn 5 Citi Dollars per S$1 overseas spent. 5 Citi Dollars equals 2 Citi Miles.
- DBS Woman's Card: Earn up to 10X DBS points on overseas and online shopping. Get up to 10 miles or 5X DBS points for every S$5 online spend.
- UOB UnionPay Platinum Card: Earn 5X UNI$ on a minimum overseas spend of S$2,000. You can choose from over 1,000 reward items to redeem your points.
Check out: Best Credit Cards for Cashback in Singapore
Best Credit cards With Airmiles for Overseas Spending
Listed below are the best credit cards with airmiles for overseas spending:
- Citi PremierMiles Visa Card: Earn up to 2 Citi Miles for every S$1 overseas spend.
- Citi PremierMiles American Express Card: Earn 2 Citi Miles per S$1 spent in foreign currency.
- DBS Woman's World Card: Earn up to 3X DBS points or 6 miles per S$5 overseas spend and 10X DBS points or 20 miles per S$5 online spend.
- DBS Altitude Visa Signature Card: With a minimum spend of S$2,500 in a month, get up to 6 air miles for every S$1 spend. This promotional offer is valid until July 31st, 2017.
- UOB PRVI Miles Visa Card: Earn 2.4 miles for every S$1 overseas spend and 6 miles per S$1 spent on flight and hotel bookings.
Check out Best Credit Cards for Air Miles
Things to Consider Before Getting a Card for Overseas Spending
- Check the foreign currency transaction fees applicable on your card. If the rewards you get in terms of rebate, miles, or reward points is lower than the transaction fee, then you should consider using a different card for your overseas purchases.
- Check if dynamic currency conversion is automatically applied to your card. This is important since it determines the exchange rate that you are provided with while shopping abroad.
- If you are a frequent traveller, then it is important to see if your card is accepted in the countries you frequently travel to.
- Check if you may need an EMV chip on your card or if the magnetic stripe on it will be accepted by merchants abroad.
Guide to Choose the Right Card for Overseas Spending
- Do your research before signing on the dotted line.
- Cards offer rewards for different categories of overseas spends. Some will provide them for all overseas spends, while others may reward you for dining overseas. Make sure that your credit card provides high rewards for the category on which you spend the most.
- Some might not offer any rewards, instead waive off the bank admin fee on overseas transactions. But if you’re not a frequent traveller but love spending overseas every time you leave the country, you can look into cards that do not charge foreign currency transaction fees.
- Find out what the important fees and charges on the card are. This includes what the foreign currency conversion fee is or whether or not your card needs to be activated before you can use it for overseas transactions.
- Most importantly, analyse how much you spend each month and how much you can afford to pay each month. Getting a card that is affordable will prevent you from defaulting on your monthly payments.