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Credit Cards for Overseas Spending

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.

Citi Rewards Card – 10x Rewards When you Spend on Foreign Transactions

This card gives you 10x Rewards when you use it to pay for your overseas online bags, shoes, and clothes purchases, as well as at participating retail outlets, and department stores abroad.

Key Highlights:

  • 10x Rewards are given on both overseas and local transactions.
  • These rewards are available all through the year.
  • All other retail spends earn you 1 Rewards point for every one Singapore dollar you spend.
Annual Fee Earning Rate Min. Spend
S$192.60 10 points for every S$1 spent on overseas shopping N.A

Maybank Horizon Visa Signature Card – 3.2 Air Miles on Overseas Spends

The Maybank Horizon Visa Signature Card gives you 8x TREATS points on every one Singapore dollar you spend on travel and dining transactions overseas. This is equal to 3.2 air miles per S$1 spent. The card also comes with an annual fee waiver for three years.

Key Highlights:

  • The same rate of rewards (8x TREATS Points per dollar) applies on your local travel and dining spends as well.
  • The card also features a convenient and faster method of paying through your mobile phone, using Samsung Pay.
  • Get 5x TREATS Points for every S$1 you spend on travel packages, air tickets, and transactions in foreign currencies.
  • Get free entry into specific VIP airport lounges.
Annual Fee Earning Rate Min. Spend
S$180 2 air miles on every dollar spent overseas S$300 per month

OCBC Titanium Rewards Card – 10x OCBC$ per S$1 spent on Overseas Transactions

With the OCBC Titanium Rewards Card, you can get 10x OCBC$ when you spend on shopping for clothes, shoes, bags, electronics & gadgets, and children’s wear, and at department stores, abroad. The rewards accumulation is limited to a maximum of 120,000 OCBC$ for one year from when your card was issued.

Key Highlights:

  • 10x OCBC$ for each Singapore dollar you spend on the purchases mentioned above.
  • Shop safely online with the e-Commerce Protection facility.
  • Exclusive offers at BEST Denki, Cathay Cineplexes, and more.
Annual Fee Earning Rate Min. Spend
S$192.60 10 OCBC$ for overseas spends N.A.

UOB PRVI Miles Visa Card - Earn 2.4 Miles for Overseas Transactions

The UOB PRVI Miles Visa Card lets you earn 2.4 miles for every Singapore dollar you spend on overseas transactions. The card does not have any minimum spend criteria, nor does it have a cap on how many miles you can accumulate. The more you spend, the more miles you can get, and the more you accumulate, the more discounts you will get on future redemptions.

Key Highlights:

  • Get 1.4 miles for every Singapore dollar you spend on local transactions.
  • Get 6 miles per S$1 spent on booking specified hotels and airlines.
  • You can redeem your accumulated miles at more than 40 participating airlines.
Annual Fee Earning Rate Min. Spend
S$256.80 2.4 miles on every S$1 spent overseas N.A.

ICBC Global Travel MasterCard Credit Card – Cashback of 3% on Overseas Spends

This card gives you the opportunity to earn a cashback of 3% on every transaction you make abroad. There is no cap on the number of transactions you can make, or on the amount of cashback you can accumulate. Spend more, earn more.

Key Highlights:

  • Get a cashback of 1.5% on all your local spends in Singapore.
  • Tap and pay facility for train and bus rides.
  • The annual fee is waived for three years.
Annual Fee Earning Rate Min. Spend
S$150 3% cashback on overseas spends N.A.

DBS Treasures Black Elite Card – 2.4 Miles on Overseas Transactions

With the DBS Treasures Black Elite Card, you can get 2.4 miles on each of your transactions abroad. You also get travel insurance that also covers travel delays, loss of baggage, or misconnections, apart from compensation for disablement, permanent loss, or death.

Key Highlights:

  • The compensation for disablement, permanent loss, or death is up to S$1 million.
  • Get 3.2 miles for purchases made at certain luxury boutiques.
  • Get 1.2 miles for each of your local transactions.
  • The Treasures Black Elite Concierge is available all 24 hours of the day to help you with personal requests such as international hotel reservations, overseas purchases, and more.
Annual Fee Earning Rate Min. Spend
S$535 2.4 miles for every S$1 spent overseas N.A.

Citi PremierMiles Visa Card – 2 Citi Miles on Foreign Spends

The Citi PremierMiles Visa Card gives you 2 Citi Miles for every S$1 you spend in foreign currency. Earn miles at a much faster rate when you use this card to pay for foreign transactions. You can also redeem your miles for discounts on flight and hotel bookings as well as merchandise from leading international brands.

Key Highlights:

  • There is no cap on the number of miles you can accumulate.
  • Get travel insurance with coverage of up to S$1 million.
  • Earn 1.2 Citi Miles for every S$1 you spend on local purchases.
Annual Fee Earning Rate Min. Spend
S$192.60 2 Citi Miles for every S$1 spent overseas in a foreign currency N.A.

CIMB Visa Infinite – 2% Cash Rebate on Overseas Transactions

The CIMB Visa Infinite is a card that rewards you when you use it to spend on overseas transactions. It gives you cash rebates of 2% when you charge your expenses to it while you’re travelling abroad, booking travel tickets, and also when you use it to make online purchases in foreign currencies.

Key Highlights:

  • Cash rebate of 1% on all your other transactions.
  • Up to 3 free lounge visits for every principal cardmember per year, courtesy of the CIMB Airport Companion Programme.
  • Discounts at more than 1,000 participating dining, lifestyle, and retail outlets in and around Malaysia and Indonesia.
  • The annual fee is waived for life.
Annual Fee Earning Rate Min. Spend
Perpetual fee waiver 2% cash rebate on overseas spends S$2,000 per month

BOC Visa Infinite Card – 1.5% Currency Exchange Fees Waiver

The BOC Visa Infinite Card is a good card to have if you make a lot of transactions in foreign currencies. You are usually charged a conversion fee on such transactions, usually as a percentage of the value of the purchase. This card waives the currency exchange fees of 1.5% on all transactions made overseas, making your foreign transactions cheaper.

Key Highlights:

  • Cash rebate of 1% on all local purchases, no minimum spend required, and no limit to how much cash rebate you can accumulate.
  • Lifestyle concierge is available all 24 hours of the day.
  • Complimentary travel insurance with coverage of S$1 million.
Annual Fee Earning Rate Min. Spend
S$350 1.5% currency exchange fees waived on all overseas transactions N.A.

BOC Chinese Scholars & Students Association Platinum Elite Card – 2x Bonus Points

This credit card gives you up to 2x additional points when you use it to pay for overseas transactions. This means you can get rewards at an accelerated rate when you make overseas purchases.

Key Highlights:

  • Merchant privileges to Macau, China, and Hong Kong, from Singapore.
  • The annual fee is waived for life.
  • Special rates and free services for hotel booking.
  • Redeem your bonus points for gifts.
Annual Fee Earning Rate Min. Spend
Perpetual fee waiver Up to 2 bonus points for every S$1 on overseas spends N.A.

Best Singapore Credit Cards for Overseas Use

Cards Name Annual Fee Earning Rate Min. Spend Requirement
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 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 PremierMiles AmEx Card S$267.50 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 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.
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 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

Benefits of Using Credit Cards Overseas

You Don’t Have to Carry Hard Cash: This is perhaps one of the best advantages of using a credit card to pay for your expenses while you are abroad. It can get quite difficult to carry around a large amount of physical cash wherever you go, simply because it can get lost or stolen, and also because it will occupy a lot of space. A credit card negates all these problems. It’s easier to carry around, occupies less space, and is safer.

Travel Insurance: A good thing to have, yet something not a lot of us think of when we travel to a foreign country. Many credit cards in Singapore offer travel insurance, which means that you don’t have to pay for it on your own. It also gives you peace of mind when you travel.

Easy Mode of Payment: With many merchants accepting international payments, credit cards offer easy payment options when you’re travelling abroad. However, do keep in mind that credit card payments may not be available with all merchants in all countries.

Better Exchange Rates: Exchange rates are always a concern when you travel overseas. Your credit card may be able to give you better exchange rates than a local bank or exchange agency.

Rewards on Overseas Spends: Want to get rewards when you spend online? Many credit cards that allow overseas transactions also give you rewards such as discounts, rewards points, cashback, and more for every dollar you spend while on the road. In fact, certain cards reward you more on foreign transactions. Holidaying abroad couldn’t get any better, we feel.

Cash Advance: Your credit card can also help you withdraw cash from ATMs when you’re travelling abroad and need urgent cash. This is a handy facility to have, but keep in mind that banks charge a high rate of interest on such cash advances.

Customer service: Many of the cards that are eligible for overseas transactions have dedicated customer service helplines available 24/7. In case you need assistance during your travels, you can get in touch with them.

Credit Cards Overseas Transaction Fees

While credit cards may make it convenient for you to make overseas transactions, these services don’t come free of cost. Let’s take a look at the different types of fees that may apply on your overseas transactions.

Foreign Currency Transaction Fees

Whenever you transact using a foreign currency, you have to pay a foreign transaction fee that applies on that transaction. Earlier, this fee was considered applicable only on foreign currency transactions done outside Singapore. Now, any transaction you make using foreign currency, whether in Singapore (like online transactions) or outside is liable for a foreign transaction fee

Your bank along with the payment gateway like MasterCard or Visa, charges you an amount for converting your currency and processing the transaction. This includes the following types of transactions made on your credit card:

  • Payments made virtually using Singapore Dollars to a foreign website which accepts payments only in a foreign currency.
  • Payment made physically to merchants outside Singapore.

The payment network may also impose an additional fee if it applies on the particular transaction you’re looking to make. Foreign currency fee is made of two parts - the admin fee of banks and the cross-border fee, and the currency conversion fee known as Dynamic Currency Fee (if applicable). There is, however, no uniform rate regarding this. Foreign currency transaction fees charged by banks may vary from one bank to another.

Credit Card Charges for International Usage in Singapore

The transactions that you make in US dollars in Singapore are converted to Singapore dollars. The transactions that you make in all other foreign currencies will first be converted to US dollars and then to Singapore dollars. The cost of this double conversion is procured from the customers, meaning you have to bear the cost of this procedure when you buy products in Singapore using any other foreign currency. The best way to be aware of all the charges and fees that apply on such transactions is to read the fine print or the terms and conditions related to them, very carefully.

Cash Advance or ATM Usage Fee

If you make a cash advance on a credit card or use an ATM anywhere outside Singapore, you will be charged an overseas withdrawal fee along with a cash advance fee. Again, there is no standard rate for this fee and it differs from bank to bank.

Overseas Credit Card Activation & Deactivation

Your international credit card gives you the freedom of using it for your expenses when you’re overseas, but to make it work abroad, you need to make sure you activate the overseas payment feature first. Each bank may have its own procedure to activate your card, which would generally involve you talking directly to a bank representative or using an ATM to activate your card. In any case, it would be wise to check with your bank and activate your card before you go abroad.

If at any point you want to deactivate it, say if it gets stolen or you lose it, or if you’re back in Singapore after your travels, you can deactivate the overseas payment feature by getting in touch with your bank.

How Does it Work in Singapore?

Credit cards that allow you to make overseas purchases or give you rewards when you use them to pay for transactions while you’re travelling abroad are very handy. But you should also keep in mind that banks usually charge additional fees on payments that are made in foreign currencies. These fees are most often a percentage of the price you pay for your purchases.

This can make the total price you pay for a particular product or service a whole lot more than the actual price. Some banks may, from time to time, waive certain transaction fees or conversion charges, making overseas transactions cheaper. However, keep an eye out for other charges that may apply in their place.

The fact that these cards give you rewards, some of them additional rewards for spending overseas or in foreign currency may make you want to use them for overseas transactions. But you need to see if the additional costs involved in such transactions are worth the rewards or not.

If the costs outweigh the benefits (rewards) you get, then perhaps it would be wise to refrain from spending too much on overseas purchases. In addition to this, most cards may also require you to spend a certain minimum amount for you to be eligible for the rewards. Ask yourself if all these criteria are worth the rewards you are entitled to before making overseas purchases.

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.

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