Over the past few years, the idea of going cashless has become more prominent across different countries. We find ourselves relying on our credit or debit cards to pay for almost everything. In our community, we also encounter questions such as which credit cards are the best for certain types of expenses. Recently a question popped up on credit card usage overseas and if expenses should be charged in foreign currency or home currency.
Let’s face it, carrying cash around a foreign country can be pretty daunting especially when we’re unfamiliar with the currency of the country. This also prevents us from carrying too much cash only to find it stolen or misplaced (if you’re unlucky).
Furthermore, banks have a system in place to protect you from fraud. They might possibly suspend your card if it is in an unusual location. Just to be safe, inform your bank where you are going and where you might stop over. So, if your card ever gets stolen and is being used in a location not specified by you, they can disable that card.
If you are really keen on saving money, despite how small it may be times, using a card overseas maybe something you might be keen to do. This is especially so when there are some cards out there that provide a 5% cash rebate dependant on the amount you spend. With admin fees charging approximately 2-3%, you could be earning a possible 3% cash rebate!
There are two types of fees you should be looking out for, conversion fees and admin fees.
Banks will convert the money spent on our credit card to Singaporean dollars and charge us on that. What banks tend to also do is to convert the foreign currency into US dollars and then convert that to Singapore dollars. Which means you could be possibly paying slightly more than you originally thought
Each bank may charge a slightly different fee but can range anywhere between 2-3% (this is subject to change). This is also known as the foreign currency transaction which is the bank allowing you to use the card overseas.
We may be so accustomed to going cashless in Singapore that when traveling overseas we may come to realize that some countries have not completely included it into their businesses. This makes traveling a bit of a burden especially if you’re going to rely just on your credit card. Be sure to bring some cash along with you!
Credit Cards For Overseas Spending
|Credit Card||Benefits||Minimum Spending|
|UOB Visa Signature||5% cashback||$1,000|
|CIMB Visa Infitnite||2% cashback||NIL|
|BOC Visa Infinite||No foreign currency fees||NIL|
|Citibank PremierMiles||Airport lounge access twice a year||NIL|
|DBS Altitude Visa Signature||$1=2 Miles (Overseas transaction)||NIL|
|Maybank Horizon Platinum Visa||$1=2 Miles||$400 on air tickets or travel packages|
|American Express Platinum||Lounge access|
Free rental car upgrades
Assuming you have made the decision to use your credit card for your expenses overseas, the next question is should I pay it in foreign (the country you are visiting) or home currency (Singapore dollars)?
If you intend on avoiding the double conversion as stated above in ‘Conversion fees’, it would be recommended to charge it to foreign currency OR get a card that has no conversion fee charge!
Now that you know which are the best credit cards to use when overseas, it’s time to decide where to go! Check out our article for the most affordable flights for the remaining of 2017. Seeing as we’ll be in Singapore majority of the year, find out which are the best cashback cards for the current year. Finally, join our community to be involved in other exciting discussions!
Still have more questions after reading the article? Fret not, ask our community here!