Best Multi Currency Cards: What are the Best Options in Singapore? 2023
If you are an expat, a frequent traveller, or simply love to shop online with international retailers, you may be considering getting a multi-currency card to cut the costs of transacting in foreign currencies.
Multi-currency cards can offer some great ways to manage your money across currencies, and save when you travel and shop. If you’re wondering what the advantages of a multi-currency card may be, this guide is for you.
We’ll look at how multi-currency cards may help you cut international bank fees and get a better exchange rate when you send and spend money overseas.
We’ll also review the best multi-currency cards in Singapore to help you pick the perfect match.
Our Top 4 Multi-Currency Cards in Singapore:
Multi currency cards: the best options in Singapore
First, an overview of our top picks for multi-currency cards available in Singapore. We’ve covered cards from traditional banks and specialists so you can get a feel for the differences. There’s plenty more coming up about each of these providers later, too.
|DBS multi-currency debit card|
|YouTrip multi-currency card|
|UOB Mighty FX|
How do multi currency cards work?
Multi-currency cards work much like your regular debit card, for ATM withdrawals and online or in person payments. However, multi-currency cards are designed to have specific features designed to make it easier to make foreign currency purchases, often with either more rewards for international spending, or better exchange rates and lower fees compared to using a normal card for payments.
Best multi currency cards: A comparison
Let’s get into some more details about the multi-currency cards we featured earlier. In Singapore you can order a multi-currency card from a traditional bank like DBS or UOB, or pick a specialist provider like Wise or YouTrip. Specialists often support more holding currencies compared to banks, and may have lower overall fees.
|Provider||Annual fee||Exchange rate||ATM withdrawal fee|
|Wise||No fee||Mid-market exchange rate|
2 withdrawals up to 350 SGD/month fee free
1.5 SGD + 1.75% after that
|DBS||No fee for the card - some charges may apply to your linked account||Exchange rates may include a markup||Up to 7 SGD|
|YouTrip||No fee||Mid-market exchange rate||5 SGD|
Additional charges may apply to your SGD base account
|Exchange rates may include a markup||5 SGD|
Open a free multi-currency Wise Account online or in the Wise app, to hold and exchange 50+ currencies with the mid-market exchange rate. You’ll be able to order your linked international debit card for a low one time fee of 9 SGD, to spend in 170+ countries. Wise accounts also come with local bank details for up to 9 currencies so you can get paid fee free easily.
Pros of the Wise card
No ongoing card or account charges
Hold and exchange 50+ currencies with the mid-market rate
Get paid into your Wise account from 30+ countries, fee free
Cons of the Wise card
9 SGD fee to get your first card
Some transaction fees apply
DBS multi-currency debit card
If you already bank with DBS you may be able to order a multi-currency debit card to link to your existing account. If not, it’s easy enough to open a My Account which can hold up to 13 currencies and also comes with a customisable suite of other financial products and services. DBS is Singapore’s biggest bank - so you’ll never be far from a branch if you want face to face service.
Pros of the DBS multi-currency debit card
Use your linked account to hold multiple currencies
Earn cash back on spending
Order your card online
Cons of the DBS multi-currency debit card
ATM fees are up to 7 SGD depending on country and ATM operator
Exchange rates may include a markup
YouTrip multi currency card
An established brand here in Singapore, you may well have already heard of YouTrip. YouTrip cards are linked to a handy ewallet and app which lets you hold 10 currencies, which you can spend or exchange as you wish. There’s no currency exchange fee when you spend in 150+ currencies with your card, although you will pay a flat fee if you want to make an ATM withdrawal.
Pros of the YouTrip multi-currency card
Hold 10 currencies and spend in 150+
No annual fee to pay
EZ Link co-branded for use on public transportation
Cons of the YouTrip multi-currency card
Only available to residents of Singapore and Malaysia
5 SGD flat ATM fee, plus charges apply to top up with a Visa credit card
UOB Mighty FX
Another good pick if you want a multi-currency card from an established traditional bank - UOB’s Mighty FX account and card can be opened and linked to your SGD base account to extend the functionality to cover up to 10 extra currencies. Get your linked card for an 18 SGD annual fee - with ways to waive the charges depending on how you spend and use the account.
Pros of the UOB Mighty FX card
Hold and exchange in 10 foreign currencies
Link to your existing UOB account if you have one
Apply online if you’re Singaporean or PR
Cons of the UOB Mighty FX card
18 SGD annual fee, plus 5 SGD ATM fee
You need to hold or open a SGD account with UOB to apply
How does the multi currency card work?
The multi-currency cards you’ll find in Singapore tend to split into a couple of types - cards linked to digital multi-currency accounts from specialist providers, and multi-currency cards you can order to link to an account held with a major Singapore bank. Both card types offer a few similar features:
Cards usually offer mobile and contactless payment options
Payments are deducted from your linked account balance - usually pretty much instantly
Accounts can be used to hold and exchange select foreign currencies
However, there are also a couple of differences. With online specialist services you’ll be able to get your account and card without needing to visit a bank branch - for traditional banks you’ll often need to call in, especially if you’re not Singaporean or a Singapore PR. To get started you’ll also often need a base SGD account with your preferred bank, which can come with its own fees. Finally, specialist services also tend to have a higher number of supported currencies for holding and exchange compared to traditional banks.
How can I use a multi currency debit card abroad?
It’s easy to use your multi-currency debit card for payments and withdrawals anywhere the card’s network is accepted. In Singapore, cards are usually offered on the Visa and Mastercard networks, which are widely accepted around the world.
Once you have your card you’ll need to read the account terms and conditions carefully, paying particular attention to the fees and charges that apply. As you’ll be using your card to spend in foreign currencies and when you travel, look out for any foreign transaction fee or currency conversion cost, and any charge to make international ATM withdrawals as these can push up your overall costs significantly.
Aside from the card issuer’s charges, look out for costs applied by merchants and ATM operators - in particular if you’re ever asked if you want to pay in dollars instead of the local currency when you’re abroad. This pushes up costs - pay in the local currency wherever you are to get the best value overall.
How to request a multi currency debit card
How to get a multi-currency debit card really depends on the card and provider you pick.
UOB offers online account opening to Singapore citizens and PRs only. You may be able to open a DBS account online or in the DBS app - but you’ll need a local Singapore proof of address and phone number. YouTrip cards are for Singapore and Malaysia residents only, with online applications available, while Wise allows all eligible customers to apply online, with proof of ID and address from a broad range of countries.
To show how the basic application process works, here’s a look at how to get a Wise multi-currency debit card for instant, low cost spending:
Register for a Wise account online or in the Wise app
Verify your account by uploading images of your ID documents
Order your card online or in the Wise app, by paying a one off charge
Your card will arrive in the post soon after
What are the transaction fees applied to a multi-currency card
Spending with a multi-currency card can drive down the costs of transacting internationally - but that doesn’t mean it’s entirely free. There are still some costs to consider, including the following:
You may pay a fee which is rolled into the exchange rate you’re offered when you convert from dollars to the currency you need - or a foreign transaction fee which is applied to purchases in unsupported currencies. Bank exchange rate markups and foreign transaction fees can often be around 3% of the total cost. International cards can be cheaper - with Wise for example, currency conversion fees start at around 0.41%.
ATM withdrawal fees do vary widely between providers, and the ATM operator itself may also add its own fees when you get cash. Check out the account terms and conditions to make sure you’re clear on what withdrawals will cost you.
Advantages of foreign currency cards
Still on the fence about getting a new card for international spending? Here are a few advantages of multi-currency cards to consider:
You may benefit from no foreign transaction fee and a better exchange rate for currency conversion
Accounts are usually easy to set up, and can often be managed via an app for convenience and security
Make local cash withdrawals wherever you are in the world, to avoid high fees to get your travel spending money
Easy to budget and manage your international spending with no interest fees to pay
Are there any limitations on the foreign currency card?
Multi-currency cards aren’t the only choice - and there are a few limits it’s worth knowing about:
Debit cards offered by some specialist services can’t be used for local SGD ATM withdrawals
Debit cards aren’t usually accepted whenever a deposit is required - for example to hire a car
Singapore e-wallet accounts may have limits - where this applies you’ll usually only be able to hold up to 5,000 SGD in your account, and send payments of up to 30,000 SGD annually
Conclusion: is the multi-currency card worth it?
Getting a multi-currency card can help cut the costs of travel and foreign currency - and make life more convenient when you’re transacting internationally. It’s also far more secure than relying on carrying cash when you travel. Depending on the card you pick you may get a better exchange rate than your normal card - or earn cashback on spending at home and abroad.
Compare a few cards from Singapore’s big banking brands and specialist providers to help you decide which might suit you best.
International or multi-currency debit cards are spending cards which have options for international transactions, which may make it cheaper to shop and withdraw when you travel.
Get a multi-currency debit card from a big Singapore bank like DBS or UOB - or for an alternative that may be cheaper and more convenient, register with an online specialist provider and get an account and card without needing to leave home.
Use your card abroad just as you would here at home. Multi-currency debit cards are really only different in that they usually have features which make it cheaper and more convenient to spend internationally, whether you’re shopping online, hitting the stores in person or making an ATM withdrawal.
Multi-currency debit card fees do vary between providers and can include currency conversion or foreign transaction fees, and charges to make ATM withdrawals. Bank cards may include annual fees, while online specialists often have debit cards you can use overseas with no fees, and multi-currency functionality. Use this guide to pick the right one for you.