Whether we live, work or play in Singapore, we increasingly need and want better use of foreign currencies.
This happens because we're increasingly going on the internet to purchase clothes, digital services or even furniture, and when we all do, there's a pretty good possibility we transact in foreign currencies.
And when we're not online shopping, Singaporeans tend to be busy planning our next holiday. This is when we need to discover the best exchange rates. Apart from that, we also have other needs, such as the security of not walking around with so much physical cash, paying on a card without incurring hefty transaction fees and easy and convenient access to our funds in Singapore.
Singapore is another regional and global financial hub, attracting investments and regional headquarters. What this means is many foreigners enter into Singapore for work and could want to explore the region or have to regularly send money overseas. This also opens many avenues for foreign investments for those residing in Singapore.
We take a look at 5 popular multi-currency accounts, wallets and cards, and look at the things they offer Singaporean travellers.
Top 5 Multi-Currency Accounts And Wallets In Singapore
# 1 YouTrip
# 2 Revolut
# 3 TransferWise
# 4 DBS MCA
# 5 UOB Mighty FX
# 1 YouTrip
Launched on your part Technologies Group in 2021, YouTrip was one of the first multi-currency mobile wallets to come to Singapore.
When you start using YouTrip, you will have the mobile application, which lets you store and exchange 10 selected currencies. They include the Singapore Dollar (SGD), Hong Kong Dollar (HKD), US Dollar (USD), Australian Dollar (AUD), Nz Dollar (NZD) Euro (EUR), British Pound (GBP), Japanese Yen (JPY), and others.
You can also obtain a free contactless Mastercard, allowing you to make offline or online payments in over 150 foreign currencies without incurring any transaction fees and also at a wholesale rate.
With your YouTrip card, you may also withdraw cash overseas at wholesale forex rates. A $5 withdrawal fee will be charged on your overseas cash withdrawals.
If you have lost your YouTrip card or suspect there might be fraudulent transactions happening, gleam handy function to instantly lock your card from your mobile app. What this means is if you find your card again or realise the “suspicious” transactions were indeed produced by you, you can simply activate your card again. By doing this it's not necessary to cancel your card or request a new card every time this occurs.
# 2 Revolut
Launched captured, Revolut is among the new players in Singapore's multi-currency account and wallet market. Revolut has three tiers because of its cards – Standard (free), Premium ($9.99/mth), and Metal ($19.99/mth).
Looking at its Standard tier, Revolut enables you to exchange 14 currencies, including the Singapore Dollar (SGD), Hong Kong Dollar (HKD), US Dollar (USD), Australian Dollar (AUD), New Zealand Dollar (NZD) Euro (EUR), British Pound (GBP), Japanese Yen (JPY), Canadian Dollar (CAD), Thai Baht (THB), yet others.
Revolut enables you to spend in over 150 different foreign currencies, both online and offline, in the interbank exchange rate. On its website, it states the in-app exchange rates are constantly changing to reflect the actual time dynamic rate at which banks swap currencies. On weekends, a mark-up of 0.5% to 2% might be placed on certain currencies.
Revolut also goes one step further to provide foreign currency transfers or remittance also at the interbank exchange rate. To make use of this, you need to pay attention to the $9,000 foreign exchange limit per month. If you wish to exchange more, you'll get in a fee of 0.5%. On its Premium and Metal services, it allows customers to exchange more with no fees.
If you want to make cash withdrawals from ATMs overseas, there won't be any charges for that first $350 per month. Again, to possess a larger limit for no-fee cash withdrawals, you can sign up for the higher-tiered cards.
There will also be other useful functions around the Revolut app, including setting up recurring payments, while using Budgeting function to trace and limit your expenditure as you prefer, as well as a Vault function to gather your expenses and set it aside as savings.
On Revolut, you could get instant alerts for transactions which means you know immediately in case your card has been mis-used. Like the YouTrip card, you might also need the ability to turn off certain functions of your card if you lose it or suspect certain fraudulent activities.
Finally, Revolut offers its Premium and Metal customers a unique “Disposable Virtual Card”, where the card number is generated and can only ever be utilized once. This can be useful in making transactions on online sites that you might not fully trust.
# 3 TransferWise
Similar to Revolut, TransferWise is yet another relatively recent player in the market.
With Transferwise, you are able to store and exchange over 40 currencies, including Singapore Dollar (SGD), Malaysian Ringgit (MYR), Hong Kong Dollar (HKD), US Dollar (USD), Australian Dollar (AUD), New Zealand Dollar (NZD) Euro (EUR), British Pound (GBP), Japanese Yen (JPY), Canadian Dollar (CAD), Thai Baht (THB), and others.
This is easily the most out of all the players on the market today. TransferWise is also the only real card providing access to the Malaysian Ringgit, which might end up being useful for those travelling there often, for leisure or work.
Transferwise also allows users to spend in additional than 150 currencies worldwide, both online and offline, without any foreign transaction fees.
You may also make forex transfers or remittance via TranserWise. What's unique about TransferWise is you actually get your own international bank details to get currencies for free, as well as your Australian, British, European, New Zealand and US accounts. Its website does state that Singapore and much more countries are coming soon too.
On TransferWise, you will incur a small currency conversion fee. To understand how much you might incur, you can see the calculator provided. While fees do look competitive whenever we crunched within the currencies we wanted to convert (nearly 0.5%), its website does state that its conversion fees are 0.35% to two.22%.
You will also get to withdraw your first $350 in cash from overseas ATMs for free. Subsequent withdrawals are charged at 2%.
You are also able to lock or freeze your card, for those who have misplaced it or suspect fraudulent activities.
# 4 DBS Multi-Currency Account (MCA)
Apart from new digital solutions, the incumbents in Singapore are also providing their response to Singaporeans' need for foreign currency exchange and transfers. You are able to make an application for the DBS MCA, and link your DBS Visa Debit Card to begin performing transactions.
With the DBS MCA, you can buy and save 13 currencies, such as the Singapore Dollar (SGD), Hong Kong Dollar (HKD), US Dollar (USD), Australian Dollar (AUD), Nz Dollar (NZD) Euro (EUR), British Pound (GBP), Japanese Yen (JPY), Canadian Dollar (CAD), Thai Baht (THB), Chinese Renminbi (RMB) and others.
It is one of the few cards providing accessibility RMB, which may be useful for those who visit China often.
Using the Visa payment network, you'd be able to pay in most of the countries which were also quoted through the card earlier. While there isn't a foreign currency conversion fee or transaction charge when you use the DBS MCA, this can be restricted to the currencies it provides.
DBS MCA also allows customers to make transaction-free, same-day online transfers (or remittance) to Australia, Canada, China, Eurozone countries, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Nz, Philippines, Thailand, UK and also the US. Those who are transferring $50,000 or more also receive preferential forex conversion rates.
What's more, DBS also provides a stock broker. Utilising services from the same bank, for example DBS Vickers and DBS MCA, we are able to also save money on foreign currency forex rates whenever we purchase firms that are listed in foreign currencies.
One hassle concerning the DBS MCA is the fact that there's a fall-below fee of $5.00-$7.50 if we have an average daily balance of below $3,000 (or equivalent in foreign currencies). Also, bear in mind that if we are at the $3,000 level in foreign currency, any fluctuations could mean we still incur the fall-below fee.
Being a local bank, customers reach enjoy protection underneath the Singapore Deposit Insurance Scheme (SDIC), where as much as $75,000 of the funds using the bank is insured. However, do note that only your local currencies within the account will fall under this coverage, while foreign currency won't.
# 5 UOB Mighty FX
UOB also provides a multi-currency solution using its UOB Might FX, that has to be associated with the following UOB SGD base account: One Account, iAccount, Wealth Premium Account, Privilege Account, KrisFlyer UOB Account.
There are 10 currencies you are able to store and spend on the UOB Might FX, including Singapore Dollar (SGD), Hong Kong Dollar (HKD), US Dollar (USD), Australian Dollar (AUD), New Zealand Dollar (NZD) Euro (EUR), British Pound (GBP), Japanese Yen (JPY), Canadian Dollar (CAD), Chinese Renminbi (RMB) yet others.
Since the credit card will be supported by either Mastercard, payments might be made worldwide, however we're not sure whether the currency conversions used is going to be as good as among the 10 currencies supported. The conversion rate used is the prevailing interbank market rate and a spread.
Unlike DBS MCA, the UOB Mighty FX doesn't need the absolute minimum good balance to be maintained. However, it comes with an annual fee of $18 that is waived for the first 3 years.
There is a $5 charge per cash withdrawal at overseas ATMs.
Similar towards the DBS MCA, customers get to enjoy protection underneath the Singapore Deposit Insurance Scheme (SDIC), where as much as $75,000 of their funds using the bank is insured. Again, this will not encompass your foreign currencies.