Travel Money Guide: Singapore

Compare how you can take your money and spend Singapore Dollars in the Garden City.

Singapore is the world’s only island city state and a destination not to be missed. Before you head off, though, it’s important to know exactly how you’re going to access your travel money on your holiday. Use this guide to discover the savviest ways to spend in Singaporean Dollars without racking up travel money fees.

Singapore has one of the lowest rates of crime in the world (yes, no jaywalking or littering while you’re there), so you won’t feel threatened carrying cash. Most locals tend to use EFTPOS or their credit cards to pay for goods and services, you won’t have any trouble at all using your travel card, debit card or credit card while you’re in Singapore to make over the counter purchases or ATM withdrawals.

Plus, there’s more good news. Unlike Australia, ATMs in Singapore owned by banks don’t charge operator fees. Look for a travel money product which waives the currency conversion fee as well as the international ATM withdrawal fee so you can spend your travel budget without paying those annoying and unnecessary international transaction charges.

Compare travel cards for Singapore

Rates last updated October 18th, 2018
Name Product Description Available Currencies ATM Withdrawal Fee Reload Fee Initial Load Fee
Hold up to 10 currencies and lock in your exchange rate. No load, reload or transaction fees on purchases and part of a worldwide ATM alliance.
AUD, CAD, EUR, GBP, HKD, JPY, NZD, SGD, THB, USD
AUD 3.50, USD 2.50, GBP 2.00, EUR 2.20, NZD 4.50, CAD 3.00, HKD 20.00, SGD 4.00, THB 95, JPY 260

0%
$0
Earn up to 15,000 bonus Qantas Points when you load foreign currency onto your Qantas Travel Money card before 31 October 2018.
AUD, AED, CAD, EUR, GBP, HKD, JPY, NZD, SGD, THB, USD
AUD 1.95, CAD 2.00, EUR 1.50, GBP 1.25, HKD 15.00, JPY 160, NZD 2.50, SGD 2.50, USD 1.95, THB 70.00, AED 6.50

1%
$0

Compare up to 4 providers

Rates last updated October 18th, 2018
Name Product Foreign Currency Conversion Fee Overseas ATM Withdrawal Fee Overseas Cash Advance Fee Annual fee Product Description
Bankwest Zero Platinum Mastercard
0% of transaction value
$0
2% of transaction amount or $4 (whichever is greater)
$0 p.a.
Offers a $0 annual fee, 0% foreign transaction fees, complimentary international travel insurance and a balance transfer offer.
28 Degrees Platinum Mastercard
0% of transaction value
$0
3% of the cash advance or $4 (whichever is greater)
$0 p.a.
No foreign transaction fees on international purchases including international purchases online, together with a no annual fee.
Bankwest Breeze Platinum Mastercard
0% of transaction value
$0
2% of transaction amount or $4 (whichever is greater)
$99 p.a.
Receive a 0% p.a. interest rate on purchases and balance transfers for 13 months, complimentary travel insurance and 0% foreign transaction fees.
ANZ Rewards Travel Adventures card
0% of transaction value
$5
$0
$225 p.a.
Receive 40,000 bonus Velocity Points, 2 yearly Virgin Australia lounge passes, plus enjoy $0 overseas purchase transaction fees.
Bankwest Qantas Platinum Mastercard
0% of transaction value
$0
2% or $4, whichever is greater
$160 p.a.
Enjoy 0% foreign transaction fees, complimentary travel insurances and earn 0.5 Qantas Points per $1 spent on eligible purchases.
Bankwest More World Mastercard
0% of transaction value
$0
2% of transaction amount or $4 (whichever is greater)
$270 p.a.
Earn 115,000 bonus points when you meet the spend requirement, receive complimentary travel insurance and a LoungeKey membership.
Bankwest More Platinum Mastercard
0% of transaction value
$0
2% of transaction amount or $4 (whichever is greater)
$160 p.a.
Earn 2 More Rewards Points per $1 spent, 75,000 bonus points when you meet the spend requirement and save with 0% foreign transaction fees.

Compare up to 4 providers

Rates last updated October 18th, 2018
$
Name Product Product Description Debit Card Access ATM Withdrawal Fee Monthly Account Fee Overseas ATM Withdrawal Fee Overseas Eftpos Fee
ING Orange Everyday Account
Receive a rebate on any international transaction fees and international ATM fees when you deposit at least $1,000 a month and make at least 5 card purchases.
Visa
$0
$2.50
2.5%
NAB Classic Banking with Platinum Visa Debit Card
$10 cashback on contactless purchases, $0 foreign transaction fee and complimentary travel insurance.
$10 monthly account fee.
Receive $10 cashback when you spend $1000 on contactless purchases. Complimentary travel insurance, transport accident insurance, purchase protection insurance and more when you meet eligibility criteria.
Visa
$0
$5
0%
HSBC Everyday Global Account
No foreign ATM or transaction fees.
$0 monthly account fee.
Enjoy no minimum ongoing balance or transaction requirements and the flexibility to hold up to 10 currencies. Apple Pay and Google Pay available.
Visa
$0
$0
$0
Citi Global Currency Account
Hold up to 10 currencies.
$0 monthly account fee.
Enjoy one linked debit card to hold up to 10 currencies and receive foreign currencies for free. Earn up to 2.25% p.a. interest on your AUD balance.
Mastercard
$0
$0
$0

Compare up to 4 providers

Rates last updated October 18th, 2018
Name Product Description Minimum Order Amount Maximum Order Amount Delivery/Pickup Method Commission Fees
Order over 60 currencies online at the best price against the Australian dollar and collect at one of over 130 locations across Australia.
$500
$10,000
In Store or At Airport
$0
Travelex makes it easy to exchange and get the best rate on over 40 currencies so you can be prepared for your next holiday.
$500
$5,000
In Store or At Airport
$0
Order multiple currencies in one transaction and have it delivered directly to your door anywhere in Australia.
$9,000
In Store or Home Delivery
$0

Compare up to 4 providers

Which option is right for your next trip?

ANZ Travel Card

ANZ Travel Card

  • Load up to 10 currencies
  • Lock in your exchange rates
  • No overseas transaction fees

ANZ Travel Card

The ANZ Travel Card is a prepaid card that can be loaded with up to 10 currencies to make purchases at home and overseas at over 38 million merchants and over 2.3 million ATMs worldwide.

  • Lock in your exchange rates and know how much money you have to spend
  • No transaction fees for electronic purchases in Australia and overseas
  • Multiple reload options - online, over the phone or in person
  • Manage your money online or over phone 24/7
  • Spare card if in case one is lost or stolen

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How many Dollars do I need to bring to Singapore?

Singapore is one of the most expensive cities in the world. However, there are accommodation, food and activity options to suit all budgets.

Singapore Budget Midrange Expensive
to-sleep Hostel
$10 - $25 per night
2 star hotel
$80 - 120 per night
5 star hotel
$250 - $500 per night
to-eat Chicken and fish dumpling noodles (street stall)
$8
Lunch or dinner at a mid-range restaurant
$30 - $60 per person
4 course dinner at the Singapore Flyer
$250 a head
camera Visit the Singapore Botanic Gardens
free
Visit the Changi war museum
$50 per person
VIP tour of Universal Studios Singapore
$400 per person

*Prices are approximate and based on summer seasonality and are subject to change.

Exchange rate history

Singapore Dollars (SGD) are the national currency of Singapore. The Australian Dollar has weakened against the Singapore Dollar since the Global FInancial Crisis and has been around parity for the past few years.

Year Average annual exchange Australian Dollar (AUD) to Singaporean Dollar (SGD)
2012 1.294160
2013 1.210308
2014 1.143276
2015 1.033175
2016 1.014219
2017 1.07836

*Exchange rates are accurate as of 5 September 2017

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Which travel cards, debit cards and credit cards are best to use in Singapore?

Major card brands are widely accepted in Singapore. If a merchant insists on applying a credit card surcharge to your purchases, you should consider looking for other alternatives. The majority of travel money cards support SGD, which makes these products a viable option for this destination, but they don’t have your name on the front. This can be an issue if the merchant wants to see your I.D. when you make a purchase over the counter. ATMs in Singapore will accept the major brands (Visa, Mastercard and American Express). Compared to other countries, you’re spoilt for travel money choice in Singapore.

Travel money options for Singapore at a glance

Travel money option Pros Considerations
Debit cards for travel
  • Singapore bank ATMs do not charge an ATM operator fee
  • ATMs are located all over the city-state - every bank, MRT station, or shopping center has its own
  • Most Australian debit cards will charge a currency conversion fee
  • An international ATM withdrawal fee applies
Prepaid travel money cards
  • Can be pre-loaded with foreign currency and cancelled at any time
  • Singapore Dollars are a supported currency on almost all travel money cards
  • International ATM withdrawal fee, initial load fee, reload fee and inactivity fee applies
Credit cards for travel
  • Credit cards are widely accepted, especially Visa and Mastercard
  • Some cards have no annual fees, no foreign exchange fees and they perform currency exchanges at the best possible interchange rate
  • Credit cards usually charge currency conversion fee
  • Cash withdrawals using your credit card are considered cash advances which will incur a costly fee and high rate
Traveller's cheques
  • Security
  • Can be cashed at Changi Airport and major money changes throughout Singapore
  • Traveller's cheques are pretty much an old technology in Singapore making it hard to find for those who wants to buy one
  • A commission may apply to transactions
  • Exchange rate is less favourable than the Visa, Mastercard and American Express
Cash
  • Greater payment flexibility
  • Convenience
  • There's no set limit as to how much money you can take into Singapore but you need to declare it if it is more the $30000 for money laundering purposes
  • More difficult to manage expenses
  • Although SG is considered safer than the other countries, please note that there is a pickpocket syndicate operating in the country

This table is a general summary of the travel money products in the market. Features and benefits can vary between cards.

How different travel money options work in Singapore

Travel prepaid cards

Prepaid travel money cards allow you to load Australian Dollars and exchange the money to a foreign currency via a convenient online portal. Singapore Dollars are a supported currency on almost all travel money cards — the Suncorp, Australia Post and American Express prepaid travel cards don’t support spending in Singapore Dollars.

Compare these cards by the front and back end fees such as the international ATM withdrawal fee, initial load fee, reload fee and inactivity fee. The international ATM fee is the main one to avoid because you’re going to need cash at various points throughout your trip. Singapore ATMs don’t charge a local operator fee, you can withdraw money for free using a prepaid travel card which waives the international ATM fee loaded with Singapore Dollars.

  • Tip: Prepaid travel cards are dual card accounts, meaning you’ll receive an additional card. The second card acts as a backup for the first.

Using Australian debit cards in Singapore

Most Australian debit cards will charge a currency conversion fee when you carry out a transaction in a currency other than Australian Dollars as well as an international ATM withdrawal fee when you use an ATM. The Citibank Plus Transaction Account doesn't charge any of these fees. It also comes with the benefit of fee-free international money transfers to a number of countries. The Citibank Plus is as good at home as it is overseas, you can withdraw free of charge from any Citibank, Westpac, St.George, BankSA and Bank of Melbourne ATM in Australia. Citibank operates more than 250 ATMs in Singapore. These ATMs are evenly distributed throughout the islands of Singapore, so you shouldn’t have to look too far to find a Citibank ATM. Withdrawing from one of these ATMs will mean you can access cash for the same price as Australia — even cheaper in some cases.

  • Tip: Singapore bank ATMs do not charge an ATM operator fee.

Travelling to Singapore with an Australian credit card

Credit cards can be a good way to access a line of credit overseas, which could come in handy for large or emergency purchases. However, using a credit card comes with many fees to consider. Look out for a card that waives the currency conversion fee (of usually 3%) that you’ll have to pay when you spend in Singaporean Dollars.

Also, keep an eye out for cards with 0% purchase offer or interest-free days that won’t charge you interest when you pay your account in full by the statement due date. Unlike a debit or prepaid card, you shouldn’t use your credit card for ATM withdrawals in Singapore. Withdrawals are considered cash advances, and you’re likely to incur a costly fee and high rate.

For example, the Bankwest platinum credit cards and the 28 Degrees Platinum Mastercard waive the international ATM fee and the currency conversion fee, and you can avoid the cash advance interest rate and cash advance fee too by transferring money onto your credit card. Watch out, though, the card scheme zero liability guarantees do not apply if you’re using a credit card with a positive balance.

  • Tip: Some financial institutions give you free travel insurance when you pay for your return travel ticket to your credit card.

Using traveller's cheques in Singapore

Traveller’s cheques have been replaced by modern forms of travel money such as debit, credit and prepaid travel cards. Traveller’s cheques can be cashed at Changi Airport and major money changes throughout Singapore. A commission may apply to the transaction and the rate is less favourable than the Visa, Mastercard and American Express foreign exchange rate applied to ATM withdrawals and over the counter purchases.

Getting a refund if you’re the victim of a fraudulent transaction

Paying with cash in Singapore

You’ll need cash if you want to shop in the market areas of Haji Lane, Sim Lim and Burgis, otherwise you’ll find that you can use your card for the majority of purchases in Singapore.

SGD banknotes

Exchanging cash

Licensed money changers are easy to spot and are located at Changi International and Seletar airports as well as in shopping centers

ATM withdrawals

Singapore bank ATMs do not charge a local operator fee for ATM withdrawals. Provided that your card doesn’t charge for currency conversion and international ATM fees, you can make free ATM withdrawals in Singapore.

Finding cash and ATMs

The exchange rate

The card scheme (for example: Visa and Mastercard) foreign exchange rate is applied to over the counter purchases and ATM withdrawals when you use your card. This rate is a touch above the market rate and is better than what you’ll get at exchange offices and banks.

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Buying Singapore Dollars in Australia

It’s better to wait till you arrive in Singapore and make an ATM withdrawal or get your Australian Dollars changed at an exchange office rather than get money exchanged in Australia: the rates will be better. You can bring the Aussie dollar equivalent of SGD20,000 into the country without making a customs declaration. If you do want to change money in Australia before you go, consider the following institutions:

Travelex and Australia Post have outlets at major Australian airports. You can order your cash online and collect it from the airport before you leave.

Why you’ll need a combination of travel money products

Always have more than one way to access your money, it’s a golden rule which applies in Australia as much as it does overseas. A combination of a travel card or travel debit card and credit card will give you options when it comes to saving on fees for over the counter purchases and ATM withdrawals. The products you use are up to you. If you have any questions about travel money for Singapore, get in touch with us using the form at the bottom of the page and a member of the finder.com.au team will be in touch.

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4 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    SkpOctober 4, 2016

    Hi
    Can I use debit card instead of credit card at hotel check in

    • Default Gravatar
      ChesterOctober 5, 2016

      Hello Skp,

      Thanks for your question.

      Absolutely! as long as there is enough funds on your debit card to cover the amount and if the hotel accepts VISA,MasterCard as well as American Express payments then they may be able to accept and process your payment.

      Regards,
      Chester

  2. Default Gravatar
    MDecember 24, 2015

    How many Singapore dollar a tourist can carry for 5 days. Whether any dollar purchased receipt is mandatory.Other easy option ?

    • finder Customer Care
      SallyDecember 29, 2015Staff

      Hello MR,

      Thanks for your question.

      How much money you can carry will depend on the travel money option you choose. For example, some prepaid travel money cards and debit cards have different restrictions on how much you can carry. You can use our travel money guide to compare your options and find one that’s best for you.

      I hope that helps.

      Cheers,

      Sally

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