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Best Credit Cards For Overseas Spending in Singapore

Alevin Chan

Alevin Chan

Last updated 01 January, 2024

Every spending situation is unique. SingSaver assembles the 'Best For' list, so you can decide what’s best for you.


Optimise your holiday spending with attractive cashback and high air miles earn rates. Here are the best credit cards for overseas spends in Singapore.

Overseas spending and foreign currency transactions offer higher cashback and air miles earn rates, and travellers shouldn’t miss the opportunity to rake in the rewards. But to get more bang for your buck, it’s essential to transact using credit cards geared towards overseas spends.

Here are the best credit cards for overseas spending we found in Singapore.
 

Table of contents

 


Best credit cards for overseas spending

Credit card
Key benefits for overseas spending
Details
Citi Cash Back Card
Citi_Cashback_Platinum_Mastercard

 

- 6% cashback at restaurants and cafes worldwide
 
- 6% cashback at supermarkets and groceries stores worldwide
 
- Up to S$1 million complimentary travel insurance when you charge your travel tickets
- Cashback card

- Minimum monthly spend of S$800 required to earn cashback
 
- Cashback capped at S$80 per month
DCS CASHBACK Card
DCS Cashback Card New_Sep2023
- 5% cashback on all eligible transactions
 
- 1x complimentary airport lounge per annum 
 
- Up to S$1 million complimentary travel insurance
- Cashback card

- Minimum monthly spend of S$400 required to earn cashback
 
- Cashback capped at S$50 per month
HSBC Advance Card
HSBC-Advance-Card-1
- Up to 3.5% cashback on eligible spends
 
- Up to S$500,000 complimentary travel insurance for you and your family
- Cashback card

Base cashback (max. S$70 per month):
- 1.5% cashback with no minimum monthly spend
- 2.5% cashback with S$2,000 minimum monthly spend
 
Everyday+ Rewards cashback (max. S$300 per month):
- Extra 1% cashback with min. monthly deposit of S$2,000 and min. five eligible transactions
CIMB Visa Infinite Card
CIMB-VISA-INFINITE_2019-LR-1024x674-1
- Unlimited 2% cashback on travel, overseas spend and online spends in foreign currencies
 
- 3x complimentary airport lounge visit per annum
 
- Up to S$1 million complimentary travel insurance
- Cashback card

- Minimum monthly spend of S$2,000 required to earn cashback
 
- Premium credit card, requires minimum annual income of S$120,000
HSBC TravelOne Credit Card
HSBC TravelOne
- 2.4 mpd on foreign currency transactions (1.2 mpd for local spends)
 
- 4x complimentary airport lounge visit per annum
 
- Up to S$100,000 complimentary travel insurance for you and your family
 
- No cap on miles earned, no minimum spend required
 - Miles card
UOB PRVI Miles Card
uob-prvi-amex-resized-3
- 2.4 mpd on overseas and online foreign currency transactions (1.4 mpd on local spends)

- 6 mpd on Agoda, Expedia and UOB Travel bookings

- no cap on miles earned, no minimum spend required
 - Miles card
DBS Altitude Card
DBS-Altitude-Amex-_may-15-1024x668-1
DBS-Altitude-Visa_LF-2019-2026-1024x686-2

 

 

- 2.2 mpd on overseas spend (1.3 mpd on local spends)
 
- 3 mpd on Agoda bookings
 
- Receive 10,000 bonus miles when you pay the annual fee (S$196.20)
- no cap on miles earned, no minimum spend required
 - Miles card
Maybank Horizon Visa Signature Card
Maybank-Horizon-Visa-Signature-Card-3

 

 

- 2.8 mpd on air tickets and foreign spends (1.2 mpd on local spends)
 
- Complimentary airport lounge access with minimum S$1,000 spent at least 3 months prior to lounge visit
 
- Up to S$1 million complimentary travel insurance when you charge your travel tickets
- Miles card

- Minimum spend of S$800 per month required to earn 2.8 mpd 
Trust Bank Credit Card
trust credit card
Zero foreign transaction fees
 

Best cashback credit cards for overseas spending

Citi Cash Back Card

Citi_Cashback_Platinum_Mastercard

If fine dining and Michelin-starred meals are the reason you travel, you might appreciate the savings you can get from the Citi Cash Back Card

This card gives you 6% cashback on restaurants and cafes, as well as 6% cashback on supermarkets and groceries. These rewards are applicable worldwide, making the card a good companion for foodies as they hunt down favourite eats and discover new treats. 

There’s a minimum spend of S$800 per month to be eligible for cashback, but you’ll get up to S$80 in cashback each month. That’s up to S$960 in savings a year, which you can roll into your next gourmet holiday.

CITI_LIGHTNING_BLOGARTICLE_KV2_800x250

⚡Flash Deal⚡: Be one of the first 500 applicants to get a PlayStation 5 Disc Version (worth S$799) or Dyson Airwrap (worth S$859) or S$500 ecapitaVoucher when you apply for a Citi Card and spend a minimum of S$500 within 30 days of card approval. Remaining applicants will enjoy existing rewards. Applicable to new-to-Citibank cardmembers only. Promo runs from 9 April, 9AM SGT - 30 April 2024. T&Cs apply.

Citi CC_BLOGARTICLE_800x250

SingSaver's Exclusive Offer: Receive the following rewards when you sign up for a Citi Cashback Card:

Get a Dyson Supersonic (worth S$699) or Apple iPad 9th Gen 10.2 Wifi 64GB (worth S$508.30) or Dyson V8 Slim Fluffy (worth S$509) or S$400 eCapitaVoucher or S$300 cash via PayNow upon activating and spending a minimum of S$500 within 30 days of card approval. Valid until 30 April 2024. T&Cs apply.

See also:
Citi PremierMiles Card Review
Citi Cash Back Card Review
Citi Cash Back+ Card Review
Citi Rewards Card Review


DCS Cashback Card

DCS Cashback Card New_Sep2023

We like this card for the 5% cashback it provides on all transactions, local or overseas. You can save up to S$50 per month this way, and need only clear S$400 worth of transactions each month to qualify for cashback. 

There’s also one complimentary airport lounge visit per year, and free travel insurance up to S$1 million when you charge your tickets to your card. 

While the travel perks are rather modest, the low spend requirement and moderately high cashback makes this card a worthy consideration for casual travellers. 

See also: Best DCS Card Centre Credit Cards in Singapore


HSBC Advance Card

HSBC-Advance-Card-1

With up to 3.5% cashback on all eligible spends, and a cashback cap of up to S$370 per month, the HSBC Advance Card offers over S$4,000 in savings per year. That’s quite a lot!

But now for the bad news. There are quite a number of conditions attached to such luscious rewards (surely you saw that coming) but to be fair, they aren’t really that onerous. 

By default, the HSBC Advance Card provides 1.5% cashback with no minimum spend. But if you spend more than S$2,000 a month, your base cashback gets bumped up to 2.5%. 

And, if you’re a HSBC Everyday+ Rewards member and deposits at least S$2,000 in fresh funds, and makes at least five eligible transactions each month, you will get an additional 1% cashback, for a maximum of 3.5%. 

The base cashback is capped at S$70 per month, and the Everyday+ Rewards cashback is capped at S$300 per month. Between the two, you’ll have plenty of headroom to earn cashback when booking your overseas holiday.

HSBC_CC_18 MAR_BLOGARTICLE_800x250 (2)

SingSaver's Exclusive Offer: Enjoy the following rewards when you sign up for an HSBC Advance Card:

Receive a Dyson Supersonic™ hair dryer (worth S$699) or an ErgoTune Joobie (worth S$599) or an Apple iPad 9th 10.2" WiFi 64GB (worth S$508.30) or S$350 eCapitaVoucher or S$150 cash via PayNow upon activating and spending min. S$500 by the end of the following calendar month from the card account opening date. Valid till 14 May 2024. T&Cs apply.

See also:

HSBC Advance Card Review
HSBC Revolution Card Review
HSBC TravelOne Card Review
HSBC Visa Infinite Card Review


CIMB Visa Infinite Card 

CIMB-VISA-INFINITE_2019-LR-1024x674

This premium card offers 2% unlimited cashback on all travel spends, overseas transactions and online foreign currency spends, making it an easy choice for travellers who prefer uncomplicated reward mechanics. The only requirement is a minimum monthly spend of S$2,000. 

Another point in its favour is the three complimentary airport lounge visits per year that comes included, as well as complimentary travel insurance coverage of up to S$1 million per trip. 

Note that this is a premium credit card and requires a minimum annual income of S$120,000 to qualify. 

CIMB_CC_BLOGARTICLE 800x250

SingSaver Exclusive Offer: Receive the following rewards when you sign up for a CIMB Visa Infinite Card:

Receive S$280 cash via PayNow upon activating your credit card and spending min. $988 for 60-day periods following card approval. Valid until 30 April 2024. T&Cs apply.

See also:
CIMB Visa Infinite Credit Card Review
CIMB Visa Signature Review
CIMB World Mastercard Review
CIMB Visa Signature vs CIMB World Mastercard vs CIMB Visa Infinite: Card Comparisons


Best air miles credit cards for overseas spending

HSBC TravelOne Credit Card

HSBC TravelOne

The HSBC TravelOne Credit Card offers an earn rate of 2.4 miles per dollar (mpd) for all foreign currency spends, as well as 1.2 mpd for local transactions. 

But with the option to get up to five supplementary cards for free – and earn rewards as your family members spend on them – you’ll soon have more than enough air miles for your family holiday. 

Another reason to choose this card for family travel is the customary free travel insurance coverage (up to S$100,000) that extends to family members travelling with you, instead of just being limited to the principal cardholder, as is the case with many other cards. 

This card also has four complimentary airport lounge visits per annum, albeit only for the principal cardholder.

HSBC_CC_18 MAR_BLOGARTICLE_800x250 (2)

SingSaver's Exclusive Offer: Enjoy the following rewards when you sign up for an HSBC TravelOne Card:

Receive a Dyson Supersonic™ hair dryer (worth S$699) or an ErgoTune Joobie (worth S$599) or an Apple iPad 9th 10.2" WiFi 64GB (worth S$508.30) or S$350 eCapitaVoucher or S$150 cash via PayNow upon activating and spending min. S$500 plus pay an annual fee of S$196.20 by the end of the following calendar month from the card account opening date. Valid till 14 May 2024. T&Cs apply.

See also:

HSBC Advance Card Review
HSBC Revolution Card Review
HSBC TravelOne Card Review
HSBC Visa Infinite Card Review


UOB PRVI Miles Card

The UOB PRIV Miles Card has always stood out for its 1.4 mpd earn rate for local spends, which is the highest in the category. It also offers a competitive 2.4 mpd for overseas spends, but travel bookings are where this card really shines.

Bookings at Agoda, Expedia and the bank’s own UOB Travel will net you 6 mpd, making for a great way to vacuum up some additional miles to offset your next overseas trip. 

There is no cap on how many miles you can earn, and neither are there any minimum spends to meet.

UOB PRVI Miles World Mastercard Welcome Offer: Get up to 50,000 miles when you make a min. spend of S$1,000 per month for 2 consecutive months from card approval date plus annual fee payment and SMS enrolment. Valid till 30 April 2024 . T&Cs apply.

Alternatively, receive 25,200 miles when you are one of the first 50 to apply with first year annual fee waiver and make a min. spend of S$1,000 for 2 consecutive months from card approval date. Plus, get another 4,800 miles (a total of 30,000 miles) when you make a min. overseas spend of S$1,000 per month for 2 consecutive months. Valid till 30 April 2024 . T&Cs apply.

See also:

UOB One Card Review
UOB Absolute Cashback Card Review
KrisFlyer UOB Card Review
UOB EVOL Card Review
UOB PRVI Miles Card Review
UOB Lady's & Lady's Solitaire Card Review


DBS Altitude Card

DBS Altitude Visa Card
DBSAltitudeVisaSignatureCard-e1568109609752
DBS Altitude AMEX Card
dbs-altitude-v1-300x189

With 2.2 mpd for foreign spends (1.3 mpd for local transactions), the DBS Altitude Card lags a little behind other credit cards for overseas spending. However, it provides other ways to increase your air miles balance. For instance, Agoda bookings made on DBS Travel & Leisure Marketplace (TMP) will earn you 3 miles per dollar.

There are also other avenues for you to receive bonus air miles. You will automatically be awarded 10,000 miles when you pay your annual fee, which stands at S$194.90 at the time of writing. That translates to an unbeatable 51.3 mpd – too bad you can only take advantage of this once per year!

DBS/POSB Credit Card Welcome Gift: Receive up to S$388 cashback or 85,000 miles when you apply for select DBS credit cards and fulfil the relevant promotion criteria. T&Cs apply.

See also:

DBS Altitude Card Review
DBS Woman's & Woman's World Card Review
DBS Vantage Card Review
DBS yuu Card Review


Maybank Horizon Visa Signature Card

Maybank-Horizon-Visa-Signature-Card

This Maybank credit card offers an eye-catching 2.8 mpd for foreign currency spends and air tickets bookings, making it a great choice for your travel expenses. Local transactions earn 1.2 mpd. 

The catch, though, is you’ll need to spend at least S$800 per month to be eligible for that juicy earn rate – but that hurdle shouldn’t be too hard to clear.

This card provides up to S$1 million in travel insurance coverage for free. Complimentary airport lounge access is also available, but you’ll need to spend at least S$1,000 at least three months prior to your visit. 

See also:

Cheap and Free Ways to Access Changi Airport Lounges
Maybank Family and Friends Card Review
Maybank Horizon Visa Signature Card


No foreign transaction fee: Trust Bank Credit Card

trust credit card

The eight credit cards we’ve highlighted above provide attractive cashback and air miles for travellers. But they all come with foreign conversion fees that clock in at around 3.25%. 

If you’re adamant about not paying any foreign transaction fee at all, here’s a fuss-free alternative. 

The Trust Bank Credit Card doesn't charge any foreign currency transaction fees, not even the 1% Visa fee, so you will only be exposed to forex spreads when spending overseas. 

However, in exchange, there also aren’t any special travel perks or privileges for overseas spending, as this card is mainly aimed at local groceries and petrol spends. 

Still, this card is an alternative for those allergic to foreign transaction fees. Be sure to still watch out for DCC charges, though – explained below. 


Understanding credit card foreign currency fees

No doubt, credit cards offer attractive rewards for overseas spending. But in earning such rewards, we should also heed the additional fees involved when making foreign transactions. This will help us have a clearer view of the actual value we are getting.

Why is there a foreign currency fee when I use my credit card overseas?

When you use your credit card to pay for a transaction denominated in a foreign currency, say JPY, the amount is first converted into USD, before being converted into SGD. 

Each conversion involves a spread, usually the prevailing wholesale interbank rates or the government-mandated rates – basically, about as favourable rates as you can find.

On top of the spread, you will also be charged a foreign currency transaction fee, or FCY, which makes up the bulk of the extra charges. FCY is charged by the payment network provider, i.e., American Express, Mastercard or Visa, and can vary from bank to bank. 

See the following table for a summary.

Card issuer
FCY admin fee 
American Express
3.25%
Citi
Visa/Mastercard: 3.25%
American Express: 3.3%
DBS/POSB
Visa/Mastercard: 3.25%
American Express: 3%
DCS
3.25%
HSBC
3.25%
Maybank
3.25%
OCBC
3.25%
Standard Chartered
3.5%
UOB
3.25%

DCC: Why you should say no

When using your credit card overseas, you’ll need to watch out for another money trap that will cause you to spend more than necessary. 

This is Dynamic Currency Conversion or DCC, and basically, it converts your foreign currency amount at the point of sale into SGD, presumably so it’s easier for you to gauge whether you’re getting a fair price. 

The problem is, with DCC, the merchant is free to use any forex rate they choose, and this inadvertently turns out to be much higher than market rates as a way to fleece unsuspecting tourists. 

There is also an additional 1% DCC service fee added to the converted amount, levied by the payment network providers.

DCC is optional, and tourists are free to choose whether they want to use DCC or not. But some unscrupulous vendors may foist DCC on you by not asking you beforehand, or claiming it’s required by law.

If you see your bill being presented in SGD instead of the currency of your host country, you’ll know they’re trying to charge you extra. Either request to pay in the local currency, or walk away and buy from another shop. 

Incidentally, this also applies to online transactions. If the e-store you are buying from is registered as an overseas merchant, or processes payments through an overseas intermediary, you will be charged an additional 1% when paying in SGD

If you’re unsure, check with the online merchant whether payments are processed overseas. If indeed so, request to pay in the relevant foreign currency to avoid this extra fee.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q: What are the best credit cards for overseas spending?

A: The best credit cards for overseas spending offer high air miles earn rates, extra cashback or bonus reward points when you spend on foreign currency transactions or use your card overseas. Credit cards that offer accelerated rewards and special deals with travel operators, airlines and hotel booking sites are also good candidates for overseas spending.

Q: Which credit card charges the lowest foreign transaction fee?

A: The majority of credit cards in Singapore have foreign transaction fees that range from 3.25% to 3.5%. Thus there isn’t much variance between the various credit cards available, and it may be more worthwhile to focus on the rewards, perks and privileges when making overseas transactions instead.

Q: How do I avoid foreign transaction fees?

A: Some card providers offer zero-fee foreign currency transactions. One such option is the Trust Bank Credit Card, which does not charge any fees for overseas transactions, including network provider fees. Note that this card does not offer any travel-related perks or privileges, such as complimentary travel insurance or free airport lounge access. 

You should also avoid Dynamic Currency Conversion (DCC) and decline it when offered. Always request to pay in the currency of the country you are in, instead of accepting the SGD amount offered to you. 

An ex-Financial Planner with a curiosity about what makes people tick, Alevin’s mission is to help readers understand the psychology of money. He’s also on an ongoing quest to optimise happiness and enjoyment in his life.

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