Best Credit Cards For Overseas Spending in Singapore 2023
Optimise your international expenses with the finest credit card choices for overseas spending in Singapore. These cards not only ensure seamless transactions while abroad but also offer alluring rewards, cashback, and exclusive travel perks. Whether you’re a frequent traveller or embark on occasional journeys, these top selections enhance your global adventures by providing financial ease and valuable benefits.
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Best Credit Card for Overseas Spending
A credit card that is well-suited for overseas spending comes with a range of features and benefits designed to make your international transactions seamless, cost-effective, and rewarding.
Here's what makes a credit card good for overseas spending:
Look for credit cards that offer upsized cashback or cash rebates for travel-related or foreign currency transactions. This incentivises you to use the card while travelling to maximise cashback earned. Specifically, the CIMB Visa Infinite Card and CIMB Visa Signature Card are two cashback cards that are designed with overseas travel in mind.
The CIMB Visa Infinite Card nets you 2% cashback on eligible overseas spend and travel bookings with minimum S$2,000 spend per statement month – so think flights, hotels, travel agency bookings, and any other dining, online & offline retail, or transport expenses you might incur whilst travelling.
Meanwhile, the CIMB Visa Signature Card nets you 10% cashback on your cruise bookings with minimum S$800 spend, capped at S$20 cashback per statement month. Choose this card if you prefer a quick getaway to neighbouring shores instead of visiting far-flung destinations by plane.
Look for credit cards that offer elevated miles for travel-related or foreign currency transactions. This incentivises you to use the card while travelling to maximise miles earned.
If you prefer a travel credit card, all of the options listed here are excellent choices. However, the UOB PRVI Miles Card offers the highest miles earn rate out of the bunch at 1.2 miles per S$1 (mpd) on local spend, 2.4 mpd on foreign spend, and a whopping 6 mpd on major airline and hotels booked on Agoda, Expedia, and/or UOB Travel.
For other miles cards, the UOB Lady’s Card and UOB Lady’s Solitaire Card offer 6 mpd on one (or two) preferred category(ies) respectively across Beauty & Wellness, Fashion, Dining, Family, Travel, Transport, and Entertainment. So you’ll earn 6 mpd overseas on whichever category you choose, subject to foreign transaction fees and other prevailing fees.
If that’s not up your alley, feel free to browse through our other curated miles credit cards in this listing.
Look for credit cards that offer bonus rewards points for travel-related and foreign currency transactions. This incentivises you to use the card while travelling to maximise rewards points earned.
Rewards credit cards that double up as a travel credit card will be the ideal option to go for here. Once again, the UOB PRVI Miles Card is the better choice here because it earns a bonus UNI$6 per S$5 spend on overseas spend and UNI$15 per S$5 spend on major airlines and hotel bookings via Agoda, Expedia, and UOB Travel.
Alternatively, you can pair the Citi Rewards Card with the Instarem amaze Card to convert all overseas spend into online transactions. This effectively nets you 10X ThankYou Points per S$1 on almost all spend.
But that’s just our take. Check out other great rewards credit card options featured here on the list.
Best Credit Cards for Other Overseas Usage and Features
Besides earning rebates on foreign spend, there are other helpful (and important!) overseas card perks that often get overlooked.
Here are some other credit card features that we highly recommend considering for all your travels:
Complimentary Airport Lounge Access
But if you have a preference for a specific type of airport lounge (e.g. Priority Pass, DragonPass etc.), compare your options with the other credit cards here.
No Foreign Transaction Fees
One of the key features is the absence or minimal foreign transaction fees. On average, such fees usually range between 3.25% to 3.5%, which can be a hefty add-on cost to your overall receipt abroad.
The Standard Chartered Journey Credit Card offers an evergreen 0% foreign transaction fee on your overseas transactions, making it a reliable travel companion overall. However if you want to earn slightly more miles, the HSBC TravelOne Credit Card currently offers a 0% foreign transaction fee promotion until 31 Dec 2023.
Using a credit card for overseas spending can be convenient and beneficial, but it's important to use it wisely to avoid unnecessary fees and ensure a smooth experience. Here are some tips on how to best use a credit card for overseas spending:
Choose the right card
Before your trip, select a credit card that is well-suited for overseas spending. Look for cards with no foreign transaction fees, competitive currency conversion rates, and rewards or benefits that align with your travel needs.
Notify your bank
Inform your credit card issuer about your travel plans. This can prevent your card from being flagged for suspicious activity when used in a foreign country.
Research currency exchange rates
Familiarise yourself with the current exchange rates to have an idea of how much you'll be spending in your home currency.
Avoid dynamic currency conversion rates
When purchasing, decline the option of dynamic currency conversion offered by merchants. Dynamic currency conversion (DCC) refers to paying for an overseas transaction in your converted local currency rather than the foreign currency itself.
Initially, paying in your local currency while overseas might seem like a more straightforward way of tracking your travel expenses. However, this isn’t true because not only is the currency conversion rate poorer, but your card will also incur extra unnecessary fees on top of the transaction. You should let your credit card company handle the currency conversion, as it often results in better rates.
Pay in foreign currency (AKA your destination’s local currency)
When given the option, choose to be charged in the local currency rather than your home currency. This can help you avoid additional conversion fees like the DCC fee mentioned above.
Some modern credit cards come with digital wallets that allow you to hold multiple currencies in a single card. This can help you avoid currency conversion fees and manage your foreign expenses more efficiently.
Popular examples of multicurrency cards include Instarem amaze Card, the Revolut Card, and the YouTrip Card.
Rewards redemption options
Ensure that the rewards earned through international spending can be easily redeemed for travel-related benefits like flights, hotels, or other travel expenses.
Broad range of currency accepted
Some credit cards may have restrictions on the currencies they support. If you're visiting multiple countries with different currencies, make sure your card covers the ones you'll be using.
A credit card for overseas spending is particularly beneficial for individuals who travel internationally or frequently make purchases from foreign merchants. Here are some specific groups of people who can benefit from using a credit card for overseas spending:
Individuals who travel abroad frequently for business or leisure can benefit from using a credit card for overseas spending. These cards offer convenience, security, and often provide travel-related perks like travel insurance, airport lounge access, and concierge services.
Students studying in foreign countries can use credit cards for their day-to-day expenses. A credit card for overseas spending provides a secure and convenient way to manage their finances while living and studying abroad.
Professionals who frequently travel for work can benefit from using credit cards designed for overseas spending. These cards often offer rewards on travel-related expenses and might have features that cater specifically to business needs.
Individuals who frequently make online purchases from international merchants can benefit from using a credit card for overseas spending. These cards offer secure transactions and might have features like competitive currency conversion rates.
People living in a foreign country can use credit cards for their daily expenses. Credit cards designed for overseas spending provide a smooth way to manage finances in a different currency.
Cruise ship passengers
Those going on cruises that visit multiple countries can use a credit card for overseas spending. It's a convenient way to pay for onboard expenses and when exploring port cities.
Frequently asked questions for Credit Cards for Overseas Spending
In general, Visa, Mastercard, and American Express are all excellent choices for international spending, as they offer widespread acceptance and competitive features. In particular, many American Express credit cards tend to waive foreign transaction fees to give you better bang for your buck for foreign transactions.
The better option depends on the specific benefits and rewards offered by the credit card products associated with each network, as well as your individual preferences and needs.