Foreign currency transaction fee
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Read the latest news about Best Overseas Spending Credit Card products in Singapore and the best money saving tips.
Why get a credit card for overseas spending?
Some credit cards reward you with additional cashback or miles for spending in foreign currencies. For example, the UOB PRVI Miles Card earns you 1.4 mpd for local spend, but offers an enticing 2.4 mpd for overseas spending.
Who should get a credit card that rewards you for overseas spending?
Those of you who frequently make transactions in foreign currencies. Some examples of such activities include:
What is a foreign currency transaction fee?
This is a fee charged by the bank for transactions made overseas or through an online merchant based overseas. Foreign currency transaction fees can range from 2.5% to 3.5%.
Why pay in foreign currency when you can pay in Singapore dollars (SGD)?
When spending overseas, the option to pay in SGD can be offered through a Dynamic Currency Conversion (DCC). However, you often end up paying more with the DCC than in foreign currency, where the bank handles the conversion and charges you the transaction fee. You also miss out on the extra credit card perks you get from paying in foreign currency.
Here are more reasons why you should not pay in SGD when swiping your credit card abroad.
In order to use your credit card overseas, you have to activate the overseas usage feature on your card which will enable the magnetic stripe for use. Most banks offer a number of ways for you to activate your credit card for overseas use, such as:
Credit cards offer additional rewards in the form or miles, cashback or reward points for your overseas spend. This typically includes spending made in foreign currency, even from the comforts of your home.
When you pay in foreign currency, the bank converts the foreign currency into Singapore Dollars (SGD) for you prior to your next credit card bill statement. Transactions in foreign currencies that are not US Dollar (USD), will be converted to USD before being converted to SGD.
The foreign currency transaction fee is the fee you incur for this currency conversion. It includes the currency conversion charge imposed by card associations (such as Visa, Mastercard and American Express), as well as an administrative fee on the foreign transaction amount charged by the bank. These charges can range from 3% to 3.25% in total.
Dynamic currency conversion (DCC) is a service that converts the local currency amount you are about to transact on your credit card to SGD on your behalf. This is made available at certain overseas merchants or websites. When you pay in SGD using the DCC service, the process of conversion and the exchange rate applied will be determined by the relevant DCC service provider and not the bank.
However, the exchange rate used for DCC transactions is often less favourable than a foreign currency transaction and you could also incur processing fees charged by the bank. Read this article for three reasons not to pay in SGD when paying with your credit card overseas.
An OTP is a security feature offered by banks that requires you to verify your transaction with a passcode sent to the mobile phone number registered with the bank. It is required for certain transactions such as making online credit card transactions, updating your particulars etc.
If an OTP is required while you are overseas, you might need to have global roaming services activated for your phone line in order to receive the OTP SMS. But there are also other ways to verify your transaction, such as using the bank’s mobile application to generate a one-time PIN.
You can check the charges incurred from your foreign currency transaction in the credit card statement provided at the end of the month. You can also view your current credit card eStatement online via iBanking or through the bank’s mobile application. Do keep in mind that the rate used for the conversion could differ from the rate that was in effect on the date of the transaction due to currency fluctuations in the market.
You can consider options such as a multi-currency account. Multi-currency accounts are offered by banks as well as fintech companies. These accounts allow you to store multiple different currencies within the account. You can also exchange different currencies at the prevailing exchange rate within the account. These multi-currency accounts typically come with a debit card that allows you to spend in the currency of your choice without incurring additional fees.
Credit cards may charge annual fees and late payment fees. These fees are similar across all types of credit cards. What you will need to look out for when it comes to using credit cards for overseas purchases would be the foriegn currency transaction fee.
Glossary terms to know for first-time credit card users