Using a credit card in Singapore

Credit card fees can add up quickly when you're spending money overseas – but we've got some tips to avoid the fees altogether.

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Singapore is one of the more technologically and financially advanced countries in Asia. This means credit cards such as Visa, Mastercard and American Express are widely accepted. Still, it’s always a good idea to carry some cash for smaller establishments that may not accept plastic. While you can rely on your credit card for most purchases, you’ll want to watch out for some common fees that can add up quickly when you’re spending overseas.

Compare credit cards for use in Singapore

If you’re looking to apply for a new credit card before you travel to Singapore, look into a credit card that charges no foreign transaction fees and save 2.5% on every transaction.
Name Product Purchase Interest Rate Cash Advance Rate Annual Fee Minimum Income Benefits with this card Description
HSBC World Elite® Mastercard®
19.9%
22.9%
$0 annual fee for the first year ($149 thereafter)
$80,000
Earn 3% in travel rewards on all eligible travel purchases (6 Points per $1 spent) and earn 1.5% in travel rewards on all other eligible purchases (3 Points per $1 spent).
Earn up to 60,000 Points ($300 travel value). Plus, get a full annual fee rebate for the Primary Cardholder for the first year. Apply by June 29, 2020. This offer is only available to residents of Canada other than the province of Quebec. Conditions apply.
Scotiabank Passport  Visa Infinite Card
19.99%
22.99%
$139
$60,000
Earn 2 Scotia Rewards points for every $1 spent on eligible grocery store, dining, entertainment and daily transit purchases, and earn 1 Scotia Rewards point for every $1 spent elsewhere.
Earn up to a total bonus of 40,000 Scotia Rewards points (up to a $400 travel value) in your first year. Earn 30,000 Bonus Scotia Rewards points when you spend at least $1,000 on eligible purchases within the first three months. Apply by July 1, 2020. Plus, earn 10,000 Bonus Scotia Rewards points each year when you spend at least $40,000 annually on eligible purchases (and earn 2,000 Bonus Scotia Rewards points for every additional $10,000 in purchases thereafter).
BMO U.S. Dollar Mastercard
19.99%
22.99%
$35 USD
$15,000
Receive an annual fee rebate with a minimum yearly spend of US$1,000. Plus, spend in US Dollars with no exchange rate surprises.
When your purchases total US$1,000 or more in a year, the next year's annual fee (US$35) is rebated to your card.
Scotiabank Gold American Express Card
19.99%
22.99%
$120
$12,000
Earn 5 Scotia Rewards points per $1 spent on eligible grocery, dining and entertainment purchases, 3 points per $1 spent on eligible gas, transportation and select streaming services, and 1 point per $1 spent on eligible purchases elsewhere.
Earn 20,000 bonus Scotia Rewards points when you spend at least $1,000 on eligible purchases in the first 3 months. Apply by July 1, 2020.
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Canadian Visa and Mastercard credit cards are widely accepted overseas. Check with your bank before travelling to Singapore to confirm whether or not you’ll be able to use your credit card during your trip.
Name Product Purchase Interest Rate Cash Advance Rate Annual Fee Minimum Income Benefits with this card Description
HSBC +Rewards™ Mastercard®
11.9%
11.9%
$0 annual fee for the first year ($25 thereafter)
N/A
Earn 2 Points for every $1 spent on eligible dining or entertainment purchases.
Earn 10,000 Points ($50 travel value). Plus, get a full annual fee rebate for the Primary Cardholder for the first year. Apply by June 29, 2020. This offer is only available to residents of Canada other than the province of Quebec. Conditions apply.
BMO World Elite Mastercard
19.99%
22.99%
$0 annual fee for the first year ($150 thereafter)
$80,000
Get 3 BMO Rewards points per $1 spent on eligible travel, dining and entertainment purchases (up to $50,000 spend annually), and get 2 BMO Rewards points per $1 spent on all other eligible purchases (and once you reach the $50,000 annual spend).
Earn a bonus of up to 35,000 BMO Rewards points with a minimum spend of $3,000 on eligible purchases in the first three months of card membership ($250 travel value to be used towards a flight booked through bmorewards.com). Plus, get the $150 annual fee waived in the first year.
HSBC World Elite® Mastercard®
19.9%
22.9%
$0 annual fee for the first year ($149 thereafter)
$80,000
Earn 3% in travel rewards on all eligible travel purchases (6 Points per $1 spent) and earn 1.5% in travel rewards on all other eligible purchases (3 Points per $1 spent).
Earn up to 60,000 Points ($300 travel value). Plus, get a full annual fee rebate for the Primary Cardholder for the first year. Apply by June 29, 2020. This offer is only available to residents of Canada other than the province of Quebec. Conditions apply.
Scotiabank Passport  Visa Infinite Card
19.99%
22.99%
$139
$60,000
Earn 2 Scotia Rewards points for every $1 spent on eligible grocery store, dining, entertainment and daily transit purchases, and earn 1 Scotia Rewards point for every $1 spent elsewhere.
Earn up to a total bonus of 40,000 Scotia Rewards points (up to a $400 travel value) in your first year. Earn 30,000 Bonus Scotia Rewards points when you spend at least $1,000 on eligible purchases within the first three months. Apply by July 1, 2020. Plus, earn 10,000 Bonus Scotia Rewards points each year when you spend at least $40,000 annually on eligible purchases (and earn 2,000 Bonus Scotia Rewards points for every additional $10,000 in purchases thereafter).
BMO Preferred Rate Mastercard
12.99%
12.99%
$20
$15,000
Take advantage of an introductory balance transfer offer, annual fee waiver in the first year, and low purchase and cash advance interest rates.
Get a rate of 3.99% on balance transfers for 9 months with a 1% transfer fee. Plus, get the $20 annual fee waived in the first year.
Scotia Momentum No-Fee Visa Card
7.99% intro APR for the first 6 months, 19.99% thereafter
22.99%
$0
$12,000
Get 1% cash back on all eligible gas station, grocery store and drug store purchases and recurring bill payments, and get 0.5% cash back on all other eligible purchases.
Get a 7.99% introductory interest rate on all eligible purchases for the first 6 months. Apply by July 1, 2020.
Shell AIR MILES Mastercard from BMO
19.99%
22.99%
$0
$15,000
Get 2 AIR MILES for every $20 spent at participating AIR MILES Partners, and get 1 AIR MILE for every $20 spent on eligible purchases elsewhere.
Earn up to 800 AIR MILES Bonus Miles.
Shell AIR MILES World Mastercard from BMO
19.99%
22.99%
$99
$60,000
Earn 1.25 AIR MILES reward miles at Shell stations in Canada and 1 mile per $15 spent for all other purchases.
Earn 1.25x Miles on card purchases at participating Shell stations in Canada and 1 mile per $15 spent for all other purchases.
BMO CashBack World Elite Mastercard
19.99%
22.99%
$0 annual fee for the first year ($120 thereafter)
$80,000
Earn 1.5% cash back on all eligible purchases.
Get up to 5% cash back on all eligible purchases made within the first 3 months (up to a maximum spend of $4,000). Plus, get the first year annual fee of $120 waived.
Shell CashBack Mastercard from BMO
19.99%
22.99%
$0
$15,000
Get 1.5% cash back at participating Shell locations in Canada (up to a maximum spend of $2,500 in any monthly billing period), and get 0.5% cash back everywhere else.
Get $50 in cash back bonuses once you charge your first eligible purchase to your card. Plus, earn 1% cash back for the first 6 months on all eligible purchases.
Scotiabank SCENE Visa Card
19.99%
22.99%
$0
$12,000
Earn 5 SCENE points per $1 spent at participating Cineplex theatres or cineplex.com, and earn 1 SCENE point per $1 spent on eligible purchases elsewhere.
Earn 2,500 bonus SCENE points when you spend a minimum of $500 on eligible purchases in the first three months. Apply by July 1, 2020.
BMO Rewards Mastercard
19.99%
22.99%
$0
$15,000
Get 1 BMO Reward point for every $1 spent on eligible purchases, and get 2 BMO Rewards points for every $1 spent at participating National Car Rental and Alamo Rent A Car locations.
Earn a bonus of up to 20,000 BMO Rewards points. Plus, get a rate of 1.99% on balance transfers for 9 months. A 1% fee applies to transferred balances.
BMO IGA AIR MILES Mastercard
19.99%
22.99%
$0
$15,000
Get 2 AIR MILES for every $20 spent on eligible purchases at IGA stores and at participating AIR MILES partners, and get 1 AIR MILE for every $20 spent elsewhere.
Get up to 800 AIR MILES Bonus Miles.
BMO U.S. Dollar Mastercard
19.99%
22.99%
$35 USD
$15,000
Receive an annual fee rebate with a minimum yearly spend of US$1,000. Plus, spend in US Dollars with no exchange rate surprises.
When your purchases total US$1,000 or more in a year, the next year's annual fee (US$35) is rebated to your card.
No-Fee Scotiabank Value Visa Card
16.99%
16.99%
$0
$12,000
Save with a low interest rate, no annual fee and a balance transfer offer.
Get a 3.99% introductory interest rate on balance transfers with a 0% balance transfer fee for the first 6 months. Apply by July 1, 2020.
Scotia Momentum  Mastercard Credit Card
7.99% intro APR for the first 6 months, 19.99% thereafter
22.99%
$0
$12,000
Get 1% cash back on all eligible gas station, grocery store and drug store purchases and recurring bill payments, and get 0.5% cash back on all other eligible purchases.
Get a 7.99% introductory interest rate on all eligible purchases for the first 6 months. Apply by July 1, 2020.
BMO CashBack Mastercard
19.99%
22.99%
$0
$15,000
Get 1% cash back on all eligible purchases.
Get up to 5% cash back on all eligible purchases in the first three months of card membership (up to a maximum spend of $2,000, and earn 1% cash back thereafter). Plus, get a rate of 1.99% on balance transfers with a 1% balance transfer fee for nine months.
Scotia Momentum Visa Infinite Card
20.99%
22.99%
$120
$60,000
Earn 4% cash back for every $1 spent on eligible grocery purchases & recurring bill payments, 2% per $1 spent on eligible gas purchases & public transit, and 1% per $1 spent on all other eligible purchases.
Get 10% cash back on all eligible purchases for the first 3 months (up to $2,000 in total purchases). Plus, pay no annual fee in the first year, including on supplementary cards. (A total Welcome Offer value of $350). Apply online by April 30, 2020.
Shell CashBack World Mastercard from BMO
19.99%
22.99%
$79
$60,000
Get 3% cash back per $1 spent at Shells stations, 1.25% cash back on all other spend.
Earn 3% cash back at Shell stations in Canada, plus 1.25% cash back on all other spend.
Refresh Financial Secured Visa Card
17.99%
N/A
$12.95
N/A
Take advantage of a low annual fee, with no credit check and guaranteed approval once you secure your credit card with some funds.
Take advantage of a low annual fee, with guaranteed approval and no credit check.
Scotiabank GM Visa Card
19.99%
22.99%
$0
$12,000
Earn 5% in GM Earnings on all eligible purchases on the first $5,000 annual spend, and 2% in GM Earnings on all eligible purchases thereafter.
Earn 5% in GM Earnings on all eligible purchases on the first $5,000 annual spend, and 2% in GM Earnings on all eligible purchases thereafter. For every $1 in GM Earnings, you’ll get $1 off the purchase price or lease of a new GM, Chevrolet, Buick, GMC or Cadillac.
BMO AIR MILES Mastercard
19.99%
22.99%
$0
$15,000
Get 2 AIR MILES for every $20 spent at eligible AIR MILES partners, and get 1 AIR MILE for every $20 spent elsewhere.
Earn up to 800 AIR MILES Bonus Miles. Plus, get a rate of 1.99% on balance transfers for 9 months. A 1% fee applies to transferred balances.
Scotiabank GM Visa Infinite Card
19.99%
22.99%
$0 annual fee for the first year ($79 thereafter)
$60,000
Earn 5% in GM Earnings on the first $10,000 annual spend, and earn 2% in GM Earnings thereafter.
Get the annual fee waived in the first year on the primary card as well as any supplementary cards. Apply by July 1, 2020.
BMO Sobeys AIR MILES Mastercard
19.99%
22.99%
$0
$15,000
Get 2 AIR MILES for every $20 spent at Sobeys, Foodland and eligible AIR MILES partners, and get 1 AIR MILE for every $20 spent elsewhere.
Earn up to 800 AIR MILES Bonus Miles.
ScotiaGold Passport Visa Card
19.99%
22.99%
$110
$12,000
Earn 1 Scotia Reward point for every $1 spent on eligible purchases. Plus, book your travel through the Scotia Rewards Travel Service and earn 5% cash back on the cost of your trip.
Receive 5,000 bonus Scotia Rewards points when you make your first eligible purchase. Eligible purchase must be posted to your account within 2 months of account opening. Apply by July 1, 2020.
Scotia Momentum Visa Card
19.99%
22.99%
$39
$12,000
Earn 2% cash back on all eligible gas station, grocery store and drug store purchases and on recurring bill payments (up to a $25,000 annual spend), and earn 1% cash back on all other eligible purchases (and on all eligible purchases once the $25,000 annual spend is reached).
Get a 2.99% introductory rate on balance transfers and a 0% balance transfer fee for the first 6 months. Apply by July 1, 2020.
BMO AIR MILES Mastercard For Students
19.99%
22.99%
$0
$15,000
Earn 2 AIR MILES for every $20 spent at eligible AIR MILES partners, and earn 1 AIR MILE for every $20 spent elsewhere.
Receive up to 800 AIR MILES Bonus Miles. Plus, get a 1.99% introductory interest rate on balance transfers for 9 months. A 1% fee applies to balance amounts transferred.
BMO CashBack Mastercard For Students
19.99%
22.99%
$0
$15,000
Get 1% cash back on all eligible purchases.
Get up to 5% cash back in the first three months (up to a maximum spend of $2,000). Plus, get a rate of 1.99% on balance transfers for 9 months, with a 1% fee for every transferred balance.
BMO AIR MILES World Elite Mastercard
19.99%
22.99%
$0 annual fee for the first year ($120 thereafter)
$80,000
Get 1 AIR MILE for every $10 spent on eligible purchases.
Earn a bonus of up to 3,000 AIR MILES. Terms apply. Plus, get the annual fee of $120 waived in the first year.
Scotiabank Value Visa Card
12.99%
12.99%
$29
$12,000
Save on interest for 6 months by consolidating your higher-rate balances with the balance transfer offer, and get an on-going 12.99% interest rate on purchases, cash advances and balance transfers.
Get a 0.99% introductory interest rate on balance transfers with a 0% transfer fee for the first 6 months. Apply by July 1, 2020.
Tangerine World Mastercard
19.95%
19.95%
$0
$60,000
Earn 2% cash back in two categories of your choice (or three categories if you open a Tangerine Savings Account and directly deposit your cash back into the account), and 0.5% cash back on everything else.
Get a 1.95% interest rate on balance transfers for the first six months (valid within the first 30 days of account opening).
Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card
19.95%
19.95%
$0
$12,000
Earn 2% cash back in two categories of your choice (or three categories if you open a Tangerine Savings Account and directly deposit your cash back into the account), and 0.5% cash back on everything else.
Get a 1.95% interest rate on balance transfers for the first six months (valid within the first 30 days of account opening).
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What credit cards can I use in Singapore?

American Express cards are generally accepted as widely as Visa and Mastercard in Singapore. If you’re looking to make cash withdrawals with your credit card, DBS and many smaller banks’ ATMs accept Amex cards. Visa and Mastercard work at most ATMs. That said, it’s not a good idea to use a credit card to withdraw cash – instead use a debit card.

Merchant acceptance
ATM acceptance
Visa
check mark iconHigh
check mark iconHigh
Mastercard
check mark iconHigh
check mark iconHigh
American Express
check mark iconHigh
check mark iconHigh

Potential credit card fees in Singapore

You should always keep an eye on credit card fees, especially when travelling overseas.

  • Foreign transaction fees. Most credit cards issued in Canada come with foreign transaction fees of 2.5%. You’ll need to pay this fee every time you use your credit card outside of Canada. Fortunately, there are a few credit cards that charge no foreign transaction fees.
  • Currency conversion fees. If someone gives you the choice of paying in Canadian dollars or Singapore dollars with your credit card, always choose the local currency of SGD. Paying in CAD with your card will subject you to a dynamic currency conversion (DCC) that can lead to poor exchange rates and currency conversion fees. Pay in the local currency and let your bank do the currency conversion.
  • Cash advance fees. If you use your credit card to withdraw money from an ATM, you’ll face a cash advance fee as well as the cash advance interest rate, which is usually charged from the day you withdraw the funds. To avoid the high APR, use your debit card to withdraw funds from an ATM.
  • ATM fees. Even using your debit card to withdraw funds from an ATM will likely have you facing an ATM fee. To avoid this fee, use a debit card issued by a bank that belongs to an international ATM alliance, such as the Global ATM Alliance that Scotiabank is a member of.
  • Surcharges. Although these aren’t legal in Canada, certain establishments in Singapore may charge a surcharge when you pay with credit card. One example of this is when you pay for a taxi using a credit card – the driver can add a 10% surcharge on top of your payment in order to cover the processing fees associated with paying with plastic.

Can I avoid all of these fees?

Yes, here’s how:

  • Apply for a no foreign transaction fee credit card to avoid this fee.
  • Avoid conversion fees by always paying in the local currency.
  • Avoid the high cash advance APR by using your debit card – instead of your credit card – to withdraw cash from an ATM.
  • To skirt around ATM fees, you’ll need to use a debit card from a bank that belongs to an international ATM alliance – plus you’ll need to stick to ATMs that belong to that network.
  • Surcharges are harder to avoid since some merchants can legally charge them. You’ll have to pay with cash if you want to avoid a surcharge.

ATMs in Singapore

ATMs are easy to find in Singapore and are usually located within banks, shopping malls and hotels. Although Visa, Mastercard and Amex credit cards are widely accepted in Singapore, small establishments may be cash-based businesses only. If you visit an open-air market for example, you’ll need cash.

Should I use my credit card to get cash?

No, avoid using your credit card to get cash from an ATM at all costs. You’ll end up paying a cash advance fee as well as interest, which will start adding up from the day of the transaction. If you need to withdraw cash from an ATM, use your debit card.

Do taxis in Singapore accept credit cards?

Yes, a large number of taxis in Singapore accept credit cards. However, they also charge an additional 10% surcharge for credit card payments. Avoid this high surcharge by paying in cash.

Is it safe to use my credit card in Singapore?

Singapore is one of the safest countries for credit card use. However, exercising caution is wise. For example:

  • Protect your PIN. Don’t write your PIN down anywhere. When entering your PIN, use the other hand to hide it from hidden cameras and onlookers.
  • Select ATMs carefully. Use ATMs found in banks, shopping centres and otherwise busy areas. Avoid ones in isolated areas or unsafe districts.
  • Keep an eye out for skimmers. If you feel that the card slot is not as smooth as it should be or if you think there’s a problem with the keypad, cancel your transaction and use a different ATM. Someone might have installed a card skimmer on the machine.
  • Keep your card physically safe. Instances of pickpocketing and theft are sometimes common in Singapore, even though it’s regarded as a safe haven. You’ll want to take care of your belongings and be careful on the streets after dark.

How to prepare before travelling to Singapore

  1. Carry at least two credit cards. Ideally, take at least two credit cards with you, with at least one being a Visa or Mastercard. That way, you can avoid being left without money if your primary credit card is lost or stolen or if a merchant doesn’t accept Amex.
  2. Think about foreign transaction fees. Paying foreign transaction fees does not make sense when you can find cards that come with no foreign transaction fees. For each transaction, you’ll save yourself 2.5%.
  3. Inform your bank. Banks monitor accounts to minimize fraudulent transactions. If your bank sees an unexpected purchase made in Singapore, it may decide to temporarily block your card. Let your bank know of your travel plans in advance.
  4. Carry emergency numbers. If your card ends up lost or stolen, you should know which number to call. Write down your credit card providers phone number and carry it on you at all times.
  5. Know how you’ll get cash. Even though credit cards are widely accepted, you should carry at least some cash on you at all times. Use your debit card to withdraw cash from an ATM in order to avoid the high cash advance APR that comes with using a credit card. You can also exchange Canadian dollars for Singapore dollars at a bank, airport or currency exchange office.

Next steps

You can avoid unexpected problems by asking yourself these simple questions before you leave for Singapore:

  • Which cards should I take? Carry at least one Mastercard or Visa card and have at least two credit cards with you.
  • Did I inform my bank? Unless you want to deal with the possibility of a blocked card, inform your bank before you head overseas.
  • Will I pay extra fees? Check if your current credit card charges foreign transaction fees. If it does, consider applying for a card that charges no foreign transaction fees.
  • Where will I get money from? Use your debit card to withdraw cash from an ATM – avoid using your credit card unless it’s an emergency. You can also convert Canadian dollars to Singapore dollars or use travellers’ cheques.

Using a credit card in …

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