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ATM usage fees around the world

How are overseas ATM fees different?

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Fact checked

In Singapore, you may use your debit card to withdraw money from an ATM that isn’t owned by your bank if the banks have a shared ATM network. For example, you can withdraw cash between DBS and POSB ATMs, or UOB and OCBC ATMs if you have an account with either bank. While withdrawals between DBS and POSB ATMs are free, you’ll be hit with a nominal charge of S$0.30 per transaction for cross withdrawals between UOB and OCBC ATMs.

If you’re making an ATM withdrawal overseas additional fees may apply, and can also grow to include a currency exchange fee. Which banks have higher ATM fees, and how do the fees imposed by Singapore banks compare to the rest of the world? To find out we examined the fees that apply, and how much bank customers in other countries are charged.

Overseas ATM fees

If you’re using ATMs elsewhere, additional charges will also apply.

  • DBS/POSB: For cards with the following payment brands: Cirrus, Maestro, Plus – there’ll be a S$7 charge per withdrawal from an overseas ATM. Fees are waived if you withdraw from an overseas ATM using a UnionPay card. Fees may be lower or waived for withdrawals from an overseas partner bank’s ATM.
  • UOB: S$5 for overseas non-network ATMs, and a 1% foreign currency processing fee applies for all Visa and Mastercard debit card transactions effected in Singapore dollars.
  • Citibank: You can withdraw money from any international ATM and Citibank will not charge a fee, however the ATM operator may. It also doesn’t charge a foreign exchange fee.
  • Maybank: S$5 per withdrawal from non-Maybank overseas ATMs.

So if you’re a UOB customer using ATMs overseas, you’ll have paid S$50 in ATM fees for just 10 withdrawals. If you’re making foreign currency withdrawals, you will also be charged 1% of your transaction in currency exchange fees. If you simply keep using ATMs as normal while travelling, the fees can quickly become a major drain.

It’s not hard to avoid these fees, and can be well worth the time.

ATM fees around the world

If you find Singapore’s ATM fees annoying, you’ll probably be even more frustrated to learn that such fees are far from the norm around the world. In countries such as Ireland, Japan, Norway and Sweden, it’s free to use another bank’s ATM. Having said that, there are plenty of other countries around the world where similar fees do apply, such as in the UK where they range from £1 to £1.50 per transaction.

The table below outlines the fees that apply in countries around the world:

CountryFee for an ATM withdrawalConverted into SGD
CanadaCAD $1.50$1.58
JapanFreeFree
AustriaFreeFree
FinlandFreeFree
GermanyEUR 1.95 to EUR 5$3.13 to $8.03
IrelandFreeFree
The NetherlandsFreeFree
NorwayFreeFree
PolandPLN 5$1.87
PortugalFreeFree
SpainEUR 0 to EUR 1$0 to $1.61
SwedenFreeFree
United KingdomGBP 1 to GBP 1.50$1.79 to $2.69
IranFreeFree
Hong KongHKD 15 to HKD 30$2.68 to $5.37
IndonesiaFreeFree
MalaysiaMYR 1.06$0.36
ThailandTHB 10 to THB 20$0.44 to $0.88
The PhilippinesPHP 200$5.34
PakistanPKR 0 to PKR 20$0 to $0.20
Sri LankaLKR 15 to LKR 60$0.12 to $0.46
BangladeshBDT 10$0.17
IndiaINR 20$0.40
SwitzerlandCHF 2$2.86
United StatesUSD $2.50 – $5$3.51 – $7.02

*The fees were correct as of January 2019. These fees may have since changed.

As you can see, Singapore’s fee system is much the same as that present in the UK, but there are still plenty of countries around the world where no fees are payable when you use another bank’s ATM.

How do I avoid ATM fees?

  • Withdraw less frequently. Instead of withdrawing S$20 or S$40 every few days, why not withdraw S$100 or S$200 in one go? This will help ensure that you always have cash on hand when you need it and let you avoid unnecessary ATM fees, so preparing a weekly budget will help you work out how much money you need to withdraw at any one time.
  • Stay in your bank’s network. Whenever possible, try to use an ATM owned by your bank, or owned by a company with which your bank has a partnership. For example, POSB/DBS customers can use all Westpac Group ATMs in Australia.
  • Use ATM locators. Most Singapore banks have tools on their websites and mobile apps to help you find your nearest ATM. Put these tools to use if you ever need to find your nearest fee-free place to withdraw cash.
  • Pay with card instead of cash. These days, most modern merchants have the capability to accept credit or debit card payments. The amount of times you actually have to use cash to pay for your purchases is actually quite small, so consider paying with your card instead of cash wherever possible.
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