How to choose the best credit cards to use overseas

We'll help you choose the right card to maximise your spending flexibility abroad.

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Travelling internationally can be a wonderful experience – until you come home and check the bill. Organising your travel finances in advance can help you avoid having to struggle with credit card repayments and help you maximise reward earnings.

Discover how to find the best credit card for overseas use, key features to look out for and what to avoid.

Compare credit cards to use overseas

Name Product Foreign Currency Transaction Fee Reward Annual Fee Min Income - Singaporean and PR
American Express True Cashback Card
2.5%
1.5% cashback on all purchases with no minimum spend and no cap
S$0 annual fee for 1 year - S$171.20 thereafter
S$30,000
Receive 3% Cashback bonus and up to S$150 Cashback when you spend S$5,000 in the first six months.
American Express Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Credit Card
2.5%
For every S$1 spent, get up to 1.1 KrisFlyer miles on all eligible purchases, 2 miles in foreign currency spent overseas (June and December) and 3.1 miles on Grab Singapore transactions (up to S$200 spend in each calendar month).
S$0 annual fee for 1 year - S$176.55 thereafter
S$30,000
Earn 8,000 bonus KrisFlyer miles when you spend S$5,000 in the first 3 months of card membership and additional 8,000 KrisFlyer miles with minimum spend of S$5,000 in the 4th to 6th month of membership. Ends 30 April 2020.
American Express Platinum Credit Card
2.5%
Up to 50% off your food bill for unlimited visits at hotels around Singapore
S$321 annual fee
S$50,000
Get a free Samsonite luggage (worth S$600) and 1-night stay at Swissotel The Stamford Singapore (worth S$529) when you pay the annual fee in the first statement and spend S$4,500 in the first 3 months. T&Cs apply. Ends 31 March 2020.
American Express Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Ascend Credit Card
2.5%
For every S$1 spent, get up to 1.2 KrisFlyer miles on all eligible purchases, 2 miles in foreign currency spent overseas (June and December) and 3.2 miles on Grab Singapore transactions (up to S$200 spend in each calendar month).
S$337.05 annual fee
S$50,000
Earn 16,000 KrisFlyer miles when you spend S$10,000 within the first three months and an additional 12,000 KrisFlyer miles based on 1.2 KrisFlyer miles per S$1 spent locally. Ends 30 April 2020.
American Express CapitaCard
2.5%
Earn 3X STAR$ when you shop at participating CapitaLand malls, 1X STAR$ on all other purchases and additional 10X STAR$ at participating outlets in CapitaLand Malls.
S$0 annual fee for 1 year - S$171.20 thereafter
S$30,000
Add supplementary cardholders and get S$20 worth of CapitaVouchers for each approved member (up to two cardholders). Ends 30 April 2020.

Compare up to 4 providers

Name Product Foreign Currency Transaction Fee Reward Annual Fee Min Income - Singaporean and PR
Citi Cash Back Card
up to 3.25%
Earn up to 8% cash back on dining, groceries and petrol worldwide.
S$0 annual fee for 1 year - S$192.60 thereafter
S$30,000
Get a welcome gift of S$120 cash back when you spend S$1,200 in the first 3 months. Ends 31 January 2021.
Citibank SMRT Card
up to 3.25%
Up to 5% savings on groceries, fast food, movies, and coffee; up to 3% savings on online shopping.
S$0 annual fee for 2 years - S$192.60 thereafter
S$30,000
Receive a welcome gift of S$120 cash back when you spend S$1,200 in the first 3 months. Ends 31 January 2021.
Citi Rewards Credit Card
up to 3.25%
10X Rewards on your shopping spend (local and overseas) and online purchases (except mobile wallet and travel-related transactions), plus 1X Rewards Points on all other spend, no cap or minimum spend required
S$0 annual fee for 1 year - S$192.60 thereafter
S$30,000
Receive 30,000 Citi Thank You points when you spend S$3,000 in the first 3 months. Ends 31 March 2020.
Citi PremierMiles Visa Card
up to 3.25%
2 Citi Miles for every S$1 spent overseas and 1.2 Citi Miles per S$1 spent locally.
S$0 annual fee for 1 year - S$192.60 thereafter
S$30,000
Receive 37,300 miles when you spend S$9,000 in the first 3 months and pay the annual fee. Terms and conditions apply. Ends 31 March 2020.
Citi Prestige Card
up to 3.25%
Earn 5 ThankYou Points (2 Miles) per S$1 overseas spend and 3.25 ThankYou Points (1.3 miles) per S$1 local spend.
S$535 annual fee
S$120,000
Receive a welcome gift of 62,500 Citi ThankYou Points (25,000 Miles) or Gadget Welcome Gift. Ends 31 March 2020.

Compare up to 4 providers

Name Product Foreign Currency Transaction Fee Reward Annual Fee Min Income - Singaporean and PR
HSBC Visa Platinum Card
2.8%
5% cash rebate on groceries, fuel and dining
S$0 annual fee for 2 years - S$192.60 thereafter
S$30,000
Get free Samsonite T5 68cm Spinner luggage with built-in scale worth S$560 or S$150 cash back when you spend S$800 in qualifying transactions from card approval to the end of the following month. Receive an additional S$20 worth of grab rides when you apply online with MyInfo via SingPass. T&Cs apply. Ends 31 March 2020.
HSBC Revolution Credit Card
2.8%
Up to 5X Rewards points (2 miles per S$1 spent) on online, dining and entertainment purchases
S$0 annual fee for 2 years - S$160.50 thereafter
S$30,000
Get free Samsonite T5 68cm Spinner luggage worth S$560. Simply make S$800 in qualifying transactions in the first month of your account. Ends 31 March 2020.
HSBC Advance Credit Card
2.8%
Up to 3.5% cashback on all purchases with no minimum spend
S$0 annual fee for 1 year (permanently waived for HSBC Advance banking customers) - S$192.60 thereafter
S$30,000
Get free Samsonite T5 68cm Spinner luggage with built-in scale worth S$560 or S$150 cash back when you spend S$800 in qualifying transactions from card approval to the end of the following month. Receive an additional S$20 worth of grab rides when you apply online with MyInfo via SingPass. T&Cs apply. Ends 31 March 2020.

Compare up to 4 providers

Name Product Foreign Currency Transaction Fee Reward Annual Fee Min Income - Singaporean and PR
Maybank Business Platinum Mastercard
Up to 2.75%
Earn 1 TREATS Points per dollar spent
S$0 annual fee for 2 years - S$180 thereafter
N/A
Get up to S$1 million in Travel Accident Insurance when you purchase flights or travel packages using your card.
Maybank eVibes Card - The Student Card
2.75%
Earn 1% cash rebate on all spend
S$0 annual fee for 2 years - S$20 thereafter
N/A
Get an Adidas wristwatch worth S$120 when you use your card in the first month. Offer limited to the first 500 successful applicants.
Maybank Platinum Visa Card
2.75%
Up to 3.33% cash rebates on local spend
S$0 annual fee for 3 years - S$80 thereafter
S$30,000
Receive an American Tourister Linex 66/24 Luggage TSA (worth S$260) when you charge to your card or withdraw from your CreditAble account with a minimum of S$300 within the first 2 months.
Maybank Family & Friends Card
2.75%
8% cash rebates on groceries, dining, transport and selected merchants with S$800 min. monthly spend
S$0 annual fee for 3 years - S$180 thereafter
S$30,000
Receive an American Tourister Linex 66/24 Luggage TSA (worth S$260) when you charge to your card or withdraw from your CreditAble account with a minimum of S$300 within the first 2 months.
Maybank Manchester United Platinum Visa Card
2.75%
Receive a 10% discount at United Direct Online Megastore and 5 TREATS Points for every dollar spent when Manchester United wins a Premier League match.
S$0 annual fee for 2 years - S$80 thereafter
S$30,000
Receive an American Tourister Linex 66/24 Luggage TSA (worth S$260) when you charge to your card or withdraw from your CreditAble account with a minimum of S$300 within the first 2 months.
Maybank DUO Platinum Mastercard
2.75%
5% cash rebate on petrol in Singapore and Malaysia and 1.5% cash rebate in foreign currency.
S$120 annual fee
S$30,000
Receive an American Tourister Linex 66/24 Luggage TSA (worth S$260) when you charge to your card or withdraw from your CreditAble account with a minimum of S$300 within the first 2 months.
Maybank FC Barcelona Visa Signature Card
2.75%
1.6% unlimited cash rebate on all local spend
S$120 annual fee
S$30,000
Receive an American Tourister Linex 66/24 Luggage TSA (worth S$260) when you charge to your card or withdraw from your CreditAble account with a minimum of S$300 within the first 2 months.
Maybank Visa Infinite Card
2.75%
Earn up to 5X TREATS Points (2 air miles) for every S$1 spent on foreign currency transactions, 3X TREATS Points (1.2 air miles) for every S$1 spent on local spend,
S$0 annual fee for 1 year - S$600 thereafter
S$150,000
Get up to 8 complimentary single-trip airport limousine transfers. T&Cs apply. Ends 31 Dec 2020.
Maybank Horizon Visa Signature Card
2.75%
Up to 3.2 Air Miles (8X TREATS Points) for every S$1 spent on dining, transport and hotel bookings via Agoda.com/horizon
S$0 annual fee for 3 years - S$180 thereafter
S$30,000
Receive an American Tourister Linex 66/24 Luggage TSA (worth S$260) when you charge to your card or withdraw from your CreditAble account with a minimum of S$300 within the first 2 months.
Maybank World Mastercard
2.75%
10X TREATS Points (4 air miles) on every S$1 spent at selected merchants.
S$0 annual fee for 1 year - S$240 thereafter
S$80,000
Receive an American Tourister Linex 66/24 Luggage TSA (worth S$260) when you charge to your card or withdraw from your CreditAble account with a minimum of S$300 within the first 2 months.

Compare up to 4 providers

Name Product Foreign Currency Transaction Fee Reward Annual Fee Min Income - Singaporean and PR
Standard Chartered Unlimited Cashback Credit Card
3.5%
1.5% cashback on all spend with no cap and no minimum spend
S$0 annual fee for 2 years - S$192.60 thereafter
S$30,000
Get S$80 cashback with activation of card within 30 days upon approval. Existing cardholders will receive S$20. Ends 31 March 2020.
Standard Chartered Rewards+ Credit Card
3.5%
Up to 10X rewards points for every S$1 spent in foreign currency on overseas retail, dining and travel
S$0 annual fee for 2 years - S$192.60 thereafter
S$30,000
Get S$80 cashback with activation of the card within 30 days upon approval. Existing cardholders will receive S$20. Ends 31 March 2020.
Standard Chartered Spree Credit Card
3.5%
Up to S$60 cashback monthly with no minimum spend
S$0 annual fee for 2 years - S$192.60 thereafter
S$30,000
Get S$80 cashback with activation of card within 30 day upon approval. Existing cardholders will receive S$20. Ends 31 March 2020.
Standard Chartered NUS Alumni Platinum Credit Card
3.5%
Earn 1 Rewards point for every S$1 charged to your card
S$0 annual fee for 2 years - S$192.60 thereafter
S$30,000
Get S$80 cashback with activation of card within 30 day upon approval. Existing cardholders will receive S$20. Ends 31 March 2020.

Compare up to 4 providers

Types of credit cards for overseas travel

There are three main types of credit card for overseas use:

  • No foreign fee cards. Some credit cards charge a transaction fee for purchases overseas. If you’re a frequent traveller, or are just planning a trip away, a no foreign fees card can save you a considerable amount over a short period of time.
  • Multi-currency cards. Multi-currency cards allow you to have more than one currency loaded onto your card. These are usually prepaid cards that comes with a digital banking app, which allow you to preload a foreign currency onto your card at a fixed exchange rate. You’ll be able to use these multi-currency cards worldwide and even make cash withdrawals at overseas ATMs.
  • Air miles cards. Air miles cards often offer higher reward earnings on foreign spend and travel-related purchases. If you’re planning a shopping holiday or travel frequently, an air miles card can help you both on the ground overseas and in saving for your next trip.

How to choose the best credit card to use overseas

There are a number of considerations to make when selecting the best credit card to use overseas. These include the following:

Fees

This is the main consideration. Fees can quickly accumulate, so it’s best to be aware of which ones you’ll be on the hook for before starting out. The following three fees are the ones you should watch for:

Card acceptance

It’s best to know which country you’re going to visit, so you can check whether a specific credit card is widely accepted in that country. If you’re a frequent traveller, then your best bet will be Visa or Mastercard, as these are widely accepted around the globe. American Express cards are not as easy to use abroad and can carry higher fees.

Travel insurance

Some credit cards for travellers offer complimentary travel insurance, which is a necessity for people heading overseas. Travel insurance can help cover medical issues, transit accidents and travel delays as well as offer purchase security, but be sure to check the specifics of the cover offered by your chosen card.

Currency conversion

Converting currency is unavoidable when you travel, so it’s best to look for a card that doesn’t charge you conversion fees. You may be asked if you want to pay for an overseas purchase in Singapore dollars, but this does not mean you are avoiding a conversion fee. Rather your purchase is being subjected to an on-the-spot dynamic currency conversion, which may not offer the best available exchange rate.

What should I be aware of when using a credit card overseas?

  • Overspending. Credit cards don’t keep your spending in check. It can be tempting to purchase gifts and experiences overseas that you wouldn’t while at home. Justifications such as “I’m on holiday” and “When will I ever get this chance again?” can quickly expand holiday bills. A credit card won’t tell you when you’ve hit your spending limit.
  • Other options. While a credit card may seem like the obvious and easy choice, there are other options for overseas spending. Cheques, debit cards, travel money cards and cash can all be good options to have. It’s also good to have a range of payment options overseas, just in case one falls through.
  • Adding funds. Some credit cards will allow you to add additional funds to the account. If you choose to do this, you will then be able to use your credit card as if it were a debit card. Banks don’t take responsibility for these funds, so if your card is lost, stolen or used for unwanted transactions, you could lose the funds you added.

What are the pros and cons of using a credit card overseas?

Pros

  • Convenience. Being able to use your credit card overseas offers undeniable convenience. You won’t have to take out foreign cash, and you won’t have to walk around with traveller’s cheques. If you’ve chosen the right card, you’ll be able to go about your business around the world just as you would at home.
  • Rewards. Some credit cards offer accelerated reward point earning on foreign transactions. If you travel often, you’ll quickly accrue plenty of points to spend. Credit cards designed for travel can also offer rewarding features such as airport lounge access and complimentary insurance.
  • Security. It’s hard to know what will happen when you head overseas, so having access to a line of credit can offer you plenty of security. It’s also best to have more than one method of payment available to you when travelling, but a credit card provides the flexibility of access to a larger amount of funds.

Cons

  • Foreign fees. As much as you try to avoid fees, you’re almost bound to encounter one some way or another. Whether it’s a last-minute ATM dash or a foreign transaction fee from a dark-alley vendor, credit card fees can sometimes be unavoidable.
  • Limitations. While you can use many credit cards freely overseas, there are some that you can’t use. It may be that you’re in a country that is heavily dependent on a cash economy, or it may be that local vendors don’t accept your credit card type. Be sure to do your research, so that you can feel confident that you’ll actually be able to use your desired credit card abroad.
  • Higher charges. As credit cards designed for overseas use offer a number of benefits and rewards, you’ll often find those same cards have high annual fees and charges to compensate. Interest rates on missed payments can also be higher than those on regular credit cards. Make sure to weigh the benefits you’ll gain from a credit card against the costs of any unavoidable fees and charges.

Bottom line

The best credit cards to use overseas are the ones that are widely accepted and have minimal transaction costs and foreign currency fees. If you’re ready for a credit card that benefits you overseas, start comparing your options here.

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