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Best student debit cards
Breeze through day-to-day transactions with debit cards designed to match the fast-paced lifestyle of young adults.
But this does not mean students will have no access to attractive card promotions and perks, since debit cards these days offer almost as wide a range of benefits and some are even designed with the student’s lifestyle in mind.
Read on to find out more about debit cards in Singapore that suit the student’s everyday needs.
What is a debit card?
Debit cards are linked to your bank account and work on the same network payment processors as credit cards, either Visa or Mastercard. So they are accepted wherever credit cards are.
When you charge a purchase to your debit card on Visa or Mastercard, the funds are automatically deducted from your bank account. This means that the transaction will be rejected if your account does not have sufficient funds. Do note that the process for fund deduction from your bank account might take a few days.
Most debit cards in Singapore comes with multiple functions as ATM cards, EZ-Link cards, cash cards and more, making them a great all-in-one card for your wallet.
What’s the difference between credit and debit cards?
The main difference between a credit card and a debit card is that a credit card lets you borrow now and pay later for goods and services. A debit card only lets you make purchases with the money available in your bank account, which will be debited during the transaction.
Both cards can be used as a convenient way to meet day-to-day spending or for bigger purchases. Keep in mind that, with a credit card, you’re borrowing money and so you’ll be charged interest on what you owe – unless clear your balance in full each month.
Are there any debit cards specially designed for students?
Although there aren’t any debit cards tailored for students at the time of writing (23 May 2021), some banks in Singapore offer student credit cards that don’t require any credit check and comes with a monthly credit limit.
Check out our guide for the best student credit cards in Singapore.
Compare a range of student debit cards in Singapore
We update our data regularly, but information can change between updates. Confirm details with the provider you're interested in before making a decision.
What are the benefits that come with debit cards
Debit cards are popular among students since they typically have yet to establish their credit history, making credit cards out of reach. In addition, students can also enjoy other benefits offered by debit cards, including:
- Fast and easy application. Applying for debit cards doesn’t require any credit check (unlike credit cards) as you’re using your own money.
- Protection against overspending. You can only spend your money that is in your bank account, so you won’t run the risk of racking up a huge debt.
- Contactless payments. Most debit cards have secure chip technology and utilise NFC so you shop faster by tapping and go for your purchases under $100.
- Widely accepted. Works similar to a credit card as you have access to most Visa and Mastercard merchants, locations and ATMs.
- Secure. Debit cards are generally protected with a PIN and Zero Liability Protection.
Best debit cards for students in Singapore
Although there is no single best debit card on the market, you can definitely find one that’s best suited to your individual needs.
For example, those who are residing on campus may find debit cards with savings or rebates on groceries and public transport to be especially beneficial. So if you’re looking to apply for your first debit card, or switch up from your existing one, make sure to consider your lifestyle and spending habits alongside the card’s features.
Here are our top picks:
Note: Information provided is accurate at the time of writing (22 May 2021)
Digital alternative: Prepaid cards
Besides the debit card options offered by local banks, you can also consider digital alternatives such as:
Note: Information provided is accurate at the time of writing (22 May 2021)
How do I compare debit cards for students?
When planning to apply for a student debit card, make sure to find the bank that gives you the most benefits. Be mindful that most savings accounts that are linked to your debit card usually earn minimum interest.
- Mastercard or Visa. The two main players in the debit card space in Singapore is Mastercard or Visa. Both have a global ATM network, use the latest in chip and data encryption technology and offer purchase protection if you meet the terms and conditions
- No monthly or ongoing fees. Find out if there are any annual card fees. Fortunately, most banks in Singapore don’t charge any annual fees for debit cards, making them a good option for students.
- Easy accessibility. If you tend to make cash withdrawal frequently, be sure to choose one that has an extensive ATM network. Also, if you need to visit the bank in-person for certain transactions, you should also pick a bank with branches near your school or residence.
- Mobile and internet banking. As mobile banking nowadays makes day-to-day transactions faster and more convenient, it is wiser to check the bank’s mobile app as well and make sure it works on your Android phone, tablet or iOS device.
- Special student offers. Promotional offers like discounts at shops may also be included in some student debit cards so it’s great to take a look as to which debit card gives you the best value for advantage in terms of charges, security and incentives. Don’t forget to carefully review your cardholder agreement.
- Contactless payment. You can shop faster using PayPass or PayWave technology, which allows you to just tap and go for purchases under $100.
What fees to expect with student debit cards?
Opening a savings account in Singapore is usually free, but be wary of incurring the following costs while holding a savings account:
- Monthly fees. This is the fee that the bank may charge for running the account. Most banks offering savings accounts in Singapore do not charge such fees, but you may experience this with multi-currency or bonus interest savings accounts.
- Currency conversion fees. If you’re looking to transact in and out of a multi-currency savings account, you might rack up currency conversion costs.
- Fall-below fees. You may be charged a small fee when your balance dips below the account’s average daily minimum.
- Annual fees. It’s uncommon for debit cards to come with an annual fee, but depending on the perks offered, some may charge a fee after waiving the fees for a few years.
How to apply for a student debit card
To apply for a debit card, you’d first need to have a savings account with the bank of your choice.
Most Singaporeans should already have a savings account, but if you’re intending to switch over to any bank or if you’re a foreign student who just arrived in Singapore, read our guide on how to open a savings account in Singapore.
The sign-up process may also differ across banks, with some allowing for full online-based applications and others requiring a visit to your local bank branch. Here’s a typical signup process for debit cards in Singapore:
- Select the debit card you wish to apply
- Select the account to be linked to the card
- Input the name to be printed on the card
- Confirm your contact details and address
- Review the information provided and submit your application
Frequently asked questions
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