If you’re exploring the countries of Southeast Asia, don’t miss the beauty and culture of Singapore. This cosmopolitan island city state is the most financially stable and prosperous in the region. Before you embark on your adventure, plan how you’re going to access your travel money. We’ll help you spend your Singaporean dollars without paying too many fees.
Singapore has one of the lowest rates of crime in the world (yes, no jaywalking or littering while you’re there), so you won’t feel threatened carrying cash. Most locals tend to use ATMs or credit cards to pay for goods and services.
ATMs in Singapore owned by banks don’t charge operator fees. Look for a travel money product which waives currency conversion fees and international ATM withdrawal fees.
What's in this guide?
How many dollars do I need to bring to Singapore?
You’ll find that Singapore is more expensive than other countries in Southeast Asia, but less expensive than cities in the US and Europe. Hostels and inexpensive hotels are are easy to find, and you can find tasty Asian cuisine to fit any budget. For a backpacker’s budget, you can plan for less than $60 per day. Midrange to luxury travelers can expect to spend between $100 to $300 a day.
$10–$25 per night
|2 star hotel|
$60–$100 per night
|5 star hotel|
$200–$500 per night
|Chicken and fish dumpling noodles (street stall)|
|Lunch or dinner at a mid-range restaurant|
$15–$45 per person
|4 course dinner at the Singapore Flyer|
$200 per person
|Visit the Singapore Botanic Gardens|
|Visit the Changi Museum War Trails|
$58 per person
|VIP tour of Universal Studios Singapore|
$300 per person
*Prices are approximate and based on summer seasonality and are subject to change.
Which travel money is the best to use in Singapore?
Major card brands are widely accepted in Singapore, but some merchants will charge a surcharge. ATMs in Singapore will accept the major brands Visa, Mastercard and American Express. As for travel money cards, most of them support SGD but may not be the most secure option because they don’t have your name on the card.
Travel money options for Singapore at a glance
|Travel money option||Pros||Cons|
|Debit cards for travel|
|Prepaid travel money cards|
|Credit cards for travel|
This table is a general summary of the travel money products in the market. Features and benefits can vary between cards.
How different travel money options work in Singapore
Travel prepaid cards
Travel cards can lock in conversion rates once you load USD. Use it for purchases without worrying about rates each time you spend — debit and credit cards often charge 3% for each transaction.
Where you save in the conversion rates you may pay in fees. You’ll pay fees each time you load the card, ATM withdrawals and sometimes even an inactivity fee.
Compare these cards by looking at fees for international ATM withdrawals, initial loading and reloading, and inactivity.
- Tip: Prepaid travel cards are dual card accounts, meaning you’ll receive an additional card.
Using debit cards
A debit card to use while you’re overseas could be a good travel money choice to take to Singapore. You’ll have access to cash each time you come across an ATM, without carrying lots of cash on you all at once. Because you’re spending your own money, you avoid interest charges. Find a bank that waives those international ATM fees.
- Tip: Singapore bank ATMs do not charge an ATM operator fee.
Using a credit card
Credit cards are used by most everyone in Singapore, so find yourself a credit card that waives foreign transaction fees. Carrying a credit card gives you the added benefit of travel insurance and discounts, depending on your provider. For added savings, take advantage of the interest-free period by paying your balance in full each month.
Cards that offer travel perks and waive fees often charge an annual fee, so make sure the fee is worth it before you bring it along on your travels. If you’re ever in a jam, credit cards offer cash advances, though we don’t recommend it. You’ll pay high fees and interest rates apply the moment you get your money.
- Tip: It’s worth researching credit cards that offer travel benefit and rewards for things you’ll buy anyways like flights and hotel stays.
Using traveler’s checks in Singapore
Security is the main advantage of using traveler’s checks, as each check has a unique serial number and can only be cashed with a photo ID. They’ve been replaced by less expensive debit, travel and credit cards. You can cash them at the Changi Airport and major money exchanges in SIngapore, but you’ll pay a high commission and get a less favorable rate than using plastic.
- Tip: Traveler’s checks are good for locking in a good exchange rate. So if you watch the forex market, get them while the getting’s good.
Paying with cash in Singapore
You’ll need cash if you want to shop in the market areas of Haji Lane, Sim Lim and Burgis, otherwise you’ll find that you can use your card for the majority of purchases in Singapore.
Compare travel credit cards
The exchange rate
Visa and Mastercard apply a foreign exchange rate for over the counter purchases and ATM withdrawals. This rate is a touch above the midmarket rate and is better than what you’ll get at exchange offices and banks.Back to top
Shirley spent two weeks in Singapore and tells finder.com about what she thinks the best travel money options are. Where did you visit in Singapore? Marina Bay, Sentosa, Orchard Road, Haji Lane, Sim Lim and Burgis Markets. What cards did you take with you? Why did you take these cards with you? Did you withdraw from ATMs? Shirley says she did, but not that often because most businesses accepted credit cards for purchases, so the need for cash was limited. When she did withdraw cash from ATMs she didn’t pay any ATM fees. Were there any places where you had trouble using any of your cards? Shirley says had no problems finding retailers who accepted Visa. She says she never used her PIN because POS is processed through credit rather than debit. She recommends bringing cash to Haji Lane, Sim Lim and Burgis Markets if you want to do some shopping. What are you money travel tips for Singapore?
Case study: Shirley in Singapore
Shirley spent two weeks in Singapore and tells finder.com about what she thinks the best travel money options are.
Where did you visit in Singapore?
Marina Bay, Sentosa, Orchard Road, Haji Lane, Sim Lim and Burgis Markets.
What cards did you take with you?
Why did you take these cards with you?
Did you withdraw from ATMs?
Shirley says she did, but not that often because most businesses accepted credit cards for purchases, so the need for cash was limited. When she did withdraw cash from ATMs she didn’t pay any ATM fees.
Were there any places where you had trouble using any of your cards?
Shirley says had no problems finding retailers who accepted Visa. She says she never used her PIN because POS is processed through credit rather than debit. She recommends bringing cash to Haji Lane, Sim Lim and Burgis Markets if you want to do some shopping.
What are you money travel tips for Singapore?
- Load your card with your choice of 6 available currencies: Euros, British pounds, Australian dollars, Japanese yen, Canadian dollars, and Mexican pesos
- Lock in your exchange rate
- Use your card abroad at millions of locations
Buying Singapore dollars in the US
It’s better to wait till you arrive in Singapore and make an ATM withdrawal or at an exchange office rather than get money exchanged in the US. The rates will be better. You can bring up to $14,000 into the country without making a customs declaration. You can always send your money to Singapore ahead of time with a money transfer service and have it waiting to be picked up when you arrive.
Cash pickup services in Singapore
You might also be interested in
Read more on this topic
Travel money guide - China Credit cards are widely accepted, but be sure to also carry some cash.
Travel money guide: Australia Credit cards are widely accepted throughout Australia.
Travel money guide: Argentina Credit cards are widely accepted, but carry some cash as well.
Travel money guide - Costa Rica Use your cards freely in Costa Rica, but also carry some cash.
Travel money guide: Scotland Consider carrying a credit card, debit card and cash while in Scotland.
Using a credit card in Barbados Here’s everything you need to know about using a credit card in Barbados. How much it may cost you, and holiday spending tricks. We help you do your homework before you travel.
Guide to working abroad as an expatriate Here is what you need to know before you work overseas.
Keep your vacation budget under control These helpful tips will let you have fun on your vacation without exceeding your budget.
Travel money guide: Ireland Our Ireland Travel Guide gives you all the information you need to make an informed decision about which credit card, debit card or travel card to take to the land of green pastures and rolling hills.
Travel money guide: USA The USA has a culture of credit, and it’s a society of card payments, read our travel money guide to find out which travel products to use and which to avoid using in the USA.
Ask an Expert