Our pick for travel credit card
American Express® Gold Card
Finder rating: 4.6/5
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.
Our pick for travel credit card
American Express® Gold Card
Our pick for multi-currency debit card
Our pick for 0% transaction fee debit card
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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.
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. All prices are in US dollars.
$10–$25 per night
|2 star hotel|
$60–$100 per night
|5 star hotel|
$200–$500 per night
|Meals||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
|Activities||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.
Shirley spent two weeks in Singapore and tells finder.com about what she thinks the best travel money options are.
What are your money travel tips for Singapore?
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