Travel money Singapore 2021: How to pay & how much to bring

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Travel money guide: Singapore

Compare how you can take your money and spend Singapore dollars in the Garden City.

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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 picks for traveling to Singapore

American Express® Gold Card logo

Our pick for travel credit card

American Express® Gold Card

★★★★★
Finder rating: 4.6/5
Transferwise Multi-currency logo

Our pick for multi-currency debit card

Transferwise Multi-currency

★★★★★
Finder rating: 4.5/5
SoFi Money logo

Our pick for 0% transaction fee debit card

SoFi Money

★★★★★
Finder rating: 4.6/5

Travel card, debit card or credit 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.

These are your options for spending money in Singapore

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.
Pros
  • Widely accepted, especially Visa and Mastercard
  • Find a card with no annual fees, foreign exchange fees
  • Exchanges at the best possible interchange rate
Cons
  • Credit cards usually charge currency conversion fee
  • Cash withdrawals using your credit card are considered cash advances which will incur a costly fee and high rate

Using a debit card

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.
Pros
  • Singapore bank ATMs do not charge an ATM operator fee
  • ATMs are located all over the city-state. Every bank or shopping center has its own
  • Better for managing your budget
Cons
  • Most debit cards will charge a currency conversion and ATM withdrawal fee
  • No access to cash advance

Using a prepaid travel card

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.
Pros
  • Can be pre-loaded with foreign currency and canceled at any time
  • Most travel cards support SGD
Cons
  • Comes with lots of fees for loading and reloading, inactivity and ATM withdrawals
  • Exchange rates are lower than credit cards and debit cards

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.

Pros
  • Accepted anywhere
  • Convenient
  • Take as much as $30,000 into Singapore without declaring it.
Cons
  • More difficult to manage expenses
  • Risk of theft

Using traveler’s checks

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.

Getting a refund if you’re the victim of a fraudulent transaction

Pros
  • Accepted at most banks
  • Security
Cons
  • Fees for purchasing and cashing
  • Hard to find merchants that accept them

Compare travel credit cards

Name Product Welcome offer Rewards Annual fee Filter values
American Express® Gold Card
60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first 6 months
4x at restaurants including delivery and Uber Eats; 4x at US supermarkets on up to $25,000 annually (then 1x points) and 3x points on directly-booked flights
$250
Earn up to 4x points on select purchases, a bevy of travel perks, and a welcome offer worth up to $600 with this upper-mid tier travel card. Terms apply, see rates & fees
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months, a value of up to $750 through Chase Ultimate Rewards. Plus up to $50 statement credit towards groceries.
5x points on Lyft, 2x points on up to $1,000 on groceries until April 30, 2021, 2x points on travel and dining and 1x points on all other purchases
$95
Earn a signup bonus worth $750 plus up to $50 statement credit towards groceries with this popular travel card.
The Platinum Card® from American Express
75,000 points after spending $5,000 in your first 6 months, plus 10x points at US gas stations and US supermarkets on up to $15,000 in combined purchases in the same timeframe
10x points at US gas stations and US supermarkets on up to $15,000 combined in the first 6 months, 5x points on directly-booked flights on up to $500,000 annually, then 1x points after that and on other purchases
$550
One of the most valuable premium travel cards, featuring two welcome offers worth up to $4,500, multiple travel credits and unrivaled lounge access. Terms apply, see rates & fees
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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.

Live Rate

= $ 1.3424

Refreshing in: 60s | Fri, Mar 05, 11:46PM GMT

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.

Singaporean currency

5 Singaporean dollar10 Singaporean dollar20 Singaporean dollar
50 Singaporean dollar100 Singaporean dollar

The main banks in Singapore are:

  • Developmental Bank of Singapore
  • Post Office Savings Bank
  • United Overseas Bank
  • OCBC Bank
  • Standard Chartered Bank
  • Citibank
  • HSBC
  • State Bank of India
  • Barclays Bank
  • Bank of China

ATMS in Singapore

Cash pickup services in Singapore

Min. Transfer Amount Transfer Speed Online Transfer Fee Rate Amount Received Description CTA Details
$1 Within an hour USD 3.99 1.336 SGD 1,330 WorldRemit sends money to 110+ countries for bank-to-bank deposits, cash pick-ups or mobile top-ups. Go to site Show details
$1 Within an hour USD 8.00 1.312 SGD 1,302 MoneyGram has fast cash pick-up transfers to more than 350,000 agent locations worldwide. Show details
$1 3 - 5 days USD 20.00 1.309 SGD 1,283 Western Union sends money online to friends and family in 200+ countries around the world. Show details

Compare up to 4 providers

Disclaimer: Exchange rates change often. Confirm the total cost with the provider before transferring money.

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. All prices are in US dollars.

BudgetMidrangeExpensive
AccommodationHostel
$10–$25 per night
2 star hotel
$60–$100 per night
5 star hotel
$200–$500 per night
MealsChicken and fish dumpling noodles (street stall)
$5
Lunch or dinner at a mid-range restaurant
$15–$45 per person
4 course dinner at the Singapore Flyer
$200 per person
ActivitiesVisit the Singapore Botanic Gardens
free
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.

Case study: Shirley's experience

Shirley profile photo
Shirley

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.

What are your money travel tips for Singapore?

  • Be sure to notify all your credit card and banks about your travel abroad. Credit cards want to safeguard against fraud, so they will freeze your account if any unusual spending occurs.
  • Singaporean restaurants don’t include service charges, so remember to account for these when paying for goods and services.
  • She says the exchange rates were better in Singapore than in the US, so she waited to exchange money until she arrived. She says the more you change the better the rate.

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Our latest travel deals to Singapore

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