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
Our pick for travel credit card
American Express® Gold Card
Finder rating: 4.6/5
Our pick for multi-currency debit card
Finder rating: 4.5/5
Our pick for 0% transaction fee debit card
Finder rating: 4.6/5
What's in this guide?
- Travel card, debit card or credit card?
- These are your options for spending money in Singapore
- Compare travel credit cards
- Buying Singapore dollars in the US
- Singaporean currency
- ATMS in Singapore
- Cash pickup services in Singapore
- How many dollars do I need to bring to Singapore?
- Our latest travel deals to Singapore
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.
- Widely accepted, especially Visa and Mastercard
- Find a card with no annual fees, foreign exchange fees
- Exchanges at the best possible interchange rate
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- Can be pre-loaded with foreign currency and canceled at any time
- Most travel cards support SGD
- 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.
- Accepted anywhere
- Take as much as $30,000 into Singapore without declaring it.
- 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.
- Accepted at most banks
- Fees for purchasing and cashing
- Hard to find merchants that accept them
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.
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.
The main banks in Singapore are:
- Developmental Bank of Singapore
- Post Office Savings Bank
- United Overseas Bank
- OCBC Bank
- Standard Chartered Bank
- State Bank of India
- Barclays Bank
- Bank of China
ATMS in Singapore
Cash pickup services in Singapore
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.
$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.
Case study: Shirley's experience
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.
Our latest travel deals to Singapore
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