A Guide to the Best Credit Cards for Expats in Singapore


Ask most people what they study Singapore and one among many first points people will level out is how pricey Singapore is.

From worth of housing to healthcare, to buying meals or consuming out in consuming locations, you’ll make sure you could be dipping into your pockets additional repeatedly than you need to when dwelling in Singapore.

So, how do you deal with this with out it turning into a painful prepare in mounted overdraft negotiations alongside along with your monetary establishment? With the assistance of financial institution playing cards in actual fact.

With so many selections, the place do you start to find the suitable card for you? Adjust to this info that can provide help to understand what is completely on present and the professionals and cons behind each different. It will present you easy methods to sift by the popular financial institution playing cards and advocate among the finest to suit your life-style.

Understanding Credit score rating Taking part in playing cards

In case you occur to don’t private a financial institution card already, I like to recommend you want one shortly after arriving throughout the Lion Metropolis.

Even when you could have one already, after learning this textual content you may must seek for a second one. Why? Properly, couple this pricey life-style with the native psyche of provides, bargains, and up-selling and likewise you’ll quickly understand that financial institution playing cards are additional than merely one different kind of charge.

Every Singapore primarily based financial institution card moreover comes with its private set of rewards. Cash once more, air miles, free gadgets, concierge corporations to name only some. Every monetary establishment has an expansion of taking part in playing cards and rewards on present, one factor to tempt all people.

Why Get a Credit score rating Card?

Financial institution playing cards is likely to be an exquisite technique of managing your monetary establishment stability. Put merely, financial institution playing cards let you spend money on a credit score rating basis, to spend money you don’t in the mean time have or in any case money you don’t must depart your checking account at that second of purchase.

Financial institution playing cards present the pliability to buy now and pay later, as a lot as a set credit score rating limit which will be a few hundred or plenty of thousand {{dollars}} relying in your monetary establishment and credit score rating historic previous.

They’re moreover accepted at additional areas than price taking part in playing cards that don’t present a credit score rating facility, which implies you’ll need to repay the charge in full and on time each month; or pay as you go taking part in playing cards, which might be loaded up with money prior to utilize and the place spending is proscribed to the amount held in your card. It’s mainly a plastic numerous to cash.

Financial institution playing cards are a safer technique of carrying funds than free cash. In case your card is stolen you merely phone the monetary establishment and put a block on the cardboard. In case your card is used fraudulently on-line you’re additional vulnerable to be refunded.

Bear in mind though of the phrases of lodging a dispute significantly on the subject of on-line transactions. Most banks would require you to submit a dispute choice kind inside 14 days of a card assertion being issued.

Financial institution playing cards may even provide you with security. In case you occur to make an enormous purchase like an airline ticket or a visit journey and the enterprise subsequently folds, you is likely to be protected by your card issuing monetary establishment who will refund the money. Not all taking part in playing cards and banks are equal though so please be taught your card contract small print.

A Singapore issued financial institution card may additionally make it easier with the intention to enter into completely different financial contracts much like securing a cellular phone or getting a automotive mortgage.

Let’s face it, besides you is likely to be throughout the ultra-rich class, you gained’t be looking for a automotive outright in Singapore any time shortly. Accessing credit score rating quickly and easily is likely to be essential to easing the other transactions in your Singapore life.

What to Watch Out For

On the flip aspect, in case you aren’t sensible financial institution playing cards can end up costing higher than you suppose or depart you in a spiraling debt catastrophe.

Financial institution playing cards provide the likelihood to repay some, or all, of your credit score rating debt on the end of each month. Assuming you pay the bill off each month then all good, nonetheless in case you make solely the minimal charge or, worse nonetheless, don’t even deal with that, then you definately’ll pay curiosity on that mortgage at a whopping charge of 15% to twenty-eight% counting on which card you preserve. Ouch.

This price of curiosity goes to be successfully above that which you take pleasure in in your monetary financial savings accounts, when you could have one, so miss just one charge and that curiosity will quickly add as a lot as successfully above that which you may merely repay. Curiosity funds will be backdated. Study the small print.

Making a late charge or exceeding your credit score rating limit will even result in default bills. Are you aware that many taking part in playing cards have annual expenses just for the pleasure of proudly proudly owning them? Let’s moreover not overlook the steadiness swap worth, the cash advance worth, and the abroad transaction worth. As soon as extra, be taught the small print.

Watch out for cash withdrawals as successfully. It’s not always well-known that curiosity is commonly charged every day, from the day you withdraw cash in your card and at a greater charge than the curiosity on customary funds.

In case you occur to make month-to-month funds with a financial institution card, much like a well being membership membership, although you is likely to be paying by installments your monetary establishment will make full charge in your behalf when you sign the settlement. If the enterprise ceases earlier to the tip of your contract you keep liable to pay the month-to-month installments to your monetary establishment.

Relying in your settlement alongside along with your card issuing monetary establishment you may not have the flexibility to declare any losses, significantly if the monetary establishment itself won’t be able to get effectively in your behalf. Take a look at your card’s security plan fastidiously for installment plan funds. Did I already say it, be taught the small print.


Sooner than you rush off to grab your new card there are some very important components to ponder.

Current Accounts and Taking part in playing cards

Considered one of many requirements of a worthwhile financial institution card software program is that you have an present Singapore checking account. It might be wise to take a look at their card selections at first.

High-of-the-line strategies to ensure you don’t end up in a spiral of financial institution card debt is to simply prepare a direct debit for the whole month-to-month stability or in any case, for as rather a lot as you’ll afford to pay recurrently. This may be finest to rearrange and deal with between accounts all through the an identical monetary establishment.


In Singapore, you need to be in any case 18 to make use of for a financial institution card. Even then you’ll solely apply for a pupil financial institution card alongside along with your guardian or guardian’s consent. On the ripe earlier age of 21 all of the cardboard selections open up to you.

Making use of as a Foreigner

Most predominant banks in Singapore will allow foreigners to make use of for a financial institution card assuming you is likely to be on a sound work permit or visa and have a residential deal with in Singapore.

Nevertheless you may should show a minimal annual wage diploma of $45,000 SGD, significantly elevated than the $30,000 SGD that candidates holding Singapore citizenship or PR (Eternal Resident) standing have to point.

Credit score rating Rating and Historic previous

All banks and card suppliers will run a credit score rating analysis on receipt of your software program. They will be having a look at plenty of indicators. Firstly, your credit score rating ranking calculated in your earlier charge historic previous on loans.

The higher your menace of reimbursement the lower the ranking. This ranking will be checked out in accordance with your annual wage, dimension of employment, chapter, litigation, and so forth. Your credit score standing doesn’t merely determine your software program success nonetheless may even have an effect on the speed of curiosity or promotions you is likely to be subsequently offered, in another case typically referred to as risk-based pricing.

Your card might have a horny APR (annual proportion charge, additional generally called price of curiosity) to lure you in, however when it comes proper all the way down to it solely 51% of accepted card holders legally should be offered that marketed charge, the other 49% of candidates ought to nonetheless be accepted for the cardboard nonetheless with an escalated price of curiosity, primarily based totally on how harmful of an applicant the monetary establishment considers you.

All that acknowledged, the good news is that Singaporean banks solely ponder your credit score standing proper right here in Singapore so all these cash owed you racked up once more dwelling not matter. The truth is, when you could have merely arrived in town it’d indicate that your Singapore credit score rating file is attempting barely slim.

Via which case, it would be best to supply additional particulars much like month-to-month payments and rent or written affirmation out of your employer or landlord.

In some circumstances, your solely alternative is to go for a “credit score rating builder card,” a card that helps you improve your credit score standing nonetheless at a extremely extreme charge of curiosity. Not among the finest nonetheless possibly the one alternative for some people.

Types of Credit score rating Taking part in playing cards

You’re possibly acquainted with the producers Visa, MasterCard, and American Particular (Amex) nonetheless are you conscious what the excellence is? They’re all charge networks that facilitate the transmittance of data and authorize the movement of money between retailers and banks.

To most of us, Visa and MasterCard financial institution playing cards truly aren’t very completely completely different. Every are broadly accepted spherical metropolis, every have contactless charge strategies, every are accepted for on-line buying, and every have extended world ATM networks.

Visa initially holds the profit with a better charge of acceptance and its declare that it’ll in all probability alternate a misplaced financial institution card inside one enterprise day.

MasterCard swings ahead in terms of promotions, which might be network-wide. In numerous phrases not primarily linked to 1 monetary establishment nonetheless to your MasterCard whatever the issuing monetary establishment. Your different.

American Particular swoops in with wonderful acceptance expenses all through all predominant bricks and mortar retailers and on-line retailers nonetheless a lot much less so with smaller unbiased retailers due to the elevated service supplier worth they pay on transactions.

American Particular taking part in playing cards fare biggest in terms of the benefits on present. They’ve stronger consumer security measures than Visa or MasterCard and should protected larger benefits with third social gathering retailers attributable to their means to barter as a severe financial institution card issuer.

Visa and MasterCard taking part in playing cards are obtained by a third social gathering issuing monetary establishment. Whereas, Amex taking part in playing cards is likely to be issued every by banks and Amex itself, with the additional extraordinarily wished taking part in playing cards, such as a result of the American Particular Singapore Airways Kris Flyer card coming direct from Amex.

Merely when you thought you had acquired your head throughout the completely completely different card selections, there are moreover a number of completely different players on the market: Diner’s Membership, UnionPay, and JCB.

Diner’s Membership, like Amex, factors its private taking part in playing cards nonetheless isn’t broadly accepted all through Singapore. UnionPay and JCB taking part in playing cards are China and Japan’s major financial institution card issuers respectively nonetheless are every beginning to notice traction by companion banks proper right here in Singapore.

Possibly not ones to ponder at this stage besides you plan to spend a lot of time in each China or Japan.

Monetary establishment Credit score rating Taking part in playing cards

If you’ve obtained be taught this far and are already considering a model new financial institution card then you definately’ll already know that you just desire a neighborhood checking account to hold a Singapore issued financial institution card.

First up, I like to recommend considering the financial institution playing cards offered by your present monetary establishment after which retailer spherical to take a look at whether or not or not alternate choices swimsuit you larger. The sign-up bonus with a model new monetary establishment may successfully entice you away out of your present one.

There could also be one different consideration nonetheless, whether or not or not you desire a Singapore-issued financial institution card the least bit? For some people the abroad transaction worth on purchases made on their present dwelling nation financial institution card might even be cheaper and easier than securing a model new card. Solely a thought.

The banks all want your on-line enterprise. All of them present Visa, MasterCard and American Particular selections. So how are they going to protected you as a model new shopper?

By way of their sign-up incentives and rewards schemes. That’s the place choosing a financial institution card will get attention-grabbing so let’s break down the alternatives.

Curiosity-Free Taking part in playing cards

Typically typically referred to as 0% purchase taking part in playing cards, these are taking part in playing cards that don’t price curiosity in your purchases, for example the OCBC Cashflo Credit score rating Card.

With this and completely different taking part in playing cards choose it, you can purchase at leisure, unfold the funds over time, and nonetheless pay no more than in case you had paid up entrance.

There are moreover taking part in playing cards offering low stability swap worth perks whereby you’ll swap debt from an present card onto your new card and pay minimal curiosity on that debt.

There could also be in all probability a worth for this train nonetheless it should nonetheless be smaller than the curiosity funds on the debt with the distinctive card, attempt HSBC’s Card Steadiness Change present.

Cash Once more and Rebate Taking part in playing cards

In case you occur to anticipate completely paying off your debt each month then charges of curiosity are irrelevant. Cash once more and rebate taking part in playing cards, such as a result of the Maybank Family & Associates financial institution card and the Citibank Cash Once more card, give you {{dollars}} once more when you spend on every day requirements to paying your month-to-month utilities funds.

Make sure you check out the finer particulars as all rebates and cash once more taking part in playing cards are completely completely different. Take a look at what the month-to-month cap on cashback is.

Is the earn-rate obvious and optimistic for the objects you spend on or are you going to have to purchase exterior of your present spending habits to take full profit?

Rewards Based totally Taking part in playing cards

Signup bonuses, air miles, retailer credit score rating, vouchers, experiences, reductions, consuming promotions, movie tickets–they’re all available on the market for the taking.

The premise is simple, the additional you spend, the additional components you earn which can then be redeemed out of your card’s rewards program.

Whet your urge for meals with the HSBC Visa Infinite Card after which put together to perform a little evaluation as the choice on rewards card is a lot.

Contactless Price Packages

Searching for to scan, swipe and go? Then seek for a card offering the contactless charge system much like Visa payWave or ApplePay, or the American Particular True Cashback Card.

Some banks even present additional rewards for using your contactless charge alternative. Double the pleasing.

Evaluating Selections

You’ve got obtained the low down on types of taking part in playing cards and also you is likely to be severe about what you must get from a card. Now you need to understand the best way to match a card to your life-style.

Spending Habits and Lifestyle

Are you a frequent traveler? What purchases are you attempting to make in your card? This will present you easy methods to set up whether or not or not the rewards or cash backs are ones which you may merely faucet into.

Frankly, there isn’t any such factor as a stage getting a card offering miles and good journey perks such as a result of the DBS Altitude Visa Card in case you solely journey to Kuala Lumpur and once more yearly.

Time Spent in Singapore

This is not merely an existential question about your life plan, nonetheless whether or not or not your time proper right here will be spent in Singapore or touring abroad repeatedly.

Getting a card with a plethora of native rewards such as a result of the OCBC Best Dinki Credit score rating Card, which provides you rewards on electronics purchased in native retailers, Best Dinki, could not decrease the mustard in case you aren’t even in Singapore to earn these components throughout the first place.

It is potential you may even end up being charged additional in abroad transaction expenses in your Singapore financial institution card than in case you used your present dwelling nation card in your travels.

In case you acknowledge you will be overseas repeatedly then start to take a look at taking part in playing cards with good overseas journey and spending perks such as a result of the Regular Chartered Visa Infinite.

Current Banking Preparations

We’ve already talked about this. Which monetary establishment are you already with? Is likely one of the finest match with them? Or does the signup bonus on present from a competing monetary establishment sound engaging ample to make you soar to a special?

The American Particular Singapore Airways KrisFlyer Ascend financial institution card with its sign on bonus of 42,500 air miles is likely to be ample to indicate your head from irrespective of your present monetary establishment is offering.

Or possibly the data that as an present HSBC Premier Banking purchaser you is likely to be utterly eligible for the HSBC Premier MasterCard is all the cache you need to maintain put with HSBC.

Overview of the Best Taking part in playing cards

You may have gauged by now that there are many selections obtainable to you and considerations to make. There isn’t a such factor as a one-card-fits-all alternative.

Following are some suggestions of among the finest taking part in playing cards obtainable to-date. Card selections do change recurrently so take into accout to do your private evaluation as successfully.

For Signup Bonuses

There is a stability between the starter miles or bonuses obtainable and the minimal spend to earn that bonus, so we soar straight in with a card that has none of those catches.

The Regular Chartered Limitless Credit score rating Card is a no-fuss financial institution card that gives you instantaneous cash once more.

The add-ons:

  • receive $220 SGD cash immediately on software program
  • instantaneous digital financial institution card approval and insurance coverage protection in case you apply by the use of MyInfo
  • 1.5% cash once more qualification on purchases
  • no cash once more cap per thirty days
  • no minimal spend per thirty days

For Vacationers

Frequent vacationers need look no extra than air miles as their reward incentive. Earn miles and alter them for flight tickets.

Look out for provides every on incomes and redeeming miles and the extra life-style rewards constructed spherical these packages. Complimentary airport lounge entry anyone?

Don’t overlook to check the miles you earn are on flight reward packages you use. Tie-ups are often with predominant Asian airways packages much like Krisflyer and AsiaMiles.

The UOB Miles American Particular PRVI Miles Card.  Earn 7 miles per $1 SGD spent on predominant airways and resorts worldwide.

That is without doubt one of the finest charge we’ve observed however. What’s additional you moreover get 2.4 miles with $1 SGD spent overseas, as a lot as three miles with every $1 SGD spent on Seize and 1.4 miles spent domestically.

The add-ons:

  • as a lot as 12,000 welcome miles as a be part of bonus
  • 20,000 loyalty miles yearly with a minimal annual spend of $50,000 SGD
  • entry to a UOB PRVI Journey Butler and devoted journey assist hotline
  • complimentary personal accident safety journey insurance coverage protection and medical assist as a lot as $500,000 SGD
  • as a lot as 8 complimentary airport transfers to Changi Airport yearly
  • $10 SGD rebate on contactless funds

For Luxurious Life

Admit it. Who hasn’t always wanted a non-public chauffeur? Positive considerably. Whether or not or not it’s chasing a wannabe luxurious life-style or supplementing your present one, that’s the cardboard for you.

The DBS Altitude Card (which comes as a Visa or Amex card), as a result of the establish suggests, is positioned as an opulent journey rewards card alternative nonetheless comes with all varieties of additional corporations along with the aforementioned personal chauffeur for luxurious airport transfers.

The add-ons:

  • earn three miles for every $1 SGD spent on on-line flight and lodge transactions
  • entry to the Visa Concierge program with complimentary room upgrades and additional
  • as a lot as $1,000,000 SGD journey accident insurance coverage protection safety for you and your family members
  • 10,000 bonus miles upon charge of annual worth ($192.60 SGD) or waiver of worth in case you

For Giant Spenders

Money equals power. For some people anyway. There are these that may drop a ton with out flinching.

If this sounds reminiscent of you, and likewise you truly have enough money this life-style, ponder your self one among many elite. And as one among many elite, you get right of entry to taking part in playing cards that the rest of us can’t even ponder, invitation solely distinctive taking part in playing cards such as a result of the UOB Visa Infinite Metal Card or the OCBC Elite World Card.

For the rest of us who need every buck we’re in a position to get, we suggest attempting on the cashback financial institution playing cards. Earn while you spend. Straightforward.

The POSB Regularly Card provides you 15% cash rebates and provides on day-after-day requirements.

The add-ons:

  • as a lot as 15% cash rebates on on-line meals provide, meals catering and additional by the DBS Lifestyle App
  • as a lot as 6% cash rebates on retailers and utility / service suppliers much like Starhub and SP Group
  • use it as an all-in-one card in your every day requirements, MRT / bus rides and additional
  • cash rebates under no circumstances expire

For People Who Buy a Lot of Gasoline

It is potential you may not have the prolonged open roads in Singapore that you just see once more dwelling nonetheless that doesn’t seem to stop the boys with their toys.

There are a lot of Lamborghinis, Ferrari’s, and Porsche’s out on the roads to keep up the va-va-voom transferring into your life.

In case you occur to rely your self on this gang and the one miles you are interested in are the gasoline miles then that’s the cardboard for you.

The DBS Esso Card provides you 21.2% gasoline monetary financial savings and turns each little factor you buy into free gasoline.

The add-ons:

  • get an extra $7 SGD gasoline monetary financial savings with a minimal $180 SGD internet gasoline monetary financial savings every month
  • $180 SGD gasoline saving be part of bonus
  • auto enrollment throughout the Esso Smiles Drivers Reward program
  • 0% curiosity free Installment Price Plan for motor insurance coverage protection and freeway tax
  • pay-pump-go selections the least bit Esso service stations for larger consolation

Strategies and Strategies

Not all taking part in playing cards are equal. You perceive to be taught the small print. Nevertheless there are nonetheless one other concepts and strategies to creating your card provide the outcomes you need.

Getting the Most from Taking part in playing cards and Rewards

Reward taking part in playing cards have a redemption window. The window by which you may convert your components to rewards. Typically that window doesn’t provide the outcomes you need.

Possibly you don’t have ample components to buy what you actually need. Presumably you acknowledge an merchandise is coming out shortly that you just’re saving for.

Our excessive tip is to take a look at retailer vouchers. These have a rather a lot higher redemption window than most card reward packages.

Don’t lose your rewards, instead convert then to the likes of Takashimaya retailer vouchers which have a for for much longer expiry date, significantly easy by a card such as a result of the DBS Takashimaya Card.

Avoiding the Debt Spiral

I can’t stress ample how very important it is to utilize your card prudently and by no means spend previous your means or fail to make funds on time.

My excessive tip proper right here is to ponder organising an computerized charge, acknowledged in Singapore as a Regular Interbank Recurring Order out of your checking account to your financial institution card monetary establishment. These overdraft negotiations alongside along with your monetary establishment may merely forestall from spiraling curiosity expenses.

Accruing Rewards

How irritating is it to know you might have a card that racks up the rewards however you’ll’t use it if you end up paying for these massive ticket objects much like your rental or school expenses? We’re in a position to actually really feel your ache from proper right here. Nevertheless it certainly’s OK, there’s a solution: CardUp?

CardUp provides you an entire new technique to make funds by financial institution card even when the recipient doesn’t accept them. CardUp act as the middle man.

For a small worth on each transaction, which CardUp ensures will come successfully beneath whichever revenue you might have signed as a lot as receive, even the cashback one, they’ll make a direct charge in your behalf.

If you’ve paid your insurance coverage protection, school expenses, or property rental, you’ll sit once more comfortably understanding that you just’re racking up these rewards as soon as extra.

Now, on to You

Irrespective of card you resolve on please take into accout the subsequent: do your evaluation, check the phrases and circumstances, check the eligibility requirements ahead of your card software program, and lastly, apply financial prudence to your spending.

If you’ve obtained any experience with financial institution playing cards in Singapore, inform us about it throughout the suggestions half beneath.



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