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Asian couple shopping at a local market when on holiday

Here are the pros and cons of payment options to consider before your next overseas trip.

Four payment options you should know before travelling

Choosing the right payment option on your overseas travels can be a little confusing. Here, we reveal the pros and cons of four common overseas payment methods to help you make the most of your trip without having to worry about money.


While cash is widely accepted – which is especially important if you’re in a developing country with limited electronic payment facilities – using cash comes with a few downsides.

Carrying large amounts of cash puts you at risk of theft and could derail your travel plans if you lose your stash while overseas. Also be aware that currency exchange services at airports and tourist centres tend to use lower exchange rates than the equivalent bank rate, which may take a significant bite out of your travel budget.

Digital Wallets

Digital wallets such as Android Pay, Samsung Pay and Apple Pay, alongside many others, are good alternatives to cash when you’re travelling overseas. Linked to your bank account, digital wallets provide a convenient and secure payment option. Your Singapore dollars are converted into the destination foreign currency at the time of the transaction. 

However, digital wallets are still a developing technology in many countries and, depending on your destination, may not be widely accepted.

Debit Cards

Debit cards offer the best of both worlds. They are widely accepted by most retailers and allow easy access to cash while overseas via ATM withdrawals, which means you don’t have to carry large amounts of cash with you. And you don’t have to worry about running out of cash or losing money converting unspent foreign currency back into Singapore dollars when you return home.

You can often also earn bonus interest on money you spend overseas with participating debit cards. For example, with Standard Chartered Bank’s Bonus$aver Debit Card, you can earn up to 1.78% p.a. interest on your eligible deposit balances of up to S$100,000 when you spend at least S$2,000 on qualifying retail transactions in any calendar month, or earn up to 0.78% p.a. interest on the aforementioned eligible deposit balances when you spend at least S$500 on qualifying retail transactions in any calendar month.

Credit Cards

Using your credit card overseas can be rewarding if it’s linked to a rewards programme that recognises foreign purchases. . For example, Standard Chartered Bank’s Rewards+ Credit Card offers up to 10X rewards points on your eligible spend in a currency that is not Singapore Dollars up to 20,000 reward points per year, with no minimum spend required.

However, ensure that your credit card provider offers international customer service. If you’re travelling to a different time zone for instance, look for a credit card provider that offers 24/7 phone support so you can get assistance when you need it. 

When travelling overseas, there’s no need to stick to just one payment option. Rather, use your debit card to withdraw small amounts of cash, consider using a digital wallet for larger purchases,  and opt for credit card payments with secure vendors such as hotels and restaurants to take advantage of special deals and rewards programmes.

Rewards Plus Credit Card

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