The best banks and cards for Malaysian & Singaporean travellers

Bank/ AccountCountryCard NetworkTypeOverseas ATM feesForeign Currency Transaction feesMonthly/ annual feesNotes
Citibank Basic Savings AccountMalaysiaMastercardDebitRM1000surcharge free withdrawals at Citibank ATMs in 19 countries worldwide
OCBC EasiSave AccountMalaysiaMastercardDebitRM100RM8 annually for the cardsurcharge free withdrawals at OCBC ATMs in Singapore, Macau, Hong Kong and Indonesia
Ambank Basic Savings AccountMalaysiaMastercardDebitRM100RM8 annually + RM8 annually for the card
Bank Rakyat Credit Card-i ClassicMalaysiaMastercardCredit5%, min. RM21.20 + 1.5% monthly profit rate00Transactions at non-halal merchants will be declined
Bank Islam creditcard-i GoldMalaysiaVisa or MastercardCredit3%, min. RM50 + 1.5% monthly profit rate0RM130 annuallyannual fee can be waived with 12 transactions per year. Accept transactions from “HALAL” merchant only.
WirexSingaporeVisaPrepaid000
RevolutSingaporeVisaPrepaidS$350 per month freeS$9,000 per month free0markup on weekends
CIMB Bank StarSaver AccountSingaporePlus (Visa)ATM Card01%0 if you opt out of paper statementsAt their regional ATMs in SEA, CIMB uses their own currency rates, without a conversion fee
DBS Multicurrency AccountSingaporeVisaDebit0 at DBS ATMs in Hong Kong, Taiwan, India, Indonesia & Westpac (Australia). $7 elsewhere.0 for 11 major currencies. Other currencies: 3.25%0 if first account at DBSthey use their own (slightly worse) exchange rates, instead of Visa's
ICBCSingaporeUnionpayCredit5% min. S$151.5%S$30 annually, first three years free

Important! Malaysian and Singaporean banks disable international usage of their cards by default, you have to contact them to enable it, otherwise the card won’t work abroad. This may also apply to internet stores which do not use 3-D Secure.

Recommendations:

For Malaysians any of the three listed debit cards is a fine choice. Citibank may be a slight favourite because it has no annual fee and offers an additional benefit with their worldwide surcharge free network (not that big anymore after numerous sell offs, but still handy if you travel to the US a lot). If any of the OCBC countries is a preferred travel destination of yours, I’d consider that instead.

The Bank Rakyat credit card is the better of the only two credit cards on the market without conversion fees. There are some minor usage restrictions for both concerning merchant codes.

For Singaporeans, the market has gotten competitive with the entry of some new players. The Wirex card seems to best for now.

Sadly, still no good credit cards on offer, ICBC’s is still the lowest at 1.5%.

Term explainer:

Overseas ATM fee: The fee your own bank charges you for withdrawals when you use a foreign ATM abroad.

ATM surcharge rebate: How much of the fee the owner of the foreign ATM may charge you directly your bank will pay back to you. Not all ATMs charge a fee, but if they do it will show up on the screen at some point during the withdrawal process.

Foreign currency transaction fee: The fee your bank charges you for a transaction in a foreign currency. Unless otherwise noted this fee applies to both, ATM withdrawals and POS transactions in a store/ or on the internet.

 

Spotted a mistake, or know another card that doesn’t charge? Shoot me an email at webmaster [at] nofeesoverseas.com

Disclaimer

I’m not a financial advisor, everything you read on this website is for informational purposes only. While doing my best, I do not take responsibility for the accuracy of the information. Make sure you read all the fine print before you sign up for any of these products. If you have questions about fees or terms contact the bank/ card issuer.