withdrawing money overseas, withdrawing money overseas

Withdraw Money Overseas – Best Singapore ATM Card & Tips

June 18, 2016

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Withdraw Money Overseas, Best Singapore ATM card

How much does it cost to withdraw money overseas? Sometimes it can be free, which is great so you don’t have to carry wads of cash with you on your trip. Want to know which debit card to take with you on a trip? There is a wide range of options. In this post we will explore the different ATM cards you can use to withdraw money overseas. We will tell you how much they charge for withdrawals or transactions, and the exchange rate that they offer. Not all cards are made equal, here’s the pros and cons of each bank’s ATM/Debit card, you pick the best one for your travel needs. Find the best ATM card in Singapore for travelling now!

withdraw money overseas, withdrawing money overseas


Withdrawal charges

Free withdrawals overseas from Citibank ATMs in 42 countries. Just pay the standard foreign currency exchange rates, which are pretty reasonable.


There’s absolutely no processing fees to withdraw money overseas from Citibank ATMs using Citibank ATM & Debit Card, only pay for exchange rates. Citibank is an international bank with more than 2,500 ATMs worldwide, you will most likely be covered wherever you go. Check out the locations of Citibank ATMs worldwide. It is fantastic for frequent travellers who withdraw money overseas every few months. You get to make multiple withdrawals without incurring charges each time you do. There’s no need to withdraw a huge amount of cash to justify withdrawal fees.


Citibank’s Basic Banking Account charges a monthly service fee of S$2 per month for an account, that’s S$24 per year. Ask yourself how often you’ll be travelling and withdrawing money. For other types of Citibank accounts that do not charge service fees, there’s a minimum amount of cash that you would have to ‘park’ at the bank to maintain your bank account. The interest rate for Citibank’s debit account isn’t great. Your money would earn more interest in say, OCBC 360 bank account so that’s something to think about.


Withdrawal charges

S$5 for each cash withdrawal from overseas Cirrus ATMs that’s not owned by DBS.


  • S$2 if you use your card at Bank of Central Asia (BCA, Indonesia), Bank of Philippines Island (Philippines) and HDFC (India) ATMs.
  • Free to withdraw money overseas from DBS ATMs in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Indonesia and India.


  • Free cash withdrawals from Westpac, St.George Bank, Bank of Melbourne and BankSA ATMs in Australia.

Fine print

Cash withdrawal overseas converted by Visa/MasterCard associations is subject to a conversion fee of 1%. It’s 0.6% for UnionPay, plus administrative fee of up to 2.65%.


This debit card is great if you travel a lot within Asia Pacific. You get free cash withdrawals from DBS ATMs located in the big cities of Hong Kong, Taiwan, Indonesia and India. It is unlikely that you would be able to find DBS ATMs in smaller towns though, so check first should you wish to withdraw for free. DBS debit cards are great if you travel to Australia often, you get to withdraw for free from the ATMs of major Australian banks.


If you’re travelling outside of Asia or Australia, be prepared to pay a S$5 fee for each withdrawal. You would have to withdraw less often, as well as a larger amount of cash to justify the withdrawal fee.


Withdrawal charges

  • Free if withdrawing money from OCBC Wing Hang ATMs in Hong Kong and Macau, OCBC Malaysia ATMs in Malaysia, and OCBC NISP ATMs in Indonesia.
  • Otherwise there’s a service charge of 3% on the amount withdrawn (in SGD) from ATMS with Visa/PLUS service. The mininum charge is S$5 and maximum S$20 per transaction. On top of this, there’s an administrative fee of 1.8% for the foreign currency transaction.

Fine print

Additional service fee may be imposed by the ATM bank.


Not much.


It isn’t as good as what Citibank and DBS offers. There’s few ATMs that you can withdraw for free. The charges are steep, you would be paying a fee of 3% + 1.8% to withdraw from an overseas ATM that isn’t owned by OCBC. That’s around S$24 to withdraw S$500 from the ATM, excluding additional service fees imposed by the ATM bank.


  • Free cash withdrawals at all UOB ATMs in Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand.
  • There’s S$5 service charge for each time you withdraw money overseas from ATMs not owned by UOB.


If you travel to Thailand often, this is the credit card for you. You can withdraw money for free with a UOB card in most parts of Thailand. At the time of writing, there’s 118 UOB ATM machines scattered around Thailand. You can find 8 UOB ATMs Bangkok (compare this to 3 Citibank ATMs in Bangkok), 13 in Phuket and 1 in Chiang Mai.


UOB ATM network is limited to Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand. Citibank has a better network of free withdrawal ATMs outside of Asia. It all depends on where you’re travelling to. DBS could be the better option if you’re travelling in Asia and the pacific.


Withdrawal charges

  • Fee of S$3.50 per transaction when withdrawing cash from HSBC network of ATMs worldwide (excluding Argentina, France, Brazil, Greece, Malta, Mexico, New Zealand and Turkey).
  • Fee of S$8 per withdrawal for all other VISA/MasterCard/PLUS/Cirrus ATM transactions.

Fine print

Visa transactions in foreign currency are subject to an additional charge of up to 1%.


Not much.


It isn’t even free to withdraw from HSBC ATMs overseas, that’s quite a bad deal compared to other options. ATM withdrawal fee of $8 is steep. Forget about it, you’re better off with an ATM card from DBS, UOB or Citibank.

Tips for using ATMs overseas

Cirrus, PLUS, Maestro

Make sure that your ATM card is linked to the PLUS, Cirrus or Maestro network. How do you know? Look for these icons on your card.

Plus Maestro Cirrus

It will be indicated on the ATMs the networks you can withdraw from. So for example, you own a Cirrus card, ensure that you’re withdrawing from an ATM on the Cirrus network as indicated on the ATM. You will not be able to withdraw money overseas if not for these networks.

withdraw money overseas, withdrawing money overseas

Activate for overseas use

The magnetic stripes on both credit and debit cards are deactivated by default. This is a banking industry initiative to protect you against fraud. Be sure to activate your cards for overseas use, you don’t want to be caught with cards that can’t be used. It’s simple and easy to activate your cards for overseas use. Simply just call your bank, SMS them, or do it online via iBanking services. 103° EAST TRAVEL pointed out that this is necessary for credit cards if the country you are visiting still uses the card’s magnetic swipe. If you can do ‘chip and sign’, like you can in Europe, there’s no need and its safer not to.

Prevent fraud

Obviously do not share your PIN number with anyone. Cover the hand that’s keying in the PIN with your wallet or any other object. This prevents criminals from recording your PIN via a hidden camera. Do your research, ATM fraud can be prevalent in some cities or towns in developing countries. Avoid withdrawing from these hot spots if you can. Finally, when you get home from your holidays check your account activities and report any suspicious withdrawals to your bank immediately.

Personal safety

This is unlikely, but try to avoid being robbed at an ATM. Be observant of your surroundings, walk away if you notice anyone acting suspiciously. Use ATMs only in daylight, or well-lit locations in the safer parts of town.

Check your insurance

If you withdraw in big amounts to justify bank charges, be aware of the maximum amount you can claim from your insurance company for lost or stolen cash. Most companies limit lost/stolen cash claims to S$500. You must make a local police report about the lost/stolen cash and obtain the paperwork. Read the insurance fine print, what are the clauses – the insurance company may require evidence that you took measures to prevent the loss of cash. Don’t give the insurance company any reason to reject your claim!

Carrying cash while travelling

Don’t keep all your cash in one place. Stash your cash away in places that are inaccessible to pickpockets. There’s a lot of ingenious ways to carry money – use a money belt, bra pocket, or garters.

Sassy stash, https://www.facebook.com/sassystash

Carry a second wallet and spread your cash around, it is also a good idea to take your money in 3 different forms – bank notes in the local currency, ATM/Debit card and credit card. Keep your common sense, be discreet and don’t flash your cash at everyone.

Hopefully this comprehensive guide helps you pick the best ATM card to use on your overseas trips and show you how you can withdraw money overseas for free. Which bank option depends on your needs and where you’re travelling. Happy travelling and stay safe with these tips!

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3 thoughts on “Withdraw Money Overseas – Best Singapore ATM Card & Tips

  1. Great article, thanks for tracking down all the ATM fees!
    One point about activating cards for overseas – you only need to do this for credit cards if the country you are visiting still uses magnetic swipe. If you can do ‘chip and sign’, like you can in Europe, no need and its safer not to.

    1. Thanks for the useful tip Phil! I edited the article and included this nugget of information with a link to 103East, what a great blog 🙂

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