Multi-Currency Accounts vs Wallets vs Cards: FX Fees Comparison

Multi-Currency Accounts vs Wallets vs Cards: FX Fees Comparison
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Heading for a getaway? Here’s a comparison of foreign transaction fees for some of the popular products and services available in the market.

Other than YouTrip, there are also other multi-currency accounts, wallets, and cards that aim to help you pay overseas without incurring foreign transaction fees. But how much do they really help you save?

Scenario: You’re spending MYR RM3,000 (SGD $996.20*) for your weekend getaway in Johor Bahru. Here’s how much each service costs:

DBS MCA3.25%SGD $1,030.21
(+SGD $34.01)
UOB Mighty FX3.25%SGD $1,028.66
(+SGD $32.46)
Frank by OCBC3.25%SGD $1,028.66
(+SGD $32.46)
SGD $32.46 will be credited 1 month after cash back promo ends
CIMB Platinum Mastercard3%SGD $1,026.17
(+SGD $29.97)
SGD $20 max cash back will be credited the next billing cycle
American ExpressSGD $?
RHB TravelFX2.8%SGD $1,025.72
(+SGD $27.94)
YouTripSGD $996.28
(+ SGD $0.08)

*Based on Google rates published on 26 July 2019, 12:00 (UTC +8).

DBS MCA (Account-linked Debit Card)

As the popular Malaysian Ringgit is not part of DBS MCA’s 11 currencies, you’ll be subjected to foreign transaction fees. When you pay using the linked DBS debit card, you have to fork out an extra 3.25% for the foreign transaction fee. That’s not all, DBS MCA also penalises you with a fall-below fee of up to SGD $7.50 when your bank account doesn’t meet the minimum balance if you’re above 29 years old.

Price (MYR RM3,000)Billed
SGD $996.20SGD $1,030.21 (+SGD $34.01)

UOB Mighty FX (Account-linked Debit Card)

Unfortunately, the popular Malaysian Ringgit isn’t supported by UOB Mighty FX as well. Hence, you’ll also have to pay that extra 3.25% for the foreign transaction fee. And depending on which UOB account you link to, you may also be penalised with a fall-below fee of up to SGD $7.50 when your bank account doesn’t meet the minimum balance.

Price (MYR RM3,000)Billed
SGD $996.20SGD $1,028.66 (+SGD $32.46)

Frank by OCBC (Account-linked Debit Card)

When we look for multi-currency payment options, we hardly think of Frank by OCBC. However, they’ve recently launched a promotion that promises to waive foreign transaction fees. It seems pretty good at first glance, but the terms and conditions always disappoint, don’t they? Heads up! We’ve done the nitty-gritty reading so you don’t have to:

  1. Promotion ends 31 October 2019
  2. You pay the 3.25% foreign transaction fee first, and it’ll be credited to you as cash back afterwards
  3. You’ll only receive the cash back 1 month after the promotion ends

This means that when you shop overseas, you have to calculate and track the 3.25% in whatever you’ve spent to ensure the cash back you receive in the end tallies with your calculations. All that for a drop of cash back? 🤔 That’s a lot of work just to get back your own money.

Oh, there’s also a minimum balance you have to maintain too, otherwise you’ll be penalised with a SGD $2 fall-below fee if you’re above 26 years old.

Price (MYR RM3,000)Billed
SGD $996.20SGD $1,028.66 (+SGD $32.46)
Note: SGD $32.46 will be credited to you 1 month after promo ends

CIMB Platinum Mastercard (Credit Card)

Woah, 10% cash back on foreign currency spend! But again, terms and conditions 👀. In order to achieve this 10% cash back, the following criteria applies:

  1. Only airlines, hotels, travel agencies, and railways purchases in foreign currency are eligible
  2. Charge a minimum SGD $800 to your card per month
  3. Cash back capped at SGD $20

With the cash back cap, this means that only SGD $200 of your foreign currency purchase qualifies for the SGD $20 cash back. When you spend beyond that, you don’t get anything more. And remember, this is a credit card, which means that you’ll still be subjected to a foreign currency transaction fee of 3%.

Price (MYR RM3,000)Billed
SGD $996.20SGD $1,026.17 (+SGD $29.97)
Note: SGD $20 will be credited to you the next billing cycle

American Express (Credit Card)

You may not heard of this, because American Express quietly introduced a foreign currency spend cash back program to its existing users. From now till 30 June 2020, users can register their Amex credit cards to enjoy an extra 1% on top of the existing 1.5% cash back on foreign currency spend – so now a total of 2.5%. Keep in mind that it’s still a credit card, which means that the foreign currency transaction fee of 2.5% still applies.

Even though the fee and cash back cancel each other out, you may still be subjected to Amex’s currency exchange rates, which we’re unsure of because there doesn’t seem to be a calculator or rate table available (let us know if you find one!). 

Price (MYR RM3,000)Billed
SGD $996.20SGD $?

RHB TravelFX (Multi-Currency Wallet & Prepaid Card)

When you use RHB TravelFX for your Malaysian Ringgit purchase, you’ll also be subjected to a fee – but at 2.8% because it’s not within its 11 supported currencies. There’s no need to link to a bank account and maintain a minimum balance unlike DBS MCA, UOB Mighty FX, and Frank by OCBC, so that’s one thin silver lining at the very least.

Price (MYR RM3,000)Billed
SGD $996.20SGD $1,025.72 (+SGD $27.94)

YouTrip (Multi-Currency Wallet & Prepaid Card)

Malaysian Ringgit? No problem! In fact, no problem to over 150 currencies, whether it’s the ever popular Korean Won or Thai Baht. No matter what currency you’re paying in, you’ll be enjoying transparent Wholesale Exchange Rates. There’s no promotion fine print, because no fees means no fees 😎. No minimum balance to worry about either. We know it sucks to spend and track that extra 3.25% just to get it back a few months later. With YouTrip’s real-time app notification, you can rest assured that your cost savings are immediate when it shows how much you’ve spent in SGD the moment you transact.

Price (MYR RM3,000)Billed
SGD $996.20SGD $996.28 (+ SGD $0.08)

Spotted the extra SGD $0.08? YouTrip’s Wholesale Exchange Rates are managed by the YouTrip platform with our foreign currency partners and Mastercard®, typically with a marginal difference of between 0.1% and 0.4%.

Holidays should be carefree – why pay extra and worry about fees? Calculations suck, so leave the fees behind and enjoy a fee-less getaway with YouTrip instead. 

All published rates are calculated based on currency exchange rates on 29 July 2019, 12:00 (UTC +8)

Read: How to Avoid DCC: SGD vs Local Currency

Read: How to Avoid Credit Card Scams and Frauds Overseas

Read: 7 Best Holiday Booking Hacks to Score Best Deals

Read: 12 Travel Hacks To Become a Smarter and Better Traveller

Read: How My Family Escaped an Extortion in Vietnam

Enjoy a worldwide fees-less travel experience!

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