Whether you’re planning for your next family getaway or a soul-searching trip, there is one consideration that’s often left to the last: how do you pay at your holiday destination?
Here we’ll explain why you shouldn’t leave it to last, so you’ll have sufficient time to evaluate the most ideal payment mode for you and make the necessary application or subscription.
News alert! Here’s an exclusive promo for Now Boarding readers: you can get up to S$35 worth of FairPrice Group E-Vouchers when you sign up for a credit card with Trust Bank Singapore, a digital bank backed by Standard Chartered and FairPrice Group. Read to the end to find out more.
1. Choose the card that can stretch your dollar the most
Physical money-changers usually charge a markup for cash exchange. Credit cards, on the other hand, attract bank and payment gateway charges ranging from 2.5% to 3.5% - though these can be partially offset by the rewards from credit cards in the form of air miles, cashback or loyalty points.
However, there is one card that reduces all these hidden fees and charges – the Trust card. With no bank or gateway charges (not even the usual 1% Visa fee) and no foreign transaction fees, this means that you get more for every dollar as compared to exchanging cash.
In addition, the Trust card offers very competitive exchange rates. They are comparable to the rates you find on Google without any sneaky markups or transaction fees.
Pro-tip: Always opt for payment in the foreign currency when using your credit card instead of Singapore dollars to avoid a mark-up of your transactions, which can go as high as 5%. This is due to the dynamic currency conversion which are fees imposed by the merchant (not the bank or payment gateway) for the currency exchange.
2. Maximise your rewards with overseas spending, just like you would when you spend locally
Credit cards often offer a rewards programme like air miles or cashback which you can continue to earn even while overseas. Since you will receive more benefits the more you spend, why not use a credit card to kill two birds with one stone? Some credit cards also offer specific promotions at certain hotels or flights, or for transactions in foreign currencies so don’t miss out on those perks: clock your savings and rewards easily!
Another very useful type of reward to check out are Linkpoints awarded by FairPrice Group. Linkpoints are earned with spends from a Trust card, and can be redeemed and used at FairPrice supermarkets, Unity pharmacies, Kopitiam outlets, and a wide variety of Link Partners such as Caltex, Cathay Pacific, and more.
You can also convert Linkpoints to your preferred partner points or miles, including airasia rewards, KrisFlyer, and more.
If you’re someone who has trouble tracking your credit card spend to get perks and rewards, Trust Bank has made your life a lot simpler with the bonus tracker on its app. Keep track of your reward targets in real-time on the app, so you never miss out on bonus rewards that you have painstakingly accumulated!
If you have a savings account* with Trust Bank, your overseas spend on your card can unlock more bonus savings interest rates. Five eligible purchases with your Trust card means you can enjoy bonus interest of 0.5% per annum (1% p.a. for NTUC Union Members) on the first S$75,000 in your account on top of the 1.5% p.a. base interest rate.
3. Save a trip to the ATM
With cash, you are limited to the amount that you have in hand. If something last minute comes up such as having to extend your stay or underestimating how many souvenirs you need to buy, you may need more cash than you have on hand.
Skip the panic and save a trip to cash withdrawal machines by using a credit card. You’ll not have to worry about running out of money overseas.
It’s pretty much effortless. Simply pay back the amount once you’re back from your trip. With the Trust card, rest assured that these additional bills will not rack up in the time that you’ve gone.
However, there might be some instances where cash may still be necessary – for small purchases or at remote areas where cash is preferred. In these scenarios, do not fret! The Trust card can be used to withdraw cash at overseas ATMs. Just remember to select “Savings Account” from the ATM screen. Those who don’t have a Savings Account by Trust can still withdraw cash and enjoy zero cash advance fees, whereas other banks may charge up to 8% in fees. Do bear in mind that interest charges for cash advance still applies.
There are no withdrawal or foreign transaction fees, so you get what you pay for. But do take note that some foreign banks may impose a service charge for withdrawals at their ATMs.
4. Choose convenience over hassle when you’re travelling
Who has got time to go to the money changer to change for the foreign currencies you need, let alone time comparing the rates from different money changers? Not to mention the added stress of dealing with unfamiliar foreign currency in notes and coins when you are on your vacation and making everyone wait as you slowly thumb through your thick wad of notes at the cashier.
With the advent of multi-currency wallets and cards for you to exchange foreign currencies at competitive rates and to store them for use, they might seem to be the solution for your overseas spending. However, it may not be as convenient as it seems. If you ever have insufficient value in the wallet, bear in mind the extra mobile data and roaming you need for the transfer of funds between your bank accounts. Don’t forget that you will need to receive SMSes on your Singapore number for your one-time password authorisations.
So why go through the hassle when you can just use your Trust card as-is?
When you’re overseas, you have enough to think about so save yourself from worrying about the logistics of transferring funds across different bank accounts while on the go!
With just one wave, credit cards are entirely hassle-free.
5. Trust a mode of payment that is safe and secure
Even if something did happen to your credit card, your losses could still be mitigated, unlike how it is for cash.
Some banks and credit card companies allow customers to lock the card instantly upon losing it so that thieves would not be able to make fraudulent transactions with it. If you manage to recover it, simply log onto the bank’s online app to unlock it again. This is a function available in the Trust Bank SG App to protect your Trust card against fraudulent uses.
Alternatively, you could cancel your credit card on the respective mobile banking platforms and request for a replacement card at no fee with most banks. If you are a Trust cardmember, you can cancel your card using the in-app customer service chat (which is available 24/7!) and continue your trip worry-free, knowing your money is safe.
If you are someone who prefers to bring a physical credit card along wherever you go, some credit cards have gone numberless so you do not have to worry about stolen card numbers. The Trust card is an example, where you can only access your card number, CVV and card expiry date through the Trust App - so you no longer have to worry about unauthorised people laying hands on your credit card details.
It doesn’t stop there when it comes to the security of Trust cards. Enjoy peace of mind and keep the overseas usage settings of your Trust card under your control by toggling within the Trust App to enable or disable overseas transactions conveniently.
As an added security feature, you also get instant push notifications for all account activity in real-time through the Trust App, which would alert you to any suspicious activity in the event that you don’t realise that your card has been misplaced.
6. Minimise your risk of being pickpocketed
Carrying cash around when you’re on a vacation can be burdensome. Having such large amounts of cash on you is a liability and a risk for theft or pickpocketing. And on holiday, you really don’t need an extra thing to worry about when all you want to do is relax.
Credit cards are less conspicuous than a thick wallet filled with small notes and heavy coins.
To further minimise risk, you don’t even need to bring your physical card out. For the Trust card, it can be stored easily in digital wallets on your smartphone such as Apple Pay and Google Pay. You can make payments conveniently via your mobile devices and this mode of payment is commonly accepted at most shops and restaurants with contactless terminals.
7. Track and manage your expenses effortlessly
Some worry that with credit cards, their spending will become out of control, especially when one is on a vacation. But with the convenience of banking apps and e-statements, tracking your finances proves to still be easy to do with a credit card!
Cash doesn’t leave a paper trail, and it can get tiresome to keep track of expenses receipt by receipt. Having a digital record of all your transactions in real time can help you be more mindful of your spending. In addition, you can see the amount to be charged in SGD via the Trust App right after the transaction.
Evidently, there is much that credit cards can offer and value-add to any trip overseas. Using credit cards can give you peace of mind because of its security features and flexibility; even better if there aren’t any sneaky foreign transaction fees and secret markups. You don’t have to worry about overspending, and can even earn rewards and save as you spend!
So before you head down the money-changer the next time and exchange huge amounts of cash before you go overseas, pause and make the conscious decision to opt for a stress-free holiday by using a credit card.
Wondering which credit card makes for the best travel companion? Search no more and sign up for the all-encompassing Trust card—perfect for everyday spending with its attractive rewards plan.
Don’t miss out on this exclusive promotion for Now Boarding readers: Download the Trust Bank SG App now, sign up with referral code CHANGI23 and get up to S$35 worth of FairPrice Group E-Voucher! T&Cs apply.
*Insured up to S$75k by SDIC.
This story is written in partnership with Trust Bank.