Tired of exorbitant bank exchange rates when you use your credit card overseas? If you’re frequent travellers like us, you’ll want to skip the long queues at the money changer and opt for a multi-currency digital wallet and card instead. In Singapore, the most popular players are YouTrip, Revolut, and TransferWise. We pit them against each other to find out which is the best for you.

What are they?

Traditional cards from your bank of choice rely of legacy structures that might incur high fees and unfavourable exchange rates. In contrast, multi-currency travel cards are essentially debit cards that are designed for use overseas. The basic premise of one is that they offer better exchange rates with little to no fees, which go up to 6 times cheaper for currency conversation and remittance, through the use of mid-market rates. In other words, your rates are a lot closer to what you’d find on online currency converters like XE.com.

So what sets them apart from each other?

YouTrip

First incepted in August 2018, YouTrip lays claim to being the first digital multi-currency travel card in Singapore, and having used YouTrip for around a year now, we love how fuss-free and convenient it is. The company also recently expanded into Thailand through a partnership with local bank Kasikornbank.

A single card lets you carry out everyday transactions through the Mastercard platform in over 150 currencies, with an in-app money changer employing SmartExchange™ technology for 10 currencies, including SGD, HKD, JPY, NZD, GBP, USD, AUD, and EUR. YouTrip is also the only card in this list to not incur any fees whether you’re making overseas transactions, topping up value, or exchanging currency.

Other features:

* Free membership and complimentary first card
* EZ-Link capabilities on public transit within Singapore
* Instant notifications on your phone for every transaction
* Cash withdrawal at Mastercard, Maestro or Cirrus ATMs at wholesale exchange rates for a S$5 fee

What we didn’t quite like:

While topping up your YouTrip wallet is seamless with any Singapore credit or debit card, the total amount each card can hold is only limited to S$3,000. Plus, any value that you top up cannot be withdrawn to your bank account unless you decide to close your account, which will then incur and administrative fee of S$10.

Revolut

Revolut was founded in the UK back in 2015, and now counts almost 10 million users in Europe and Australia. Since entering the Singapore market in the start of 2019, countless Singaporeans have joined the waiting list for one of their accounts. Revolut markets itself as an all-purpose travel solution, and its paid plans even offer things like global medical and dental insurance, loss or damaged items insurance, and LoungeKey Pass access.

One of the best parts about Revolut are its easy-to-carry virtual cards, though the feature is only applicable to Premium and Metal paid memberships. Otherwise, all plans let you spend in over 150 currencies with commission-free and real-time exchange rates via the Visa platform. What’s interesting is that other than acting as a multi-currency wallet and debit card, Revolut also allows you to transfer money send money domestically and internationally and exchange 28 currencies (up to S$9000 per month for Standard members) on your app.

Other features:

* Three different subscription plans
* Instant notifications on your phone for every transaction
* Cash withdrawal at major international ATMs at wholesale exchange rates, free up to S$350 a month for Standard members
* Recurring payments for paying bills
* Location-based security
* Built-in budgeting on app

What we didn’t quite like:

For foreign exchange, Revolut applies a markup of 0.5% on major currencies during market hours and 1% over the weekend when markets are closed. For certain currencies like the Thai Baht (we know how much Singaporeans love Bangkok), this goes as high as 1.5% and 2.5% respectively.

TransferWise

Another UK based company, TransferWise first started as a fuss-free and low-cost way to remit money overseas. And that’s what it is in essence, now made easier by their trademark neon green Mastercard debit card.

Spend, send, and receive money in more than 40 holding currencies (the most on this list) based on real-time exchange rates. What’s cool about TransferWise is that you can get access to your own account in multiple countries, including account numbers and their respective codes in Australia, the UK, Europe, New Zealand, and the States.

Money transfers are also very transparent, and what you see is what you pay. Transfer fees sits between 0.34% to 2.04% per transfer, and average around 0.45% for popular study and work destinations for Singaporeans, including Australia, US, UK, Europe, and Hong Kong. That’s a lot cheaper than the market average of 4% in Singapore for remittance!

Other features:

* Cash withdrawal at major international ATMs at wholesale exchange rates, free up to S$350 a month
* Referral bonuses of up to S$100 for every three friends that sign up and make a transfer
* Real-time FX rates on app

What we didn’t quite like:

TransferWise is great for small and frequent transfers, but their fees would definitely be beaten by bigger companies for large transfers. Topping up your account also incurs a fee of up to 0.2%, depending on your currency of choice.

Choosing which to go with

Revolut and Transferwise might offer free ATM withdrawals overseas, but bank-specific processing fees might still apply and the limit of S$350 might not be enough for longer trips. YouTrip is a more straight-forward travel payment solution, while Revolut offers other benefits that might rival a traditional bank card. Have family overseas? TransferWise potentially saves you a lot in remittance fees over the years.

If you’re new to multi-currency wallets and travel cards, you’ll want to do your due diligence in exploring the different features. Travel only once a year? A multi-currency savings account from a bank might be enough for you, but if you frequently travel or have financial obligations overseas, it’s always good to have one of these on hand. You might even consider signing up for all three!

 

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