Travel Hack: Save Time and FX fees or queues at Money Changers

Money Changer Foreign Exchange Change Alley Singapore
Money Changer at Change Alley in Singapore

We all pay a visit to the Money Changer before we head off overseas for our vacation. We compare prices with different Money Changers or go to the ones we know give better foreign exchange rates. But it can be a hassle. Just think of the queues and effort required.

I do that too and now I have a stack of unused currencies and those irritating coins that I never know what to do with. I wish there was an easier way.

Today DBS Bank expanded their Multi-Currency Account service offering. It also allows account holders to charge their purchases overseas to their DBS Visa Debit Card and directly debit from one of the 11 foreign currency wallets without the expense of marked up foreign exchange rates and fees.

Sounds complicated but it really isn’t that difficult to fathom.

All new DBS personal accounts opened from 2015 come with the option of this Multi-Currency account. This account can accommodate SGD, HKD, JPY, THB, AUD, NZD, USD, GBP, EUR, SEK, NOK and CAD in separate wallets within the account.

Existing DBS Bank account holders can easily request to open one and tag their debit card to the account. You get a different bank account number too. Just maintain a minimum balance of S$3,000 to avoid paying a service fee. If you are under 29, this is even waived off.

DBS and Visa launches FX solution for customers
DBS Bank and Visa launches FX solution for customers (DBS Bank photo)

If you are travelling to the US, you can convert your SGD from your account to USD online or via DBS mobile app. This way you have more control over when and at what foreign exchange rate to convert your money. No need to queue or go through the trouble of finding a money changer.

When you are in the US, just charge to your DBS Debit Visa card and your purchases will automatically be deducted from your USD wallet. No additional steps required. You also know at what foreign exchange rate your purchase is based on.

Another tip to take note when paying with your credit or debit card overseas. Always pay in the local currency of the country you are in and not the currency of your own country. This way you can avoid the charges and usually unfavourable foreign exchange rates.

This works just like any bank account with a debit card. You can only make purchases based on your preset daily limit subject to the balance in your account. If you do not have sufficient funds in the wallet, the transaction will not be successful. It would not be able to deduct from your foreign currency wallet and the rest from your SGD wallet.

You can easily purchase more foreign currency from your SGD account from your mobile app or online anywhere in the world.

Now you can be truly cashless especially in countries where card payments are widely accepted. However, if you really need to withdraw cash from the ATM while overseas, the cash will be deducted from your foreign currency wallet. You save on the foreign exchange conversion imposed by the bank you are withdrawing cash from. However, you still have to bear the charges from the ATM withdrawal fee.

Now don’t you think this is convenient?


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Middle aged curious individual trying to find a balance in keeping healthy and finding joy keeping fit. Because trying new food and drink is part of the work.


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  2. Then unused usd for eg can be converted back to sgd at no charge too? Actually I think it’s about the same as changing worth money changer. U still lose the conversion rates.

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