Singapore - Post Report Question and Answers

Are credit cards widely accepted and safe to use locally? Are ATMs common and do you recommend using them? Are they safe to use?

Cash is common in hawker centers and smaller shops. ATMs tend to be in MRT stations and inside shopping centers. They are plentiful, but they are intentionally tucked out of the way, so you may need to rely on signage, Google Maps, or your bank’s app to find one. For some reason, Visa cards issued overseas frequently run into problems when paying online. In person there’s usually no problem, and MasterCards don’t seem to have the same issue. adds a surcharge when paying by Visa (not MasterCard). Best to have at least one of each, in case one doesn’t work. Currently contactless chip cards are very commonly accepted and easy to use (called “Paywave” here). You should get a local bank account, though going to the bank has been a huge hassle for us. Opening an account included tons of nonsensical, duplicative, bureaucracy, waiting in queues, talking to dozens of staff, etc. The concept of a basic checking account for just paying bills seemed foreign here — the local market is interested higher-yield accounts and accounts that come with strange extras like health insurance. But once you’re established, you can pay by NETS (like a debit card app exclusive to Singapore - many merchants accept NETS or cash only because it’s cheaper for them), PayNow, and Paylah (direct bank transfer using mobile phone number). - Mar 2022

If possible getting a local account is great! It is a lot cheaper and you can pay by nets. - Aug 2015

We use USAA and have no problems. - Aug 2015

Fine and reliable. - Apr 2012 issues - Nov 2011

No problems. - Mar 2010

Easy. We use DBS bank. Get a local credit card for local purchases. - Dec 2008

Very easy, although not as many places take credit cards as do in the US. - Aug 2008

No proplems at all. - Jun 2008

Subscribe to our newsletter

New book from Talesmag! Honest and courageous stories of life abroad with special needs.

Read More