Which Singapore retail bank has the best transaction account for expats?
May 30, 2010 12:59 PM   Subscribe

What Singapore bank offers the best transaction account for an expat Australian who travels to the UK and USA?

I'm an Australian who's just about to move to Singapore for work, being paid in Singapore dollars. I will be back and forth between Singapore, the UK and the USA over the next few years and will also need to move money in and out of Australia.

I don't want to pay any monthly fees, but I don't expect any interest either. I envisage maintaining a balance of only a few thousand SGD.

I want international ATM access and a no-annual-fee Visa or MasterCard (which I intend to pay off every month, not incurring interest.) I would also like not to be screwed royally when using said credit card internationally or withdrawing my SGD-earned cash from ATMs in the UK, USA and Australia.

All retail banks everywhere suck balls so I'm not expecting customer service to be good, but a standards-based net banking site and 24 hour call centre access would be nice as a second-tier consideration.
posted by m1ndsurfer to Work & Money (3 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
All banks are bad, but Singaporean banks are uniquely bad. Usurious fees, idiot call centre staff, and branch staff who're incentivized to stuff you full of high-margin insurance products... If there's one thing in this town that grinds my gears more than anything else, it's the retail banks.

OK, now that that's off my chest...

I use HSBC, and they're not terrible - they love to charge fees on international transfers, though (they even charge $5 for local transfers, which is ridiculous). One thing they have, though, is a multicurrency account - they let you hold balances in AUD, USD, GBP and a few others.

Stanchart were useless when I tried them. Haven't tried the local banks, but I hear UOB and DBS are ok.

You might want to try ANZ. They just bought RBS's retail network over here, so they've got branches you can visit; they've got a fee-free credit card (the Switch Mastercard), and it should be pretty easy to arrange if you bank with them already in Oz. I'm not sure about their fees, though.

Disclaimer: I used to work for ANZ; they're good people.
posted by The Shiny Thing at 6:44 PM on May 30, 2010

You may want to try asking around at the online forums for expats: here's one, and here's another.
posted by hellopanda at 9:39 AM on May 31, 2010

DBS is okay if you're doing only Singapore-based and Asia-based stuff; they have a SGD 5 fee for international withdrawals, but I didn't have too many problems with them when I was doing the travel lifestyle last year. They have a fee-free transfer thing with India, which is nice for us Indian ex-pats.
posted by the cydonian at 9:18 PM on June 10, 2010

« Older Also, bookstores with especially friendly cats   |   How can I stop feeling these pointless feelings? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.