That’s interesting, I’ll try the DBS and POSB (same parent bank) sometime while I’m still in Singapore. I had no idea they limit it to using their conversion.
If you could verify that would be great, pretty sure I did everything right at the ATM and found it odd that I got charged.
@LFreer just tried a DBS ATM, I found I could choose to accept with/without conversion without any issue. Don’t know why that happened to you? The notification in monzo said “enable magstripe to use ATMs in this country” but I didn’t and it worked out okay. Other users have said OCBC works fine too, so I think you might have gotten a rogue ATM perchance?
With OCBC Bank and UOB ATMs, it’s as simple as putting in your card and withdrawing money. No fees or bank conversion rates.
Thanks for the verification people.
Think I may have got to the bottom of it - followed my transactions history. It seems I may have tried to withdraw more than my daily limit for that particular transaction and hence it declined.
Cheers again for the verification though.
I used it last week and it was fine- opted to not covert. Perhaps it’s been rectified
I just got charged s$5 on my Monzo debit card after declining the automatic currency translation for DBS (as in, I opted to pay in local currency). The wording on the screen did not say I would be charged the “access fee” so please withdraw from DBS on your Monzo debit carefully. I am going to see if I can take a picture of the screen where it asks about the translation (it says it will charge s$5 for the translation only) and put it here to see if it mentions a general s$5 fee (but I read it pretty carefully and wouldn’t gave accepted the fee had I known it was coming).
I also tried a UOB machine and I got a “technical error” … didn’t give more detail it just immediately returned my card. Could have been just that machine.
Both machines were at Bukkit Timah MRT
Bukit Timah is pretty near where I live! That’s odd, I’ve not been charged for cash withdrawals when I got cash out (tried OCBC, POSB, DBS- DBS is linked to POSB if I’m not wrong). Not sure if it’s a new thing they’ve rolled out to charge foreign cards
Update to @adamdunkley’s post-
I tried out the various ATMs- withdrew cash using Starling at POSB, UOB and OCBC- was charged $5 after declining DCC at POSB which they don’t tell you about UOB rejected the card and OCBC went through with no charge. I’ll try HSBC and Standard Chartered in the future. Avoid POSB, DBS (partner banks) and UOB.
@evangelskies I have a little further update which is that I tried a UOB else where (Little India MRT) and my Monzo went through fine and I didn’t get charged after declining POSB. I think the issue of rejected cards is local to the UOB machine at Bukit Timah.
The places I tried it at were at Bukit Batok and Jurong East. Maybe they don’t do it for more centralised, tourist areas
Yeah NETS seems to be a local thing, you can use a version of contactless that only local credit cards have. I don’t think debit cards have this, but both my debit cards there don’t. Feel free to correct me if someone has a more recent local card there.
There are two systems(?) for these cards- EZ-link and CEPAS.
NETS is associated with debit/credit cards and mostly used in retail, and EZ-Link cards for transport. They currently aren’t interchangeable and you need different cards for both functions. You can purchase CEPAS cards which have both the NETS and EZ-link function, but ezlink cards are only partnered with NETS in certain places, mostly partnerships with hawker centres/ school canteens for students.
If you’re a tourist with a temporary ezlink card, it’s unlikely that you’ll have the NETS function. It also won’t be very useful since not all hawker centres (usually only air-conditioned food courts etc.) allow you to pay with NETS. Stick to using Monzo and cash
I’m going to Singapore for 9 months!
All my income will still be coming from the UK. Do you think it will be ok to simply use or should I open a bank acct there?
Anyone had any experience with Singaporean banks?
The best person to help you would be @evangelskies
Hey there! I’m from Singapore so I could give you a couple of tips.
I would probably say you would be able to comfortably survive on your Monzo card in Singapore within the £200 fee-free ATM limit/ month.
Card acceptance is pretty good except for if you’re going to hawker centres/ night markets. Those are usually cash-only/ mobile wallet system called PayLah. You scan a QR code to pay. Apple Pay isn’t as commonly used/available.
I’ve not tried taking out any cash recently but the last I checked POSB/DBS ATMs charge $5 (£2.80 ish) to get cash out. OCBC doesn’t charge (as of Feb) but I’ve not checked the others. If you do opt to open a bank account, OCBC has been marketing their new accounts pretty heavily and their customer service is pretty good. Love their FRANK card design options too. There are no account fees to open a basic account. I can’t really speak much for other banks as I’ve only had another account with POSB. POSB/DBS’s app/site is less friendly to navigate but they often do more card/ package options.
You might want to consider getting a multi-currency account. The basic plans are free at most banks. Be prepared to bring along usual documents like your passport/ deposit / employment pass/ proof of address. You can usually open a bank account on the spot and get the ATM card right away. The debit card takes a week to arrive.
Bear in mind ATMs aren’t always interchangeable between banks except for between POSB and DBS, or OCBC and UOB, so if you chose something more obscure like Standard Charted it might be a trek to find an ATM. You usually get 2-3 free withdrawals if you decide to withdraw at any 'ol ATM but if you’re planning on doing a lot more than that you should use the designated ATM.
Thank you so much for such a detailed response. I’ll see how it goes for the first month then.
I also have Revolut (sorry… ) as I use it for currency conversion from PLN to GBP (you can’t top up with a in ). So I will have a £400 limit per month (£200 Monzo + £200 Revolut).
Changing a bit the topic (sorry to go off topic for a second). Any suggestion for a mobile network operator?
If you absolutely hate those 2FA bank tokens good luck, because you’re going to get them if you use a local bank I hate adding new payees or generally doing anything. It’s so not user-friendly. I would just skip the whole faff and take your Monzo and Revolut cards, and get a Starling card too for the free unlimited ATM withdrawals. It’s what I did when I was in Europe for a month
The major network here is Singtel that generally has solid coverage, Circles.life is pretty new with a nice app too that prioritises data bundles and is very popular with the youth. It piggybacks on the M1 network (which has the best 4G speeds). I would avoid Starhub as the coverage is horrible.
Circles.life looks as a really good option.
Thanks for all of your tips. I did consider getting Starling but didn’t want to have to manage 3 UK banks.
If I can I will try an avoid banks then. I’ll simply use Monzo (Revolut) together with NETS/EZ-links or similar type of Singapore’s payment system.
No problem! I’m glad I could help.
And yes, definitely get an EZ-Link card, you’ll need it for all transport there’s no Uber btw, you’ll have to use Grab (who bought them out).