🇸🇬 Monzo in Singapore [Discussion]


(Alex Sherwood) #1

I’m just about to travel to Singapore so it would be great to get some tips on:

  • Card acceptance (specifically MasterCard acceptance which apparently is better).
  • ATM’s - which ATM’s charge the lowest fees for withdrawals?
  • Using cash - will I need cash for a taxi from the airport or can I wait until I get to my hotel to withdraw some from an ATM?
  • Public transport - are cards accepted?

I’ll update this post to share how I got on when I get back. Looking forward to trying out the new travel reports! :sunglasses:


:singapore: Monzo in Singapore [Wiki]
Travelling with Monzo: Asia
(Jonathon) #2

Funny enough I’m off to Singapore soon too.

From my experiences in Singapore, it’s very modern and cards are accepted everywhere. I normally take taxis when on business so I can’t speak for public transport. The taxi from the airport I took accepted card payment (even had wifi!).

My tip though: Singapore is expensive. Prepare to pay a lot for very little.


(Will) #3

Hi @alexs,

Travelled to SG earlier this year so can hopefully help:

  • Card acceptance is generally really good. Contactless is present in many, but not all places. It was only really hawker centres where we absolutely needed cash.
  • Was never charged any fees for withdrawals. ATMs are prevalent and didn’t have any issues with card acceptance.
  • Taxis accept card, but charge an additional percentage fee. There are ATMs in the airport from what I remember.
  • Cards are accepted for topping up the oyster-like passes for the MRT etc.

As @coffeemadman says though, Singapore is expensive which makes the savings from Mondo even more important IMO.


(Alex Sherwood) #4

I’ve been in Singapore for a couple of days now, here’s what I’ve found so far -

Using the :mondo: card

  • I’ve had no issues with card acceptance in stores. Stores do seem reluctant to try contactless payments using my card but every time I’ve used it, it’s been accepted.
  • I’ve only used one ATM (OCBC’s) & wasn’t charged a withdrawal fee
  • Uber is available in Singapore & just as cheap (2.9k trip, taking 15 minutes was S$7 or £3.96).
  • I also used my card to purchase (discounted) tickets for the Gardens by the Bay online, via the Handy app (on a phone provided by my hotel) which went straight through.

When :yen: cash has been necessary

  • As you’d expect, the semi-permanent street stalls don’t take cards though - I haven’t seen any signs of Stripe & their SG webpage seems to be for web payments only.
  • Buses don’t take cards, you can pay with cash but they won’t take $10 notes for a $2 journey & don’t give change.
    The MRT has to be paid for using an MRT ticket, I paid for mine with cash & forgot to check whether card was an option.

The :iphone: app

Transaction notification’s aren’t delivered immediately when on Wifi, I have to open the app and refresh the feed, in order to view them but I’ve found that this happens to my other apps too.

I have Travel Reports and I’ve found seeing the transaction amounts in £ & S$ has been really useful, when it comes to understanding how much I’ve spent.

As @dom mentioned, I didn’t see the ‘Welcome to Singapore’ feed item, with the current conversion rate etc. when I first connected to the internet, it appeared a few hours later after I made my transaction and not as a notification at that point.


(Matt Stibbs (#1195)) #5

Been in Singapore for a week now - similar experience to previous posters.

I have found that often in places where they take your card away to charge it (e.g. restaurants), they will come back a couple of minutes later and ask you to go and enter your PIN - other times you will be asked to sign.

Contactless is a lottery - it’ll either work or it won’t!

Did have one purchase incorrectly charged to the card in £ instead of SG$ - and once it had corrected the difference was close to £5 on a £70 purchase so the difference of paying in local currency can be significant!

Also don’t find notifications are working too well, but things always tend to update when I open the app.


(Eve) #6

I’m from Singapore so while I’ve not used the card in Singapore yet, I think maybe I can help answer some questions Monzo users might have:

In terms of public transport- we use this card called EZ-Link, which works like the oyster card. You can use monzo to pay for a temporary EZ-Link and you get a deposit back on the card at the end of it. EZ-Link can be used on buses, trains, and some taxis. Some debit cards are linked to EZ-Link but with monzo that’s irrelevant in this case.

Singapore is pretty cheap in terms of food and travel: you just have to know where to go to! Avoid buying bottled drinks and food at tourist traps- supermarkets are available in any shopping centre and there are shopping malls everywhere. All buses lead to train stations, so you will never be lost. Uber is more expensive compared to normal taxis.

I would recommend getting food at hawker centres or search for local food haunts (eg Boon tong kee chicken rice, katong laksa) and in People’s Park Complex you can get Michelin-star awarded food at around £1.50 ($2 SGD). Be sure to go early as it sells out quick. Avoid the tourist trap on the food street on Chinatown and try the Vietnamese food (Yummy Viet) on the same street. The food is the closest in terms of authenticity that I’ve found when I’ve compared it to what I’ve had in Vietnam, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, London, Manchester etc. The chef is Vietnamese :ok_hand:t3:

Singapore tends to go OTT with tourist attractions and hate boring parks so I would recommend going to Gardens by the Bay (pay to go into the domes, it’s worth it. The skywalk not so much). Chinese Garden and Botanic Gardens are also very pretty places to visit. I would definitely visit the zoo, night safari, bird park. Maybe I’m biased, but I haven’t found anything that tops it yet. I love feeding the Lories at the Lory Loft. There are two big aquariums and if you want to splurge there is an underwater restaurant called Cat Cora on Sentosa Island. Universal Studios is overhyped imo.

Almost everywhere accepts cards and there is less use of contactless, most places ask you to input your pin/ sign. If you go to a wet market or night market they may only take cash. ATMs are available near most transport places and shopping malls.

If you have any other questions feel free to drop me a reply! I’ll only be visiting Singapore next July so I can’t confirm anything for sure in terms of card usage, though.


(Simon Beattie) #7

Brief message here - I’ve spent a few weeks in Singapore over the past couple of months and I only used my Monzo card for it, transferred a chunk onto my card before I leave and forget about my other cards whilst I’m there. Anywhere that accepted card, accepted the Monzo card, and anywhere that didn’t I used cash which I withdrew without fees from Monzo.

Absolutely fantastic, and the app allowed me to specify what was expenses and what wasn’t (business travel), was clear about the exchange rates which made claiming back after the fact simple, and even was happy with a deposit payment at the Novatel in Clarke Quay and happily received the deposit back at the end of my stays.


(Eve) #8

That’s amazing, I’ll have no qualms using it when I’m back in Singapore then!


#9

Just another 2 cents, used in airport during transit without any issues at all. Contactless worked well, and also got a refund from Guardian pharmacy on the card (went smoothly), took about 2 business days before it came up on the card. All in all, would use again in Singapore (airport and out/about).


#10

Hi there,

My family and I are going to Singapore in a coupe of days time. we already purchased tickets for Night Safari and Garden by the Bay + Cooled dom.
We are staying at Pan Pacific Hotel. would you mind telling us where to go to eat at reasonable even cheap around the area?
Also, do you have any tips on where to go shopping for boys clothings?
Many thanks.s


(Eve) #11

Hi there! Uniqlo is a pretty good shop with affordable basics, and the general stores like H&M are always a safe bet. My favourite place to eat is this Vietnamese restaurant in Chinatown called Yummy Viet, and the hawker centres eg Tiong Bahru Market have good and affordable local food. The shopping centres don’t tend to have very expensive restaurants either and going for sukiyaki/steamboat is always a nice and filling meal. I like Seoul Garden at Clementi or the sukiyaki place at Orchard.


(Lee Freer) #12

Hi all,

Recently used my Monzo card while in Singapore at a DBS ATM. It seems some of these machines will only dispense cash if you accept the dynamic conversion offered by the machine. Declining the conversion returns your card so it’s worth taking note of.

Other Bank ATM and POS terminals worked like a charm for everything else, just my luck the first machine I hit was a DBS one.


(Eve) #13

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.


(Lee Freer) #14

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.


(Eve) #15

@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?


#16

With OCBC Bank and UOB ATMs, it’s as simple as putting in your card and withdrawing money. No fees or bank conversion rates.


(Lee Freer) #17

Okay,

Thanks for the verification people. :sunglasses:

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.

Lee


#18

I used it last week and it was fine- opted to not covert. Perhaps it’s been rectified


:singapore: Monzo in Singapore [Wiki]
(Adam) #19

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


Monzo in Singapore & Indonesia
(Eve) #20

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