Some DBS customers can now skip forex fees, conversion charges for overseas spending

Development Bank of Singapore (DBS) at Tampines Central.
Development Bank of Singapore (DBS) at Tampines Central. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Some holders of DBS' Visa Debit Card will now be able to spend overseas in the country's local currency while avoiding high foreign exchange and conversion fees.

This is possible if their Visa debit card is linked to a DBS Multi-Currency Account (MCA), which covers 12 major currencies.

With the new service - which the bank said is the first of its kind in Southeast Asia - a DBS Visa Debit Card holder can pre-purchase currency of his of her travel destination. That amount can then be spent overseas through the debit card.

The savings are mainly enjoyed by those who prefer to spend Singapore dollar in overseas transactions or on overseas websites, which typically incur an additional 7 to 15 per cent fee charged by the dynamic currency conversion process, DBS said when unveiling the service on Wednesday (Jan 18).

In 2016, around 10 per cent of payments by DBS Visa Debit cardholders were overseas transactions made in Singapore dollars.

Customers who choose to pay in the country's local currency get to avoid any additional charges such as FX fees and any other conversion charges.

"The Singdollar to foreign currencies exchange rates on MCA are very competitive, and users can transact anytime and anywhere they want as it's also available on mobile phone application," said DBS consumer banking head Jeremy Soo. "This will offer the freedom to choose the best price point."

The DBS MCA was launched in 2013, and there are currently over 200,000 account holders. The minimum Singapore dollar amount to open this account is S$3,000.

For users to enjoy the new DBS Visa Debit Card service, a MCA must be linked to the card as a primary account.