Best credit cards for foreigners & expats

Foreigners and expats living in Singapore can apply for a credit card. Compare options with Finty.

By   |   Verified by Kwok Zhong Li   |   Updated 29 Nov 2023

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Comparing credit cards for expats

American Express Singapore Airlines Business Credit Card

On website

FeaturedApply by 28 February 2024

American Express Singapore Airlines Business Credit Card

Minimum income

S$30,000.00 for citizens

Sign up bonus

57,200 points

Annual fee

S$301.80 p.a. ongoing

Highlights

  • Enjoy a welcome offer of your choice and travel rewards worth over S$1,200: Earn up to 68,000 HighFlyer points or a Samsonite luggage, a complimentary Accor Plus membership worth S$418 offering a free night’s stay every year, and up to 20,000 HighFlyer points worth S$190 when you spend with the Singapore Airlines Group. Terms and Conditions apply.
  • Earn up to 8.5 HighFlyer points per S$1 spent on eligible Singapore Airlines Group flights.
  • Earn 1.8 HighFlyer points per S$1 spent on all other eligible spend.

Pros

  • Earn generous welcome offers.
  • Enjoy Priority Pass membership with two complimentary visits per year for you and a guest.
  • Fast-track to KrisFlyer Elite Gold status with S$15,000 spent with the Singapore Airlines Group within the first 12 months.
  • Offers 51 interest-free days.
  • Flexible payment with Pay Small.

Cons

  • The annual fee of S$301.79 p.a (inclusive of 8% GST).
American Express Platinum Credit Card

Apply by 28 February 2024

American Express Platinum Credit Card

Minimum income

S$80,000.00 for all residents

Sign up bonus

Receive S$200 Statement Credits with annual fee payment and when you spend at least S$3,000 within the first 3 months of card approval. Applicable if you are new to American Express.

Annual fee

S$324.00 p.a. ongoing

Highlights

  • Receive S$200 eCapitaVouchers with annual fee payment and when you spend at least S$1,000 within the first 3 months of card approval. Applicable if you are new to American Express.
  • Receive S$100 eCapitaVouchers with annual fee payment and when you spend at least S$1,000 within the first 3 months of card approval. Applicable if you are an existing card member.
  • Enjoy up to 50% savings at select 5-star hotels and restaurants with Love Dining by Platinum.
  • Enjoy Platinum Lifestyle benefits including deals and discounts at spas, golf, and bars, and the membership Rewards Catalogue.

Pros

  • Receive up to S$200 Statement Credits when you meet the criteria.
  • Get up to 50% savings at 5-star hotels, spa vouchers and discounts, and complimentary green fees at premier golf and country clubs in Singapore and overseas with Platinum Lifestyle.
  • The first 2 Supplementary Cards fees are permanently waived.
  • Redeem points at the Membership Rewards Catalogue or pay with points to downsize your card bills.

Cons

  • Minimum income requirement of $80,000 p.a.
  • The annual fee is $324 p.a. (inclusive of 8% GST).
HSBC Revolution Credit Card

On website

HSBC Revolution Credit Card

Minimum income

S$30,000.00 for citizens

Sign up bonus

Get a S$150 cashback or a Samsonite ZELTUS 69cm Spinner Exp with built-in scale when you apply now. Terms and Conditions Apply.

Annual fee

S$0.00 p.a. ongoing

Highlights

  • Up to 10X Reward points on online purchases and contactless payments (equivalent to 4 miles per S$1 spend).
  • 1X Reward point per S$1 spend on other purchases.
  • No minimum spend is required.
  • $0 annual credit card fee.

Pros

  • Earn 10x rewards points on online and contactless spending.
  • Get an additional 1% Bonus Cashback with HSBC Everyday Global Account
  • S$0 p.a. annual fee.
  • Includes travel insurance coverage against flight inconvenience and personal accidents.
  • Get instant discounts of up to 14% off at Shell stations and 16% off petrol at Caltex stations.

Cons

  • There is a 10,000 monthly cap on rewards points earned (online and contactless spending only).
Citi PremierMiles Card

Citi PremierMiles Card

Minimum income

S$30,000.00 for permanent residents

Sign up bonus

Get 30,000 bonus Citi ThankYou Points when you apply, get approved, and spend S$800 or more in the first 2 months. Terms and Conditions apply.

Annual fee

S$194.40 p.a. ongoing

Highlights

  • Earn 2 Citi Miles per S$1 on foreign currency spend and 1.2 Citi Miles per S$1 on local spend. Renewal bonus of 10,000 Citi Miles on your card anniversary.
  • Access to over 1,000 airport lounges with Priority Pass membership.
  • Up to $$1 million travel insurance coverage is awesome.

Pros

  • No expiry on miles earned.
  • Redeem miles at over 60 airlines and 8,000 hotels.
  • Convert 1,200 miles to a $10 rebate.
  • Supplementary card is complimentary.

Cons

  • Annual fee of $194.40 p.a. for the principal card.
  • Priority Pass membership is free for the principal cardholder only, expect to apply for it, and is limited to 2 free lounge visits each year.
  • Free travel insurance only when your air ticket is charged to your card.
Maybank Horizon Visa Signature

Maybank Horizon Visa Signature

Minimum income

S$30,000.00 for citizens

Sign up bonus

Choose your welcome gift - a luggage, an AirPods, or a S$200 cashback when you meet the signup criteria

Annual fee

S$0.00 for 1st year

Highlights

  • Earn Up to 3.2 air miles per $1 spent on dining, petrol, taxi, and Agoda transactions.
  • Earn Up to 2 air miles per $1 spent on airline tickets, cruise, travel packages, and foreign transactions.
  • 3-year annual fee waiver.

Pros

  • Receive a luggage, an AirPods, or a S$200 cashback when you meet the signup criteria.
  • Complimentary access to selected VIP airport lounges.
  • Up to $1 million travel insurance coverage.
  • Free supplementary card.
  • Fuel discounts at Caltex.

Cons

  • A minimum spend of S$300 a month is required to get the bonus points.
  • After 3 years, you will have to pay S$180 annual fee (unless you spend S$18,000/year).
Citi Rewards Credit Card

Citi Rewards Credit Card

Minimum income

S$30,000.00 for permanent residents

Sign up bonus

Get 40,000 bonus Citi ThankYou Points when you apply, get approved, and spend S$800 or more in the first 2 months. Terms and Conditions apply.

Annual fee

S$0.00 for 1st year

Highlights

  • Earn 10X Reward on online purchases and shopping purchases.
  • Earn 10X Reward on rides with Grab, Gojek, and more.
  • Earn 10X Reward on online food delivery.
  • Earn 10X Reward on online groceries.

Pros

  • All other purchases still earn you a 1X Reward.
  • The first-year annual fee is waived.
  • Enjoy complimentary travel insurance when you use your card to purchase an airline ticket.
  • Get deals and discounts with Citi World Privileges.

Cons

  • Annual fee is waived for the 1st year, but $194.40 for the principal card and $97.20 for the supplementary card after.
  • There is a 3.25% foreign conversion fee.
  • Sign-up promo is only applicable to new Citi cardholders.
  • A rewards cap applies.

Learn about credit cards for expats

Helpful tips for expats and foreigners living in Singapore to get more credit card benefits.

  • FAQs

As an expat, how should I compare the credit cards on offer?

Take a look at your typical spending pattern (perhaps by looking at past statements from a credit or debit card you already have) and choose one that is going to offer the best rewards for the lowest cost based on the way you spend your money. If you travel overseas a lot, you might want to choose a card that lets you earn air miles and offers free travel insurance and airport lounge access. Those who enjoy wining and dining should be able to extract lots of benefit from a card giving higher rewards for restaurant spending while offering discounts at local eateries. The key is to try to match your spending pattern and lifestyle with the benefits offered, and then choose the lowest cost card from among the most suitable options.

I already have a credit card issued in my home country. Why can’t I just use that in Singapore?

There’s nothing to prevent you using your overseas credit card in Singapore, since all of the major credit card brands are now accepted worldwide. But you should seriously consider getting a Singaporean credit card in order to avoid possible foreign currency transaction fees (a surcharge on each transaction, usually more than 3% of the transaction value), exchange rate uncertainty, and perhaps complicated arrangements for paying off your foreign credit card balance each month. Having a Singaporean credit card is much easier.

Also consider that a foreign credit card is not going to offer you the same local benefits – such as restaurant, shopping or petrol discounts and cashback – as a card issued in Singapore. And having a Singaporean credit card may help if you need to enter into other financial contracts like a mobile phone plan or personal loan.

What are typical interest rates on credit cards in Singapore?

Typical Singapore credit card interest rates – for balances not fully repaid by the monthly due date – fall into the range 15%-28% p.a. At the higher end, the rate may be well in excess of the interest rate you are accustomed to in your own country, so bear this in mind when planning your credit card spending and repayments. It’s also possible that credit card issuers may impose a higher interest rate on foreigners simply because they are considered a more risky proposition than locals.

I don’t have any credit history in Singapore. Can I still apply for a credit card?

Although you may not have any substantial credit history with financial institutions in Singapore, you may still be able to prove your creditworthiness via non-traditional sources such as your housing rental payment record, utility bill payment record or payment for insurance premiums not automatically deducted from your salary. It may mean that you will be offered a lower credit limit than you would ideally like to begin with, but by maintaining regular monthly repayments on your credit card account you should quickly be able to build up a credit history and then apply for a higher credit limit.

Why do some banks specify that expats must have a certain number of years remaining on their visa/Employment Pass before they can be approved for a credit card?

It’s because the bank needs to know that you plan to (and are able to) remain in Singapore long enough to repay any debt you may incur.

What other eligibility requirements and documents, bedsides income, do expats need to meet when applying for a credit card in Singapore?

You must be at least 21 years old (or 18 for a student credit card with parental consent), and you will need to supply:

  • A certified copy of the personal details page of your foreign passport
  • A copy of your visa/Employment Pass/Personalised Employment Pass/EntrePass/Student Pass.
  • Written verification of your employment in Singapore
  • Proof that you have opened a bank account in Singapore
  • Proof of your residential address, such as a copy of a utility bill showing your name and address, or any other official document showing your name and address (e.g. bank credit card statement, rental agreement)
  • Possibly, details of your regular monthly expenses (especially if you don’t have much information in your credit history file)

What is the minimum income an expat must have in order to be approved for a credit card in Singapore?

You will need a regular income of at least $40,000-$45,000 p.a. (possibly higher for premium cards). This is higher than the $30,000 p.a. income usually required for locals.

Is it difficult for an expat to be approved for a credit card in Singapore?

Not particularly, although not all banks offer credit cards to expats, and the eligibility requirements are often higher for expats than they are for Singaporeans. You will need to supply documents for proof of identity, residential address and income, just as Singaporeans or permanent residents do. The only difference is that the minimum income requirement may be higher for foreigners than for locals, and your proof of identity will be a certified copy of the personal details page in your foreign passport. You will also need to supply a a copy of your Employment Pass (P1, P2 or Q1, with at least one or possibly two years’ remaining validity), Personalised Employment Pass, EntrePass or Student Pass.

Are there specific credit cards for expats and foreigners in Singapore?

There are no credit cards intended exclusively for expats, but there are plenty of credit cards with features that expats will appreciate, such as air miles, complimentary travel insurance, hotel upgrades and golfing privileges.

Can an expat foreigner apply for a credit card in Singapore?

Certainly. There are no rules or restrictions preventing expats from applying for a Singapore credit card.