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Singapore Travel Money Guide

The Southeast Asian island of Singapore is found off the southern coast of Malaysia. Known for its ultra-clean streets, lush tropical atmosphere, safety, and huge array of shopping experiences, it makes for a stress-free holiday from Australia. It’s also a popular stop-over for many travelling through to Europe with great international airport connections.

Along with Singapore’s cleanliness and order come high standards of living, and higher prices than many of its Southeast Asian neighbours. Planning on going to Singapore for a holiday? Read on to discover all there is to prepare your finances before you fly.

The Low Down on Singapore Currency

  • Currency: Singapore dollar
  • Currency code: SGD
  • Central Bank: Monetary Authority of Singapore
  • Currency symbol: S$
  • Currency sub unit: cents
  • Bank notes: S$2, S$5, S$10, S$20, S$50, S$100, S$1,000
  • Coins: 1, 5, 10, 20, 50 cents, S$1


Singapore’s official currency is the Singaporean Dollar (SGD).

This has been the currency of Singapore since the nation became independent from Malaysia in 1965. You may also hear it referred to as the “sing-dollar” or the “sing”.

The Brunei Dollar (BND) is also considered legal tender in Singapore, operating on a 1:1 exchange rate with the Singaporean Dollar.

Payment Options in Singapore

A highly modernised country, finding ATMs and paying by card is easy to do in Singapore at most major stores. That said, cash is still needed for some experiences. This includes eating food in Singapore’s famous hawker centres, making small purchases, and paying for some taxis. Read on to discover the pros and cons of major travel money options in Singapore.

Whatever payment method you decide on before you depart for Singapore, it’s best to ensure you have a mix of both cards and cash on your travels to cover all your bases. We’ve rounded up the pros and cons of each below.

Tax free shopping in Singapore

One of the most popular activities for tourists in Singapore is the shopping. The city is made up of a maze of malls, which offer comfort from the heat, and shelter from the monsoon rains. When shopping in Singapore, the 7% Goods and Services Tax can be refunded at the International airport in Singapore before you return home, making shopping on your holiday in Singapore even more appealing.

To be eligible, no more than $500 SGD (AUD$520) in taxes may be refunded per person, and items must have been purchased in Singapore within the last two months. The tax will not be refunded if you’re leaving Singapore by land or cruise ship3.

Tax free shopping in Singapore
How to Claim your Tax Back After Shopping in Singapore

How to Claim your Tax Back After Shopping in Singapore

When making an eTRS purchase, you will be asked to specify a single bank card that will serve as your token for tax-free purchases. This card will be used in the refund process.

When shopping

When shopping, look for stores with a blue “blue "Tax-Free Shopping" or "Premier Tax-Free" sticker on the window or counter. You must spend up to $100 SGD worth of goods. The merchant will give you a eTRS ticket to use to redeem your refund.

Claiming at the Airport

When you arrive at the airport, head to the eTRS self-help kiosks, which can be found both before and after check-in. You will be asked to swipe your passport and your token card and refund tickets. You can choose to receive the refund in cash, or on card. You will receive a print out from the kiosk with your refund details.

You can claim your GST refunds in multiple places around Changi Airport. Once you have received your print-out from the kiosk, take it along with your receipts and the goods purchased to get your refund from the counter.

Travelex Tip: If you are planning a shopping trip to Singapore, check out the Great Singapore Sale in June. This is an island-wide, month-long sale where prices are slashed up to 70%, and shopping hours extended2.

Good to Know - Singapore Money Tips

Tipping is not usually customary in Singapore. Tips in Singapore are usually included as a service charge on restaurant receipts.

Taxis may charge a surcharge during busy periods in Singapore. You can expect a 50% surcharge after midnight until 6am, and a 25% surcharge in peak times.8

To save money while getting around town, it’s worth getting an ezLink card for public transport. This contactless card payment can be bought and topped up in MRT Stations and 7-Eleven stores. A three day pass costs around 20 Singapore dollars. If you don’t use all the money you put on your card, it can be refunded!9, 10

As Singapore is such a multicultural place, you’ll find that most ATMs offer a variety of language options including Chinese.

Good to Know - Singapore Money Tips

FAQ about money in Singapore

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  • Can I use other currencies in Singapore?

    Other than Singaporean Dollars and the Brunei Dollar (BND), no other currency is accepted in Singapore as legal tender.

  • Will my bank card work in Singapore with only a 4 digit pin?

    While most Singaporean cards are issued with a 6 digit pin, if you have a foreign card that requires a shorter pin, it should be accepted without a problem.

  • Can I use travellers cheques in Singapore?

    Whilst it is becoming harder to find places to cash travellers cheques in Singapore, it is still possible. However, a combination of cash and card is recommended.

Disclaimer

* Lock in your exchange rates means the exchange rate is locked in for the initial load only. The exchange rates for subsequent reloads will be set at the prevailing exchange rate at the time of the transaction

^This data is sourced from www.numbeo.com7 and is meant as a guide only. Costs of items may differ around the destination.

Sources:
1. https://www.tripsavvy.com/change-and-use-money-in-singapore-1629786
2. https://www.tripsavvy.com/short-guide-to-shopping-in-singapore-1629784
3. https://www.tripsavvy.com/tax-free-shopping-in-singapore-1629787
4. https://coconuts.co/singapore/news/singapore-ranked-safest-country-world
5. https://transferwise.com/au/blog/atms-in-singapore
6. https://www.internations.org/go/moving-to-singapore/banks-taxes/currency-in-singapore
7. https://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-living/compare_cities.jsp?country1=Australia&country2=Singapore&city1=Melbourne&city2=Singapore&tracking=getDispatchComparison
8. https://www.taxisingapore.com/taxi-fare/
9. https://transferwise.com/gb/blog/atms-in-singapore
10. https://www.ezlink.com.sg