Singapore: Money & Costs

Cash is usually necessary for the payment of small items such as meals in hawker centres, food courts and bars, and for buying items from street vendors. Travellers cheques are popular and are a fail-safe fall-back; it is a good idea to always have some travellers cheques, otherwise plastic is still a viable option for most travellers. All major credit cards are widely accepted and ATMs are common place in the city, with most accepting Visa, MasterCard and cards with Plus or Cirrus.

Currency of Singapore is Singapore Dollar and symbolized as ‘S$’.
Changing Your Money – Banks can be found all over Singapore. Exchange rates tend to vary from bank to bank and some even have a service charge on each exchange transaction – this is usually a few dollars, but can be more, so ask first. You’ll also find moneychangers in shopping centres all over Singapore that do not charge fees, so you will often get a better overall exchange rate for cash and travellers cheques with them than at the banks. Most shops accept foreign cash and travellers cheques with rates only a bit lower than at moneychangers.

Money Tips – Singapore is much more expensive than other Southeast Asian countries, which may come as a shock if you are travelling on a shoestring budget. You can still stay here without spending too much money, as long as you can forego the temptation to run amok in the shops or indulge in luxuries you may have craved while travelling in less-developed Asian countries. It’s possible to stay in Singapore for S$50.00 a day, if you stay in hostels and eat cheaply. If you’re staying in mid-range hotels and eating at good restaurants, S$150.00 is a more realistic daily minimum.

All major credit cards are widely accepted, although you’re not going to make yourself too popular after a hard bargaining session for a new camera if you then try to pay for it with your Visa card. It’s probably still a good idea to take cash and travellers cheques for emergencies.