Is the DBS Visa Debit Card Better Than a Credit Card?—MoneySmart Review 2024

dbs-visa-debit-card-moneysmart-review

Haven’t used a debit card since you were too young and poor to apply for a credit card? The DBS Visa Debit Card just might change that.

That’s because you can earn up to 4% cashback when you spend on online food delivery, 3% on local transport, and 2% on foreign currency transactions. You’ll just need to spend at least $500 on Visa and keep your cash withdrawals to $400 and below in the same month.

The 3% cashback on transport includes both ride-hailing/taxis as well as SimplyGo. That means a hassle-free commute on buses and trains without having to top up your EZ-Link card or even carry it with you.

Is this card too good to be true? Read the low down on this DBS debit card before you sign up.

 

DBS Visa Debit Card Review—Is it MoneySmart?
dbs-visa-debit-card
Overall: ★★★★☆ (3.6)
Best for: Those who want to earn cashback but don’t want to deal with credit card bills. This fuss-free card is also super accessible for POSB/DBS Savings or Current account holders.
The catch: You must spend $500 a month and keep cash withdrawals to $400 and below to qualify for the cashback, which is capped at $20 each month. Also, while foreign exchange fees are $0, foreign transaction fees (3.25%) still apply.
Category Our rating The deets
Earn rates: Cashback ★★★☆☆ 4% cashback on online food delivery
3% cashback on local transport (Ride-hailing, taxis, Simply Go)
2% cashback on all foreign currency spend (including online purchases)
Cashback cap: S$20 per month
Cashback eligibility: Valid if you spend at least $500 a month on your Visa card(s) and keep total cash withdrawals across all DBS/POSB cards to S$400 and below in the same month.
Earn categories ★★★★☆
Annual fees and charges ★★★★★ $0 (yay!)
Accessibility ★★★★★ – 16 years old and above
– Have a POSB/DBS Savings or Current account
– No minimum income requirement
Extras/periphery rewards ★☆☆☆☆ – No foreign exchange fees if you link your My Account as the primary account to your DBS Visa Debit Card. 11 foreign currencies available.
–Tap and SimplyGo on buses and trains without having to top-up.
Sign-up bonus None available at time of writing.

See our credit card ranking rubric to find out how we rank credit cards. This is a debit card, but we’re evaluating it with the same rubric.

Don’t miss our ultimate list of credit card reviews for the low-down on credit cards in Singapore.

 

DBS Visa Debit Card terms & conditions—Are there hidden fees?

DBS Visa Debit Card
Minimum age 16 years old
Eligibility Have a POSB/DBS Savings or Current account
NETS transaction limit* $5,000 (daily)
ATM withdrawal limit* $3,000 (daily)
Debit card transaction limit* $2,000 (daily)
Foreign currency transaction fee 3.25% 
Dynamic currency conversion fee 2.8%
Fee for SGD transactions processed outside Singapore 2.8%
Overseas ATM withdrawal fee 3.25% + S$7 service charge per cash withdrawal 
Max. liability for unauthorised transactions $100
Card association Visa
Wireless payment Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, Google Pay, Visa PayWave

* These are the default limits and can be changed via iBanking, under ‘Cards > Change Debit Card Limit’.

The figures above are from this document of T&Cs pertaining to the DBS Visa Debit Card. Let me highlight some important things for you to take note from the numbers above:

  • This card is super accessible. You just need to be at least 16 years old and above (if you aren’t yet, kudos for reading our blog and getting more MoneySmart t such a young age!) and have a POSB/DBS Savings or Current account. That includes the classic My Account as well as the infamous DBS Multiplier savings account. Don’t be intimidated—there are even savings accounts with no minimum balance.
  • DBS advertises that you can use the DBS Visa Debit Card in tandem with your DBS My Account to enjoy $0 foreign exchange fees. This is true. But what they don’t tell you upfront is that foreign currency transaction fees, dynamic currency conversion fees and fees for SGD transactions processed outside of Singapore still apply. These are buried in the T&Cs document I linked above. Overall, you’re still better off with a multi-currency card like Revolut or YouTrip to save money when you travel.
  • Don’t use this card for overseas ATM withdrawals unless you’re desperate. You’ll be slapped with a 3.25% fee + S$7 charge per withdrawal at an ATM overseas. That’s very pricey, especially compared to multi-currency cards that let you make overseas ATM withdrawals for free.
Revolut logo

Overseas ATM withdrawal fee

S$0

Overseas ATM withdrawal fee
Online Promo
Best for free international ATM withdrawals
Number of Supported Currencies
150+
Foreign Transaction Fees
0%
Min. Balance
S$0
Overseas ATM withdrawal fee
S$0

The hidden fees I talked about above are related to overseas spending. I would still recommend this card for local spending for its fuss-free cashback mechanisms. Let’s take a look at what the DBS Visa Debit Card has to offer.

 

Benefits of the DBS Visa Debit Card

Even if you’re rolling in enough dough to get any credit card you want, you might still be tempted to sign up for a DBS debit card for several reasons:

  • No annual fee
  • Very accessible—as long as you’re 16 years old and have a DBS savings or current account, you can get your hands on this sleek black debit card.
  • 4% cashback on online food delivery
  • 3% cashback on local transport (Ride-hailing, taxis, Simply Go)
  • 2% cashback on all foreign currency spend (including online purchases)
  • Cashback will be automatically credited and reflected in your monthly statement within 60 days. Good for lazy folks who don’t even want to lift a finger to redeem cashback (that finger is pointing at myself).
  • No foreign exchange fees if you link your My Account as the primary account to your DBS Visa Debit Card. But read what I wrote in the previous section about the foreign transaction fees that will still apply.

The DBS Visa Debit Card is a great option to earn cashback on everyday expenses like food and transport.

However, there are some catches. Firstly, your eligibility to earn cashback depends on 2 factors:

  1. You need to spend at least $500 a month on qualifying Visa cards. The other qualifying cards are less accessible—the DBS Treasures Visa Debit Card, DBS Treasures Private Client Visa Debit Card, DBS Private Bank Visa Debit Card, and DBS SUTD Visa Debit Card.
  2. Keep your cash withdrawals to $400 and below across all your DBS/POSB cards in the same month.

Fulfil these 2 requirements are you’ll earn the cashback promised! …up to the cashback cap of $20 per month.

 

Who should use the DBS Visa Debit Card?

For a start, just about anyone can get hold of this card because it’s a debit card, i.e. there’s no minimum income and no annual fee. Yay! If you don’t qualify for a credit card (e.g. you’re still a student), this is hands down one of the best debit cards in Singapore you could be using right now.

But of course, it also means the funds are debited directly. You definitely cannot spend beyond your means. Think twice about getting this card if you’re planning for large purchases or if you have really poor self-control. Alternatively, you could also log in to iBanking and set your daily debit card transaction limit ($2,000 by default) to something within your means.

However, it works well as a day-to-day expenses card as there’s a generous bonus cashback of 4% on food delivery and 3% on transport. That means you earn every time you tap your card to get onto the bus or MRT.

Don’t forget that you will need to spend at least $500 in a month to qualify for the cashback.

There’s also the “troublesome factor”. If you aren’t an existing POSB or DBS account holder, or if you don’t want to have to limit cash withdrawals from your account to $400 and below, you’ll have to sign up for a new savings or current account, which is an added inconvenience.

If you are a POSB or DBS account holder and are using a plain vanilla ATM or debit card, it wouldn’t hurt to swap it for the DBS Visa Debit Card.

 

Alternatives to the DBS Visa Debit Card

While DBS Visa Debit Card is one of the most generous debit cards out there when it comes to cashback, there are many credit cards that reward you with similar or higher cashback.

Standard Chartered Smart Credit Card—With its $0 annual fee and $0 minimum spend requirement, the Standard Chartered Smart Credit Card is a fierce contender. You’ll also earn a higher cashback rate of up to 6% on fast food dining, coffee and toast, digital subscriptions (Netflix, Disney+ and Spotify) and on your daily commute (Bus/MRT).

Standard Chartered logo
MoneySmart Exclusive
Up to 6% Cashback
Cashback from Netflix, Spotify, fast food joints and more. *T&Cs apply.
6%*
Annual Fee
S$0
Minimum Spend
S$0
MoneySmart Exclusive:

Earn 1,890 SmartPoints or up to S$230 Cash via PayNow when you apply and spend a min. of S$1,000 in eligible transactions within 60 days from card approval date. T&Cs apply.
 
Use 1,890 SmartPoints to fully redeem a product from our Rewards Store. If the product costs more, redeem with your points and top up the rest by purchasing additional SmartPoints e.g. get an Apple AirPods Pro (2nd Generation) at only S$214 on top of your earned SmartPoints.

Valid until 30 Jun 2024

DBS Live Fresh Card–Get up to 6% cashback on shopping and transport. Note, however, that the minimum spending requirement is a higher $800 a month. At least the monthly cap on cashback is also raised to $70.

DBS logo
Online Promo
Shopping and Transportation
on Shopping & Transport Spend
Up to 6% Cashback
Min. Spend
S$800
Cashback Cap
Up to S$70

UOB One Card—One of the highest cashback rates out there at 10%. The catch is that there’s a $500 minimum spend and the cashback only applies to merchants like McDonalds, Shopee, Giant, Grab and SimplyGo instead of a blanket category like “food delivery”.

UOB logo
MoneySmart Exclusive
Up to 10% Cashback
Cashback on McDonald's, DFI Retail Group, Grab, Shopee, SP and more
Up to 10%
Cashback Cap per quarter
Up to S$500
Min. Spend per month
S$500
MoneySmart Exclusive:

[FLASH DEAL | GIVEAWAY]
Stand a chance to get S$50 Shopee e-vouchers when you meet the giveaway criteria! No min. spend required! T&Cs apply.
 
PLUS receive S$350 Cash Credit from UOB when you are the first 200 new-to-UOB credit card customers in June 2024 who successfully apply for an eligible UOB Credit Card and spend a min. of S$1,000 per month for 2 consecutive months from their card approval date. T&Cs apply.

Valid until 30 Jun 2024

 

P.S. Here’s our MoneySmart credit card ranking rubric

In case you’re wondering, here’s how we decide on our credit card rankings.

Is that credit card MoneySmart? Our MoneySmart credit card ranking rubric
Category Our rating
Overall The average rating for the credit card on the whole, calculated from the ratings for the individual categories below. Plus, we’ll give you a one-liner on who we think the credit card is best suited for. 
Earn rates: Air miles / Cashback / Rewards points Air miles ✈️✈️✈️✈️✈️ / Cashback / Rewards points . This category looks at the depth rather than breadth of earn rates.

  • 5 stars means this card’s got the highest earn rates within that credit card type.
  • 3-4 stars mean it’s average
  • 1-2 stars reflect earn rates that are below average.
Earn categories This category looks at the breadth rather than depth of your earnings.

  • 5 stars: Earn with ANY spend.
  • 3-4 stars: Earn on a large number of categories (e.g. all dining, transport and retail, but not telco bills) OR earn on 1 very broad category (e.g. all contactless/mobile payments).
  • 1-2 stars: Earn a decent rate only on selected categories, such as fast food only.
Annual fees and charges
  • 5 stars: $0 
  • 4 stars: $1-200
  • 3 stars: $201-500
  • 2 stars: $501-$999
  • 1 star: $1,000 and up
  • We dock a star if fee waiver is NOT allowed.
Accessibility Minimum income requirements:

  • 5 stars: $0
  • 4 stars: Up to $30k a year for Singaporeans and up to $45k for non-Singaporeans
  • 3 stars: $30-60k a year for Singaporeans, $45-70k for non-Singaporeans
  • 2 stars: $60-120k a year for Singaporeans, $70-120k for non-Singaporeans
  • 1 star: $120,000 and up for either, or both
    Exclusivity: We dock 1-2 stars if there is/are another category/categories that make the card exclusive and very specific to a certain clientele.
Extras/periphery rewards These include:

  • Travel benefits, such as airport lounge access
  • Lifestyle benefits, such as spa privileges
  • Dining benefits, such as complimentary AMEX Love Dining or Entertainer with HSBC subscriptions
    We count the number of benefits and award between 0.5 to 2 stars for each, depending on how good the perk is.
Sign-up bonus
  • 5 stars: The gift(s), cash, or miles are the highest we see out there compared to other credit cards of the same type (miles, cashback, etc). Also easy to attain these welcome bonuses.
  • 3-4 stars: Average but not disappointing sign-up bonus compared to other credit cards. You aren’t losing out.
  • 1-2 stars: You are probably losing out in terms of the welcome bonus you’re getting; there are other similar credit cards with sign-up bonuses that are better or easier to attain.

Don’t miss all our Singapore credit card reviews.

 

Has this article swayed you from Team Credit Card to Team Debit Card? Share it with someone else who could use an eye-opener!


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About the author

Vanessa Nah is a personal finance content writer who pens articles on the ins and outs of savings accounts, the T&Cs of credit cards, and the ups and downs of alternative investments. She’s a researcher at heart and leaves no stone unturned when it comes to breaking down complex finance concepts and making them easy to understand for the everyday Singaporean. When Vanessa’s not debunking finance myths, you’ll find her attending dance classes, fingerpicking a guitar, or (most impawtently) fulfilling her life mission to make her one-eyed cat the most spoiled and loved kitty in the world.