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In my uni days, I used to join all these online shopping sprees on LiveJournal for US brands like Forever 21, Victoria’s Secret, Abercrombie & Fitch and Urban Outfitters and paid for my shopping haul in USD.
Then when I saw my card statement or bank account, I wasn’t sure at first why there were all these random extra charges but realised that they were foreign currency conversion fees.
You also incur these foreign currency charges when you’re travelling and you have to withdraw money from an overseas ATM, or when you’re shopping and charge your purchases to your card.
Such fees are the charges by the credit card provider/bank for when a foreign transaction is made. They are usually around 2% to 3.5% of the transaction amount, depending on your bank.
One easy way to avoid such unnecessary fees is by having a multicurrency account — a bank account that allows you to hold and transact in several foreign currencies at rates offered by the bank. So this means you can convert a sum of Singapore dollars into other popular currencies such as USD, GBP, AUD, CAD, EUR, etc when the exchange rates are favourable and keep them in your account without incurring extra bank charges.
Why should I get a multicurrency account?
You already have a regular savings account. There’s no point applying for another bank account, even if it’s a multicurrency account, right?
Well, you can, but you’d be losing out on one of the main perks of such an account — no extra foreign currency fees when you buy things overseas, especially when you’re travelling (Covid-19 aside).
Multicurrency accounts are most useful for those who travel frequently, be it for work or leisure, frequent online shoppers (especially if you shop internationally), e-commerce retailers, parents who have to pay for their children studying abroad, or if you own property overseas and rent them, etc — basically anyone who regularly transacts in a foreign currency.
Many banks also have a debit card tied to the multicurrency account. This allows you to carry out your foreign currency transactions with ease for times when you’re travelling overseas and don’t want to carry large amounts of cash.
One example is the HSBC Everyday Global Account, a multicurrency account that lets you transact in up to 11 different currencies — Australian Dollar, Canadian Dollar, Euro, Hong Kong Dollar, Japanese Yen, New Zealand Dollar, Sterling Pound, Swiss Franc, US Dollar, Renminbi* (RMB).
The good thing is that the multicurrency account also comes with the HSBC Everyday Global Debit Card that really lets you stretch your dollar in different ways, because who doesn’t want more savings?
So what exactly does the HSBC Everyday Global Account offer?
5 benefits of having a multicurrency account
1. You’re able to get real-time exchange rates
Foreign currency exchange rates are super fluid and change daily but you’ll get to keep an eye on the real time exchange rates through HSBC’s online banking or the HSBC Singapore app. This lets you keep an eye on the exchange rates and convert to the foreign currencies you want when the rates are favourable.
Don’t forget to fund your HSBC Everyday Global Account with SGD first!
2. Instant global transfers to other HSBC accounts
Yup, a transfer to other HSBC accounts worldwide goes through instantly and there are no charges for doing so. HSBC has made it super convenient to transfer large sums of money, up to S$1 million, between other HSBC accounts across 20+ countries.
This makes it great for those working overseas and need to transfer money back home, parents who have children studying overseas, those who rent out their property overseas, or have international business dealings, etc.
3. Perform FX transactions through the HSBC Singapore app
If you’re transacting in foreign currencies, it’s easier to keep an eye on the fluctuating rates through the HSBC Singapore app.
With HSBC Singapore QuickFX App, set up alerts so you don’t have to be constantly glued to your phone. You can also set an FX limit order at the rate you want so that when your target rate is hit, your money will be automatically converted.
Orders can be set up for the following currencies: AUD, CAD, EUR, JPY, HKD, NZD, GBP, SGD, CHF and USD.
4. $0 FX fee** in 10 currencies for retail purchase, online shopping and cash withdrawal
If you’re someone who regularly shops on overseas shopping sites, the biggest perk would be not being charged any foreign exchange fees for your shopping sprees. This is one of the best ways to make the most out of all those Easter, summer, Black Friday, Independence Day, Boxing Day and sales on every other occasion without incurring extra charges**, AND make your sale more worth it.
To begin, convert your SGD in your HSBC Everyday Global Account into the foreign currencies that you plan to spend in and make the payment with your HSBC Everyday Global Debit Card.
One thing to note is that if given the option to purchase in SGD or the foreign currency, always select the foreign currency, otherwise you’ll incur a Dynamic Currency Conversion (DCC) fee. This DCC is charged by the overseas bank, and then converted into SGD and debited from your bank account, which sucks, especially if the foreign currency is higher than SGD.
5. $0*** overseas cash withdrawal fee across all ATMs worldwide
Yup, you read that right. There are absolutely no fees at all for overseas cash withdrawals from any HSBC ATM worldwide, if you use your accompanying HSBC Everyday Global Debit Card.
This makes travelling so much more convenient because you no longer have to convert large sums at the money changer and carry it around and risk getting your money stolen. Phew!
Bonus: Growing your savings
From now until 31 March 2021, new and existing HSBC customers can deposit money into their Everyday Global Account to gain up to 1.45% p.a. of bonus interest.
There are 3 actions to fulfil to get the maximum interest rate:
- Save — top up your account from as low as S$1 to get 0.80% p.a.
- Convert — convert at least S$5,000 to a foreign currency to earn bonus interest: 0.20% p.a. for HSBC Personal Banking customers / 0.30% p.a. for HSBC Premier customers / 0.40% p.a. for HSBC Jade customers.
- Spend — shop using your HSBC Everyday Global Debit Card to get either 0.25% p.a. / 0.35% p.a. / 0.45% p.a. bonus interest depending on your banking tier. With a minimum spend of S$800.
Sign up from now till 31 March 2021 to get:
Whether you regularly deal with foreign currency transactions or simply just want to save more without the pesky FX conversion fees, the HSBC Everyday Global Account offers much more convenience than a regular savings account, lets you earn bonus interest and save more with the accompanying debit card.
This article is meant for information only and should not be relied upon as financial advice. This advertisement has not been reviewed by the Monetary Authority of Singapore.
*Deposits into any renminbi (“rmb”) Deposit Account shall be by way of foreign exchange conversion from non-rmb denominated currency(ies) only, save for transfers between a rmb Time Deposit Account and rmb Everyday Global Account opened hereunder. Withdrawals from any rmb Deposit Account shall be by way foreign exchange conversion into non-rmb denominated currency(ies) only, save for transfers between a rmb Time Deposit Account and rmb Everyday Global Account opened hereunder. The deposit in your rmb Deposit Account shall be converted from rmb to another freely convertible currency for withdrawal, at the Bank’s prevailing exchange rate. Renminbi is not a freely convertible currency and is subject to changes in regulations initiated by mainland China and/or the Chinese authorities. There may be a gain or loss when you convert foreign currency. Customers are advised to make their own independent judgment in consideration whether to place the rmb deposit. For customers who wish to open renminbi Time Deposit Account, please also refer to Renminbi Deposit Account Terms and Conditions. (Source)
**Applies to successful retail purchase, online shopping and cash withdrawal made via the 10 supported currencies. If you do not have sufficient foreign currencies to complete the transactions, we will convert the transaction at a prevailing rate as determined by the bank and bill you in Singapore dollar. (Source)
***HSBC Jade and Premier Everyday Global Debit Card Cardholders enjoy $0 HSBC ATM fees for overseas cash withdrawals across all ATMs worldwide. HSBC Personal Banking Everyday Global Debit Card Cardholders enjoy $0 HSBC ATM fees for overseas cash withdrawal at all HSBC ATMs except in Argentina, France, Brazil, Greece, Malta, Mexico, New Zealand and Turkey. HSBC Fees apply for cash withdrawals at non HSBC ATMs. Please note that for all customers, fees may be applied by the 3rd party banks for cash withdrawals at non-HSBC ATMs worldwide. (Source)
Deposit Insurance Scheme: Singapore dollar deposits of non-bank depositors are insured by the Singapore Deposit Insurance Corporation, for up to S$75,000 in aggregate per depositor per Scheme member by law. Foreign currency deposits, dual currency investments, structured deposits and other investment products are not insured.
Information correct as at 15 March 2021.