Friday, 28 September 2018

Standard Chartered US$ Debit Mastercard for US$ High Account

I started off with an SCB online trading account for foreign shares. While I eventually opened an IBKR account, I still kept LSE-listed ETFs I had already bought in SCB. In order to not put all my holdings in one broker, I decided to buy S$1k of foreign ETFs every month using SCB.

Initially SCB had no minimum commission, then they implemented minimum commission (unless you had priority banking). Fortunately by then, I was close to $200k so I did a transfer of one counter from CDP to SCB to hit $200k so that I could get PB and no min comms again.

One of the benefits of SCB priority banking is the US$ High Account ( a US$ bank account with chequebook and Debit Mastercard). I purchase things online regularly and having a US$ Debit card appeared to be very helpful, especially if I am spending my US$ dividends.

To cut a long story short, the US$ Debit Mastercard will save you money compared to an S$ credit card that makes tries to make a profit by converting your US$ transactions to S$.  The features of this card are:

  • SCB's S$-> US$ exchange rate is better than the rate used by S$ credit cards. 
  • If you don't like their exchange rate and think you can do better, then go moneychanger and change and deposit the US$ at the bank (website says cash deposit fees currently waived)
  • 2% cashback on all purchases
  • 1% transaction fee for overseas purchases so about 1% nett cashback.
  • 0% transaction fee for using US$ to fund your account (apparently doesn't count as an overseas transaction - though one wonders if they will close this loophole)

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