Is Instarem Amaze card still worth it for overseas spend (if your cards are Visa or DBS)?
The Amaze card is an Instarem add on over existing cards that converts a foreign payment into SGD (using Instarem, at Instarem's forex spread) then charges that SGD amount to your SGD credit card. The advantages of Amaze are:
You receive the bonuses (cashback or miles or points) of your normal SGD credit card.
You do not pay the expensive foreign exchange fee of most credit cards (2.5% - 3.25%, which offsets any card rewards). Instead, you pay the lower foreign exchange fee of Instarem.
You get "Instapoints" which can be redeemed at almost 1% cashback (redeem 2,000 points for SGD20). (It used to be straight 1% cashback, but this was changed to Instapoints.)
However, Amaze was recently nerfed: https://milelion.com/2022/09/15/instarem-amaze-card-review-amazing-while-it-lasts/ The main problem is, Amaze can only be used with Mastercard credit cards and not with DBS cards (these are mainly UOB miles cards that are Mastercard like the PRVI). None of the good cashback cards are Mastercard, like the UOB ONE. The further problem is Instarem's foreign exchange rates increase, according to this article: https://milelion.com/2022/05/06/psa-amaze-fx-rates-now-higher-than-spot-mastercard-rates/ If all one's credit cards are Visa or DBS, is Amaze still worth it? You get Instapoints which hopefully offset the Instarem exchange rate. The article says the rate is sometimes up to 1.9%, which makes it more expensive even with Instapoints. The comparison would be to using a fintech debit card like Wise, etc. that lets you pay in local currency. For wise, the foreign exchange would be about 0.6%. Or is this a lot of hassle for a few dollars and one should just use a Wise debit card or even local cash if exchanged at a good rate? Would love to hear from someone who checked the math!
Hi guys, I just recently created an IBKR account to buy VWRA. I understand that the currency conversion requires some buffer and cannot convert the entire balance, to account for fluctuations in forex rates. Am I right to understand that this means that there will always be some SGD balance left in my account? Is there any way to convert all my SGD into USD? Does the SGD balance earn any interest? Sorry, I tried to search the sub for the answers but I don't think these questions have been answered specifically. Thanks in advance for the advice!
I converted 67k SGD to USD in my IBKR account and I see that I lost ~$1k money as Forex L/T loss. I thought that this conversion charges a minimal commission which was shown ~$2 while converting. Any idea?
Paying on Your Travels Abroad - Forex Card vs Credit Card vs Fiat Currency vs Bank Account
Been researching a little on the best way to pay when traveling abroad. Here's what I found. Eager to know what this sub thinks. -- When you travel outside India, there are restrictions in how you can pay. The biggest concern is usually forex i.e. foreign exchange differences. As of 29 June 2022, it takes roughly 57 INR to make 1 SGD if I do that transaction via HDFC Bank. However, if I were to convert in my local city airport, the figure would be different. The same applies if I choose to do in Changi Airport, say, today itself. Not to mention the conversion fee in both latter cases. This makes understanding the best way pay during your international travels a critical discussion. Especially if you are like me who is not a fan of paying heavy markups. I recently paid over 8K INR as markup fee to HDFC Bank because of an agent mess-up. Thankfully, there are ways to limit the overhead when you convert currencies. Do note that it is impossible to avoid overhead. If you see foreign exchange, get ready to pay extra. -- There are basically 3 common ways to make payments abroad:
Get a forex card from the country where you are a citizen
Use a credit card with international payments switched on
Convert currencies locally and carry fiat money during travel
There is a 4th method that involves creating a bank account. This is not feasible if you travel as a tourist. Hence, it is out of the scope of this writeup.
Forex Card Basics for Travels
The idea is to refill a card with money where the currency exchange rate is fixed. If you buy a forex card today and fill it with INR 57k, you'll get about SGD 1K in that card. The biggest advantage is that the exchange rate is locked after you fill it. The card will still have SGD 1K when I travel to Singapore 6 months later. There are single-currency and multi-currency forex cards, which are self-explanatory. The latter is a better option in most cases. However, if you only plan to travel to Phillipines because Liu Sin Ma ChooChoo from Facebook - your online flame - lives there, go ahead with an SIF. Other benefits include not having to carry cash, fraud protection, electronic payment, etc. Forex cards can be bought for free sometimes. HDFC charges 500++ for a new forex card and then charges 75++ every time you refill it. Electronic payments (say, when you pay for a hotel abroad), there is usually no charge. I say usually because the hotel should accept the currencies available in your FX card. Otherwise, you'll be charged cross-currency fees, which if I could ELI5, I would have been effing Raghuram Rajan. Some banks seem to add a markup even when you pay using a forex card. However, this is not exactly black and white. I have found that banks usually charge a hidden fee even for electronic payments. Compare this with a Niyo Global FX that markets itself with 0% joining and markup fee. Due diligence is required here. In any case, prefer a reputable non-bank if you opt for FX card. This sub's endorsement for forex from early in 2022 - https://www.reddit.com/IndiaInvestments/comments/sesv1o/im_moving_to_uk_next_month_for_my_studied_and_i/
Credit Card as a Payment Method Abroad?
If you have enabled international transactions on your credit card (which you shouldn't generally as frauds are attracted to them), you can pay through it during your travels. The only major drawback is the currency conversion markup fee levied by your CC bank. This can range from 1%++ to 3.5%++ which can be a lot if you are staying at the Ritz. Remember the 8K markup I paid? It was heartbreaking. I would have considered buying Reddit Premium for myself and then dropped the plan later. I recommend CCs (VISA and Mastercard; Diners Club is a small club) as backup plans unless you have OneCard that offers 1% markup. The drawback here is that credit limits are laughable. BOB Financial, you unhelpful itch! Useful thread from 2019 on forex vs credit debate - https://www.reddit.com/IndiaInvestments/comments/ap3w0t/forex_vs_credit_card/
Simply convert INR to any currency and carry it. However, we're in 2022, and a lot of global merchants don't accept it anymore. Few friends who are in Scotland right now said even local transit system insisted on card payment. They had taken 100K INR in cash and didn't use even half of it. Converting cash in India has a hidden conversion fee whether you did it via an exchange agency or a travel portal. No one will tell you the fee as it is absorbed in the converted amount. I converted 20K INR into USD in late 2021 and saw that the calculation was 1 USD = 71 INR. Not a rip off but you get the idea. Drawback is exchange variations and the need to handle cash during the trip. I recommend some cash for local expenses. Say, you want to tip your gigolo when in Thailand? Go right ahead and slip that crunchy on his chest vest. --
The comparison between forex and credit cards is consequential. Both are good but I feel forex cards are slightly better as they also allow ATM withdrawals for a small fee. For instance, HDFC MMT card charges $2 for every USD withdrawal. That's a steal when compared to a withdrawal made via a CC. What do I do? If you want to know, I go the extra mile. I have 2 forex cards so far, one a HDFC multi-currency one and the other a Mastercard exclusive gifted my previous employer. I applied for a Niyo Global yesterday. I have 4 CCs with decent limits + OneCard with 1% markup. All these are different charge back brands, so they all act as good buffer. If Discover doesn't work, I'll use MC and then never visit that merchant again. I also convert some cash to the tune of 20K INR just to keep them in me and my partner's common bag and then pretend to not notice when a few big notes out of it travels its way from a hand or two to a fully waxed thorax portion beneath a fishnet. This may read tricky to some who haven't travelled and paid abroad before. So, the best way to do this is to learn for experience and use this guide as a "Haan, u/rhoul ne bola tha!"
[SALE] Nendoroid Clearance - Miku, NGNL, Konosuba and more
Doing some spring cleaning in advance for 2023. Timestamp: https://imgur.com/a/LOUYFV2 Prices indicated here are exclusive of shipping. All Nendoroids are shipped directly from Singapore so assume a delivery fee of approximately ~USD 20 for each box to CONUS. I will provide an accurate quote when I get your address details. I will be invoicing via PayPal G/S in Singapore Dollars (SGD) equivalent based on current forex rate. Miku Nendoroid (Brand new and sealed):
Do note that international shipping carries some risk, there might be damages to box during transit. I will be doing my best to make sure these are packed properly, please only trade with me if you are comfortable with this. Photos of the existing collection with latest timestamp will be provided before your payment. All shipping trackers will be provided. Edit: Please drop me a PM, not the chat thingy. Edit2, SOLD Items:
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