What’s the Cheapest Way to Transfer Money to Singapore?

Are you planning to send money to Singapore?

Do you know that every time you send money to Singapore (or elsewhere) via bank transfers, you need to pay hidden fees that banks never tell you about?

And the fees are huge. They can go as high as 4-5% of the total amount of the transaction.

In this article, we cover everything you need to know about sending money to Singapore, including transfer rates, exchange rates, transfer speeds, and different money transfer provider options.

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What to Watch Out For

If you’re looking to send money to Singapore, make sure you consider the following factors:

Transfer Fees

Sending money to anywhere in the world requires you to pay transfer fees. There are three types: fixed fees, percentage fees, or a combination of both.

A fixed fee is standard across all types of funds transfers regardless of the amount. It’s common practice for banks to charge a fixed fee.

For example, DBS Bank Singapore charges a fixed fee of $10 SGD when receiving funds from overseas regardless of the amount.

DBS Bank charges a fixed fee of $10 SGD for international transfers.

On the other hand, there are percentage fees, which are calculated as a certain percentage of the transfer amount. 

That means, the higher the amount of money you send, the higher the percentage fees you need to pay. Many online money transfer services charge percentage fees.

There are also financial institutions and money transfer companies that charge both fixed and percentage fees. They may charge you a low amount of fixed fee but a high amount of percentage fee. PayPal uses this method.

Note that different financial institutions have different transfer fees.

In addition, low transfer fees do not always mean you pay less when sending money.

You need to take a look at exchange rates, as well. 

Exchange Rates

Exchange rates are another important factor you must check before sending money to Singapore. 

More importantly, you need to understand what a mid-market rate is, or the exchange rate between financial institutions. In other words, it’s the currency’s rate before financial institutions mark up its price.

Basically, you may not be able to get this rate when sending money overseas. But there’s a way to know how much the financial institutions charge you for the currency exchange.

You can check mid-market rates at XE.com.

You won’t be able to get this rate from most money transfer services. But you can check how much money they make through exchange rates and choose a money transfer company that charges the fairest rate.

A bank or money transfer company may charge lower transfer fees but don’t be deceived — they might have higher exchange rates, which means transferring money with them is much more expensive.

Transfer Speeds

Another critical aspect you need to look into is how long it takes them to send money.

Banks may take up to 2-3 business days to transfer funds, while money transfer agencies like TransferWise or Xendpay can transfer  funds on the same business day or the next day.

Fund Security

It is important to choose a provider that  complies with all safety standards and regulations. They should not only meet the local government guidelines but also adhere to international standards, ensuring your money transfers are not flagged as money laundering.

The FCA is a well-known financial regulatory agency in the UK that protects consumers by regulating the business practices of financial firms.

Calculating Everything Together

Before sending money, you’ll want to find out which option will give you the best rate. To do this, you need to calculate both transfer fees and exchange rates, and compare.

If that sounds complicated, use a website like monito.com to compare rates offered by different money transfer providers.

Just enter the amount of money you wish to send, and the site will automatically calculate — using real-time exchange rates — how much money will be sent via different money transfer services.

You’ll also know how long it will take before the money is sent.

Monito may not list all available options for sending money to Singapore, but they provide results for a considerable number of money transfer options.  

Transfer Options

When transferring money internationally, you need to take into account factors like exchange rates, transfer fees, transfer guidelines, maximum transfer amounts, speed, safety, etc. 

Make sure you consider those factors regardless of which of the following options you choose:

  • Online money transfer
  • Bank transfer
  • PayPal
  • Western Union
  • ForeigncCurrency cheques
  • Forex companies
  • Crypto transfer

Online Money Transfer Service

When transferring money to Singapore, using an online money transfer service is  one of the best options. It’s usually the cheapest and fastest, as well. 

Here are some of the popular online money transfer services available, with details on their benefits, exchange rates, and what we like about them.

Xendpay

Xendpay is a popular online money transfer service that supports over 51 currencies including Singapore Dollar. 

Highlights

  • “Pay What You Want” transfer fees
  • Zero transfer fees for transfers up to £2,000 per year
  • Competitive exchange rates 
  • 3-business-days transfers 
  • Authorized by the FCA and HMRC (HM Revenue & Customs)

Exchange Rates

Xendpay’s exchange rates depend on the country you’ll be sending money to and the currencies involved. 

If you’re sending money in Singapore dollars, Xendpay will charge you around 0.5% from the mid-market rate, making their rates much better than banks’ and other money transfer services’ rates.

Transfer Fees

One of the major advantages of Xendpay is the “Pay What You Want” feature that allows you to decide whether you’ll pay the nominal fee for transfers for the first £2,000 or not pay the transfer fee until after you’ve exceeded your first £2,000.

Once you exceed the £2,000 limit, there will be a relatively low transfer fee of between 0.45%–1.4% for all succeeding transfers within the year.

Xendpay has an online cost calculator on their homepage. To use it, enter the amount you’ll send, select the country of the recipient, and you will receive a detailed breakdown of the amount of the transfer fee and the exchange rate.

Speed

Xendpay is relatively quick. It’s possible to get your money transferred on the same day in most cases. However, transfer speed varies per country and currencies selected.

Transactions made during the weekend are typically processed on the next business day. Also, any transfer done after 2:00 PM will be processed the next day.

If you send USD, EUR, and GBP by 10:00 AM, the money will get credited to the recipient’s account on the same day.

Money sent after 2:00 PM will get transferred on the next working day. For other currency transfers, it takes 2-3 business days.

Ease of Use

Similar to sending via TransferWise, sending money to Singapore via Xendpay is easy and straightforward. 

To set up an account, verify an account, make a transfer, refer to this detailed guide on how to use Xendpay

Xendpay supports five languages including English, French, German, Spanish, and Polish.

How to Send Money with Xendpay

After you sign up and verify your account, you can complete the transfer in just a few easy steps:

  • Use the online calculator to get a detailed breakup of charges
  • Compare Xendpay rates with other services
  • To send money, provide the following details:
    • Amount to be sent
    • Sending currency
    • Receiving currency
    • Recipient details
    • Edit transfer fee if within the yearly cap of £2,000

TransferWise

TransferWise is a UK-based online money transfer service launched in 2011 in London. TransferWise supports more than 56 currencies and is considered one of the best online money transfer services.

The founders of TransferWise Kristo Kaarman and Taavet Hinrikus thought that banks and forex agencies are charging huge fees in commissions and other hidden charges, so they decided to create their own online money transfer service.

Their main objective was to reduce the transfer fees when sending money overseas.

Highlights

  • Transparent exchange rate and transfer fee
  • Quick transfer with 1-4 business days delivery
  • Easy to use
  • 48-hour exchange rate guarantee
  • Regulated by the FCA

Exchange Rates

What’s good about TransferWise is its transparency. You can see the exchange rates and fees that will be charged upfront so you’ll be better able to make a decision before initiating a transfer. That means you’ll know how much money you’ll be saving if you compare their rates with traditional bank transfers. 

TransferWise uses the mid-market rate for their exchange rate. It means they don’t make money from currency exchange rates but from transfer fees alone. 

Transfer Fees

TransferWise comes with low transfer fees that range between 0.3%-0.5%. So whether you’re sending $100 or $10,000, you’ll get standard rates within that range.

But you may still need to pay an additional fee if you use a credit card or a debit card as a payment method. It’s usually around 3%.

TransferWise provides its customers with a detailed breakdown of the fee structure. The rates may vary based on currencies involved and where money is to be sent.

To further decrease the transfer fee, you can open a borderless account and benefit from reduced fees when sending money in USD, EUR, AUD, and NZD. You can read our review of TransferWise Borderless Account to learn more about it.

Speed

TransferWise is quite fast; for instance, sending $1,000 USD to a Singapore recipient through bank transfer can be done within four hours. 

If you use a debit card or a credit card, it might even take less than an hour. Even wire transfers can be done within the same business day.

To get a better idea of how long it takes to transfer money, use TransferWise’s online calculator on their homepage.

Ease of Use

TransferWise is easy to use and the site is available in 13 languages, including English, French, Polish, Spanish, Dutch, Portuguese, Italian, and Turkish.

You can check the resources available in the help section that provides answers to questions such as how to get started, what are the currencies supported, and how to create a borderless account.

How to Send Money with TransferWise

To send money to Singapore using TransferWise, simply follow these steps:

  • Create an account with TransferWise. Click on “Register” on the home page, then select between Personal and Business account and fill out your email address and other details. 
  • Calculate the exchange rate, transfer fee, and processing time using the online calculator found on the website’s home page.
  • Still using the online calculator, click on “See calculation” to  see how total fees, including transfer fees and converted amount are computed.
  • Enter the following details:
    • Amount to be sent
    • Sending currency
    • Recipient currency
    • Recipient details
    • Choose transfer type

TransferWise will then process the transaction and the money usually gets sent in about 4-6 hours.

You can read our TransferWise review article to learn more about TransferWise. 

Others

Apart from TransferWise and Xendpay, there are other money transfer companies that offer similar services, including:

International Bank Transfers

When it comes to transferring money across borders, many people often opt for an international bank transfer. This is understandable because for many years, that was the only option available. 

And although international bank transfer rates are higher compared to other methods, they are always the safest. That said, you shouldn’t just choose any bank to do funds transfers as you may end up losing up to 4-5% of the amount sent due to fees. 

What’s worse is that you won’t even be informed about the amount deducted from the transaction amount.

Singapore has a well-connected banking network, which is why sending money to anyone is easy. The downside is that bank transfers often come with a higher transaction fee. And you need to pay a fee to both the sending bank and the receiving bank. 

So unless you are sending a huge amount of money or you need credit advice for accounting purposes, bank transfer is not recommended. Should you opt for a bank transfer, then consider the following aspects:

Choosing a Bank for Sending Money

Remember that every bank has its own fee structure.

While the transfer fee is quite easy to find, the exchange rate isn’t. In most cases, banks will say that exchange rates vary. But this is usually only an excuse to avoid disclosing hidden charges in a transaction, which could cost as much as 1-2% of the total amount to be transferred.

If you’re looking to transfer a huge sum of money, it’s always smart to compare the exchange rate provided with the mid-market rate before you send money.

It’s worth noting that some sending banks may charge up to 4% of the transfer amount as exchange rates. This is usually the case when you send money in a foreign currency and ask the bank to convert it into SGD. 

Therefore, it’s better to send money in the original currency and let the receiving bank make the conversion. That’s because the fee that will be charged by the receiving bank will be much lesser than the sending bank’s.

Choosing a Bank for Receiving Money

Like the sending banks, receiving banks also have their own fee structure. The only difference is that with sending banks, you can get the exchange rates beforehand, but not with receiving banks.

Let’s take a look at the various banks in Singapore and their exchange rate fees: 

BankExchange Rate FeeHandling Fee
DBS0.68%$10 SGD
UOB0.62%$20 SGD
OCBC 0.67%$25 SGD – $40 SGD
HSBC1.98%$10 SGD

Foreign Currency Cheque

If you want to send money to Singapore through a bank transfer because it’s safe but are concerned that banks’ exchange rates are higher than forex agencies, an ideal middle ground is to send money using foreign currency cheques.

For example, if you are sending a foreign currency cheque of 100 USD to Singapore, the bank in Singapore will only receive the cheque while the conversion of USD to SGD will be done at the receiver’s end.

In this method, the exchange rates are lower compared to  sending cash. Remember that some local cheques will not be valid in certain countries, so make sure you inquire with your bank regarding foreign currency cheques and related fees.

Note that when cashing a cheque, you may need to pay some fees. In addition, cheques take some time to clear, which is not a concern when sending money through banks and forex agencies.

Banks like DBS charge 1/8% of the total cheque value with a minimum $10 SGD handing fee and a maximum of $100 SGD handling fee. It takes a minimum of 21 days for cheques to clear.

Forex Companies

Another option is to send money via forex companies. 

Note that when a forex company tells you that they provide you exchange rates lower than what banks offer, they will still charge fees to make a profit.

What is a Forex Company?

A forex company, also known as a foreign exchange broker, is a non-bank company that allows foreign currency exchange and international money transfers. Using forex brokers, people can buy and sell foreign currencies. Unlike online money transfer services, forex brokers are often used for large volume transfers.

Why Should You Use Forex Companies to Send Money Overseas?

Compared with online money transfer services, forex companies can transfer money to everywhere in the world and charge fees lesser than banks’. Forex companies’ transfer fees are also much lower and they support various payment methods. And transfers are quick.

What Are the Disadvantages of Using Forex Companies?

The main disadvantage of using forex companies is that there is often limited transparency with forex transfers.

Examples of Forex Companies

Western Union

If you want to make an instant money transfer to anyone in the world, Western Union is the best way to go. Money will be sent in less than 2-3 minutes.

But instant money transfers are expensive, and depending on the country you are sending, the transfer fee may vary between $5-$50 SGD.

For a regular transfer, the exchange rates may be up to 4% of the total transfer amount and around 7.5% for instant money transfers.

Western Union has more than 70 branches in Singapore and you can send money using their services by: :

  • Making an online transfer
  • Using the Western Union mobile application
  • Visiting a Western Union branch

PayPal

If you are looking to send money in small amounts, you can always use PayPal, a convenient way to send money to Singapore or any part of the world. The transfer fee might range from $0.50 – 1% for personal payments. 

If you send a payment in a currency different from the recipient’s currency, PayPal charges a conversion fee between 2.5% and 4.5% of the amount. The rate varies among currencies. 

To send a payment to anyone in Singapore, you need the recipient’s mobile number or email address. Most importantly, the recipient needs to have a PayPal account.

Cryptocurrencies

Although not treated as legal tender, cryptocurrencies are treated as goods by the Singapore Goverment. Hence, a Goods and Service Tax is imposed on cryptocurrency transfers. 

There are various cryptocurrency platforms where you can open an account, buy Bitcoins or any other cryptocurrency, and make transfers or payments. 

Similarly, the recipient can log into a cryptocurrency platform like Binance and convert cryptocurrency into fiat currency and withdraw the amount easily.

Country-Specific Recommendations

If you’re looking for information on rates and fees for sending money from a particular country, we’ve got you covered:

Please note that money service providers may change their exchange rate and transfer fees over time. To compare current rates, you can use a service such as Monito.com

Sending Money from the United States to Singapore

Looking for the best method to transfer money from the US to Singapore? Check the comparison table below to compare the transfer fees, exchange rates, and transfer speeds for transfers of $1,000 USD to Singapore using TransferWise, Xendpay, PayPal, and WorldRemit. 

Money Transfer ProviderTransfer FeeExchange RateAmount Received with $1,000 USD Transfer Speed
TransferWise0.46%1.41$1,398.93 SGDSame day
XendpayFree for the first 2,000 EUR1.41$1,410 SGD2-3 working days
PayPal$4.95 USD1.35$1,352.35 SGDInstant
WorldRemit$3.99 USD1.39$1,384.45 SGD2-3 working days

Sending Money from the United Kingdom to Singapore

Looking for the best method to transfer money from the UK to Singapore? Check the comparison table below to compare the transfer fees, exchange rates, and transfer speeds for transfers of 1,000 GBP to Singapore using TransferWise, Xendpay, and WorldRemit

Money Transfer ProviderTransfer FeeExchange RateAmount Received with GBP 1,000Transfer Speed
TransferWise4.26 GBP1.76$1,761.51 SGDSame day
XendpayFree for the first 2,000 EUR1.76$1,767.41 SGD2-3 working days
WorldRemit2.99 GBP1.75$1,747.18 SGD2-3 working days

Sending Money from Australia to Singapore

Looking for the best method to transfer money from Australia to Singapore? Check the comparison table below to compare the transfer fees, exchange rates, and transfer speeds for transfers of $1,000 AUD to Singapore using TransferWise, WorldRemit, and Commonwealth Bank.

Money Transfer ProviderTransfer FeeExchange RateAmount Received With $1,000 AUDTransfer Speed
TransferWise$6.15 AUD0.90 $900.56 SGDSame day
WorldRemit$3.99 AUD0.89$865.63 SGD2 working days
Commonwealth Bank$29.73 AUD0.89 $891.72 SGD2 working days

Final Thoughts

Ultimately, some people might still choose bank transfers to send money across the border. But while bank transfers are perceived as the safest option, there are other ways to send money and save a lot on transfer fees and other hidden charges. 

We hope this article has provided you with everything you need to know about sending money to Singapore.

Here’s a tip: before you get started on sending money to Singapore, go to Monito.com first and find out which money transfer provider can give you the best rates in real-time. 

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