About Author: Hi, I’m Quinn Askeland. In 2014, I started Transumo after experiencing expensive, slow, and frustrating international money transfers and payments through banks. Once I discovered how to manage my own international currencies much better, I became driven to help others improve their transfers and payments. Fortunately, today, there are many excellent options. See My Full Bio.
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Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links which often saves you money! 🙂 For more information, see my disclosures here.
Transferring money locally in Singapore is easy, fast, and affordable with bank transfers or bank-affiliated mobile payment systems.
1. Bank Transfers:
Singapore banks use 2 electronic transfer methods to move money between bank accounts.
1.1 FAST (Fast and Secure Transfer)
This method lets you transfer funds instantly to your recipient if both parties have an account with the participating banks of the FAST system.
Banks supported by the FAST system include: ANZ, Bank of China, HSBC, BNB Paribas, Deutsche Bank, DBS, Citibank Singapore Limited, ICICI, HL Bank, Maybank, Mizuho, OCBC, RHB, Standard Chartered SMFG, and UOB.
FAST transfers in Singapore are completely fee free and you can transfer up to $200,000 SGD per transaction.
1.2 MEPS (MAS Electronic Payment System)
MEPS are only available at local bank branches and take at least 1 business day to be cleared. Your transfer can go through faster if you set it up before 2 PM on a week day.
If your bank or your recipient’s bank is not supported by the FAST network, then this is your only other option for a local bank transfer in Singapore.
MEPS transfers are also capped at $200,000 SGD per transfer and cost $20 SGD per transfer.
2. Bank-affiliated mobile payment systems:
PayNow is an instant fund transfer service integrated into the mobile app of your bank if you have an account with the the following banks: Bank of China, Citibank Singapore Limited, DBS Bank/POSB, HSBC, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Limited, Maybank, OCBC Bank, Standard Chartered Bank, and UOB.
With PayNow, you can send money to a recipient simply by entering their registered mobile number or their NRIC/FIN or UEN number (bank account details not required). In Singapore NRIC/FIN (for individuals) and UEN (for organizations) are government-issued ID numbers.
PayNow transfers are processed via the FAST payment network, settled instantly, and pretty affordable (can be free or cost $0.5-$1 SGD per transfer, depending on your bank). But all PayNow transfers are capped at $1000 SGD, which makes it ideal for smaller transfers only.
2.2 DBS PayLah!
DBS PayLah! is a mobile-wallet that can be used by both DBS and non-DBS account holders.
PayLah! lets you transfer money instantly to any bank account for free in Singapore by entering your recipient’s mobile number.
Like other mobile wallets, you do need to have your PayLah! wallet topped up before you send money.
The PayLah! transfer limit for DBS account holders is $2000 SGD and the limit for non-account holders is $999 SGD.
Other than sending money to friends and family, PayLah! also lets you pay for goods and services by entering the merchant’s mobile number or by scanning a QR code.
2.3 Pay Anyone
While Pay Anyone’s features are similar to PayLah!, you can only sign up for Pay Anyone if you have an OCBC account.
However, you can transfer money to any other bank account in Singapore by entering their mobile number (or NRIC/FIN and UEN if they’re registered for PayNow).
Pay Anyone’s is a bit more generous with their transfer limit – you can send between $15,000-$20,000 via the app.
GooglePay, ApplePay, and ApplePay are also quite popular for micro transfers in Singapore.
International money transfers To or From Singapore can be a tricky prospect, especially with so many service to choose from.
Here is the deal:
If you are in Singapore or overseas the key is to choose the right service to match your needs.
For example, some services are better for smaller amounts while others are far better for larger amounts.
To help with this we divide up who does what best and explain why. Fortunately Singapore has some great options, but it is clear some some services are better than others.
Let’s dive in.
The amount you are sending
Based on our research and use cases, we found that there are limited options for sending cash to and from Singapore.
But one service does shine!
WorldRemit is our top choice in this category offering cash pick up in many countries. They also have low fees and enable the sender and receiver to use their mobile phone to send money and be notified when it has arrived.
Right now they also have “3Free” campaign which gives you the first three transfers free. Check out the review or snapshot below.
Western Union (review) may not be the cheapest, but as the largest money transfer company in the world, they have over 500,000 agent locations around the world and still might be your only option.
Wise offers low fees, a transparent fee structure, and service coverage to send money to and from Singapore. We also consider them our top pick because of their exceptional customer service and smooth online experience.
In addition to transfers, for expats there are some awesome extras when you opt into the Wise Multi Currency Account (review) which can make them indispensable, including a multicurrency wallet, access to more currencies, the ability to pay and get paid like a local, a prepaid debit card (great for traveling and online payments), and international bank details in major currencies (USD, CAD, GBP, EUR, AUD, and NZD).
See the snapshot below to see why you might choose one of these.
The reason some services shine above $9500 SGD ($7000 USD) is partly as a result of anti money laundering and counter-terrorism laws. These laws effectively mean that any financial institution transferring your money internationally needs to do additional checks (mostly ID). Services designed for larger amounts typically deal with these requirements when you sign up while services that deal with smaller amounts tend to make it easier to sign up initially but this can result in frozen accounts and other issues which are best avoided.
Telephone service (not just a great online platform) also becomes far more important because the banks at each end of the transaction need to deal with the same regulations and having a money transfer service that can assist with this (if required) can be very helpful.
- Ideally the service is regulated in your sending country. OFX and TorFX for example, are regulated in Singapore by the Money Authority of Singapore.
- They offer phone support. It’s always reassuring (and occasionally needed) to be able to speak to a human when a large amount of money is being sent between banks. OFX and TorFX are both standouts in their telephone support. OFX even has a physical office in Singapore.
- Their fee structure is suited to large transfers. For example, their percentage fee goes down as your amount increases. Both OFX and TorFX both have fee structures designed to reduce in percentage terms as amounts increase.
Let’s dive in.
For a quick overview and offers, check out the snapshot table below.
For same day cash pickups for your recipient in Singapore, Western Union may be the way to go, with relatively high fees but with an extensive network of agents.
If you don’t need cash payouts, CurrencyFair and Wise offer affordable fees and quick bank-to-bank and card-to-bank transfers.
With an office in London and competitive fees: OFX is our recommendation if you like doing things online 24/7 with TorFX as an alternative if you prefer to do business on the phone with an assigned helpful and knowledgable person.
To send cash from Singapore, try WorldRemit although the countries are limited compared to the (usually more expensive) Western Union.
CurrencyFair usually has the lowest fees for transfers to the UK and the money arrives in just a couple of days.
However for overall excellence our top pick is Wise for amounts below $9500 SGD.
For larger transfers from Singapore to the UK, OFX is your best bet in our books with TorFX awesome for those who prefer to transact on the phone. OFX has the additional advantage in that it is registered in Singapore with the Money Authority and FCA in the UK.
Wise offers the best rates for amounts below $7000 USD/€ 6000 EUR – you’ll pay as low as €5 EUR for a 1000 EUR transfer, including currency conversion fees (5-8x cheaper than banks)
XE and OFX offer relatively similar fees (which are very competitive) for EUR-SGD transfers above $9500 SGD / € 6000 EUR. If you are fluent in English, OFX is our top pick here. But if you are fluent in French or Spanish XE is likely the best option.
For transfers below $9500 SGD, Wise proves to be an excellent option for Singapore to Europe money transfers especially since they have a great footprint in Europe.
For those larger transfers from Singapore, OFX’s fee structure and service works out really well (and they’re regulated in Singapore as well).
If you’re looking to save big on smaller (below $9500 SGD) USD-SGD transfers Wise is our top pick.
For larger transfers, OFX is hard to beat due to its dedication to the US which means they have phone support from North America if you need it. They are also regulated in almost every State and Singapore for extra assurance.
For SGD-USD transfers, Wise wins the day again for smaller transfers, while OFX is your best bet for amounts over $7000 USD/9500 SGD as they are regulated and have physical offices in both countries all helping to ensure excellent fees and a smooth transfers.
To and From Singapore
For smaller transfers below $9500 SGD/CAD, Wise is our top pick for card to bank or bank to bank transfers.
OFX is a confident choice for those large transfers above $9500 SGD/CAD with an offices in Toronto and Singapore to ensure everything goes smoothly from a service and a regulatory point of view.
To and From Singapore
For smaller transfers below $9500 SGD/CAD, Wise is our top pick for card to bank or bank to bank transfers. They also have an offices in Singapore and Melbourne although generally you will only need to use their user friendly online platform to transact.
OFX is a confident choice for those large transfers above $9500 SGD/CAD with an offices in Sydney and Singapore to ensure everything goes smoothly from a service and a regulatory point of view.
Regulated (see Safety below)
Size of amount ideal for
mark up on
|See exactly what you pay here and compare
|Flat fee ranging
|3 free transactions, use code ‘3FREE”
|Fixed fee + % of
|Get your first 10 transfers fee free
mark up on
|No flat fee; only
margin on the
|AUS/NZ and Asia – Get a quote online or by phone
|Flat ($15 USD)
fee + margin on
rate for all
|OFX may charge a fixed fee of $15, however if you click here you can avoid these fees all together.
Cost is one of the leading factors that can sway your decision to choose one money transfer service over another. And, it’s one of the biggest reasons we recommend you look beyond your trusted high street bank for those international transfers.
Typically, a money transfer service makes money by charging transfer fees as well as a margin on the exchange rate. Their fees depend on a number of factors including the amount, target currency, funding method, as well as the payout method.
Generally services are aimed at smaller or larger amounts and their fee structures reflect this. For services aimed at smaller amounts, there are usually more options to fund the transfers and receive the money along with services that are focused on efficiency and doing things online.
For services aimed at larger amounts, the fees tend to reduce in percentage terms as amounts increase and they also have excellent phone support if it is required.
The quality of service is another factor that can make or break your currency transfer experience.
For smaller transfers, a stellar currency transfer service offers an easy-to-use online interface, great support while setting up your transfer, and proactive troubleshooting in case of unexpected hold ups.
Some services recommended above (for example, Wise, InstaRem and WorldRemit) are aimed at people who are comfortable doing everything online but they also have great customer service if required.
For larger amounts, speaking to a human by phone may be really helpful although doing most things online is usually par for the course.
Sometimes you may need your remittance to arrive instantly, while in other cases you may have the wiggle room to wait a couple of days.
Transfer speed is another important filter for choosing the right transfer service for your needs.
Moreover, the transfer speed also determines your transfer fees. So the right service should give you the best of both worlds – fast transfers with affordable fees.
“Is my money safe with a currency transfer company?” – we get this question a lot.
Assuming you use a well known one, our answer is: probably better than a bank.
Money transfer companies are licensed financial service providers and are required to meet many regulations similar to your high street bank with a few extra requirements that enables them to move money internationally.
Moreover, they use industry-leading encryption to keep your money and data safe online as well as conduct regular checks to rule out illegal activities like fraud and money laundering.
But to be most confident ideally use a service registered with a major regulator and ideally has a physical presence in your sending country so you’re never left hanging if your transfer hits a snag.