GoBear is now part of Finder

Finder is committed to editorial independence. While we receive compensation when you click links to partners, they do not influence our content.

Guide to buying foreign currency

If you need to buy currency in the form of cash, there are several options you can take.



Send logo
  • Make fast, fee-free payments to bank accounts around the world
  • Price-match guarantee
  • Dedicated account manager
Go to site

Many providers allow the buy and sell of foreign currency electronically, however, sometimes you need foreign currency in the form of cash. You may simply prefer to have the cash for an upcoming holiday or may need to make an international purchase with a merchant that only accepts cash payment. Whatever the reason, here’s what you need to know about buying foreign currency as cash.

Min. Transfer Amount Transfer Speed Online Transfer Fee Rate Amount Received Description CTA Details
USD 60 1 day SGD 50.00 0.74 USD
Skrill offers easy transfers to many popular destinations, but keep an eye out for added fees. Go to site Show details
SGD 0 Same day SGD 4.99 0.735 USD
Special offers like free transfers and better exchange rates available for new customers.
Remitly has quick, affordable transfers around the world, with both express and economy options.
Go to site Show details
SGD 2,000 1 day SGD 0.00 0.736 USD
TorFX guarantee to beat any competitor's exchange rate for a transaction. Conditions apply.
TorFX sends money overseas in 30+ currencies, with competitive rates for transfer amounts over $2,000.
Go to site Show details
SGD 1 Same day SGD 3.99 0.739 USD
Use promo code 3FREE to send your first 3 transfers with no fee. Conditions apply.
WorldRemit sends money to 110+ countries for bank-to-bank deposits, cash pick-ups or mobile top-ups.
Go to site Show details
SGD 250 1 day SGD 0.00 0.736 USD
Send guarantees to match any competitor's exchange rate. T&Cs apply.
Send has fee-free transfers in 30+ currencies to over 200 countries.
Go to site Show details
SGD 1 1 - 2 days SGD 22.50 0.743 USD
Wise uses the mid-market rate and transparent fees to help you send money in 45+ currencies. Go to site Show details
SGD 5 1 - 2 days EUR 3.00 0.739 USD
Special offer: Zero fees on your first 10 transfers.
CurrencyFair has bank-beating exchange rates and fast transfer times on 15+ popular currencies.
Go to site Show details
SGD 1 1 day SGD 21.50 0.743 USD
Pay no fees on your first two transfers, up to S$3000.
SingX offers the real exchange rate every time you make a transfer and can help you send money across the world.
Go to site Show details
SGD 200 2 days SGD 25.00 0.74 USD
Exclusive: Use code FINDER10 to receive US$10 off your first transaction.
InstaReM offers simple transfers with a flat 0.5% transfer fee for most transfers.
Go to site Show details

Compare up to 4 providers

Disclaimer: Exchange rates change often. Confirm the total cost with the provider before transferring money.

How does buying currency work?

You can buy foreign currency through your local bank, though you may not receive the most competitive exchange rate. Specialist currency exchange providers with storefronts allow you to go in-person and physically purchase cash in the same way as you would make any other purchase. Let them know how much of a particular foreign currency you need, and they will tell you how much it will cost you in Singapore dollars.

The price in Singapore dollars will be dependant on the exchange rate offered by the provider, so it is essential to shop around to ensure that you’re getting the best deal. These exchange rates change daily, so be sure to make a comparison on the day that you’re planning to buy the currency. It’s also important to check what transaction fees the provider charges, if any, as this will significantly impact the price you pay.

As these providers are selling physical cash, they do not have an endless supply and may run out of a particular currency towards the end of the day. If you’re buying a large sum of a particular currency, for example, US$10,000, it’s best to call the provider a few days in advance to ensure that they will the cash available for you. The same applies to currencies that are less commonly purchased.

The finder international money transfers guide

How do I buy currency online?

If you’re unable to purchase the currency from a provider’s physical store, or if there’re no currency exchange providers near you, you can buy the cash online and have it delivered to you. You may also find that there are better exchange rates if you purchase online, although you will usually have to pay a delivery or courier fee. Alternatively, you can order and pay for the currency online, and pick it up in store at your convenience.

To buy currency online, head to the provider’s website and create an account with your personal details. You will need to select the currency that you wish to buy and the amount that you need, to see the price in Singapore dollars. Again, this will be dependent on the exchange rate for that day as well as any transaction fees or commissions charged by the provider. Once this is set up, and if you’re happy with the price, you will be able to purchase the currency using your credit or debit card. Be aware that you may be charged an additional fee for credit card payments.

The currency should be available for pickup or delivered to you after a few business days. You may be able to opt for same-day delivery if you need the money urgently, however, like anything that is express posted, it will cost you more.

You may be interested in

iRemit international money transfers review

iRemit international money transfers review

Make simple and small transfers to the Philippines through the IREMITX app.

Read more…
Citibank exchange rates

Citibank exchange rates

Check out today’s Citibank exchange rates and see how much your currency exchange will cost.

Read more…
Maybank exchange rates

Maybank exchange rates

See how much an international money transfer costs with Maybank versus other options.

Read more…

What ID do I need to provide to purchase foreign currency?

Currency providers will need to confirm your identity before you can buy any currency, meaning you will need to provide a photo ID to purchase cash online or in store. Any valid government issued ID should suffice, for example, your NRIC or passport. Your ID will need to include a photo of yourself, your full name, date of birth, residential address, issue and expiry date.

What MAS regulations do I need to be mindful of?

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) is Singapore’s regulatory body responsible for keeping our country safe from financial crime, including money laundering.

There is no limit to how much currency you can buy and how much you can take in or out of Singapore. However, If you are entering or exiting Singapore with a large amount of foreign currency in the form of cash, under Singapore Customs regulations, you must declare it if it’s worth over SGD$20,000. You can do this at the Customs Red Channel when you’re at the airport. If you have currency over this value, you will need to fill out a declaration form and sign it, acknowledging that you have this amount of cash with you. It is against the law to divide the currency between several travellers to avoid declaration, which may incur a fine.

If you are not physically travelling with the cash but mailing it overseas instead, you are still required make a declaration for sums over SGD$20,000. You are required to submit a report to the Suspicious Transaction Reporting Office (STRO) of the Commercial Affairs Department, Singapore Police Force no later than one business day (or, if the report is to be sent by post, no later than 2 business days) prior to the moving of the cash, or within five days of receiving it.

Tips for buying currency

  • Compare providers on the day that you wish to purchase the currency, as exchange rates change daily.
  • Call ahead if you’re planning to buy a significant amount of cash or a less commonly purchased currency, to check that they have the cash available.
  • Consider your own bank for less common currencies such as the South African rand, as these may not be available at many currency exchange providers.
  • Check what transaction fees and commissions the provider changes, or look for a provider that doesn’t charge any fees.
  • Steer clear of buying cash at the airport as the exchange rates are often poor and the transactions fees are high.
  • If you’re travelling with over SGD$20,000, you are required by law to declare it.

How do I compare my options?

Compare your foreign currency buying options with the help of finder.com/sg’s comparison tables, product reviews and information guides. Remember, when comparing your options, the most important factors to look out for are the exchange rates offered, the transaction fees and the commissions charged by the provider.

More guides on Finder

  • Binance alternatives: 5 exchanges to consider

    Looking for a crypto-to-crypto exchange like Binance that offers a wide range of alts? Here are some of the top alternatives to consider.

  • UOB Lady’s Savings Account review

    Benefit from up to S$200,000 protection against female-related cancers and a range of health benefits when you save with the UOB Lady’s Savings Account.

  • Standard Chartered Bonus Saver Review

    Earn boosted interest rates on the first S$80,000 of your Standard Chartered Bonus$aver account balance when you engage in any one (or more) of the five eligible categories.

  • MSIG Global Study Review

    MSIG Global Study offers comprehensive protection against accidents and other unforeseen consequences for students studying abroad.

  • MSIG TravelEasy Policy Review

    MSIG TravelEasy offers extensive travel coverage for families and independent travellers, and even has an enhanced plan for those with pre-existing medical conditions.

  • A beginner’s guide to cryptocurrency ETFs

    If you’re looking for ways to gain exposure to bitcoin and other digital currencies, cryptocurrency ETFs could be worth exploring. Find out what crypto ETFs are and how they work in this introductory guide.

  • MSIG MaidPlus Insurance Review

    Fulfil your hiring obligations and enjoy greater peace of mind with MSIG MaidPlus, a specialised insurance policy to protect your domestic worker from accidents, illness and more.

  • MSIG ProtectionPlus Personal Accident Insurance review

    MSIG ProtectionPlus gives you and your family the financial peace of mind to cope with life’s unexpected events that could potentially result in death or disability.

  • Bose Singapore sale October 2021

    Bose is a household name when it comes to all things sound related. This status brand is highly acclaimed worldwide. Save here.

  • Where to buy Pop Its Fidget toys 2021

    Wondering what all the fuss is about? Get in on the new craze keeping little (and big) fingers busy this year.

Go to site