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How to send money overseas affordably

Save when you send money internationally with a secure online transfer.

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Wise (TransferWise)

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  • Fair service fees and mid-market rates – a major market differentiator
  • Next-day delivery for most currencies
  • Easy-to-use app
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Compared to services like Western Union and MoneyGram, you can save on fees and get a better exchange rate with an online transfer company — though you may have to wait a day for your funds to arrive.

Compare money transfer services to help you send money overseas

Use our interactive table to compare transfer fees, exchange rates, sending limits and more for sending funds overseas with our money transfer partners.

Min. Transfer Amount Transfer Speed Online Transfer Fee Rate Amount Received Description CTA Details
SGD 0 Same day SGD 4.99 0.746 USD
7,457
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.
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SGD 250 1 day SGD 0.00 0.751 USD
7,513
Exclusive offer: Discounted exchange rates for your first and ongoing transactions. $0 transfer fee.
OFX has no maximum limit transfers, with competitive exchange rates for 45+ currencies.
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SGD 2,000 1 day SGD 0.00 0.751 USD
7,513
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.
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SGD 1 Same day SGD 3.99 0.751 USD
7,506
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.
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SGD 250 1 day SGD 0.00 0.751 USD
7,513
Send guarantees to match any competitor's exchange rate. T&Cs apply.
Send has fee-free transfers in 30+ currencies to over 200 countries.
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SGD 1 1 - 2 days SGD 45.00 0.754 USD
7,509
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 SGD 3.00 0.75 USD
7,500
Special offer: Zero fees on your first 10 transfers.
CurrencyFair has bank-beating exchange rates and fast transfer times on 15+ popular currencies.
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SGD 1 1 day SGD 43.00 0.754 USD
7,511
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.
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SGD 200 2 days SGD 50.00 0.748 USD
7,445
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.
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Compare up to 4 providers

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

What are the ways I can send money overseas?

With so many specialised money transfer companies to choose from, it’s no surprise that you have options when it comes to how your recipient receives your funds.

How you send your money and how it’s received will ultimately affect delivery speed and how much you’re paying in fees. In general, your options include the following:

  • Bank transfers. Many major Singapore banks can safely transfer your funds to countries around the world. Banks rely on existing links between banks and banking systems worldwide and it’ll often be called a telegraphic transfer. However, two downsides are the high fees and the weaker exchange rates you’ll often receive in comparison to other options.
  • Online money transfer services. These specialists offer more affordable transfers than banks do, allowing you to quickly and easily manage your transactions from home. With competitive exchange rates and lower fees, you can send funds from your bank account. Many also allow you to pay with a credit or debit card.
  • Services with cash pick-up. Services like Western Union and MoneyGram offer the key advantage of giving your recipient fast access to the cash you send – sometimes within minutes. You can pay online or at one of the thousands of agent locations worldwide. However, services typically cost more than an online transfer specialist and vary by where you’re transferring your money and how you’re paying for it.
  • PayPal transfers. Not just for online purchases, PayPal offers transfers to more than 100 countries and supports multiple currencies. Its exchange rates are often better than those you’ll get from a bank but not quite as strong as rates from money transfer companies. PayPal calculates its transfer fee as a percentage of the amount you’re sending – meaning it’s often better for sending smaller amounts of money.

How do I send an overseas transfer with a digital money transfer provider?

Although the process differs by company, to send money overseas, you’ll generally:

  1. Register for an account. Registration is almost always free. You’ll provide your full name, contact info and date of birth. Some providers also require proof of ID.
  2. Provide your recipient’s details. Specify who’s receiving the funds by providing their name and contact information. If you’re sending money for bank deposit, you’ll include the bank name, SWIFT code and your recipient’s account number.
  3. Indicate the details of your transaction. Enter how much money you’re sending and in which currency it will be received.
  4. Review the details of your transaction. For most providers, you’ll see a summary of your transfer showing the amount you’re sending, the exchange rate, any fee you’ll pay and the total your beneficiary will receive.
  5. Pay for your transfer. Payment methods vary by company but could include credit or debit card, bank account, cash or mobile wallet.
  6. Track your transaction. You should receive confirmation that includes a tracking number to monitor the progress of your transfer online or through an agent location.

You may also receive an email or text when your beneficiary has received your funds and the transaction is completed.

How can I save money when making a money transfer?

Fees vary widely depending on the provider you’re transferring with. Overall, providers make money on your transfer in two ways: by marking up the exchange rate and by charging you a transfer fee.

  • Compare exchange rates. Use your currency’s mid-market rate as a baseline to compare against the rates you’re offered. Focus on providers that offers the closest rates.
  • Send more money per transfer. Many providers discount transfer fees or waive them altogether when you send larger amounts.
  • Look for hidden fees. Avoid surprises by reading the fine print for fees that could apply to your transfer, including charges your recipient will need to pay.
  • Sniff out special offers. Keep an eye on promotions that offer, for example, no fees on your first transfer. While ideal for limited transfer needs, you could also end up with a new preferred service.
  • Shop around. The best way to save is by comparing rates, fees and transfer speeds of each provider, closely looking at their benefits and drawbacks.

The importance of a competitive exchange rate

Banks and other services are likely to add a little to the exchange rate, “padding the rate” to increase their profits. While a few cents may not sound like a lot on its own, when you multiply it by the $2,000 you plan on sending overseas, it can add up to a big difference in the amount ultimately received.

Specialised money transfer services typically offer rates that are closer to the mid-market rate.

Crunching the numbers: Sending $1,000 to Thailand

Let’s say you need to send $1,000 to family in Thailand. Here’s what you might face as far as fees and exchange rates as of 27 August 2020.

Digital money transfer serviceCash transferBank transfer
Fee$8.54$3$25 + additional correspondent bank fees
Exchange rate1 SGD = 22.89 THB1 SGD = 22.47 THB1 SGD = 22.65 THB
Transfer speed1-2 dayWithin an hour2-5 days
Amount receivedTHB 22,694THB 22,402THB 22,083
Verdict
  • Better than a bank transfer
  • Fastest and cheapest
  • Slowest and most expensive

Skipping the bank will get more than THB 611 to your recipient due to the bank’s transfer fees.

How to get the best exchange rate

How transfer fees affect your total cost

Transfer fees can range from a few dollars to up to $80 or more, with some providers taking even more as a percentage on your total amount.

Depending on the provider, your transaction fee could be:

  • A flat fee on the transfer, no matter the amount you’re sending.
  • A tiered-fee structure — for instance, $5 for transactions under $500 or $10 for transactions under $1,000.
  • A fee calculated as a percentage of the total transfer amount.
  • $0 if you meet a fee-free threshold — $5,000 or more with some providers.

Be wary of other fees that could apply. For example, a provider could charge your recipient a fee to cash a bank check or pick up cash in person.

Tools to save on an international transfer

There’s a lot riding on a competitive exchange rate and low fee. But depending on how much you’re sending, how soon your recipient needs it and rates at the time of transfer, you could save even more with the following tools.

  • Forward contracts. With this tool, you lock in a favourable exchange rate for a future transfer, avoiding unpredictable movements in the rate.
  • Limit orders. A limit order allows you to request a transfer that’s executed only when a specific rate is reached, at which point your provider locks it in.
  • Regular transfers. You may be able to shave a few pennies off an exchange rate or pay lower transfer fees by setting up a plan to automate more regular payments overseas.
  • Same-currency transfers. It can sometimes be cheaper to transfer Singapore dollars to your recipient, allowing them to transfer these dollars into their own currency when received. Your recipient may be able to pay lower fees overall this way.

Bottom line

Although it can be tempting to go with convenience over price, avoiding banks can save you both time and money when sending money internationally. Always pay attention to fees, and more importantly always pay attention to poor exchange rates that can quickly eat into your transfer.

Frequently asked questions

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