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How to send money to South East Asia
Learn how to send money to South East Asia with an international money transfer service.
Expatriates from South East Asia who currently reside in Singapore could have any number of reasons why sending money back home is important to them. You may be helping your family with their living expenses or saving to make an investment in your home country.
Whatever the reason may be, it is important that you find a company or bank that will allow you to make these overseas money transfers to South East Asia with as little fees as possible and at a competitive exchange rate.
The Singapore’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) lists 9 different nations beside itself that belong to the South East region of Asia. These include; Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam. If you are originally from one of these countries but are currently living in Singapore, you are likely to need to investigate your money transfer options.
International money transfer products and services that allow you to transfer to South East Asia
Use the table below to compare options for transferring money to South East Asia. Be sure to check that the service offers your particular currencies and destination before signing up. To find out specifically which currencies a product or service supports click “More” to be directed to a review page.
You can use the table headings to sort through products based on features and fees.
Banks vs money transfer companies/services
You will find a number of different options available depending on where in South East Asia you are transferring money to. For example, DBS is a Singapore bank that allows bank to bank transfers from Singapore to Indonesia, Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand and a few other Southeast Asian countries. For other countries, you will have to check with the bank personally.
Check the options available for your recipient country carefully in order to ensure that you are getting a good deal on transfer services. Expect to pay a fee for the transfer as well as a reduction in the value of the currency.
Number 1Jael moved from the Philippines to Singapore over a year ago and has recently decided to begin investing money back home towards the purchase of a house for her elderly parents. The trouble is finding a reliable financial institution that will conduct the transactions without overcharging her, or offering an unusually low rate on the currency exchange.
Jael has found a banking option that will do an account to account transfer from Singapore as well as a money transfer service that necessitates someone back home physically pick up the money at an agency. Here’s what she found when comparing the two different companies:
|Bank money transfer service||Non-bank money transfer service|
|Exchange rate.||39.3159 Philippine Pesos for every one Singapore dollar sent.||40.7869 Philippine Pesos for every one Singapore dollar sent.|
|Fees.||This bank charges $25 Singapore dollars per transfer. This fee does not include what may be charged by the Filipino bank.||You will be charged a fee of $9 Singapore dollars when initiating the transfer. The recipient is typically not charged a fee at pick-up.|
|Amount received per $1,000 Australian dollars sent.||39,315.90 PHP will be deposited into the Filipino account minus any fees charged by the bank.||40,786.90 PHP will be available for pick-up.|
|Turnaround time.||It will generally take up to one business day for the money to leave your Singapore account and one to three additional business days for it to clear in your overseas bank account.||This service is normally conducted in a matter of minutes. You will have to arrange for someone to pick up the money at one of their locations. To do this you will have to give them the transfer code.|
As you can see, using a non-bank transfer service not only saves over $16 in fees, but the amount received in the Philippines is 1471 pesos higher thanks to a more competitive rate offered by the transfer service. Monies lost in the transaction will add up to thousands of Singapore dollars quickly if Jael is sending money home consistently.
Number 2Jaslyn is getting ready to leave her family in Thailand for a year abroad in Singapore as part of her company’s expansion efforts. Worried about her husband and children, she is looking into ways that she can send a portion of her pay back home each month.
Jaslyn has been able to find two secure ways of getting money to her husband while away in Singapore. One is a well-known bank, while the other is a money transfer company. When comparing the differences between the two, this is what she found:
|Bank to bank money transfer.||Non-bank money transfer.|
|Exchange rate.||The exchange rate with the bank was 23.4434 Thai baht for every $1 Singapore dollar.||The exchange rate offered by this service is 23.8037 Thai baht for every $1 Singapore dollar.|
|Fees.||The fee for a bank to bank money transfer from Singapore to Thailand is $25 Singapore dollars. This is not including any charges from the bank the money is transferred to.||You will be charged a fee of $10 by the transfer company to conduct this overseas transaction.|
|Amount received per $1,000 Australian dollars sent.||The Singapore bank account will receive 23,443.40 Thai baht at the completion of the transaction.||The recipient will receive 23,803.75 Thai baht.|
|Turnaround time.||This service is normally conducted over a period of two to four business days.||This service is normally conducted in a matter of minutes. This is a cash pickup service only, where you will be instructed to give the recipient a transfer code in order for them to be given the money.|
In this case, the transfer with the non-bank company gives the recipient 360.35 Thai baht more than the bank transfer. Jaslyn also saves $15 Singapore dollars more in fees. Depending on what the Thai bank will charge, in this case, it’s also more economically sound to use the non-bank service over the banking.
How to compare transfer companies when transferring money to South East Asia
As you can see from the case studies, the rates and fees are going to vary greatly from country to country when looking at different methods of transferring money from Singapore to other Southeast Asian countries. Look at the following points carefully when deciding which is your best option:
- Exchange rate. This is key as fees can be hidden in the form of lower exchange rates than what is considered competitive.
- Fees. The upfront fee is very important in your decision. You will find that this can vary significantly between companies as well as countries.
- Pickup methods. Think about who you are sending the money to and for what purpose. If the closest pick up locations are far for your family, bank to bank transfers may work out better for you and them.
- Turnaround time. For scheduled payments, the turnaround time may not be an issue for you, but will be if an emergency warrants that you send money home immediately.
- Transfer methods. Some services, especially banks, will allow you to conduct the entire transaction online while for a non-bank transfer company, you may have to go to an agent’s location to take advantage of this option.
How to send money to South East Asia from Singapore
As there are many nations that comprise South East Asia, you will have to research to find those that provide money transfer services to the country of your choice.
Try these banks and companies first, as they are your most likely options to send money home:
- Money transfer companies. There is a range of money transfer services which allow you to send money to a variety of South East Asian countries. You can compare these above.
- Banks. Most major Singapore banks will allow you to send funds to South East Asian nations. As always, ensure you compare them using the criteria above to get a good deal. Some banks, such as Citibank and HSBC will offer accounts which have benefits when sending funds overseas, and these can be compared in the table above.
- Western Union. Western union services South East Asian nations and will even have sales and specials that you can take advantage of from time to time. This service requires that you know the recipient’s full name as it appears on their identification documents and that you give them a verification code before they pick up the money.
- MoneyGram. MoneyGram is a non-bank institution that offers money transfer solutions from Singapore to South East Asia. This is a pick up only service for most of the nations in South East Asia.
Emergency cash transfers in South East Asia
If you are robbed while travelling in South East Asia and need emergency assistance, the first thing you should do is contact the local authorities. Once you have an official police report, you can decide the best way to get more cash to finish out your travels.
- Transfer services. In most cases, so long as you still have your passport or other form of photo ID, a Singaporean travelling in South East Asia should be able to pick up money that has been sent to them from family or friends in Singapore.
- Traveller’s insurance. Anytime you book a trip, especially for overseas travel, you should purchase a traveller’s insurance policy. This can protect you from completely being without money if you lose your wallet or if it’s stolen while you are vacationing in South East Asia, as the policy can sometimes provide a cash benefit.
- Credit card. Some credit cards also come with complimentary comprehensive traveller’s insurance that can help in getting you money if have been robbed while on holiday. Ensure that you’ve fulfilled the eligibility requirements for this policy before travelling.
Cash pickup locations in South East Asia
The Philippines – MoneyGram
- Jaro Pawnshop P. Burgos Street Caridad Cavite City, 4100 Phone: 464314905 Open Monday through Sunday 8am to 5pm
- Cavite Export Proc ZoneRosario, 04106
Phone: 63464376549 Open Monday through Sunday 8am to 5pm
The Philippines – Western Union
- E Business Services Inc P Burgos Avenue 756Cavite City, 4100Phone: 26202360Open Monday through Saturday 8am to 5pm Sunday 9am to 5pm
- GSIS Family BankKawit, 4104
Phone: 464343771 Open Monday through Friday 8:30am to 4:30pm Closed on Saturday and Sunday
Singapore – MoneyGram
BKK Forex PTE LTD – People’s Park Complex
- 1 Park Road #01-78 G People’s Park Complex Singapore, 059108 Phone: 368896 Open Monday through Sunday 10:30am to 8:30pm
Ameertech Remittance And Exchange
- 195B Serangoon Road Broad W Singapore, 218067 Phone: 06562977707 Open Monday through Friday 10am to 9pm Saturday and Sunday 10am to 10pm
Singapore – Western Union
- Western Union Global Network Pte Ltd No. 1 Jurong West Central 2 #B1-34 Jurong Point Shopping Center
548886 Phone: 65 63362000 Open Monday through Friday 10am to 9:30pm Saturday 11am to 9:30pm Sunday 11am to 10pm
- Western Union Global Network Pte Ltd Blk 301 Ubi Avenue 1#01-261400301 Phone: 65 63362000 Open Monday through Sunday 11am to 9pm Closed daily from 2pm to 3pm
Tips for picking up cash in South East Asia
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) recommends that you practice normal safety practices when travelling in most countries in South East Asia. However, you should be cautious when picking up cash at any known cash transfer location.
If possible you should travel with a friend to the location, or ask your hotel personnel for assistance. After the pickup, secure the cash in different locations on your person and head back to your hotel or bank immediately in order to secure it.
How to send money to South East Asia
Your options for sending money from Singapore to South East Asia will depend on the country that you are sending the money to. The more exotic the currency, the more difficult it will be for you to find a company or bank that will work with you. Once you do find a money transfer company that meets your needs, be prepared to supply the following:
- Recipient name. If using a non-bank transfer service, you will have to give the full name of the person who will be picking up the money. This name should precisely match the name shown on their identity verification document.
- Transfer code. When you initiate the transfer, you will be given a unique number code. This code must be shared with the recipient in order for them to collect the money. They should also know your name, general location, phone number and the amount of money sent.
- Bank transfers. If a bank to bank transfer is a better option for you, you will need to have accounts set up in both Singapore and your home country.
- Fees. There could be fees charged by the recipient bank. This is something you will need to investigate before committing to this method of transferring money.
Expect to receive a receipt at the end of your transaction, showing your name, the recipient’s name and the amount transferred.
Transferring your money from Singapore back to other Southeast Asian countries is an important thing you should be considering before you make the move. Explore the options you have thoroughly and pick the one that provides you the most convenience for the least cost.
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