- Looking to do an international transfer money to Singapore?
- Discover cheaper ways to do currency transfers USD to SGD than most US banks.
- Learn what to look for when choosing the best way to transfer money.
Getting ready to send money from the US to family, friends, or business partners in Singapore? You have a lot of great options for processing your international payment. In this article we explain everything you need to know about sending money overseas to Singapore.
In this guide
- Common reasons people transfer money overseas to Singapore
- Why you shouldn't send money overseas using your bank
- Is it safe to use a money transfer company?
- USD / SGD exchange rates
- What are the fees?
- Minimum and maximum transfer amounts
- Alternative ways to send money to Singapore
- Business vs. personal considerations
Common reasons people transfer money overseas to Singapore
Singapore is well-known for its remittance outflows, with a large migrant workforce that sends money back to their home countries in other parts of Asia. But there are reasons that people may want to send money to Singapore as well, including:
- Settling an account with an e-commerce supplier.
- Supporting family or friends back home.
- Paying for goods or services.
- Covering tuition fees for school or university.
- Paying your family's migration costs.
- Contributing to wedding expenses.
- Sending a charitable donation.
Why you shouldn't send money overseas using your bank
Sending money to Singapore from the US using a bank wire has high associated fees and costs. Banks also have the longest clearing times, with recipients waiting up to five working days or sometimes longer before the funds reflect in their account. Overall, sending money using a retail partner like MoneyGram, WorldRemit, or Western Union is the better choice, as they have faster transfer times and lower fees.
Is it safe to use a money transfer company?
The Finty recommended provider list has been well-researched. All the recommended retail partners on our list are well-established and offer secure, reliable, and fast transactions.
USD / SGD exchange rates
When you send money to Singapore from the USA, you'll have to pay the currency exchange rate charged by the company or bank processing the deal. Typically, the vendor charges you a premium or margin above the spot rate for the currency. This approach allows the service to make a commission on the transaction value.
As an example, suppose you transfer $1000 USD to your family in Singapore. Even though the spot rate may be 1 USD = 1.33 SGD, this rate is not available to retail customers. The service provider will give you a reduced rate of 1 USD to = 1.25 SGD, so the recipient will only get 1250 SGD rather than the 1330 SGD if you convert the US$1000 at the spot rate. The service provider keeps this difference, or margin, to cover some of their transaction costs.
As the margin rate differs between banks and retail money transfer services, it pays to shop around for the best rates before settling on your preferred service provider for the transaction. Typically, the exchange rate is better with a retail transfer service like MoneyGram.
What are the fees?
When you're sending money to Singapore from the USA, expect to pay a margin rate on the currency exchange with your bank. However, there are also additional fees involved.
What is a typical fee?
If you're sending money through the bank, you'll pay a transaction fee on top of the margin on the currency exchange rate. Transaction fees with banks can be 5% or more of the amount sent to Singapore.
As a result, you could end up paying up to $50 in fees on a $1000 transaction. The recipient also pays a fee of $15 to $30 when they receive the money into their nominated bank account.
Online money transfer companies also charge a transaction fee, but it’s typically a much smaller percentage. E-wallets charge a lot less than banks.
Therefore, sending the money from a retail partner or e-wallet rather than using the bank for the transaction makes sense. This strategy saves you money on fees and puts more cash into the recipient's pocket.
Can fees be avoided?
Yes, you can avoid the additional transaction fees or reduce them using cryptocurrency or e-wallet transfers. Typically, these methods have much lower costs and faster transaction times than banks or retail money transfer businesses.
Minimum and maximum transfer amounts
If you're sending money to Singapore from the US, a bank transfer is the best choice for amounts exceeding $7,000 to $10,000. Most retail money transfer partners have caps on transfers ranging to these amounts, making them unsuitable for larger sums of money.
However, sending less than $7,000 to $10,000 is more affordable with a retail money transfer partner recommended by Finty. Most retail outlets have minimum transfer limits from $100 to $1,000.
Alternative ways to send money to Singapore
If you want to send money to someone in Singapore without using the traditional financial system, you always have cryptocurrency as an option. Cryptos like Ripple (XRP) offer you faster transaction times than PayPal, with instant liquidity.
However, the recipient will have to understand how to work a wallet and private keys. They'll also need to sign up with a crypto exchange if they want to convert the crypto to their local currency, which may also have tax implications.
Business vs. personal considerations
Business transfers typically occur between official bank accounts. It's the safest way to confirm transactions, as this method has the bank track all business information, and the transfer ends up in the business’ banking account.
However, if you're sending through a retail money transfer exchange, the recipient and sender must leave their passport or ID number, along with their cellphone number, when transferring or collecting. These requirements satisfy KYC protocols to avoid international anti-money laundering.
How can I fund my money transfer?
You can fund your USD money transfer using cash, credit card, debit card, or wire transfer. The retail money exchange, bank, or e-wallet will convert the currency to your recipient's nominated currency.
How fast can my money transfer be sent to Singapore?
Money transfer times vary depending on the method used to send funds to the recipient's host country. Typically, bank transfers take between three to five days. Faster options like e-wallets can take anywhere from a few minutes to an hour to reflect in your related account.
What are the money collection options?
If you’re transferring the money from a retail money exchange like WorldRemit, the recipient can have it transferred to their bank account or mobile wallet or pick up the cash from any participating partner or retail outlet. Check local listings for branches near you.
Are there any tax considerations?
You get an annual gifting allowance from the IRS, allowing you to send up to $15,000 to your friends and family members, tax-free in 2021. However, exceeding this amount may expose you to tax liability. Speak with a qualified CPA for more information regarding limits and tax issues.