Arcade Money Changers (AMC) Singapore: Your full guide

Aman Saxena

Arcade Money Changers has been in the money-changing business since the late 1970s. And with that legacy comes trust, but also non-digital ways of exchanging your money.

In other words, you have to go down to one of their counters to get it done. Which can make changing your money nearly impossible if you aren’t able to physically get there. Read on to learn more about Arcade Money Changers and how they work.

If you are looking for a way to exchange and spend in different currencies, all through an easy to use app from your phone, check out Wise.

How to exchange currency with AMC

There is the traditional way, where you can head down to a local AMC counter and complete the process in person. The currencies and exchange rates offered will be listed on the board, and you can exchange your SGD right then and there. The other option is to lock-in an exchange rate online through their website, and then bring the confirmation to the AMC counter for the exchange. But to lock-in an exchange rate, you will first have to register on their website.

You can register on the Arcade Money Changers website by clicking on the sign-up tab on the home screen. You will need to enter in your name, passport or IC number, phone number, email address and a password of your choice¹. Once you are registered, you can then choose from the currencies available whether you want to exchange into them or exchange it into Singapore dollars.

You then confirm your order and you’ll receive an online confirmation within 30 minutes. Once your order is placed, that rate shown is locked in for 24 hours. So within the following 24 hours, you will have to get to an AMC counter to make the exchange.²

AMC charges and fees

The charges and fees are already built into the exchange rate that you get. And whether you book online or go down during work to the AMC counter, it is a cash exchange. You will either hand over foreign currencies that they accept and receive Singapore dollars or vice versa. Money changers are essentially for having money in hand, rather than remitting online or digitally to a bank account.

For those of you that don’t have time to head to a money exchange counter or just want an easier process that you can do from your sofa, take a look at Wise. You can sign up for Wise for free from the website or through the app and you can send up to 150 currencies online. It is so easy, cheap and seamless that it is used by 7 million customers across the world.

The true cost of money changing with AMC

When you lock in a rate online or when you’re at the counter at AMC, you’ll, of course, see the buy and sell rates for the different currencies on offer. The difference between the buy and sell rates is the spread, and that is where a money changer takes a cut of every exchange. They keep their exchange rates weaker than the mid-market exchange rate, which is the rate banks use within themselves. Next time you pass by an AMC counter you can check the difference on Google between the mid-market rate and the rate that is offered for a particular currency and SGD.

So the exchange rate that you pay to AMC already has their profit baked in on every dollar you exchange. Then when someone wants to sell the same currency, they give the seller a weaker rate than the mid-market again and pockets the difference again. This system keeps AMC profiting from currency exchanges, while you end up paying more for holding cash on hand.

Additionally, money changers like AMC have a few limitations versus online providers. First is that you are not able to send money to a bank account. This makes it even more difficult to send money to family or friends in other parts of the world, especially in times of need. And secondly, they have a limited number of currencies on offer since they exchange in physical notes. While online providers like Wise can transfer your SGD to 150+ currencies, AMC is limited to just a fraction of that.

With counter-pickup, unclear markups and limited currencies, AMC has not kept up with how money is being sent, spent and used around the world. The good news is that there are better ways to exchange and send money with Wise.

A cheap, fast and transparent alternative: Wise

Wise multi-currency account lets you hold multiple currencies at once, and send money directly to bank accounts around the world. That means you can exchange into, hold and spend from the comfort of your own home all in one online account.

So don’t take the risk of holding currency notes in cash or carrying them around, instead load up your free Wise multi-currency account and spend online with a click of a button. The smart technology also ensures that your transfer is safe and secure.

But the best part about using Wise is the money you can save. Wise doesn’t take a cut of every transaction from the exchange rate like money changers. You will always get the mid-market exchange rate, the same rate you see on Google. Wise only charges the small transaction fee that you’ll see upfront before you make your transaction. So don’t worry about cash and step into the future of money exchanging with Wise.

Sources used for this article:

  1. Sign up for AMC
  2. Online booking with AMC

All sources checked as of 9 April, 2020


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