Bank of China money transfer overseas: Fees and features - Singapore


The Singapore Branch of Bank of China was established in 1936 and has been providing a range of financial services to its customers for over 80 years. It’s among the first to provide a range of RMB services, including currency deposits, personal loans, foreign exchange trading, and services for both corporate and consumer customers.

We're going to look at the overseas money transfer services offered by Bank of China, Singapore - the fees, the rates, and the timescales to expect for the successful completion of your transaction.

It’s always worth doing a little research to find the money transfer service that serves your precise needs. Before you make an international transfer don’t forget to check out other options available including new alternatives like Wise, to make sure you’re getting a fair deal for your transfer.

Here’s all you need to know to decide if the international money transfer offered by Bank of China (Singapore) is the best option for you.

How does an international money transfer with Bank of China (BOC) work?

There are several ways to transfer money overseas with Bank of China. You can choose to complete an outward telegraphic transfer or a demand draft through the International Remittance - Outward option.¹

Or, if you want to remit Chinese Yuan (CNY), also known as Renminbi (RMB), you can also choose their RMB Pre-Settlement Remittance service. The remittance can be paid in Singapore Dollars, US Dollars or other currencies and received by the payee in RMB.

Bank of China International Remittance - Telegraphic Transfer (TT)

TT is reasonably straightforward, but there are some aspects that you'll need to be aware of.

Besides the currency you’re transferring from and to and the amount, you’ll also need to provide the contact details of the recipient - name and address, the destination bank account number and the name, the SWIFT code, and the address of the receiving bank.¹

Demand Draft

A demand draft is similar to a traditional cheque - the process is slightly different, but the outcome is the same.

Demand drafts are initiated as orders of payment by one bank and sent to the destination bank, with the instruction of paying the specified party.

To complete a demand draft for an international remittance you’ll need the following information:

  • The destination currency
  • The amount you wish to pay
  • The payee’s contact details - name and address¹

Once you've provided the necessary information, your bank will hand over the demand draft to you. From there, you can either mail it to your payee or take it out of the country, and request the payment from the designated paying bank.¹

You may also want to keep the remittance receipt, as to cancel either a telegraphic transfer or a demand draft you'll need the receipt, together with your ID card and the charge list to apply before the remittance is effected.¹

Also, in case you lose your demand draft, you'll need to bring your remittance receipt and the ID card to the bank that issued it.¹

Part of the service charges, Bank of China may charge you for inquiry, cancellation of remittance and report of loss.¹

RMB Pre-Settlement Remittance

An RMB Pre-Settlement Remittance allows you to send Singapore Dollars (SGD), USD or some other currencies and the recipient receives their payment in RMB.²

There are a couple of features that you may want to consider:²

Fixed Exchange Rate - this sets the rate that the recipient will receive in RMB. This option may minimize the possibility of a reduction in the value of the transaction if the exchange rate drops.

Faster Transaction - payment is sent and received immediately to the Bank of China recipient’s account.

Direct Settlement - the recipient receives their funds in RMB, without further exchange transactions.

Multiple Currency Payment - allowing you to send payments in a variety of currencies, such as SGD, USD.

Eligible Applicants for RMB Pre-Settlement Remittance with Bank of China

This method of money transfer is available only via telegraphic transfer.

There is a range of criteria to determine qualification for RMB Pre-Settlement Remittance:²

  • Anyone living outside of China can send an RMB Pre-Settlement Remittance. This includes both Chinese citizens and non-citizens.

  • The recipient of your payment can be either a Chinese citizen or a non-citizen, living within Mainland China.

  • The recipient can only receive the equivalent of up to USD50,000 per year (equivalent in RMB). This limit is set by the Chinese State Administration of Foreign Exchange. RMB Pre-Settlement Remittance will fail if the recipient has reached their annual limit and your funds will be refunded. Your refund may be subject to exchange rates, so could be less than you sent in some circumstances. You may want to check with your recipient that your payment isn't going to exceed their annual allowance.²

Required Information

You must provide the following information:

  • The recipient’s contact details - name, contact number, ID number, BOC account number
  • Name and address of the beneficiary bank. You may still be able to complete your RMB Pre-Settlement Remittance without this.
  • The amount of money you wish to send. ²

What are the fees for an international money transfer with Bank of China?

Service - Outward remittance Bank of China fees
Debit from Foreign Currency Account 0.125% (min S$18 equivalent, max S$1,000)
Payment by Foreign Currency Cash 0.125% (min S$18 equivalent) + commission-in-lieu of exchange
Non-account holders - demand draft 0.125% (min S$20 or S$35 foreign currency equivalent)
RMB Remittances 0.1%(min S$20 equivalent)

The telegraphic transfers and demand drafts may also incur cable and agent charges.⁵

To get more details about the fees you can be charged when making an international transfer with Bank of China, you can also contact the bank directly.

To complete an overseas money transfer you may want to check if the recipient’s bank and Bank of China mutually open a nostro/vostro account. In this case, the recipient may receive the full amount sent.¹

The nostro/vostro accounts are banking terms that specify when a bank stores money at another bank.⁴

If not, the money could be transferred to the recipient’s bank account through one or a few intermediary banks. Each of them may deduct a service fee, which could increase the probability of your recipient to receive less money than you initially sent.¹

This is called the SWIFT network and is a common way to move funds across countries in different currencies.

In order to avoid the SWIFT network, you can try an alternative provider like Wise, which is a smart way of processing international transfers safe and efficient, that skips the SWIFT for most of the transfers.

What is the exchange rate you can get with Bank of China?

Usually, when you attempt to send money through a bank, they give you a "best rate." They may claim that the transaction is subject to zero commission. But, in reality, that can be tricky, as the commission is usually tied up into the rate that the bank is giving you.

You can check Bank of China exchange rates on their website³ to see if their offer suits your needs.

You may also want to check this currency converter tool to compare the rate you get from a bank with the live mid-market rate, at the time of your transfer.

Wise - the new smart option to transfer money abroad

If you're concerned that your international payment transfer is going to incur hidden fees, you could explore the alternative ways of sending your money.

Wise has some of the most competitive solutions, using the mid-market rate and avoiding the SWIFT network.

When using the service, you'll always be informed you how much you'll pay before finalizing your payment, and whatever you pay for the transaction is made upfront.

You can also use this fee comparison tool to compare the exchange rates and fees that your bank or service provider have.

For example, if you wish to send 1000 SGD to CNY with Wise, the mid-market rate (at the time of this calculation) is 1 SGD to 4.99260 CNY.

How long does an international money transfer with Bank of China take?

For example, when you transfer money overseas via a telegraphic transfer with Bank of China, the money should be received within a few days but that also depends on a few aspects, such as currency, destination or the bank involved in the process.¹

RMB Pre-Settlement Remittance could be quite fast, if the recipient also has a bank account with Bank of China. ¹

Bank of China Contact - How To Get In Touch

You can contact Bank of China in Singapore through a number of ways if you want to ask about a transfer or receive any further information.

You can check the branches of Bank of China in Singapore if you visit this link.

One thing to keep in mind is that branches are closed on Sundays and public holidays.

ATMs - find your local Bank of China ATM here.

Whether you’re transferring money overseas to a friend, family or make a purchase, you'll want to find a service that is fast, secure and helps you save as much as possible. Doing a research in advance will help make sure you find the right provider that suits your needs.

Sources used for this article:

This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication. The information in this publication does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from Wise Payments Limited or its affiliates. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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