InstaRem vs Wise (formerly TransferWise) - which is better in Singapore?

Hannes Ausmees

When it’s time to send money overseas you’ve got plenty of choices, from your regular bank to online and mobile specialist services. Specialists are a good bet because they’re usually cheaper and more convenient than your bank - but which to choose?

If you’re trying to decide between Instarem vs TransferWise (now known as Wise) for your next payment you’re in the right place. We’ll introduce both Wise and Instarem Singapore, and run through a full review and comparison. Let’s dive right in.

Table of contents

What is Instarem?

Instarem¹ is a specialist in digital cross border payments you can make online and from your phone. You can make Instarem payments as an individual or business owner, and send to dozens of countries around the world in a selection of global currencies. You can also get an Instarem Amaze card for on and offline spending, which we’ll look at in more detail later. Instarem was set up in Singapore back in 2014, and now has offices in several countries, with a growing customer base.

Instarem is safe to use for Singapore customers. It’s licensed by MAS as a Major Payments Institution, and also covered by licences in a selection of other countries.


What is Wise (formerly TransferWise)?

Wise was founded in the UK back in 2011, and now serves over 13 million customers around the world. With Wise you can send payments to 80+ countries, or open a Wise Account to hold 50+ currencies and spend with a linked Wise card in 170+ countries. All Wise currency exchange uses the mid-market exchange rate, with no markup added.

Like Instarem, Wise is MAS licensed, and so safe to use to send money and hold a currency balance. Wise is also overseen by around 15 different authorities globally.


Instarem vs Wise: international transfers

International payments are a core service for both Wise and Instarem Singapore. Here’s how the two services measure up side by side for cross border payments - we’ll look at a cost example in just a moment so you can see how they fare on price too.

EligibilitySend from Singapore and a selection of other countriesWise accounts are available globally, with the exclusion of a small number of countries
Supported countriesSend to 55+ countriesSend to 80+ countries
FeesFees vary by destination - new customers may also benefit from promotional discountsLow fees, which vary by destination
Exchange ratesInstarem rates may include a markupMid-market exchange rate
Payment limitsPayment limits for most transfer types are not specified - if you hit a limit when you’re arranging your transfer, you’ll be notified on screenSend up to 2 million SGD to bank accounts, or 5,000 SGD to PayNow³

Send from SGD up to 1 million SGD from a bank, or 16,000 from a card
Delivery speedMost transfers arrive in 24 hours50%+ of payments are instant, 90%+ arrive in 24 hours⁸
Ways to payBank transfer, card or PayNowBank transfer, card, PayNow or Wise balance
Customer reviews4.4/5 star review on TrustPilot, from 7,500+ reviews²4.5/5 star review on TrustPilot, from 180,000+ reviews
SafetyLicensed in Singapore, Malaysia, Australia, Hong Kong, India, USA, Canada and across EuropeLicensed in Singapore and a selection of other countries and regions around the world

Example transfer comparison

When you’re picking a provider for your overseas payment you’ll also want to make sure you’re getting the best overall cost. To help you weigh up Instarem vs Wise on fees and exchange rates let’s look at an example payment - in this case we’re sending 1,000 SGD to a friend in the UK, to be received in GBP:

ProviderAmount sentTransfer feeExchange rateRecipient receives
Wise1,000 SGD4.88 GBP1 SGD = 0.600413 GBP597.48 GBP
Instarem1,000 SGD6.5 SGD1 SGD = 0.6 GBP596.10 GBP

*Fees and exchange rates correct at time of writing, 25th November 2022 (00:51 UTC). Please see Terms of Use for your region or visit Wise Fees & Pricing: Only Pay for What You Use for the most up-to-date pricing and fee information.

As you can see, in our comparison your recipient would get more with Wise. Compare the costs of your specific payment with both providers to help you check which is the best value. You can model your transfer online in just a few seconds with both Wise and Instarem, so you’ll know exactly what fees and rates are available for your particular currency pairing. Easy.

The true cost of sending SGD to USD

Instarem vs Wise: Multi-currency cards

Both Instarem and Wise also offer linked cards for on and offline payments. Here the services available do vary slightly.

The Wise card is linked to a multi-currency account and can be used to hold, send in 50+ currencies and receive in 10 currencies. While the Amaze card is denominated in SGD only. However, you can use your Amaze card to spend around the world with preferential rates from Instarem, which means it’s still an option for travellers.

One key feature with Amaze is that you can either link Amaze to your existing Mastercard credit and debit cards, or use the service as a prepaid e-wallet, while earning cash back and rewards. However, you can’t use Amaze for cash withdrawals which can prove problematic for day to day use. If you’re looking for an account and card with real multi-currency features and a broader range of features, the Wise card may be a better bet.

Want to know more? Get a full Instarem Amaze card review here. Let’s look at how the Amaze card and the Wise card measure up:

Account maintenance feesNoneNone
How to top upLink up to 5 cards or top up and use as an e-walletAdd funds to your Wise Account with card or bank transfer, or use local bank details to get paid from 30+ countries
ATM feesATM withdrawals not availableUp to 2 withdrawals per month, to 350 SGD in value, fee free⁷ 1.50 SGD + 1.75% after that
Currency exchange feesNo specific fee, exchange with Instarem ratesExchange with mid-market rates and low fees based on currency from 0.41%
Overseas payment feesInstarem fees - full details shown in the Instarem/Amaze appSend to 80+ countries, fees based on currency - from 0.41%
Available currencies for holding and exchangeSGD⁶50+ currencies
Available currencies/countries for card spendingAny Mastercard supported currency170+ countries
Withdraw a balance back to your bankNot availableYes - withdraw in a range of currencies
Rewards and cashback1% cashbackLimited range of promotions available

Please see Terms of Use for your region or visit Wise Fees & Pricing: Only Pay for What You Use for the most up-to-date pricing and fee information.

Summary: Which one is better in Singapore?

Instarem and Wise are both great options for international payments with exchange rates that can beat the banks and low transfer fees. On top of that, Wise has a multi-currency account option you can use to hold 50+ currencies, with local banking details to get paid from 30+ countries, too. Which is best for you may come down to the specific transaction type you need to make.

In our example payment, Wise was better value - but there wasn’t a lot in it. If you’re looking to send a cross border transfer from Singapore it’s worth checking the rates and fees available from both providers so you can choose - it only takes a few seconds to get a quote online and you don’t need to sign up to see what your payment will cost. It’s also worth comparing the delivery times, as Wise can often get your money moving faster than alternative services, with estimated arrival times available before you confirm your payment.

The other key service offered by both Wise and Instarem is a linked payment card. However, here the options are pretty fundamentally different, which may make it easier for you to pick the best provider for your needs.

Instarem’s Amaze card is linked to an e-wallet which can hold SGD only, but allows you to either top up your account or link credit and debit cards for spending. You can’t make withdrawals, but you do earn rewards on your payments. Wise on the other hand offers a card linked to a multi-currency account which can be used more broadly for payments, as well as for receiving transfers like a local from 30+ countries, and holding and exchanging 50+ currencies. If you’re looking for an all-round solution for international transactions, Wise may be the better fit.

Wise sign up


  1. Instarem
  2. Trustpilot - Instarem
  3. Wise - guide to SGD transfers
  4. Trustpilot - Wise
  5. Instarem Amaze card
  6. Amaze card terms and conditions
  7. Wise will not charge you for these withdrawals, but some additional charges may occur from independent ATM networks.
  8. The speed of transaction claim depends on funds availability, approval by Wise’s proprietary verification system and systems availability of our partners’ banking system, and may not be available for all transactions.

Sources checked on 24/11/2022

*Please see terms of use and product availability for your region or visit Wise fees and pricing for the most up to date pricing and fee information.

This publication is provided for general information purposes and does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from Wise Payments Limited or its subsidiaries and its affiliates, and it is not intended as a substitute for obtaining advice from a financial advisor or any other professional.

We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether expressed or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

Money without borders

Find out more

Tips, news and updates for your location