Guide to DBS overseas money transfers - review of fees, rates, transfer times and more

Hannes Ausmees

DBS® customers can send money overseas with either the DBS Remit service, or through a standard outward telegraphic transfer. The services available to you - and the fees and rates you’ll need to know about, depend on the destination country and currency you send, as well as the value of the transfer.

Read on for all you need to know about DBS remittance charges and the DBS overseas transfer rate used to convert your funds, plus handy information about the DBS overseas transfer time and payment limits. We’ll also touch on a comparison of the DBS overseas transfer fee against alternative providers like Wise, so you can see which might work best for you.

Table of contents

Sending S$10,000 to the US - example

Before we get into the details about DBS overseas transfer fees and times, let’s look at a cost comparison between DBS, popular Singapore bank UOB®, and non-bank alternative, Wise. In this case we’ll imagine we are sending 10,000 SGD to the USA, using the DBS remittance service.

The DBS Remit service isn’t available to all destinations and for all payment values, which we’ll cover in more detail later - so you’ll need to double check if your destination country is covered if you’re considering using it.

ProviderTransfer feeExchange rate*Recipient gets:
DBS (remittance service)¹0 SGD1 SGD = 0.7437 USD7436.70 USD
UOB®40 SGD1 SGD = 0.742964 USD7399.92 USD
Wise²47.24 SGD1 SGD = 0.749344 USD7458.04 USD

*Exchange rates checked on 01/08/2023 at 12:16 UTC

As you can see in this example, your recipient gets more if you use Wise compared to the 2 bank providers - even though the Wise transfer fee is higher. That’s because Wise uses the mid-market exchange rate while DBS and UOB both add a markup to the rate they use to convert your SGD to USD.

That’s an extra fee and means that even if the provider says a payment is ‘fee free’ or ‘no commission’, costs may still be applied - they’re just bundled into the exchange rate instead of being split out for transparency.

Compare the costs of sending money from Singapore with Wise and other major providers here

DBS remittance charges - overseas transfer fees explained

We’ve touched on the fact that DBS actually has 2 ways you can send money overseas - DBS Remit and a standard outward telegraphic transfer. You can send a DBS Remit payment to 50+ countries in 19 currencies, and a telegraphic transfer to 200+ countries.

The Remit service has no transfer fee - although an exchange rate markup is likely to apply. Outward telegraphic transfers have variable fees based on destination and payment value, which we’ll look at later.

You’ll need to use a telegraphic transfer if you’re sending to a different currency than that of the destination country (sending AUD to the US for example), or if your destination isn’t supported by the Remit service.

Aside from the fees and rates we’ll dig into below, it’s also helpful to know that some other fees may apply, such as agent costs and recipient bank fees. In some destination countries you can choose to cover these costs yourself, as the sender, to share the costs with the recipient, or to pass the fees on to the recipient entirely. You’ll see your options for splitting costs when you set up your payment.

DBS overseas transfer rates

You can find the exchange rates DBS uses online or in the DBS Digibank app. As we saw earlier, the rate may include a markup on the mid-market rate, which is a fee - it’s just a bit tricky to spot without doing your own research and calculations.

Once you’ve found the relevant DBS rate for your specific transfer it’s best to compare it against the mid-market exchange rate, which you can get with a Google search, to see what markup has been added.

DBS international transfer fees table

The DBS remit service, where available, has no transfer fee to pay, but the markup added to the exchange rate used can still push up the cost compared to other providers.

Let’s take a look at the charges for the other DBS payment option - outward telegraphic transfer:

Outward telegraphic transfer fee typeDBS fee¹
Cable charge20 SGD
Handling commission5 SGD when sending 5,000 SGD or less

10 SGD when sending 5,000 SGD to 25,000 SGD

35 SGD for higher value payments
Agent chargesVariable based on destination

How to make an overseas transfer with DBS

You can send an overseas transfer with DBS online, in a branch or using a third party service like Wise. We’ll look at how each works in a moment. Before you start arranging your payment you’ll need to get her some important information from your recipient to make sure the transfer can be processed smoothly.

Here’s the information usually required from the recipient to make an international bank transfer:

  • Your recipient’s full name and personal address
  • The recipient bank name
  • The recipient bank SWIFT code and address
  • Your recipient’s account number used for international transfers
  • The amount and currency you wish to send
  • Agent bank charges - “Charge to Me” or “Charge to Recipient”

Option 1: Online or mobile

You can send a DBS overseas transfer through the DBS Digibank app or the online banking system. Here’s how:

  • Login to the DBS internet banking portal
  • Select “Transfer - DBS Remit and Overseas Transfer” and choose the correct destination country from the list.
  • Enter the recipient information, and payment instructions, then click “Submit.”

Option 2: Visiting a branch

You can also send a DBS transfer in a branch - this may also be mandatory for high value transfers over 200,000 SGD in value. Here’s how to send a DBS overseas transfer in a branch:

  • Fill in a telegraphic transfer form
  • Take it to the bank teller for processing
  • The teller will verify your identity and confirm the details of the transfer

Option 3: Transferring through Wise

You can also use a third party provider to send a payment overseas and pay with your DBS bank account or card.

If you choose Wise for your overseas payment you’ll get the mid-market exchange rate with low fees based on the destination, from just 0.43%. Because Wise uses its own payment network rather than the SWIFT system usually used by banks, there are no middlemen - cutting costs and meaning your payment can move faster. In fact, 50%+ of Wise transfers arrive instantly, and 90% are there in a day³.

The true cost of sending SGD to USD

Choose Wise to send to 160+ countries, in 40+ currencies, online or in-app - and pay with your online banking, a card or even PayNow!

Here’s a step-by-step guide to sign up for Wise and send your first international transfer:

  1. Open the Wise desktop site or download the Wise app
  2. Tap Register and use your email, Google, Facebook or Apple ID to create an account
  3. Follow the prompts to enter your personal and contact details and set a secure password
  4. Complete the verification step using SingPass or your physical ID documents
  5. Once your account is verified you can set up your payment by entering the amount you want to send, and the destination currency
  6. You’ll get a rate and fee quote and can follow the prompts to enter recipient details
  7. Fund the transfer with a regular bank transfer from your SG bank account

Start saving money with Wise


Frequently asked questions

How to transfer to a DBS account from overseas?

To send a payment to DBS from overseas you’ll need to navigate to your online banking and set up a transfer, entering your full name, as written on your bank account, your DBS bank account number and SWIFT code: DBSSSGSG. You’ll also need to confirm the amount and currency you wish to receive, and who bears the bank charges.

What is the transfer limit for overseas transfers with DBS?

Generally the limit for sending an online telegraphic transfer is 200,000 SGD⁴, although this may vary based on the destination country. You can also send higher value payments in a DBS branch.

How long do DBS overseas transfers take?

Payments sent with DBS Remit can arrive on the same day they’re sent if you meet cut off deadlines. Telegraphic transfers take 2 - 4 business days.

DBS overseas transfer cut-off times

Each destination has its own cut off time, which you’ll need to meet if you want your telegraphic transfer to start processing on the day you submit it. Here are the cut off times for some popular destinations:

  • India - no cut off time
  • Philippines - 11.00am
  • Malaysia - 2.30pm
  • Indonesia - 2:00pm
  • China - 3:00pm
  • Hong Kong - 4.30pm
  • UK, USA, Eurozone - 5.00pm
  • Australia - 12.00pm

Use this full guide to DBS overseas transfers to help set up a payment - and don’t forget to compare your options including sending with DBS directly and using a low cost third party service like Wise instead.


Sources:

  1. DBS remit and international transfer
  2. Pricing/fees: Please see Terms of Use for your region or visit Wise Fees & Pricing for the most up to date pricing and fee information
  3. Speed: 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
  4. DBS limits and cut off times

Sources checked on 01/08/2023


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