Guide to POSB overseas money transfers - review of charges, rates, transfer times and more

Hannes Ausmees

POSB® is part of the consumer banking group under Singapore’s largest bank, DBS Bank®, serving millions of retail customers in Singapore. As such, POSB offers a wide range of financial products and services for its clients, including making POSB international transfers.

Read on for our full guide to POSB overseas transfer services. We’ll also touch on ways you could save your time and money if you use a non-bank provider like Wise, which offers digital transfers to 160+ countries, in 40+ currencies, with low fees and the mid-market exchange rate¹. But more on that a little later.

Table of contents

Sending S$10,000 to the USA with POSB - quick example

POSB offers several ways to send money overseas - and, as part of its partnership with DBS, promotes the DBS Remit service as a good option for digital payments to supported countries.

To see how POSB measures up, let’s look at an example payment: sending 10,000 SGD to the USA, using the DBS remittance service. To help you compare, we’ll also feature the costs and rates available with UOB®, and non-bank alternative, Wise.

ProviderTransfer feeExchange rateRecipient gets:
POSB²0 SGD1 SGD = 0.7357 USD7356.72 USD
UOB®³40 SGD1 SGD = 0.735243 USD7323.02 USD
Wise³47.24 SGD1 SGD = 0.741372 USD7378.70 USD

*Data correct at time of writing - 11th August 2023 06:03 UTC

Based on transfer fees alone, POSB appears to be the cheapest option - but your recipient gets more with Wise. That’s because there’s often much more to the cost of an international transfer than merely the upfront fees.

Keep in mind that many banks mark up the exchange rate by an average of 4-6%. In fact, this is where they often make the bulk of their profit, which means you’ll need to do a lot more calculating than you’d first intended. Plus, there are normally 1-3 intermediary and recipient banks who also charge fees if the bank is using the normal SWIFT system.

All in all, international transfers can get more expensive than you anticipate.

To get the best deal on your remittance, you’ll need to compare the exchange rate offered for your transfer to the mid-market rate using an online currency converter. Or choose a provider like Wise which only uses the mid-market rate for simple, fast payments with transparent fees. More on that later.

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

POSB overseas transfer fees - telegraphic transfer charges explained

The POSB overseas transfer fee you pay will depend on whether you’re able to use the DBS Remit service or not.

DBS Remit is available in 19 currencies, when sending a payment under the value of 200,000 SGD in the currency of the destination country (sending USD to the US for example). If you’re sending a higher value transfer, or if you’re sending money to an account which uses a different currency to the country it’s held in, you need to use a POSB international transfer instead.

DBS Remit payments have no upfront transfer fee, while outward telegraphic transfers with POSB use variable fees based on the value of the payment. In this case, agent and cable fees may apply on top of the transfer fee. Both services are likely to use a markup on the exchange rate used to convert your funds to the destination currency - we’ll dig into that in detail next.

One final point to note when sending an outward telegraphic transfer with POSB - as agent charges may apply, you may be asked to decide who will pay these. Your options are usually paying them yourself as the sender (an OUR payment), sharing with the recipient (a SHA payment), or passing the whole cost to the recipient (known as a BEN payment). This option isn’t always offered, as it depends on where you’re sending to - but you’ll be guided through the process online, by phone or in branch, depending on how you choose to arrange your POSB transfer.

POSB overseas transfer rates

You can get the POSB overseas transfer rate online⁴, in the POSB app, by calling or in a branch.

It’s important to understand that the POSB rate used to convert your dollars to the currency you’re sending is unlikely to be the mid-market rate. The mid-market rate is the one you get on Google® or using a currency converter tool. However, banks usually add a markup to this, when calculating their retail exchange rate used for transfers. This is an extra fee - but you’ll only spot it if you compare the POSB rate to the mid-market rate for your currency.

POSB international transfer fees table

As we’ve already seen, payments routed from POSB through the DBS Remit system have no transfer fee (although an exchange rate markup might well still apply). There are, however, upfront charges if you send a POSB outward telegraphic transfer.

Here’s a more detailed look at the POSB overseas transfer fee for incoming and outgoing payments.

Outward telegraphic transfer fee typePOSB fee
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 transfer money from POSB to an overseas bank

Next let’s look at how you can send an overseas transfer with POSB online, in a branch or using a third party service like Wise.

Before you can make your payment you’ll need to get the following information from your recipient to make sure the transfer can be processed smoothly:

  • 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
  • Who should bear agent bank charges

Option 1: Online

If your payment qualifies for the DBS Remit service, this could be cheaper and more convenient than visiting a branch. Here’s how to make a POSB overseas transfer, via DBS Remit, online or in the POSB banking app:

  • Login to the POSB internet banking portal
  • Select “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

If you’re sending a high value payment, using an uncommon currency, or if you simply prefer a face to face service, you’ll need to visit a branch to arrange your payment in person. In this case, your transfer is processed as a POSB outward telegraphic transfer, with higher fees compared to the DBS Remit option. Here’s how to send a POSB 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

Filling out the POSB telegraphic transfer form

If you send your payment in a POSB branch you’ll need to complete the POSB telegraphic transfer form⁵, which asks for all your details, the information about your recipient’s bank, and full details of the payment being made, including who will cover the costs.

Option 3: Transfer from POSB to Wise

You can still pay for your overseas transfer with POSB, but get the mid-market rate and low, transparent fees, if you pick Wise.

Wise offers online and in app multi-currency accounts you can use to hold 40+ currencies and send payments to 160+ countries. Create a Wise account and set up a payment, to pay with POSB, a bank card, Apple Pay or PayNow. You’ll pay fees based on currency, from as little as 0.43%, and your money could even arrive with your recipient instantly⁶.

Wise-card

Wise works differently to banks - avoiding the SWIFT network and cutting out the middleman fees. This saves money and means your transfer moves faster.

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 and fund the transfer

Open a Wise account today!

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

Frequently asked questions

How to transfer money to a POSB account from overseas

Your recipient will need the following to send your money safely:

  • Your details: Full name and POSB account number
  • Your bank details: SWIFT code, address, and possibly a clearing code
  • Transfer details: Amount and currencies

POSB overseas transfer limits

Online payments processed through DBS Remit are capped at 200,000 SGD. You may be able to send more if you visit a POSB branch, but the costs are likely to be higher.

POSB overseas transfer time - how long does it take?

If you use the DBS Remit service to process your POSB overseas money transfer, your funds can arrive on the same day they’re sent. Standard POSB telegraphic transfers take 2 - 4 business days.

POSB cut-off times for overseas transfers

The POSB cut off times depend on whether you’re sending a payment through DBS Remit, or a standard POSB overseas transfer. You’ll need to meet the relevant cut off time if you want your telegraphic transfer to start processing on the day you submit it. To give an example, for online transfers, the cut off for Malaysia is 2.30pm⁷, Indonesia is 2:00pm, while the transfers to the UK, USA, and Eurozone can be made as late as 5.00pm.


Sources:

  1. 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
  2. POSB international transfers
  3. Wise comparison page
  4. POSB exchange rate
  5. POSB telegraphic transfer from
  6. 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
  7. POSB (DBS) cut off times


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.

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