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UOB® is a popular bank in Singapore and beyond, with a full range of accounts, cards and services available. If you’re a UOB customer and you need to make a UOB overseas transfer, you’ll want to know more about the options, fees and exchange rates that apply. This guide has you covered.
We’ll also touch on ways you could save your time and money if you use a service 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.
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Before we go further with our UOB telegraphic transfer review, let’s look at a quick comparison of UOB vs an alternative non-bank provider - Wise. We’ve taken an example payment of 10,000 SGD so you can see the fees, rates, and how much the recipient gets in the end, with each service.
Whenever you compare the costs of sending money overseas, it’s useful to remember that there’s more to the cost of an international transfer than just the fees. Many banks also mark up the exchange rate by an average of 4-6%, plus there are normally 1-3 intermediary and recipient banks who also charge fees.
Compare the exchange rate offered for your transfer to the mid-market rate using an online currency converter or just by Googling the currency pair so you know if the rate is marked up and by how much. That simple check can help you compare your options, and get a better deal overall.
Banks like UOB usually use SWIFT transfers when sending a payment abroad. That means you can pay 1 or more fees, which may not always be easy to spot. Costs can include:
- Transfer fee - often a percentage of the payment value, subject to minimum and maximum caps
- Exchange rate markup - a percentage added onto the mid-market rate
- Cable fee - varies depending on where you’re sending money to
- Third party costs - agent and intermediary fees
Transfer and cable fees are usually pretty easy to spot. But the third part costs may not be so clear, so you may not know exactly how much these will cost before you confirm your transfer. When you make your telegraphic transfer, you will have an option of whether you want to bear all of these fees (OUR), share the charges with the recipient (SHA), or put the full cost on the beneficiary (BEN). If the fees are passed on to the beneficiary in part or full, you can’t be sure how much they’ll get in the end.
As well as UOB telegraphic transfer charges, you’ll need to know the UOB overseas transfer rate that’s used to convert your SGD to the currency you need for deposit. You can get the UOB exchange rate online², over the phone, in a branch or using the UOB banking app.
It helps to know that most banks add a markup to the exchange rate you’re offered, which means it’s less favourable than the mid-market rate that you’ll find with e currency converter tool. Compare the UOB rate against the mid-market rate for your currency to spot this.
Let’s look in more detail at the UOB international telegraphic transfer (TT) fees:
|UOB overseas telegraphic transfer type||Fees and charges|
|Incoming overseas payment³||10 SGD|
|Outgoing overseas payment⁴||In branch, or via call centre: 1/8% + cable charge + applicable agent charge Online: 1/16% + cable charge + applicable agent charge|
|Cable charges||To/from Malaysia: 20 SGD All other countries: 30 SGD|
So: how to transfer money from UOB to an overseas bank? The good news is that it’s pretty simple, and you can make your payment online, in branch, or through a third party provider like Wise.
Before you can make an international bank transfer you’ll usually need the following information from the recipient:
- 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
The most convenient way to make an overseas transfer is by using the UOB internet banking platform. Login using your username and password, and then:
- On the left panel, select “Payment & Transfer,” followed by “Overseas Transfer”
- Select an existing recipient by clicking on their name, or click on the “+” symbol on the top right corner to add a new one
- Choose the account to transfer the money from, enter the amount and currency, and confirm the submission
There’s a handy UOB online remittance demo⁵ you can refer to if you need help.
You can also visit a bank branch to send money overseas. The location and the opening hours of different bank branches are available online.
You’ll have to:
- Fill in a UOB telegraphic transfer form at the branch or before you get there
- Hand it over to the teller with your identity card or passport, and your passbook or ATM card
- You’ll be informed if the transaction is approved to proceed
If you choose to make your payment in a branch, a member of staff will help you complete the UOB telegraphic transfer from, so you’ll know you’ve got all the information required to have your payment processed securely.
Option 3: Transfer from UOB to Wise
One challenge when sending payments overseas is how to get the lowest fees and the best available exchange rate on offer. The good news is that you can avoid unnecessary charges and exchange rate mark-ups by using Wise for your overseas transfer.
Sign up for a Wise account online or in the Wise app, to set up your payment digitally, and pay by bank transfer from UOB, with your card, Apple Pay, or PayNow. There are no hidden fees and signing up is free¹, plus you’ll get the mid-market rate whenever you send a payment, spend with your Wise card, or exchange currencies in your account. Transfer money seamlessly to 160+ countries, quickly or even instantly⁶.
Wise built its own payment network to avoid the SWIFT system and the possible hidden fees related to it. Instead, you’ll make a local transfer in SGD to Wise, and Wise then pays out the agreed amount locally around the world, from their network bank account in the destination.
Here’s a step-by-step guide to sign up for Wise and send your first international transfer:
- Open the Wise desktop site or download the Wise app
- Tap Register and use your email, Google, Facebook or Apple ID to create an account
- Follow the prompts to enter your personal and contact details and set a secure password
- Complete the verification step using SingPass or your physical ID documents
- Once your account is verified you can set up your payment by entering the amount you want to send, and the destination currency
- You’ll get a rate and fee quote and can follow the prompts to enter recipient details and fund the transfer
The limits for UOB telegraphic transfers vary based on the account type you have, and may also be different depending on where you’re sending payments to. Log into your online banking service to view and adjust the UOB transfer limits conveniently.
What do I need or what should I give to the sender in order to receive an international bank transfer?
To receive money from an incoming remittance in Singapore Dollars, your sender should have the following details:
- Your UOB SWIFT code
- Your full name on your UOB account
- Your UOB account number
A transfer processed through SWIFT will usually take between 1-5 business days to arrive at the beneficiary bank. You can get a list of specific cutoff times and how long each route will take for different countries on the UOB website⁷.
The cut-off times UOB has for international transfers vary widely depending on where you’re sending money to and whether you arrange the transfer online or in branch. An electronic payment to China can be made up to 16:00 while a manual payment in a branch must be completed before 15:00, for example.
- UOB exchange rate
- UOB inward telegraphic transfer fees
- UOB outward telegraphic transfer fees
- UOB online remittance demo
- 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
- UOB Singapore cut off times
Sources checked on 11/08/2023
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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