Looking for the best money remittance service in Singapore? 2021 Edition

Elle Kasser

If you need to send money overseas, you want a safe, quick and convenient way to make your payment. You’ll also want great value, with low costs, great exchange rates - and no unexpected fees to worry about.

There are many different remittance services available in Singapore, which can make the process of choosing the right remittance company for your needs a little daunting. We’re here to help, with this roundup of the best money remittance companies in Singapore, 2021 edition.


We’ll also cover how remittance services which use the mid-market exchange rate with no markup - such as Wise - can help you save significantly on the costs of sending money abroad. Let’s get on, so you can get a better deal on your remittance.

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Wise for sending money

Here's what we'll cover:

Choosing the best money remittance service

The best money remittance service for you depends on how you want the payment to be sent and received, where your money is going, and of course, your personal preference. If you want to use a money order from Singapore to make a payment, for example, you may choose a different provider to someone looking to get cash quickly to a relative overseas in their local currency.

All that said, there are a few key things to consider, no matter what type of payment you’re looking to make:

  • Cost and transparency in pricing - look carefully at the cost of sending your payment, as well as the exchange rate being used. We’ll cover why exchange rates are important in just a moment - get a bad one, and you could pay more than you expect for your remittance.

  • How you can pay for your remittance - some providers only accept cash, while some prefer bank transfers or card payments. Find one which suits your preferred payment method.

  • Speed and dependability - providers should be able to indicate how long it will take for your payment to arrive. If you need an instant payment you’ll probably pay a premium for the service.

  • Security - check your chosen remittance service is well established and uses bank level security to protect your money.

  • Convenience and customer service - choose a service which is simple to use, convenient, and has customer support on hand if you run into problems. Checking how you can track your transfer can offer reassurance that you’ll always know where your money is.

  • Other services you can use with the provider - if you make regular remittances, you may find you’re better off with a provider like Wise which offers additional services such as a multi-currency account to let you hold and send money at any time.


Remittance services in Singapore

As a global financial centre, it will come as no surprise that there are a good range of remittance services operating in Singapore. You can send money using your regular bank, head to a physical location to make a remittance in cash, or choose a specialist online provider.

It’s worth noting that sending international payments with a traditional bank can be an expensive option. Remittances aren’t core business for normal banks, and the service offered can be costly and slow compared to specialist services. In this guide, we’re going to cover companies which have a focus on remittance payments, as these tend to offer better value and a broader range of international payment services for customers.

When you’re choosing a provider for your payment, make sure you look at the exchange rate being used, as well as the stated cost of making your transfer.
This is important because many remittance services add a markup onto the mid-market exchange rate. This is an extra fee, but it’s tricky to spot, and can mean you pay more than you expect for your remittance.

Learn more about the mid-market exchange rate, why it matters, and how to get it, here.

Let’s look at some good remittance service options available in Singapore.


Wise

Wise offers online payments direct to bank accounts around the world. You can send money in 50+ currencies, for up to 7x cheaper than banks and PayPal, and will always get the mid-market exchange rate with no markup.

As well as one off payments, you can also open a multi-currency account online and for free. Hold, send and spend money from all around the globe, and get paid for free in major world currencies like euros, US and Australian dollars, and British pounds. You’ll also get a linked debit card to make it easier to pay and make withdrawals when you’re out and about. You won’t ever pay to spend currencies you own, and can make 2 cash withdrawals up to a value of SGD350 a month fee free.

Wise is MAS regulated, and has over 10 million customers globally, with a TrustPilot score of 4.7 out of 5. ¹

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Revolut

Revolut² offers 3 account plans for customers, including the free Standard Plan, and Premium and Metal accounts which cost SGD9.99 and SGD19.99 per month to operate. For your fee you get perks like priority customer support, airport lounge access and some insurance cover.³

You can send money in 28 currencies with Revolut, and benefit from their MAS regulated service which has a 4.4/5 rating on Seedly Reviews⁴. You’ll access the mid-market exchange rate, with a 0.5% fee for transfers above the value of SGD9,000 per month, and extra fees at weekends or on certain currencies including Thai baht⁵.

It’s also worth noting that although you can spend using your Revolut card in many countries all over the world, you can’t hold some key currencies, including Chinese yuan.⁶

All Revolut accounts come with a linked card for easy in person payments and withdrawals. Revolut has a focus on helping you to manage your entire financial life, with account features including budgeting tools and analytics.


WorldFirst

WorldFirst offers services to individuals and business customers⁷ - but it's worth noting that the minimum transfer amount for a personal customer is SGD2,000. Transfers for private customers are done with no upfront transfer fee, but a margin of up to 0.5% is added onto the exchange rates used for the remittance.

To get started with WorldFirst you’ll need to first complete an online form and then wait for a call back from the service team to confirm details and open your account. Make sure to plan enough time if your remittance is urgent.⁸

Over 30 currencies are available - however there is no listing of the currencies served available online. You’ll need to call the service to check if you can send the payment you need.⁹

World First has a 4.8 star rating on TrustPilot, and is MAS regulated.¹⁰


SingX

SingX is a local Singapore startup, which has won Fintech awards for their remittance service¹¹. You can get an account if you’re a Singapore resident, and send money to over 30 currencies including Chinese yuan. However, it’s well worth knowing that you’ll need to apply online, submit documents electronically - and then attend an in person meeting before your account can be activated. ¹²

Payments are arranged online and must be funded by a bank transfer. There are fees for your remittance which vary from 0.25% to 1% depending on the currency you’re sending. You can calculate the costs of your specific transfer online to see how the service compares with other options available.

Payments may be subject to limits depending on the country they’re being sent to - although these are fairly high, and in some cases, uncapped.


Western Union

Western Union is a global money remittance service which offers payments online and in person at agent locations¹³. You can have your payment delivered directly to your recipient’s bank account, or collected in cash, depending on the destination country. If you need to get a cash payment to someone almost immediately, this is a good option - although you’ll typically pay a premium for the service.

You’ll be able to find an agent online using the agent location tool¹⁴ on the Western Union website - or set up your account to make a payment electronically. You’ll need to have a government issued ID to hand to complete the verification process, but this stage can be done online.

Calculate the costs of your payment online, but don’t forget to check both the upfront fee and the exchange rate being offered¹⁵. Both the costs and rates may vary depending on how you choose to pay for your transfer, and how your recipient wants to get their money.

Western Union is very clear that it makes money from currency exchange in addition to the upfront fees charged. This is likely to be done by adding a markup to the exchange rate being used - which can be tricky to spot, and may push up costs unnecessarily.¹⁵


InstaReM

InstaReM allows customers to make electronic payments overseas, and you can set up your account online for convenience. Over 30 countries are served by InstaReM payments.¹⁶

The fee you’ll pay for your transfer depends on where you’re sending money to. InstaReM states that typical fees run from 0.1% to 1%,¹⁶ and also clarifies that the company processing currency conversion makes money from the transaction. This may mean you pay both a fee for the transfer and a markup on the exchange rate applied - check the costs associated with your transfer online before you proceed, using the cost calculator tool.


Sending money in Chinese yuan

Although sending and receiving payments in CNY is common here in Singapore, it’s worth knowing that not all remittance services support these payments. We’ve tried to highlight the providers which allow CNY transactions in this list - but the services offered by remittance companies do change from time to time, so be sure to check the status if you’re sending a payment to a friend or family member in China.


Finding the best money remittance service in Singapore for your payment does require a little research. You’ll need to look at a few different companies to find the one which comes with the best balance of cost, convenience, and reliability for you. However, investing the time to review some different remittance providers is a good way to save money - leaving you with more to spend on yourself.

Make sure you check both the upfront fees charged by each provider, and the exchange rates on offer. By choosing a mid-market exchange rate service like

Wise you could spend less on your international remittance every time.


Sources:

  1. TrustPilot - Wise Reviews
  2. Revolut Singapore
  3. Revolut Singapore - Pricing plans
  4. Seedly - Revolut Card Reviews and Comparison
  5. Revolut Singapore - Personal Fees for Standard Account
  6. Revolut Singapore - What currencies are supported for holding and exchange?
  7. WorldFirst
  8. WorldFirst - Private customer FX
  9. WorldFirst - FAQ
  10. TrustPilot - WorldFirst Reviews
  11. SingX
  12. SingX - FAQ
  13. Western Union Singapore
  14. Western Union Singapore - Find locations
  15. Western Union Singapore - Send money
  16. InstaRem Singapore

All sources checked on 27 January 2021


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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