OCBC overseas money transfers guide - review of fees, rates, transfer times for telegraphic transfers

Hannes Ausmees

If you bank with OCBC® and need to send money to someone based overseas, this guide is for you. We’ll walk through the costs of sending an OCBC remittance abroad, OCBC cut off times, as well as a few ways you can set up your transfer with OCBC. We’ll also take a quick look at how a third party service like Wise can help you access the mid-market exchange rate and low, transparent fees whenever you need to send money abroad.

Table of contents

Sending S$10,000 to the US - example

Let’s start with an example to illustrate the costs of sending money with OCBC compared to another popular bank, and with Wise - a non-bank alternative.

In this case we’ll imagine we are sending 10,000 SGD to the USA, with an OCBC account that’s eligible for zero fee transfers online. This service isn’t available for all OCBC account types or for all currencies, so to see the exact costs to send your OCBC international remittance you’ll need to log into your online or mobile banking service and set up your payment. Here you’ll be shown a quote featuring the exchange rate and transfer fee for your payment.

ProviderTransfer feeExchange rateRecipient gets:
OCBC0 SGD1 SGD = 0.7286 USD7,285.97 USD
Wise48.52 SGD1 SGD = 0.734160 USD7,305.98 USD
UOB®40 SGD1 SGD = 0.728148 USD7,252.35 USD

*Exchange rates checked on 15/09/2023 at 05:34 UTC. “Easy transfer” payment method with Wise

As you can see, your recipient gets more with Wise, even though the Wise transfer fee is higher than that used by OCBC. This is because the OCBC exchange rate includes a markup. That’s a fee, but it’s not always easy to spot. That’s why it’s important to compare the overall costs including the transfer fee and exchange rate, offered by OCBC, against some other providers before you make your payment.

It’s pretty easy to compare a few popular Singapore international money transfer providers online - just head to the Wise comparison page², and enter your payment value and currency. You’ll instantly be shown the transfer fee and exchange rate available from Wise and several other popular Singapore banks and specialist services, so you can decide which is best for your needs.

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

OCBC overseas transfer fees - telegraphic transfer charges explained

When you send an OCBC remittance you’ll need to be aware of a few different OCBC telegraphic transfer charges that could apply. These can include:

  • An upfront transfer charge - often a percentage of the value of the payment
  • Agent charges - which vary based on the destination of the payment
  • Cable charges - usually a one off fee of around 20 SGD
  • Exchange rate markup - a percentage added to the mid-market exchange rate to calculate the rate used to convert your SGD to the currency needed

Depending on where you’re sending money to, you might have the option to pay all of the OCBC remittance charges yourself (known as an OUR payment), split the costs with the recipient (a SHA payment), or hand over all the charges to the person getting the money (called a BEN payment). If these different options are available for your specific transfer you’ll see them online or be notified by branch staff when you come to arrange your transfer.

OCBC may waive some fees for overseas transfers in select currencies, arranged online, for holders of eligible accounts³. Check if you’re able to access this service before you set up your payment.

If you can’t get the OCBC transfer fee waived, you’ll need to calculate the costs of your payment. We’ll break out the most important OCBC transfer fees you should know about one by one next.

OCBC overseas transfer rates

We mentioned that one of the fees you’ll pay when you transfer money with OCBC is likely to be an exchange rate markup. This means that OCBC will add an extra percentage charge to the mid-market rate to calculate the cost of converting your money from one currency to another to deposit in your recipient’s account.

Using an exchange rate markup is very common but it can make it far more difficult to work out what you’re paying in the end for your international transfer. To see the markup used you’ll have to find the mid-market exchange rate for your currency pair on Google® or using a currency conversion tool, and then compare it to the OCBC overseas transfer rate offered for your specific payment.

OCBC telegraphic transfer charges table

When transferring money internationally, OCBC fees might differ depending on whether you set up the payment via online banking or by going to a branch in person. In some cases, OCBC may waive the fees if you set up your payment online, but this depends on the currency you’re sending and the account type you hold. Whether you’re sending from a SGD account or a foreign currency account, and whether currency conversion is needed all make a difference to the ultimate cost, too.

Bear in mind that apart from the fees outlined below, your transfer will likely also be liable to fees charged by the recipient or intermediary banks that help to process the payment.

Outward telegraphic transfer fee typeOCBC fee⁴
Sending a payment from a SGD account1/8% Commission (from 10 SGD to 100 SGD) + agent fee + cable charge
Sending a payment from a foreign currency account (with foreign exchange)1/8% Commission (from 10 SGD to 120 SGD) + agent fee + cable charge
Sending a payment from a foreign currency account (without foreign exchange)1/8% Commission (from 10 SGD to 120 SGD) + 1/8% fee in lieu of exchange (from 25 SGD to 120 SGD) + agent fee + cable charge
Cable charge20 SGD
Agent chargesVariable based on destination

How to transfer money from OCBC to an overseas bank

Let’s look next at a few different ways to send a payment overseas from OCBC. First, you’ll need to get the following information from the recipient to make your 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”

Then, you can pick one of the following options, depending on your personal preferences and where you’re sending your payment to.

Option 1: Online

The most convenient way to transfer funds directly via OCBC is through their online banking. To do this, you’d need to login to the OCBC online banking platform or mobile banking app, and navigate to “Payment & transfers”.

If this your first time making a transfer out, you’ll need to add a new payee by following these instructions:

  1. Under “Payments and Transfers”, click on “Add new beneficiary”
  2. Fill in the recipient’s account details for the beneficiary bank
  3. Check everything over and confirm by clicking “Next”

Once a new payee is set up, you can initiate a fund transfer.

  1. Return to the main menu and click on “Payments and transfers”
  2. Select “to a bank account overseas”
  3. Choose the account you wish to have the money withdrawn from and the destination account
  4. Enter the currency and amount to be transferred and any information needed
  5. To complete the transaction, click “Submit”

Option 2: Visiting a branch

You can also create a telegraphic transfer by visiting an OCBC branch. You’ll need to bring along your identity card or passport, and your bank passbook or ATM card.

Filling out the OCBC telegraphic transfer form⁵

If you arrange your payment in an OCBC branch you may be asked to complete the OCBC telegraphic transfer form, adding your personal and account information, the details of the person you’re paying, and who will pay all of the charges. A member of staff can walk you through the form if you find you need support.

Option 3: Transfer from OCBC to Wise

Another option is to choose Wise for your overseas payment. You can set up your transfer using just your phone and you’ll get the mid-market exchange rate with low fees based on the destination, from just 0.43%¹. Wise uses its own payment network rather than SWIFT - cutting costs and meaning your payment can move faster. In fact, 50%+ of Wise transfers arrive instantly, and 90% are there in a day⁶.

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 and fund the transfer

Start saving money with Wise

Frequently asked questions

How to transfer money to an OCBC account from overseas

To receive a money transfer from an overseas account to OCBC, your sender will require your OCBC account number, your full name and address, and your bank name, SWIFT / BIC code, and address. You’ll also have to agree the amount and currency you wish to receive, and who bears the intermediary bank charges.

OCBC overseas transfer limits

The default limit for an OCBC overseas transfer is 5,000 SGD per day⁷. Depending on your account type you may be able to alter this limit in your online banking service - if not you’ll need to visit a branch to arrange a higher value transfer.

OCBC overseas transfer time - how long does it take?

A telegraphic transfer can take between a few hours to 4 business days to reach the beneficiary bank⁸. How quickly it reaches your recipient, will depend on the country that their bank account is located in.

OCBC cut-off times for overseas transfers

The OCBC cut off time for your overseas payment depends on where you’re sending money to and the currency. The cut off for a same day transfer arranged online can be as early as 9.30AM for some currencies. If you miss the cut off for a same day transfer your payment will start to be processed on the next working day.


  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. Wise money transfer comparison
  3. OCBC remittance
  4. OCBC Personal fees
  5. OCBC telegraphic transfer form
  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. OCBC daily transaction limits
  8. OCBC overseas transfer times

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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