International money transfer with UOB: Fees and exchange rates 2022

International Transfer with DBS

If you’re a DBS customer and need to make an international transfer, you’ll want to know about the DBS international transfer fees and exchange rates before you get started. This guide covers how to transfer money abroad with DBS, the DBS international transfer exchange rate and more.

DBS may be the largest bank in Singapore, but if you need to send a payment overseas, it isn't necessarily your best option. Specialist services like Wise and OFX are cheap and convenient, and could get your money moving faster. More on that coming right up.

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DBS international money transfer comparison

When you make a DBS international money transfer you’ll need to watch out for a few different fee types:

  • Cable/telex charges + handling commission - these fees are paid to DBS

  • Exchange rate markup - this can be the highest fee, but it’s often hard to see

  • Agent bank fees - these fees go to intermediaries involved in the transfer process, and you won’t necessarily know in advance how much they’ll be

We’ll take a closer look at what these costs mean one by one in a moment. To give a bit of context, though, let’s review how DBS international transfer fees measure up against some specialist providers. These fees are assuming we are sending a standard transfer of 1,000 SGD online to someone based in the UK, to be received in pounds.

ProviderTotal costTransfer time
DBSCable/telex charges 20 SGD + handling commission 5 SGD + exchange rate markup + any relevant agent bank charges

2 - 4 working days

Wise

4.88 SGD - payments use the mid-market exchange rate

80% of payments arrive in 24 hours
OFX

No transfer fee - a markup is added to the exchange rate applied

1 - 2 business days
PayPal6.99 SGD + exchange rate markupInstant
Save money with Wise

You’ll notice that DBS fees for this type of payment are pretty complex and include several separate charges. The costs get even higher when you’re setting up your transfer in a branch, or when you send a larger value transfer, too.

One key fee to understand when sending a payment with a traditional bank like DBS is the exchange rate markup - a percentage fee added to the mid-market exchange rate. This is commonly around 3%, which doesn't sound like a lot, but can quickly mount up. Agent fees may also apply depending on how the payment is processed, which can mean the recipient gets less than you’re expecting in the end.

Alternative providers like Wise and OFX tend to offer a better exchange rate compared to regular banks, and can often provide a quicker and more intuitive service, too. Services are available 24/7 and can easily be accessed through a provider app or desktop site. 

Read our Wise review here.

Read our OFX review here.

DBS international transfer fees

Here’s an overview of the DBS international transfer fees for standard transfers, set up online or in a branch.

Transfer typeDBS international transfer fee
Standard transfer online or mobile  

Cable/telex charges: 20 SGD per transaction


Handling commission:

  • 5 SGD for remittance up to 5000 SGD

  • 10 SGD for remittance up to 25,000 SGD

  • 35 SGD for remittance above 25,000 SGD

Additional agent bank charges may apply.

Standard transfer in branch

Cable/telex charges: 20 SGD per transaction


Handling commission:

1/8% of the SGD equivalent of remittance amount

  • Minimum fee: SGD10

  • Maximum fee: SGD120

Additional agent bank charges may apply.

Receiving an international payment10 SGD 

Aside from this standard transfer service, DBS does also offer DBS Remit - an online and mobile transfer service for specific countries and payment types, which can offer lower fees. However, this service isn’t available to all markets, and exchange rates will still include a markup - an extra fee.

DBS exchange rate

DBS calculates the exchange rate offered to customers by adding a markup or margin to the mid-market exchange rate. The mid-market rate is the one you’ll find with a Google search - and the one banks buy currencies at themselves. Typically, though, bank exchange rates offered to customers include a markup which can be around 3%. While that doesn’t sound like much, it adds up very quickly:

  • Sending 1,000 SGD - the exchange rate markup adds 30 SGD to the total

  • Sending 5,000 SGD - the exchange rate markup adds 150 SGD to the total

  • Sending 50,000 SGD - the exchange rate markup adds 1,500 SGD to the total

DBS does offer preferential exchange rates - with a smaller markup - for some currencies, when you’re sending more than 50,000 SGD. However, it’s unlikely that even with the discount applied, the rate is the best available on the market.

Here’s a reminder of the total costs - including exchange rate markups - from the providers we looked at earlier. This is what you’ll pay with each if you set up your payment online and send 1,000 SGD to a GBP denominated account:

  • DBS: Cable/telex charges 20 SGD + handling commission 5 SGD + exchange rate markup + any relevant agent bank charges

  • Wise: 4.88 SGD

  • OFX: No transfer fee, but exchange rate markup applies

  • PayPal: 6.99 SGD + exchange rate markup

DBS additional fees

We’ve mentioned that DBS international transfer fees may include agent bank charges. That usually happens when banks use the SWIFT payment network to process cross border payments. Under this system, your money is passed to 1 - 3 intermediary banks, known as agent banks, on its way to its final destination. Each of these intermediaries can deduct a fee for the service they provide as they process your transfer.

One of the biggest hassles with agent bank charges is that they can’t necessarily be known in advance. That makes it tricky to predict how much money your recipient will get in the end, as well as being an extra fee to contend with. 

Not all payment providers use the SWIFT network. You can usually avoid these surprise charges by picking the right specialist provider to process your payment. Check out Wise as a good option which avoids SWIFT by using its own payment network, for example.

How long does a DBS international money transfer take

If you’re making a standard international transfer with DBS you can expect it to take 2 - 4 business days to arrive, depending on the country you’re sending to.

Here’s a reminder of the delivery times for international transfers from DBS and a few other providers:

  • DBS: 2 - 4 working days

  • Wise: 80% of payments arrive in 24 hours

  • OFX: 1 - 2 business days

  • PayPal: instant

Make fast transfers with Wise

Pros and cons of transferring money abroad with DBS

Pros:

  • Send money online, using your mobile device, or in a branch

  • Preferential FX rates for high value payments

  • Cheaper payments are available through DBS Remit for a limited selection of countries and transfer purposes

Cons:

  • High and complex fees for standard payments

  • Exchange rates include a markup

  • Delivery times are not market beating

DBS’s standard international payment service is not the cheapest or fastest on the market. Specialist services can probably get your money where it needs to be quicker and for a lower fee. That said, DBS does have a specialist service called DBS Remit which lets you send payments to a limited range of currencies, and which may offer same day transfers in some cases. You’ll still need to pay fees in the form of an exchange rate markup, but it could be worth checking out if your destination country is covered.

How to make an international transfer with DBS

You can make your DBS international transfer online, through the DBS mobile banking service, or by visiting a branch location. The easiest way is to send your money online or in the DBS app:

  • Open the DBS app or log into your online banking on the DBS desktop site

  • Select Overseas Transfer

  • Follow the prompts to add the currency and amount you want to send

  • Check the rates and fees

  • Enter your recipient’s details

  • Confirm to complete the transfer

What information do you need to make an international transfer with DBS?

Before you arrange your transfer with DBS you’ll need to get the following information from the recipient:

  • Bank name

  • Account number

  • Bank SWIFT code

  • Recipient’s full name

  • Recipient’s full address

Transfer limits and available countries

If you’re sending a payment with DBS online or in the mobile app, you’ll have a limit of 200,000 SGD per day. Branch transfers are unlimited - which means you can send any amount you hold in your account.

Payments can be made to a broad range of countries - the DBS Remit service is available for 19 currencies, and standard payments can be made to most other global currencies.

Receiving money from abroad with DBS

To receive a payment to your DBS account you’ll need to give the sender the following information:

  • Your name as per the records of DBS Bank

  • Your DBS bank account number

  • Name of Beneficiary Bank: DBS Bank

  • Address of Beneficiary Bank: 12 Marina Boulevard, DBS Asia Central, Marina Bay Financial Centre Tower 3, Singapore 018982

  • DBS SWIFT code

There’s a 10 SGD fee for receiving a payment from overseas into your DBS account.

DBS SWIFT code

It’s important to give anyone sending you money from overseas the DBS Swift code to make sure your payment arrives safely. This is like a post code to guide your transfer to the right bank - failing to provide the sender your code could result in payment delays or even mean the transfer is rejected.

  • The DBS SWIFT code is: DBSSSGSG

Conclusion

Sending international payments shouldn’t be too hard - but making an overseas transfer with DBS could mean you pay more than you need to. In many cases, choosing a specialist international money transfer provider is the better way to move your money across borders - with lower fees, a better exchange rate, and a faster delivery time.

Go to Wise
Go to OFX

FAQ

How much does a DBS international transfer cost?

DBS international transfers can include a range of charges including cable/telex charges of 20 SGD, handling commission based on the payment value, an exchange rate markup and any relevant agent bank charges.

How long does a DBS international money transfer take?

DBS payments can take 2 - 4 business days to arrive.

How to transfer money internationally with DBS?

Transfer money internationally with DBS online, in the DBS mobile app or by visiting a branch.

By Ileana Ionescu
Updated 18 July 2022