OCBC overseas transfer: Fees and exchange rates 2022

International Transfer with OCBC 

OCBC is a hugely popular bank in Singapore, offering customers a broad range of account types and products. If you bank with OCBC and have to send money overseas, you’ll need to know the OCBC international transfer fees, and the OCBC international transfer exchange rate that’ll apply. This guide has you covered, with all you need to know about sending money abroad with OCBC.

OCBC is the second largest bank in Southeast Asia - but that doesn’t mean it’s your best choice when it comes to international transfers. Specialist providers like Wise and OFX might be able to process your payment faster, and for a lower overall fee. Read on.

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OCBC international money transfer comparison

There are several different charges involved in making an OCBC international money transfer:

  • Transfer fee and cable charges - paid to the bank, to cover the costs of processing the transfer

  • Exchange rate markup - percentage charge added onto the exchange rate applied to convert your funds

  • Agent bank fees - incurred when your transfer is processed through the SWIFT network

To give an idea of how OCBC compares with other payment services, let’s look at an example. Here’s what you’d pay if you were sending a standard transfer of 1,000 SGD online to someone based in the UK, to be received in pounds, with OCBC and a few specialist services.

ProviderTotal costTransfer time
OCBC1/8% of the SGD equivalent of remittance amount + 20 SGD cable charge + exchange rate markup + agent bank charges as applicablePayments processed through the SWIFT network typically take 3-5 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

OCBC international transfer fees include a couple of tricky fees which are hard to spot or predict. One is an exchange rate markup, which is a charge rolled up into the rate applied to switch your payment from SGD to the recipient’s preferred currency. The other is agent bank fees, which are applied by intermediary banks involved in processing the transfer. These charges can’t always be known in advance which can mean your recipient gets less than you were expecting in the end. 

We’ll look into these charges one by one in a moment. However, it’s worth bearing in mind that modern services like Wise and OFX usually offer lower fees and a better exchange rate compared to regular banks. Providers like these also offer fast delivery times and are easy to use on your computer or mobile device.

OCBC international transfer fees

Here are the OCBC international transfer fees for standard telegraphic transfers. OCBC does also offer promotional rates and fees online from time to time, based on the currency being sent - check if you’re eligible for a lower fee before you make your payment.

Transfer typeOCBC international transfer fee 
Standard telegraphic transfer from SGD account

Cable charges: 20 SGD per transaction


Handling commission:

1/8% of the SGD equivalent of remittance amount

  • Minimum fee: SGD10

  • Maximum fee: SGD100

Additional agent bank charges may apply.

Receiving an international payment10 SGD 

OCBC exchange rate

When traditional banks like OCBC calculate the retail exchange rates they offer to customers, they’ll often add a markup or margin to the mid-market rate you’ll find on Google. This markup can often be about 3%, increasing the costs of sending your international payment without you necessarily knowing it:

  • Sending 1,000 SGD - a 3% exchange rate markup adds 30 SGD to the total

  • Sending 5,000 SGD - a 3%  exchange rate markup adds 150 SGD to the total

  • Sending 50,000 SGD - a 3%  exchange rate markup adds 1,500 SGD to the total

Get the OCBC international transfer exchange rate by logging into your online banking or calling into a branch, and compare it against the mid-market rate you can get on Google, to see the markup.

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:

  • OCBC: 1/8% of the SGD equivalent of remittance amount + 20 SGD cable charge + exchange rate markup + agent bank charges as applicable

  • Wise: 4.88 SGD

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

  • PayPal: 6.99 SGD + exchange rate markup

Get the mid-market rate

OCBC additional fees

When you send an international payment with OCBC you may find you’re charged agent bank fees. These are not paid to OCBC, but to other intermediary banks involved in processing your payment. 

Agent bank fees are incurred when transfers are processed using the SWIFT network. In this system, several banks might be involved in a single payment, with agent banks deducting a service fee as they pass the transfer on to the recipient’s bank. It’s not always possible to know in advance how much you’ll pay in agent fees, which can make it hard to predict exactly how much your recipient will end up with in the end.

How long does a OCBC international money transfer take

OCBC international telegraphic transfers are likely to take 3 - 5 days to be processed, depending on the currency being sent and the destination country.

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

  • OCBC: 3 - 5 working days

  • Wise: 80% of payments arrive in 24 hours

  • OFX: 1 - 2 business days

  • PayPal: instant

Pros and cons of transferring money abroad with OCBC

Pros:

  • Send payments online or in branch

  • Reliable and familiar service

  • Preferential rates and fees available online from time to time

Cons:

  • Exchange rates include a markup

  • Agent bank fees push up overall costs

  • Delivery times may not be the best available

OCBC offers several different ways to make international transfers, including an online and mobile service, and face to face in branch support. However, payments can work out to be more expensive - and slower - compared with specialist alternatives like Wise and OFX. Compare a few options before you set up your international transfer. 

How to make an international transfer with OCBC

The easiest way to arrange OCBC international money transfers is via their online and mobile banking service. You may also find you can benefit from a reduced fee and better exchange rate this way. Here are the basic steps to take:

  • Log into your online banking on the OCBC website or app

  • Tap Transfer and Overseas account

  • Select the currency and enter the amount you want to send

  • Check the rates and fees

  • Select the recipient from your payee list

  • Confirm to complete the transfer

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

Before you can make an OCBC international transfer online you’ll need to set up the recipient as a payee. To do this you’ll need your digital banking hardware token/OneToken and the following information:

  • Recipient’s full name and address

  • Bank name 

  • Account number

  • Bank SWIFT code

Transfer limits and available countries

OCBC payments can be sent to most countries in the world, with preferential rates and fees available on a select group of 18 currencies. Transfer limits may vary based on your account type.

Receiving money from abroad with OCBC

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

  • Your name as shown on your OCBC account

  • Account number

  • Bank name: Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation Limited Singapore

  • OCBC SWIFT Code

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

OCBC SWIFT code

SWIFT codes are unique identifiers assigned to banks around the world, and used to make sure international payments are routed correctly. You’ll need to give the person sending you a payment the correct SWIFT code for the payment type to make sure your transfer arrives quickly and safely:

  • OCBC SWIFT/BIC code for FAST and GIRO payments: OCBCSGSGXXX

  • OCBC SWIFT/BIC code for MEPS payments - OCBCSGSG

Conclusion

While turning to your normal bank to make an international transfer might seem like the obvious choice, it’s not always the best option. Specialist services like Wise and OFX can often offer a faster transfer, with lower costs and a better exchange rate. That makes it well worth doing a bit of research before you decide which provider is best for your next international payment - compare a few to make sure you get the best available deal. 

Send money with Wise
Send money with OFX

FAQ

How much does an OCBC international transfer cost?

OCBC international transfer fees include a transfer charge of 1/8% of the SGD equivalent of the remittance amount, 20 SGD cable charge, an exchange rate markup and agent bank charges as applicable

How long does an OCBC international money transfer take?

OCBC payments are processed using the SWIFT network, and are likely to take 3 - 5 business days to arrive.

How to transfer money internationally with OCBC?

Transfer money internationally with OCBC in a branch, online or with the OCBC mobile banking service.

By Ileana Ionescu
Updated 18 July 2022