The how-to guide to overseas remittance fees and charges
24 Oct 2022

3 types of fees and charges to know for overseas remittance

Have a family member overseas that you are sending money to? Or transacting with a business partner abroad? You have an abundance of options to choose from today for your remittance needs that you might not be sure where to start.

That’s why this guide aims to provide you with tips on what to look out for when selecting a remittance service. The goal is to help you find the right remittance service partner that is not only cost-effective, but also convenient and trustworthy.

So, from cost and security to ease of use, depending on what your priorities are, here’s how you may find the right remittance service that fits the bill.

What are the fees you have to pay when you transfer money overseas online?

Know all the fees you need to pay when transferring money overseas

When you want to transfer your Singapore dollar (SGD) from your SGD account to someone overseas, there are a number of fees that you must pay.

These fees are commonly known as transfer fees and cover three main types: Handling charge, cable charge, agent bank charge.

On top of the transfer fees, there is also the exchange rate to consider.

Here’s a breakdown of all the different types of fees:

1. Transfer fee – Handling commission

Handling commission, or handling charge, is a surcharge that the bank or remittance service provider levies on the money that is transferred overseas.

As its name suggests, it covers the administrative cost of handling the transaction for you.

2. Transfer fee – Cable charge

When you wish to transfer money from your bank account into an overseas bank account, the bank needs to make contact with the receiving bank.

The time and effort to make contact with the receiving bank is accordingly chargeable as a cable charge. It is almost akin to the fees that you have to pay when you call your overseas friend on your telco post-paid plan.

The cable charge is typically a fixed fee per transaction, set by the bank or money transfer service provider.

3. Transfer fee – Agent bank charge

In an overseas money transfer transaction, there will always be a receiving bank. The receiving bank is also known as the agent bank. The agent bank will need to liaise with your bank or money transfer service provider in order to accept and complete the transaction. For these efforts, the agent bank charges a fee.

There are two common types of fees to pay when remitting money overseas

DBS Remit is among the first to launch the $0 transfer fee due to its popularity among users. Look out for the DBS Remit tag on your digibank Overseas Transfer page for transactions with $0 fees.

Do all remittance services charge fees in the same way?

There are two common types of fees to pay when remitting money overseas

There are two common types of fee models that banks and overseas money transfer service providers adopt.

1. Fixed transfer fee 

The first type is the fixed transfer fee model. Every transaction is charged at a fixed rate (e.g. $5 for amount ≤ $5,000; $10 for amount ≤ $25,000; $35 for other amounts).

2. Variable transfer fee 

The second type is a variable transfer fee as a percentage of the transfer amount.  (e.g. 0.125% of the $2,000 being remitted)

Read on and learn how to evaluate your overseas money transfer options.

How do you evaluate which is the right money transfer service for you?

Evaluating the right overseas transfer service for your needs

With the different overseas money transfer and remittance services out there, how do you evaluate which is the right one for you? Well, to make the sound choice, it boils down to the following factors: Cost, speed & convenience, and reliability.

1. Cost

Performing a fund transfer from your local account to an overseas account is just like making a purchase. You want to keep the cost to as low as possible. And when it comes to comparing the cost of money transfer, you will need to consider the overall cost of making the transfer.

Let’s say you are planning to transfer USD $1,000 to an overseas recipient in the United States. Here’s a table of how the different fee models will cost you.

Remit serviceFee ModelTransfer feesExchange rate

(How much USD recipient gets for SGD $1)
USD receivedSGD sent

(based on FX rate)
Total cost

(Transfer Fee + remit amount)


Fixed transfer fee


USD 0.70

USD 1,000

SGD 1,428.57

SGD 1,438.57


Variable transfer fee

1% of fees

USD 0.697

USD 1,000

SGD 1,434.72

SGD 1,449.07


$0 transfer fee


USD 0.696

USD 1,000

SGD 1,436.78

SGD 1,436.78

Do you know that you are entitled to preferential FX rates when you transfer more than SGD $50,000 with DBS Remit? Find out more here.

2. Speed and convenience

When you want to make a money transfer to an overseas recipient, you might need it to be done quickly.

Some remittance service providers are not able to offer such speed and convenience because of the way they operate. For example, they may require you to top up into a separate account or an e-wallet before you can execute the fund transfer.

If you remit on a frequent or regular basis, the hassle of having to top up your wallet every time you wish to make a fund transfer overseas can add up. What’s more, the top up might be capped to a certain limit, be it by transaction, daily or monthly.

Thus, you should think about using a remittance service that provides you with the speed and convenience that you need.

3. Reliability

Transferring money overseas isn’t just about the cost.

It is also about the reliability of the transfer and how secured it is. This is especially critical if you are transferring a large sum of money.

After all, you don’t want to be in a situation where your SGD $100,000 funds are jammed in the middle of the transaction and the only support you can get is from an instant chat bot.

It will be more assuring knowing you are able to get in touch with a customer service personnel who can support you and help you resolve the problem when it comes to transferring substantial amounts of funds.

With DBS Remit, that’s exactly what you are getting. You can enjoy peace of mind knowing your money will be transferred to the other party safely and reliably as it is backed by Asia’s Safest Bank.

Plus, in case of an emergency, DBS customer support is there to support and assist you so that you won’t be left to deal with transaction errors alone.

DBS Remit offers the best value proposition for your remittance needs

DBS Remit offers cost effective, convenient and reliable overseas money transfer services.

DBS Remit delivers on cost-effectiveness, convenience and reliability.

$0 transfer fee
With its $0 transfer fee, DBS Remit offers a low-cost remittance service to help you transfer money in 19 currencies to over 50 locations in their local currency, such as Australia, Bangladesh, Canada, Eurozone countries, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Mainland China, Myanmar, New Zealand, Philippines, Thailand, UAE, UK, USA and Vietnam.

Enjoy $0 transfer fee when you send local currency to the country of destination and see the DBS Remit logo.

Same day transfers
On top of the low cost, DBS Remit also provides the convenience you need with same-day transfers when you transfer money to 50+ locations, at the convenience of your DBS/POSB banking app.

Furthermore, DBS Remit via digibank or iWealth® allows you to fund transactions from your DBS/POSB account directly.

Safe and secured
Last but not least, DBS Remit lets you enjoy the reliability of transferring money overseas, from remitting money to your family and friends to paying for your property overseas without having to worry about the safety of your transaction.

S$12 cashback welcome gift

New to DBS Remit? Receive S$12 cashback when you remit at least S$300 within the same calendar month with NEWREMIT promo code. Promotion ends 31 Dec 2024. Find out more.

With low cost, convenience and reliability, this makes DBS Remit one of the remittance services in the market with the best value proposition. So, if you have funds to transfer overseas today, why not give DBS Remit a try?