I have always look for ways to send money from my US bank to Singapore, and at last I have found 2 great ways.
My situation: I have USD in my Wells Fargo bank account, and also in Paypal. Transferring (withdrawing to be exact) from Paypal to Wells Fargo is free.
As of writing (Oct 2015), the exchange rate is 1 USD = 1.433 SGD. We will compare how the various methods fare.
The BAD Ways
Let’s reveal the bad and disgusting ways first.
Paypal is 1 USD = 1.397 SGD, that is a 2.5% loss. It is easy and convenient to withdraw to a Singapore bank, but the rate ain’t good enough.
Bank Transfer is the most expensive way, with terrible exchange rate and expensive fees from both sides. I didn’t try, but I am sure it could be 1 USD = 1.370 SGD or worse, with unknown fees. Just never try this.
1. Singapore Money Changer
The best way is to bring your USD in cash back to Singapore, and exchange over the counter.
The Arcade at Raffles Place has pretty good rates for USD.
From their website, 1 USD = 1.430 SGD, that is a mere 0.2% loss!
This offers the best savings, but bringing hard cash might not be feasible at times.
TransferWise is an online service to disrupt banks transfer.
I was sceptic at first, but tried nonetheless.
Ended up they provide 1 USD = 1.419 SGD, that is 1% loss. I have included their fees (which is that 1%) for a $1000 transaction. For transactions above $5000, it will be 0.7% fee.
It took 5 days to transfer, without any additional fees from the bank.
This is one of the best way, and I highly recommend it.
As such, I am going to ask you to use my invite link: https://transferwise.com/invite/u/jundao – if you are going to use the service.
Why use my link? If you sign up with my invite link, you will get your first transfer (up to $3,000) FREE! That is, you don’t have to pay any fee (means 0% loss) for a $3,000 transfer. Sign up without the link, and you will have to pay the full 1% fee.
What’s more, using my invite link, you help me win $50 (:
Worthy Mention: Bitcoin
Another interesting way is to use bitcoin. This quora answer provided the details on how you can do it.
I tried, but the process if troublesome. Buying and selling bitcoin requires you to upload your identification, and they take time to verify. I didn’t like that and ended up not using.
The proclaimed rate is 1 USD = 1.423 SGD, which is just slightly better than TransferWise.