This article is a loose sequel of the post I wrote back in July 2019 where I talk about how to transfer money from Malaysia to Singapore (you can read it here, but it’s not necessary for the purpose of this post).
The focus of the following text is to share how to do it the other way – Singapore to Malaysia – and give step-by-step guidance on how to easily do it with TransferWise, which can be quite confusing to many (definitely was to me!).
Assuming you have your Singaporean bank account, following these few simple steps you’ll be able to send money overseas fast, easily and without hidden bank transfer fees.
Step 1 – Sign up to TransferWise
There are a few services out there assisting people with money transfers, but when it comes to international transactions, none of them can beat TransferWise in terms of transparency and low-cost of fees they offer.
Anytime someone tries to sell me something saying they are cheaper, I put my guards up and immediately ask where’s the catch and WHY are they cheaper.
It was no other way even when someone introduced me to TransferWise. Until I realized that the question I should ask is not WHY but HOW.
Use my special code below and send up to 850SGD without fees! You’re welcome 😉
How Does TransferWise work?
What TransferWise does is that they have their own bank accounts in various countries around the world.
And so when you want to send money overseas using TransferWise, what you technically do is depositing money to their local bank account – for example, DBS located in Singapore.
After you deposit money, TransferWise notifies their recipient branch (for example in Malaysia) which in turn immediately pays the person you are sending money to – in their local currency.
You see what happens? Your money technically never crosses the border!
And that means 2 things:
- NO intermediary banks – which is usually the one responsible for hidden fees. Last time I did a regular overseas bank transfer, intermediary bank (Maybank, I’m looking at you) grabbed $20 out of the total amount I was sending just like that. Without anyone bothering telling me in advance.
- NO conversion fees & markups – if you ever wondered how do banks make money off you, it’s through gross currency markups. They simply take the actual ‘fair’ or ‘mid-market’ price (like the one you see on Google) and mark it up with their own price tag before they with smile present it to you.
Bank Transfers & Reign of Fees
If that’s still not convincing enough for you, take this – banks have thousands of employees they have to pay, hundreds of physical branches they have to rent and countless of ATM they have to power and keep secure.
It’s a no brainer that all that costs a ton of money. And so it comes to no surprise that banks will always come with various sly ways of how to get these things paid for.
And the easiest way of how to get money from You is to subject every single transaction you make to various fees that ordinary people don’t really understand. They just accept it as how things are.
Truth to be told, up until recently there was practically no other way of how to transfer money overseas than using services that banks offered themselves. And having a monopoly like that gave banks humongous leverage over people’s limited choices.
But having TransferWise entering the finance market and completely disrupting rigid banking system, the times of ripping off people and charging 4X more on made-up fees are slowly coming to the end.
Step 2 – Open New Balance in SGD
After you create your free TransferWise account (if you haven’t done it yet, I recommend doing now >>here) following all verification instructions, Log In.
You’ll be redirected to your main Dashboard (image below).
It might be a bit overwhelming at first. But just follow my steps and your money will be on the way in no time.
First, we have to Open a Balance – in other words, you are telling TransferWise what currency you want to use for Sending or Receiving money.
On the next screen, you’ll see a list of currencies in which TransferWise can receive or send money.
There are two categories:
- Balances WITH local bank details – you’ll get the most out of TransferWise low fees if your currency is listed in this category. What does it mean is that TransferWise will create a unique virtual account number that acts as your local bank account and that you will use to deposit money to from your regular bank.
- Balances WITHOUT local bank details – these are all currencies you can transfer money to.
Since we try to transfer money from Singapore and given you have your Singaporean bank account, simply select SGD as currency.
Note: In my case SGD is not listed because I already opened the balance. But you should have it available as an option.
Step 3 – Add Money to your TransferWise account
Back in your Dashboard you’ll see a new card with recently added balance.
In our case SGD.
Toggle-open the card and click the blue button Add SGD.
Select amount you want to send or deposit.
Make sure Singapore Dollar is selected in a rollout menu.
Then click Next.
Step 4 – Select Your Preferred Payment Method
We are in the finish line, guys!
Now all you have to do is to select the way how you want to deposit money to your TransferWise account for further processing.
What I typically do is to choose Manually transfer money from your bank.
Newly you can use also PayNow service, which should be more fast and straightforward, but I personally didn’t get the chance to try that one yet.
Notice that the fee is Free!
That’s because you are not transferring money to Malaysia (or anywhere else) just yet. You are simply sending it to another bank located in the same country, which is owned by TransferWise.
Step 5 – Deposit Money to Your TransferWise Account
This is the final and the most important step.
TransferWise will provide you with bank details and a unique reference number.
This is also the moment where a lot of people get confused: Why am I sending money to TransferWise account when all I wanted was to transfer money to Malaysia?
What we are doing here is topping-up your TransferWise account first. Once you have money in your balance, only then you are free to send money to all supported currencies for minimum fees.
So let’s get to it!
Keep the page with TransferWise details on and open a new tab in your browser.
Now go to your bank’s online banking and proceed as you would normally do if you’d want to transfer money locally.
Meaning – don’t try to make overseas or international payments. That’s what TransferWise will handle for us later!
As a recipient use, all the details just like provided by TransferWise.
Don’t forget to add your unique reference number!
When you’re done with the transfer, go back to your TransferWire page and smash that big fat I’ve made my bank transfer button.
We’re done here!
Final Step – Send Your Money!
It will take anything between 30 mins to a few hours before money you just sent appear in your TransferWise account Dashboard.
When it’s done, you will see a a little green button appear on the bottom of your SGD currency card.
From here you proceed and add bank details of your actual recipient overseas (in our case Malaysia) while enjoying unbeatable transaction fees.
Bye bye bank rip-offs!
Note: Make sure you always have money in your TransferWise balance before making any international transaction. If not, you will have to top up and do the process over again.
I hope you found this simple guide helpful and if you have any questions, feel free leave me a comment below or reach me on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Use My Special Code Below and Get Up To 850SGD in Transfer Fees! You’re welcome 😉