OCBC Overseas Transfers: Fees, Exchange Rates, and Alternatives

Byron Mühlberg, writer at

Byron Mühlberg


Nov 22, 2022
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One of Singapore’s oldest banks, Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation (OCBC), has garnered a record of security over its seven decades in the industry. Today, the bank stands among the largest banks in the Asia-Pacific region, with a combined presence in 18 countries globally. What’s more, OCBC is widely regarded as one of the region’s most resilient banks with a strong balance sheet and a positive outlook, according to The Asian Banker’s The Strongest Banks Rankings 2019.

However, when it comes to sending money abroad, OCBC remains a costly choice indeed. This is increasingly true the smaller the sum of money that’s being sent. While OCBC’s rates become more and more competitive the larger the amount, we advise those who wish to send less than several thousand Singaporean dollars to another country seriously consider lower-cost alternatives to get the job done.

Compare the best OCBC money transfer alternatives:

OCBC Overseas Transfer Fees

OCBC’s overseas transfer fees closely fit the mould of those on offer at other traditional Singaporean banks. They will vary slightly depending on whether you’re sending money abroad as a business or individual. Take a look at the bank's fixed fees below for telegraphic transfers:

  • A 0.125% slice of the total amount being transferred at a minimum of S$10 per transfer and a maximum of S$100 per transfer. This applies to both businesses and individuals.
  • A flat S$20 cable charge for individuals and a S$25 cable charge for businesses.

OCBC Exchange Rates

Over and above having to pay cable charges and commissions, both businesses and individuals who wish to send money overseas using OCBC will also have to pay another cost, known as the exchange rate margin

Built-in fees that banks seldom list explicitly, exchange rate margins are the difference between the exchange rate you’re charged (determined by the bank itself) and the real exchange rate available on the market. OCBC’s exchange rate margins are relatively high compared to other traditional Singaporean banks such as DBS and typically range between 1.00% and 2.00% depending on the currency.

Total OCBC Telegraphic Transfer Costs

Due to how OCBC combines its fees, commissions and exchange rate margins, the cost of sending money abroad with the bank is very high, with the sting felt particularly by those sending small amounts of money abroad. That being said, however, despite the more exorbitant cost of sending small sums of money abroad, OCBC is, in fact, a better choice than other traditional Singaporean banks such as UOB for sending larger sums of money.

For example, suppose that you were to send S$100 to a friend in India and decided to use OCBC to make the transfer. For the full amount to arrive in their friend’s account, a total of S$31 (the S$30 fixed fee plus the S$1.42 exchange rate margin fee) would be paid in total fees! This would leave your friend with ₹3,818 at the time of writing.

Contrast this to making the same transfer with TransferWise, a UK-based global money transfer specialist available to Singaporeans. With TransferWise, you'll no pay fixed fees and just S$0.01 in exchange rate margin fees, leaving your friend with ₹5,530 — nearly 45% more than they'd have received with OCBC!

Take a look at the tables below to get a better picture of how this works for business clients:

And here is how much OCBC charges for overseas personal transfers:

Compare the market to save up to 95% in fees compared to the bank:

Other OCBC Telegraphic Transfer Fees

Depending on whether you’ll require assistance from the bank in making your transfer, there may be additional fees yet when sending money with OCBC.

For example, if OCBC does not have a formal relationship with the bank you're sending money to, an agent charge (also known as a correspondent bank fee) will apply. According to OCBC, these are charged as a fixed fee based on remitting currency. Also, for ordinary money transfers made via an OCBC branch, businesses will pay slightly more in cable charges than they’d do if the transfer were made online. In this event, cable charges go from S$25 per transfer to S$30 per transfer.

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Avoid "OUR" Payments. In order to dodge agent charges, avoid choosing "OUR" payments if possible whenever you're asked to choose between "SHA", "BEN" and "OUR". These instructions can open the door to your beneficiary's bank or the intermediary bank levying further fees from you long after the transfer has been sent.

Is OCBC Good for Telegraphic Transfers?

Despite being a top-tier financial institution, when it comes to sending small amounts of money overseas, we firmly recommend that savvy users avoid OCBC as their choice of service. Not only does the bank charge high commissions and cable charges, but it also slides in an above-average exchange rate margin, making transfers progressively more expensive the smaller the amount.

As a result of these high fees for overseas transfers, if you're somebody who's always looking to save money, then we'd recommend you explore which low-cost money transfer service may best suit your needs. Monito's comparison engine allows you to do just that by drawing on real-time data and exchange rates to help you find the best deals on money transfers abroad.

Compare better deals to OCBC for overseas transfers:

FAQ About OCBC Overseas Transfers

Why Trust Monito?

You’re probably all too familiar with the often outrageous cost of sending money abroad. After facing this frustration themselves back in 2013, co-founders François, Laurent, and Pascal launched a real-time comparison engine to compare the best money transfer services across the globe. Today, Monito’s award-winning comparisons, reviews, and guides are trusted by around 8 million people each year and our recommendations are backed by millions of pricing data points and dozens of expert tests — all allowing you to make the savviest decisions with confidence.

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