POSB Overseas Transfers: Everything You Need to Know

Byron Mühlberg, writer at
May 28, 2021
Affiliate disclosure

Singapore's oldest bank, POSB Bank has a long reputation offering low-cost and community-oriented banking services to Singaporeans. Originally founded in 1877, POSB was acquired by DBS Bank in 1997 to operate as a joint banking network, and today operates hundreds of ATMs and dozens of branches around the country.

However, despite its reputation for low-cost service, POSB is a rather expensive choice for overseas money transfers, especially for transfers of under S$1,500.00, as well as transfers to countries such as Indonesia, India, Sri Lanka, and Vietnam.

In this guide, we'll delve into the costs of making an overseas transfer with POSB (including its hidden exchange rate margins), and explore the cheapest alternatives available to cost-conscious customers.

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Monito's Recommendation

Because POSB's fees and exchange rates quickly stack up for overseas transfers, we recommend against using the bank for sending money abroad unless the transfer is very large (i.e. greater than S$25,000.00.) Since there's almost always a better deal out for those interested in saving money, we recommend comparing services on Monito's real-time comparison engine instead:

What Are POSB Bank's Overseas Transfer Fees?

At POSB, the fees you’re charged are identical to those at DBS Bank and vary depending on whether you're looking to send money as an individual or business. While both will pay a fixed fee of S$20.00 (called a "cable charge" by the bank) for telegraphic transfers (also known internationally as "wire transfers") to an overseas bank account, fees for businesses and individuals are structured differently from thereon out.

For individual clients, POSB charges progressively higher fees based on the amount being transferred. These fees, known as “handling commissions”, are a type of fixed fee which are charged in the following three echelons: 

  • For transfers of S$5,000.00 or less: S$5.00;
  • For transfers between S$5,000 and S$25,000: S$10.00;
  • For transfers greater than S$25,000: S$35.00.

For businesses, on the other hand, the bank charges a 0.125% slice of all cash that leaves your business’s account at a minimum of S$10.00 per transfer and a maximum of S$120.00 per transfer.

Other Fees to Anticipate

Depending on exactly how you'd like to make your overseas money transfer, you may be hit with additional fees when transferring money abroad using POSB. These may include the following:

  • A S$20.00 tracer fee: Applied per transfer for individuals and businesses who’d like to keep an eye on their cash status before it arrives in the recipient’s account.
  • A S$30.00 amendment fee: Applied per transfer for individuals and businesses who’d like to change their transfer details after having already sent the money.
  • A S$35.00 cancellation fee: Applied per transfer for individuals and businesses who’d like to reverse their overseas transfer after having already sent the money. This cost can also include additional exchange rate losses.
  • An agent bank charge: A fee of an undefined amount charged when the bank to which the money is being sent does not have a formal relationship with POSB. In these cases, POSB uses an intermediary or correspondent bank to facilitate the transfer, creating a fee in the process. This type of fee is known as a correspondent bank fee.

Paying POSB a Visit? Pay POSB to Visit

It's also worth noting that POSB makes a point of charging higher fees on international money transfers as soon as a bank agent becomes involved in the process. For example, if a business were either to send a transfer using one of POSB's branches or to issue a transfer via manual instruction, they would be subject to a cable charge of S$35.00 — a fee that's considerably higher than the S$20.00 cable charge they'd pay by going through the process online.

Similarly, if a personal client were to send money from a POSB branch, they would be subject to a 0.125% commission per transfer on the total amount leaving their bank account. This fee comes in at a minimum of S$10.00 and a maximum of S$120.00 per transfer, with the final fee usually ending up higher than the fees levied on online transfers.

POSB Exchange Rates: Beware the Hidden Fees

In addition to the cable charges and handling commissions listed above, both businesses and individuals sending money overseas using POSB are also subject to a hidden exchange rate margin

In essence, this means that the bank will pocket the difference between the exchange rate at which you’re charged (a rate the bank itself determines) and the actual exchange rate used by banks, known as the mid-market exchange rate. While POSB's exchange rate margins are slightly lower than those charged by some other Singaporean banks such as Maybank, the extra costs can stack up quickly, nevertheless.

On average, POSB exchange rate margins constitute between 0.5% and 3% of the transaction value, with transfers to countries such as Indonesia, India, Sri Lanka, South Africa, Vietnam, and the Nordic countries being charged the highest margins while transfers to China and major western economies such as the US, Canada, the UK, and the Eurozone being charged the lowest margins.

The Costs Combined

All things considered, with both the relevant fees and the exchange rate margins taken into account, POSB quickly turns into a pricey choice for overseas money transfers despite being slightly less expensive on average than most other high-street Singaporean banks.

For example, suppose you were to send S$750 to a friend in the United States. In this example, slightly more than 4% of this amount (S$30.38) would be charged in POSB's total fees at the time of writing. Contrast this to making the same transfer with SingX, for example, a local Singapore-based money transfer service that was the cheapest for this transfer on our comparison engine at the same time. When making the same transfer with SingX, you would pay only S$0.82 in total fees as a first-time user, and S$7.58 in fees as a recurring user.

However, as with all money transfer services, the more money one sends overseas, the lower the total fee percentage will end up being. Take a look at the tables below to get a better picture of how this works (as of 26/05/2020 at 18:00 +02:00 GMT):

Amount Transferred (SGD)

Exchange Rate Margin Fee (SGD)

Fees & Commissions (SGD)

Total Cost (SGD)

Total Cost (%)

Amount Received (SGD)

























Finding the Best POSB Alternatives

Due to the high fees and exchange rates that go along with making an overseas transfer with POSB, there's a better deal to be found for pretty much al types of money transfers.

On Monito's comparison engine, for example, data from over ten thousand real-time searches over a six-week period in early 2021 indicate that although Remitly, on average, offers the cheapest bank deposit transfers from Singapore (49% of global searches), SingX is the cheaper service to major currencies such as the US and Australian dollar.

Run a search on Monito's real-time comparison engine below to find out which money transfer service offers the best fees, exchange rates, payment methods, and transfer speeds to suit your needs:

Find The Cheapest POSB Alternative

How Do POSB Overseas Transfers Compare?



Recipient Receives (USD)

Payment Option(s)

Cost Overview


2-4 days


Telegraphic transfer

Upon paying



1 day


Bank transfer

In advance

Go To SingX


3-5 days


Bank transfer, debit/credit card

In advance

Go To Wise


2 days


Bank transfer, direct bank payment

In advance

Go To Instarem

Is POSB Right For You?

It goes without saying that POSB is a world-class bank that offers a strong service record to customers, and its long history makes it a worthy choice as an everyday banking partner.

However, when it comes to overseas transfers in particular, POSB remains behind the pack for cost-conscious customers who'd like to keep the costs down. Not only does the bank charge a variable handling commission on top of the S$20.00 cable charge for overseas transfers, but POSB also slides in an exchange rate margin, adding a further 0.5% to 3% onto the total cost of the transfer.

As a result of these costs, we recommend POSB for overseas transfers only to customers who know and trust the bank or for substantial transfers where the bank becomes more competitively priced (i.e. transfers of S$25,000.00 or more.) On the other hand, if you're somebody who'd like to save money when making an overseas transfer no matter what, 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 the Money Transfer Market

Frequently Asked Questions About POSB Overseas Transfers

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Image credit: Jnzl's Photos, distributed under a CC BY 2.0 license, cropped from the original

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