International money transfers from Singapore to Hong Kong for businesses

Kirstie Lau4 min
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International money transfers from Singapore to Hong Kong for businesses
In this article

There are 3 main ways for conducting money transfers from Singapore to Hong Kong – through banks, third-party remittance platforms, and money changers. This article will elaborate on the different remittance methods, the handling fees required, the processing lead times, and remittance restrictions imposed by the Government of Singapore, aiming to assist businesses in choosing the most suitable remittance method.

3 major methods for transferring money from Singapore to Hong Kong

There are different methods for transferring money from Singapore to Hong Kong, below are 3 commonly used remittance methods in the market:

Bank remittance: Banks typically provide international remittance services. Users can transfer funds from a Singapore bank account to a Hong Kong bank account through online banking, mobile applications, or by visiting bank branches.

Third-party remittance platforms: Many third-party platforms, such as Wise and OFX, provide international remittance services. Their charges are mostly cheaper and more transparent. Airwallex is another example of an all-in-one financial platform that provides remittance capabilities.

Money changers: Leading money changers in Singapore, such as Mustafa Foreign Exchange and Raffles Money Change, provide remittance services. The handling charges of money changers for remittance services fluctuate and vary in the market.

How long does it take to transfer money from Singapore to Hong Kong?

The processing lead time depends on the remittance method used.

Remittance through banks generally takes 2-5 working days. The Post Office Savings Bank (PSOB) and Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation (OCBC) in Singapore, meanwhile, provide same-day remittance services to Hong Kong. They require users to submit their transfer applications before a specified time on business days. PSOB also sets transfer limits for same-day remittance, for example, the maximum amount for same-day transfer from Singapore to Hong Kong is SG$200,000. 

On the other hand, third-party remittance platforms can process transfers as quickly as within the same day. Airwallex does not impose a limit on large transfers, allowing businesses to conduct high-value transactions in one go without having to split their transfer amount into multiple transactions which could incur unnecessary handling fees.

As for money changers, the remittance processing lead time varies between different operators but is generally similar to banks.

The time required for transferring money from Singapore to Hong Kong is also affected by the remittance mechanism. For example, if intermediary banks are involved during interbank transfers, the overall remittance lead time will be lengthened. Comparatively, online transfers are usually faster than paper-based transfers, such as checks. Users of third-party remittance platforms can handle their transfers online to minimise the time cost.

Cost of transferring money from Singapore to Hong Kong

The cost of transferring money from Singapore to Hong Kong is affected by remittance fees, exchange rate fluctuations and intermediary bank charges. Banks usually charge a fixed fee or a specific percentage of the remittance amount as the handling fee, while money changers and third-party remittance platforms usually have cheaper charges.

As mentioned above, exchange rate fluctuation is one of the factors that affect the cost of remittance from Singapore to Hong Kong. Third-party remittance platforms, meanwhile, offer exchange rates that are closer to the mid-market rates, which can help to lower exchange costs.

Fees incurred by intermediary banks should also be taken into account if they are involved during interbank transfers. However, their fees are generally not specified in detail.

Why are there handling fees?

Remittance service providers charge handling fees to generate profits and cover costs for different operations involved in the remittance, including system maintenance, transaction processing as well as risk management. Furthermore, costs incurred by intermediary banks in international transactions may also be added to the sum of handling fees.

Are there any hidden fees?

Hidden fees in international transfers are charges that are not listed in the transaction details or charges that users are not informed of before and during the remittance. Common hidden fees include exchange rate differentials, intermediary bank charges, additional fees for expedited transfers, and handling fees for credit card payments. Users may also face charges for cancellations or modifications to remittance details.

Are there any costless methods for transferring money from overseas to Hong Kong?

There is no free-of-charge remittance service for transferring money from overseas to Hong Kong in the market. That’s because remittance service providers must incur operating costs when processing international remittances. Therefore, handling fees must be implemented to cover these costs and generate profits. Some providers choose to hide the charges within the remittance exchange cost, making it hard for users to identify them. Comparatively, Airwallex offers a competitive and transparent fee structure, with absolutely no hidden charges.

Payment and money collection methods of different international remittance services

Different international remittance providers maintain various payment and money collection methods, which can directly affect the convenience of remittance. Below is a comparison of three major remittance service providers:

Banks Third-party remittance platforms Money changers
Payment Paid through online banking, mobile applications, or in-person at bank branches Paid by credit card, bank account or platform balance through the platform’s website or mobile applications Paid with cash or by credit card
Collection Funds are directly deposited into the recipient’s bank account Recipients can choose to have funds directly deposited into their bank accounts or transferred to their platform accounts Recipients can choose to have funds directly deposited into their bank accounts

Restrictions on transferring money from Singapore to Hong Kong

Singapore does not impose strict regulations on foreign transfers. Funds can flow freely and be remitted to Hong Kong without restrictions. Same as most countries, Singapore monitors the purpose of remittances, which must not violate local laws, including but not limited to activities related to terrorism, gambling and other illegal behaviours.

Choices of third-party remittance and acceptance platforms

Airwallex is a third-party financial and remittance platform in the market, offering lower exchange costs and transaction fees than banks, with faster remittance lead time. 

Advantages of accepting money through Airwallex

Airwallex is a leading global financial platform for modern businesses, offering trusted solutions to manage everything from payments, treasury, and spend management. It provides fast and secure international remittance services for businesses, supporting over 150 countries and regions and over 60 currencies. On the platform, users can set up multi-currency accounts and receive funds in foreign currencies without having to open a foreign bank account. This makes it suitable for businesses operating in different parts of the world. If a user wants to receive funds from Singapore, he/she can open a Singapore dollar account on Airwallex and directly collect the funds in Hong Kong.

Airwallex is legally registered and licensed in different countries and regions. Funds are safeguarded in line with the local regulations where Airwallex operates. The exchange rates offered by Airwallex are lower than those provided by banks, with the Singapore dollar to Hong Kong dollar conversion rate remaining stable. The platform also maintains a transparent fee structure and ensures remittances are processed and completed as quickly as within the same day, allowing businesses to better control costs incurred from foreign exchange.

Procedures to accept payments using Airwallex

  1. Register and create an Airwallex account.

  2. Complete the onboarding procedures.

  3. Choose the currency and location to open a Global Account.

  4. Start collecting funds.

Open a global multi-currency account for free in Hong Kong

Frequently asked questions

1. How is Airwallex’s exchange rate calculated?

The calculation of Airwallex’s exchange rate is based on multiple factors, including market liquidity, liquidity provider fees and other market conditions. Collaborating with various financial institutions globally, Airwallex refers to interbank-offered rates and real-time exchange rates from market data sources, and calculates a comprehensive rate that is as low as 0.2% above the interbank exchange rate transferring money from Hong Kong.

2. What should be considered when transferring money from Singapore to Hong Kong?

When transferring money from Singapore to Hong Kong, the remitter should take note of the handling fees, exchange rates, transfer times and information required for remittance. Lower handling fees can help save on the cost of remittance, which can be affected by exchange rate fluctuations.

The remitter also has to prepare the recipient’s information, including his/her name and account number, and reserve time to process the remittance. 

3. How to choose the best time and method for remittance?

Non-public holidays and days outside of holiday periods are the best times for money transfers. Ensure that the transfer is made on working days of banks. Calculate the time difference between the sender’s country and the recipient’s country to ensure the remittance is processed within the working hours of both sides. 

As for the remittance method, users should compare the services, fees and regulatory compliance of different remittance providers. 

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Kirstie Lau
Senior Associate, Growth Marketing

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