DBS international money transfer: Fees, rates, and process explained for businesses

Shermaine Tan8 min
GuidesBusiness tips
DBS international money transfer: Fees, rates, and process explained for businesses
In this article

DBS is one of Southeast Asia and Singapore largest banks and serves 12 million customers across Asia.1 Individuals and businesses alike can use several DBS international transfer methods , often for lower fees and faster remittance times compared to SWIFT transfers. 

DBS Remit allows consumers to send funds to 50 countries with no transfer fees, though there are daily transfer limits.2 Meanwhile, businesses sending funds to any DBS account in 8 markets have DBS PriorityPay. This service allows DBS business account holders to send fast transfers to  DBS accounts in 8 markets, with no additional cable charges or admin fees.3 Telegraphic transfers are also available for cross-border payments to countries not supported by these transfer methods.

In this article, we’ll take a deep dive into DBS’s cross-border payments for businesses using SWIFT and DBS PriorityPay. We’ll explore their features, fees, and benefits, and examine how fintech alternatives like Airwallex can help you make fast, secure global transfers.

DBS international transfer fees explained: Is it cheap?

Before we get into it, here is a quick overview of some of the terms you’ll encounter: 

  • DBS PriorityPay - a service that lets DBS business account owners make fast international transfers to any DBS account in 8 markets, without additional cable fees or admin charges. It’s only available on the DBS IDEAL app.

  • DBS IDEAL app - DBS’s digital banking service for business account holders. It’s available as a desktop and mobile app.

  • SWIFT - a type of international telegraphic transfer that is processed through the SWIFT network. Cross-border payments to non-DBS accounts are sent through SWIFT.

DBS transfer fees explained

Fees vary depending on the business account you have, your recipient’s bank account, and whether you transfer via DBS IDEAL app or a DBS bank branch. 

The DBS IDEAL app offers the most cost-effective solution, especially if you have the Business Multi-Currency Account, as there is a flat rate for sending transfers and no additional fees.

Here’s a breakdown of the fees you’ll have to pay per transfer.4 Note that agent bank fees are not reflected below, and will be charged on top of any flat fees. Additional over-the-counter fees may apply if you transact at DBS branches. 

Finally, there will be additional charges for any changes (SGD 30), cancellations (SGD 35), or tracing and confirming the status of your transfer (SGD 20). There are also account opening fees and monthly service charge fees, which vary depending on the DBS business account you get. 

Understanding what is DBS PriorityPay and PriorityPay transfer fees via DBS IDEAL app 

DBS PriorityPay is a service for SME and corporate banking clients. It allows account owners to make fast international transfers to any DBS account in participating countries, without additional cable fees or admin charges. 

PriorityPay also lets businesses pay in 10 major currencies - USD, EUR, GBP, CAD, CHF, CAD, AUD, NZD, JPY, SGD, and HKD. This enables faster settlement times and minimises foreign currency conversions for you or your recipient. 

The service is available for DBS bank accounts in Singapore, Hong Kong, China, Taiwan, India, Indonesia, Australia, and Vietnam.  Note that some markets do not support all 10 currencies, i.e. CAD and CHF are not available for DBS Vietnam and Australia.5

To make a PriorityPay payment, simply use the DBS IDEAL app to make your payment. All transfers to DBS accounts in participating countries and supported currencies are automatically processed using PriorityPay. For recipients using non-DBS bank accounts, payments are sent through SWIFT and have different charges. We explain these further below.

While PriorityPay is an affordable and efficient transfer option, it is limited to transfers to DBS bank accounts. Businesses who need wider coverage may choose to consider fintech providers such as Airwallex that partner with local payment rails to support fast and free to low-cost transfers across 110+ countries.

PriorityPay transfer fees via DBS IDEAL app 

As mentioned above, transfers to DBS bank accounts in Singapore, Hong Kong, China, Taiwan, India, Indonesia, Australia, and Vietnam are automatically processed as PriorityPay payments, provided you send funds in a currency supported by that country. Here are the fees per transaction:

Account type Flat rate per transaction Foreign exchange commission Fees in lieu of exchange* Cable charges
Business Multi-Currency Account
Business Multi-Currency Account (Starter Bundle)
SGD 30 preferential flat rate plus agent fees None None
All other business account types None 1/8% (minimum SGD 10, maximum SGD 120) None

*Fees when sending the same currency and no currency exchange is involved

SWIFT transfer fees via DBS IDEAL app

Cross-border payments will be processed as SWIFT transfers if you are sending funds to non-DBS bank accounts to countries not supported by PriorityPay. Additional cable charges of SGD 20 - SGD 35 will apply.

International transfer fees via DBS branches

Transfers done over the counter at DBS branches incur the following fees.

Account type Foreign exchange commission Fees in lieu of exchange* Cable charges Cable charges
Business Multi-Currency Account
Business MultiCurrency Account (Starter Bundle)
1/8% (minimum SGD 10, maximum SGD 120) None for DBS PriorityPay
SGD 35 for payments to other banks

All other business account types None

*Fees when sending the same currency and even when no currency exchange is involved

How to make an international money transfer with DBS

DBS business account holders can send cross-border payments via DBS branches or DBS IDEAL, the online banking app for businesses.  

Here’s how to make an international payment for one recipient using IDEAL6:

  • Step 1: Login. Log into DBS IDEAL and go to Payments

  • Step 2: Transfer from. Select which DBS account you’re sending the transfer from, the amount, and currency

  • Step 3: Transfer to. Select an existing payee, or create a new payee. If you’re creating a new payee, you need to enter their country, name, address, bank ID, and account number.

  • Step 4:  Set the payment date. You can choose from the earliest available date based on the cut-off time, or a future date up to 90 days. 

  • Step 5: Select the purpose of your payment. This is needed for regulatory reporting.  

  • Step 6: Select bank charges. Choose from 3 bank charge options - SHA (shared fees), OUR (you pay all fees), or BEN (they pay all fees).

  • Step 7: Add notes or comments. You can also set notifications to your payee.

  • Step 8: Review. At this point, you can still make changes to the payment details. You can also save the payment as a template for future payments.

  • Step 9: Send and confirmation. If there is no approval needed, your transfer is submitted and you see a confirmation page.

How long does it take for my DBS international transfer to arrive? 

Since PriorityPay runs on DBS’s regional networks, recipients are credited faster than typical telegraphic transfers. Payments arrive as quickly as 10 minutes, depending on the currency and the receiver’s country regulations.7 

Remember that PriorityPay is only available for certain countries and that some markets do not support all 10 currencies. Transfer times are also subject to the regulations of your recipient’s market.

Meanwhile, SWIFT payments to other banks can take anywhere from 1 - 4 working days.8 Like any telegraphic transfer, factors like cut-off times, bank holidays, and local bank policies can influence how quickly payments arrive. 

Why choose DBS for your overseas fund transfer?

Using DBS for international transfers can make sense if your overseas subsidiaries and suppliers also have DBS accounts. That’s because PriorityPay offers several advantages compared to traditional telegraphic transfers:

  • Same-day transfers. Funds can get credited as quickly as 10 minutes, depending on your recipient bank’s cutoff time and regulations.

  • Support for 10 currencies. You can receive and send money in the same currencies, which helps you avoid unnecessary currency conversion.

  • End-to-end tracking. DBS shows your payment status in real-time and notifies you when the funds have been credited.  

However, PriorityPay comes with several drawbacks too:

  • Cross-border fees. Payments are still subject to cross-border fees which start at SGD 30, depending on which DBS business account you use.

  • Not all currencies are supported in all markets. You may have to convert some currencies, depending on the country you’re sending to.

  • For overseas DBS accounts only. International payments to other banks are treated like regular telegraphic transfers, which come with higher fees and longer settlement times.

Let’s take a quick look at how DBS’s transfer times and online banking fees stack up against UOB and fintech specialists like Wise and Airwallex.

DBS PriorityPay vs UOB 

UOB business accounts do not have a service like PriorityPay. As a result, all overseas payments are sent via telegraphic transfers. UOB charges a 1/16% commission fee (SGD 10 - SGD 300) plus cable or agent charges per transfer. 

DBS PriorityPay vs Wise 

Wise money transfers can be a more cost-effective alternative to DBS PriorityPay, especially if you send international payments to different banks. Their transfer fees start at 0.35%, and get lower if you send over GBP 100,000 or its equivalent in other currencies within a calendar month. About half of their overseas transfers arrive as quickly as 1 hour, ensuring your recipients receive their funds on time.

DBS PriorityPay vs Airwallex  

Airwallex is an equally compelling alternative to DBS international wire transfers. We are a payment specialist for global businesses, with a payout network spanning 150+ markets and 60+ currencies.

Read more: What is a wire transfer? How it works, fees, how-to guide

We work with local clearing systems in 110+ countries, which means your overseas payments can bypass the SWIFT network and its hefty fees. If you use local payment methods for your cross-border transfers, you pay close to zero transfer fees and 70% of payments arrive on the same day. 

How Airwallex saves businesses money on international transfer fees

Many businesses use DBS for their wide range of financial products and innovative digital solutions, but it may not be the best option for international transfers. 

PriorityPay enables faster settlement and lower fees when sending funds to overseas DBS accounts. However, you still need to pay cross-border charges. International payments to other banks are done through telegraphic transfers, which have hidden fees and are subject to delays.

In contrast, Airwallex can help you minimise international transfer fees. We’ve already mentioned how our partnership with local payment rails helps you send fast, low-cost payments to 110+ countries. Here’s how else you can cut transfer costs with our full-featured Business Account:

  • Multi-currency Global Accounts. No need to create a bank account in markets where you operate. Airwallex lets you open accounts in 60+ countries and 23+ currencies. It comes with a dedicated account number along with a local branch and bank code, so you can receive, hold, and spend foreign currency without unnecessary conversion or additional fees. 

  • Interbank exchange rates. Airwallex gives you access to interbank exchange rates - the real exchange rates banks use to trade currency, minus the hefty markup. We charge market-leading rates, and have no hidden conversion fees.

  • Hold and pay in 10+ currencies without unnecessary conversion fees. Pay without unnecessary conversion using funds held in your Airwallex account. For example, accept payments from customers in USD, keep them in your Airwallex USD account, and use the funds to pay your suppliers in USD. When you don’t have the currency balance needed, Airwallex will automatically convert funds for you using interbank rates.

  • Foreign exchange risk management. With Airwallex, businesses can lock in desired exchange rates and customise settlement dates. Reduce foreign exchange risk with round-the-clock real-time monitoring to ensure that you get the very best prices on your currency conversions.  

Singapore businesses like Dreamcore, Igloohome, and EU Holidays already use Airwallex to make cost-effective transfers and grow their global presence.

Start cutting back on international transfer fees and open an Airwallex Business Account today

Frequently asked questions

  1. What is the SWIFT code for international wire transfer DBS?

The SWIFT code for DBS is DBSSSGSG. Your overseas sender needs to use this to send international payments into your DBS bank account.

2. Can I schedule recurring or future-dated international transfers with DBS bank?

Yes. You can schedule transactions for DBS PriorityPay up to 90 days in advance, which will be processed accordingly on the scheduled date. You can also create templates for recurring payments. Individuals can schedule transfers and recurring transfers using DBS Remit.

3. How do I track the status of my international transfer with DBS bank?

Open the DBS IDEAL app and go to Payments. From here you will see the payment status of your outgoing and incoming international transfers. You can also set up notifications and email or SMS alerts once your payment arrives or your beneficiary is credited.

4. What happens if I need to cancel or amend an international transfer after it has been initiated?

If you want to make changes to a scheduled transfer from your DBS account, an authorised signatory of your company must write or contact DBS before the scheduled date. 

If your transaction has already been processed, an authorised signatory needs to issue a stop payment instruction. You may also have to pay an additional fee.

5. What are the additional fees or charges imposed by the recipient bank for incoming international transfers?

DBS charges a SGD 10 handling per incoming transfer. There may also be additional fees imposed by intermediary banks and overseas banks. With Airwallex Global Accounts, you can receive 10+ currencies without any additional cost.

6. What security measures are in place to protect my business’s financial information during an international transfer?

The best safeguard is to choose a financial institution that is regulated by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS). Regulated institutions are required to implement relevant security measures such as that which protect your deposited funds and your financial information. Airwallex (Singapore) Pte. Ltd. is licensed in Singapore as a Major Payment Institution and is regulated by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (License No. PS20200541). 

7. How do I report a transaction issue?

To report a transaction issue with DBS, you can use DBS IDEAL or call a customer service specialist at 1800 222 2200. Phone support is available from 8:30 am to 8:30 pm on weekdays only. You can also visit the DBS branch nearest you.

8. What are the transfer limits for sending funds overseas through DBS?

Personal banking accounts have a daily transfer limit, which varies depending on their recipient’s country regulations.

Sources and references

1.  https://www.dbs.com/internationalbanking/our-network.html

2. https://www.dbs.com.sg/personal/deposits/pay-with-ease/international-transfers

3. https://www.dbs.com.sg/sme/day-to-day/payments/prioritypay-telegraphic-transfer

4. https://www.dbs.com.sg/documents/276102/282855/pricing-guide.pdf/0773e2ea-4475-834e-d328-8aa396d0679b?t=1681195886177

5. https://www.dbs.com.sg/documents/276102/282855/dbs-priority-pay.pdf/

6. https://www.dbs.com/iwov-resources/images/vn/DBSVN-IDEAL-Payment-Approve-Manually-User-Guide.pdf

7. https://www.dbs.com.hk/sme/day-to-day/payments/dbs-prioritypay#:~:text=Speed,for%20eligible%20currencies%20and%20corridors*.

8. https://www.dbs.com.sg/sme/day-to-day/payments/cross-border-fund-transfers/telegraphic-transfers

9. https://www.uob.com.sg/business/transact/telegraphic-transfers.page

10. https://www.uobgroup.com/uobgroup/rates/remittance-fees-outward.page

11. https://wise.com/sg/pricing/business

12. https://wise.com/sg/business/

13. https://wise.com/help/articles/2553074/paying-by-swift

14. https://wise.com/help/articles/2571907/what-currencies-can-i-send-to-and-from

***Note: This publication does not constitute legal, tax, or professional advice from Airwallex nor substitute seeking such advice, and makes no express or implied representations / warranties / guarantees regarding content accuracy, completeness, or currency.

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Shermaine Tan
Manager, Growth Marketing

Shermaine spearheads the development and execution of content strategy for businesses in Singapore and the SEA region at Airwallex. Leveraging her extensive experience in eCommerce, digital payment solutions, business banking, and the cross-border industry, she provides invaluable insights that guide businesses through the complexities of global commerce. Specialising in crafting relevant and engaging content that resonates with business owners, her work is designed to drive growth and innovation within the fintech and business economy space.

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