How to transfer money to an international bank account

5 minutes
How to transfer money to an international bank account
In this article

Making an international money transfer is a quintessential part of most business operations. However, with multiple options to do so, it’s not easy to understand what’s best for your business and get transparency on the fees involved or how quickly transfers can take place. 

As a top global financial hub, Singapore makes for one of the best countries to do international business - large corporations, and small and medium enterprises alike. Yet, many are still subject to the costs of sending and receiving money overseas via banks, which can easily eat into profit margins and affect a business’ bottom line. 

Want to find out how you can focus more efforts on growing your business, and less on trying to avoid costs? We map out some of the most common ways to remit money to a foreign bank account, and our top take on how to make a fast, cost-effective and on-time international money transfer.

Top ways to transfer money to a foreign bank account

Domestic Business Accounts

Most local business bank accounts are able to make international payments. These international transfers use the global SWIFT payment network, which was created in the 1970s and has grown to include over 11,000 financial institutions since its inception. There is usually a minimum transfer fee between $10 to $30 and the payment can take between 2 to 5 days depending on your destination country.

In addition to this transfer fee, you may also be required to convert your local Singapore funds into the desired currency prior to sending. Contrary to popular belief, the rate that you see on Google is not the same exchange rate that domestic banks usually charge. They often charge an additional 3 - 5% above the interbank exchange rate, which is not always transparent when you’re booking a payment. 

It’s important to understand how these fees are charged as they will impact the final amount that the recipient will receive on their end.

P2P Remittance Services

Peer-to-peer (P2P) remittance has been popularised by providers like Western Union given their significantly lower exchange rates compared to domestic banks. P2P platform providers make this possible by matching buyers and sellers of foreign currency to effectively transfer funds.

As P2P remittance services rely on having matched funds in your country and currency pair of choice, your transfers can be impacted by the P2P market resulting in a different exchange rate or delays in your transfer.

Why you should choose an alternative international payment provider

With Airwallex, we are transforming the way businesses move money globally by giving you:

  • Market-leading foreign exchange rates, with no minimum transfer amounts and zero transfer fees

  • Access to our global network of bank partners so your money transfers arrive fast and in-full

  • Support on all your international payment needs from your dedicated account manager

  • Complete self-service with our digital platform, no paperwork or phone calls needed

Open a global multi currency account for free in Singapore

Transfer money to a foreign bank account in a few simple steps

Your business can transfer money to a foreign currency account with Airwallex to over 130 countries and in 30+ currencies. Here’s how it works:

  1. Create an Airwallex account and verify your business, with no branch visits needed

  2. Transfer money into your Airwallex wallet to fund your transfer

  3. Enter in your recipient’s banking details and create them as a Contact

  4. Check the real-time FX rate and fees to know precisely how much money it will cost

  5. Confirm your transfer and track its progress on your desktop or mobile

Send RMB to China from Singapore using Airwallex. CNY Transfer.

This process usually takes anywhere from 1-5 business days, depending on your destination and the currency pair.

Are you looking for a fast, secure and cost-effective way to pay your suppliers? Learn more with our Ultimate Guide to Paying Oveseas Suppliers.

Information needed for an international money transfer 

Sending money internationally can be confusing due to so many different names for all of the banking codes used throughout the world. That’s why we’ve made it simple with ‘Contacts’. Simply choose the country you are paying to and we guide you through exactly what information you need to provide so your transfer goes smoothly. Your recipient details are saved as a contact so all future transfers can happen in a few clicks. 

In a nutshell, the details you need to collect of your recipient are:

  • Recipient details: Name, address, email

  • Recipient bank details: Routing number, bank name, account number & BSB for Australian recipients

  • Additional transfer information: Examples include proof of payment or order information for transfers when making transfers to China

Whether you need to submit SWIFT and IBAN codes or NCCnumbers, you can find information specific to your country in our Payout Guide. Our Singapore support team is available via email or online chat. They can also walk you through it all and address your questions.

Streamline and secure your international transfers

When you need to make recurring international transfers, Airwallex has powerful built-in features to help your business manage this seamlessly.

Use batch payments to send money to multiple receipts, each with a specified amount. This saves hours from creating multiple, individual payments for each contact. Batch payments are especially useful for large, recurring international transfers such as paying your overseas staff.

Free up your time from making frequent international transfers by giving your accountant or team access with the right permissions. You can stay in control and secure your funds by having one team member draft the transfer, and another to approve it.

Eliminate manual reconciliation of international transfers for your bookkeeping by connecting Airwallex directly with Xero, our fully integrated partner for cloud-based accounting. Sync your multi-currency transfers to Xero for visibility of your global cash flow in a single platform.

Receive transfers from a foreign bank account

On the flip side, receiving international transfers from an overseas customer, wholesaler or supplier can also be slow and expensive. With Airwallex’smulti-currency Global Accounts, you can set up local bank details for over 11 currencies, including the USD, GBP, EUR and HKD, in minutes. Share these local bank details with your sender to receive international transfers faster, with no transfer fees as Airwallex transfers are effectively domestic transfers.

For example, your customer based in the United States can make an international transfer to you with their local bank, in their local USD currency. The transfer can use the local Automated Clear House (ACH) method with $0 transfer fees, with funds arriving as fast as 1 business day. 

Send international payments with $0 TT fees and market-leading FX rates

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