Sending Money To Singapore & Expat Overview; The Money Cloud Guide

Singapore Overview

Singapore has been an independent republic since 1965, and in that period the city state has undergone a dramatic transformation from third world to first world country.

Regarded as one of the “Asian Tiger” economies (alongside Hong Kong, South Korea and Taiwan), Singapore developed a high-tech manufacturing industry in the 1970s and ‘80s and was able to attract some of the world’s biggest corporations to set up offices in the region.

Singapore also developed a world-class education system, and more recently, Singapore has cemented its reputation as a global hub for financial services, technology and telecommunications, and more recently still, alongside London, as the global hub for the emerging financial technology (fintech) industry.

Singapore is often ranked as the least corrupt and best place to do business in the world, and its population has the highest percentage of millionaires in the world.

Best ways of sending money to Singapore

We advise using The Money Cloud widget to compare the prices of different brokers and money transfer agencies before arranging a transaction. By doing this, you are making sure you are getting the best deal, and not falling for a clever marketing campaign or letting a sales person pressure you into making an overpriced transaction. It’s simply best to have all of the facts in front of you before you make a decision. Take your time, and you could save a great deal of money.

The Money Cloud Widget couldn’t be simpler to use. Simply key in the amount you want to send, and select the “to” and “from” currencies from the drop-down menus, and hit “compare to get the results.

The widget will guide you to a results table, where you can see everything that you need to know about deals being offered by the different overseas agents; the time the transaction will take, the fee, the exchange rate the transfer agency will use, the “extra”, i.e. the amount you will save versus completing the same transaction at a high street agency such as Western Union, and finally, the exact amount that will be received by the recipient.

Sort and filter the results and choose your service!

Depending on what is most important to you, you may want to sort the results. If you are in a rush to get the money sent, filter by speed to see which is the quickest. If cost is more important, you can filter by “amount” or by “extra”. And if you want to see which agency is best thought of use the reviews filter. Although bear in mind, all of our brokers are hand-picked, authorised by the Financial Services Authority and should provide a safe, reliable and competitive service!

When we tried out our service, we found a range of brokers using The Money Cloud search, including TransferWise, Xendpay, FC Exchange, Currencies Direct, OFX and more. All provide good deals and the prices displayed on The Money Cloud site are extracted real-time form the company’s site using APIs. So, you can be sure you are getting the best deal every time!

Remittance stats

According to data from the Migration and Remittances Factbook 2016, Singapore was home to 2.3 million immigrants in 2013, which puts the Republic just inside the world’s top 30 countries for number of immigrants.

In terms of the number of immigrants as a percentage of the total population, Singapore sits within the world’s top 20; 43% of its total population are immigrants. Unsurprisingly, given that Singapore’s population is around 5.6 million people the country does not have a large number of emigrants and does not feature in any of the world’s top migration corridors.

Singapore is neither a top remittance receiving country, or top remittance sending country – it is outside the top 30 for both. However, Singapore features twice in the top 30 lowest cost remittance corridors; Singapore to Bangladesh (1.4% per $200 transaction) and Singapore to the Philippines (3.4% per $200 transaction).

Why do Singaporeans send money abroad?

Singaporeans are likely to send money overseas for a variety of reasons. They could be sending money to friends or family who live overseas, paying for property, tuition fees or a wedding abroad, or supporting a family member who is currently travelling overseas, or paying bills due (such as a mortgage) in other countries.

They could also be sending money overseas for business reasons; making overseas investments or divestments, paying staff wages, paying an overseas supplier, or paying for a specific work to be carried out in another country.

Why send money to Singapore?

Singapore is a popular destination for tourists and paying for a holiday in advance can save you a good deal of money, especially if you are booking a tour style or package holiday. These types of tours are popular in Asia and a great way of seeing all of the best sights with the help of a native guide.

Singapore is also a popular destination for expats, with many jobs available to professionals, especially within financial services, but also healthcare, IT, consulting, manufacturing and telecoms. Plus, taxes are low, and wages tend to be high.

Opening a Singapore bank account

Unless you are a resident of Singapore or you have an employment or study pass to show you are working or studying there, then opening a local bank account in Singapore is going to be very tricky, so if you are planning a lengthy stay there without working or studying it may be best to send money to friend or relative who lives there.

If you are working or studying, your pass plus your passport should be enough for a bank to approve your application, making it easy to wire money between the two countries. It’s also worth checking if your current bank has a branch in Singapore ad they can help you set up and account there.

Gaining Permanent Residence In Singapore

Permanent residence (PR) status in Singapore is the first step towards gaining full Singaporean Citizenship, and offers many benefits, such as.

  • The opportunity to live and work in Singapore
  • The opportunity to buy property in Singapore
  • Freedom to travel into and out of country
  • Children given priority entry to Singapore’s public education system
  • Compulsory employer pension contributions via Central Provident Fund (CPF) scheme
  • No VISA restrictions, even if you change job
  • Ability to apply for property loans
  • A stepping stone towards full Singaporean citizenship

Permanent residence is not easy to secure, although there are some half a million PRs in Singapore – nearly 10% of the total population.

Applications take around 6 months to 1 year to process, and successful applicants tend to be those people who have shown they can contribute positively to Singaporean society and to the economy.

If you do successfully apply and are given the “Blue Card”, then your spouse and children, if you have them will also be eligible for permanent residency, whilst foreign parents can also be granted long stay VISAS.

One thing that is worth bearing in mind is that as a permanent resident of Singapore, your children, if they are under 18, will be required to undergo National Service.

Ways to apply for PR Status

There are 3 different ways to apply for Permanent Resident status; a Professional, Technical Personnel and Skilled Workers scheme (PTS), by far the most popular choice, the Global Investor Program scheme (GIP Scheme) and the Foreign Artistic Talent Scheme.

The Foreign Artistic Talent Scheme is open to very few people as it is tailored towards those who have made an outstanding contribution towards the arts.

Professional, Technical Personnel and Skilled Workers scheme (PTS) is by far the most popular and successful way of applying, and requires you to hold an employment pass or study pass. Applicants under 50 years of age are preferred, with good academic and employment qualifications. Performing voluntary work and contributing to the wider society are also considered to be advantageous.

The Global Investor Program is for entrepreneurs with outstanding track records who are able to either invest $2.5 million in a new business entity or existing business operation in Singapore, or $2.5 million into an approved fund investing into Singapore based companies.

Did You Know? The Singapore FOREX Industry is world’s third largest

We mentioned that Singapore is big for banking and Fintech, but did you know it is also the largest centre for Foreign Exchange trading (FOREX) in Asia, and the third largest in the world, behind only London and New York?

A recent poll carried out by the Monetary Authority Singapore and central banks from 51 other jurisdictions, that looked at total turnover in the over the counter (OTC) foreign exchange and interest rate derivatives markets showed daily average trading volumes in Singapore had grown to more than $517 billion US dollars – a 35% increase over the past three years.

In addition, Singapore is increasing its share of the global market; its share of total global volumes is now up at 7.9%, from 5.7% when the survey was last conducted 3 years ago.

Singapore is a key centre for the offshore Chinese Yuan market, and is also a major player when it comes to the British pound, Japanese Yen and Korean Won. The growth has attributed to improved infrastructure, which has supported sophisticated trading platforms and attracted more business from regional banks into Singapore, by Mr Lam Kun Kin, the co-chair of the Singapore Foreign Exchange Market.