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In Singapore, there are more than five multi-currency accounts and wallets that we can use to pay for our expenses while on an overseas trip or when we have to pay in foreign currencies when we shop online.
The benefit of these multi-currency accounts is that they usually offer better exchange rates and do not charge a transaction fee. This can make a big difference if we use our credit cards for the same purchase, during our travels or when we make an online purchase. Note that even if there is an option to pay in Singapore dollars with our credit cards, we still incur the same hefty charges or more.
Exchange And Hold Foreign Currencies, And Send And Receive Foreign Currencies
The majority of multi-currency accounts enable us to exchange money from the comfort of our home, typically at a favourable rate, and allow us to hold the funds in our e-wallet. That’s great.
However, not all of them also give us the benefit of sending and receiving foreign currencies, to accounts locally or overseas.
One of the multi-currency accounts that does allow us to send foreign currencies to overseas accounts is TransferWise. In fact, we can hold more than 50 foreign currencies, including the Singapore Dollar and other very common ones such as the British Pound, Australian Dollar, Chinese Yuan, Hong Kong Dollar, Indonesian Rupiah, Indian Rupee, Malaysia Ringgit, Philippine Peso, Thai Baht and the US Dollar.
Sending Money To Indonesia For My Foreign Domestic Worker
Seeing that I could send money to bank accounts in Indonesia and Philippines, I decided to use TransferWise to help my foreign domestic worker send money to her family in Indonesia.
One of the main attractions for using this method was the convenience that my foreign domestic worker would not have to go to queue up at financial institution or remittance store to send the money to her family, especially during the Circuit Breaker period in Singapore.
Step-By-Step Guide Using TransferWise To Send Money To Indonesia
As this was the first time I was sending money for our foreign domestic worker, I had to create a new TransferWise account. This was a very simple process that took under five minutes.
Step 1: The first thing I had to do is simply choose the option to “Send money” on the top.
Step 2: After that, I’m immediately asked how much I would like to transfer and in which currencies. Of course, I chose to send Singapore Dollars and for the recipient to receive Indonesian Rupiah.
The total fees I would incur is also be displayed transparently, along with the currency conversion rate.
I did a quick check on Google just to be sure, and found that the currency conversion rate was less than 1% off the “Google rate”. Looked fair.
Step 3: I needed to let them know who I want to send the money to.
After clicking on the “Someone Else” option, I was asked to provide the banking details of the person I wanted to send the money to.
Step 4: I assume is a one-time procedure where I had to verify my personal particulars as I hadn’t sent money overseas before. I did this very conveniently within two whole minutes via MyInfo, which is a service designed by the Singapore government to help manage our personal data.
No need to get alarmed if you are sent to a different website, you just need to login using our SingPass to approve the use of your personal data.
A list of the information that TransferWise is requesting pops up.
Lastly, I have to verify that our information is accurate. To protect my personal data, you will notice the blacked out portions in some of the screenshots.
Step 5: I wasn’t sure which option to choose for this, but ended up with “Sending money regularly to my family”. In hindsight, maybe this wasn’t the best decision I’ve ever made as it wasn’t my family I was sending money to.
Strangely, to me as least, I was asked for the reason of my transfer, which I thought I had given earlier. Looking back at the screenshots I took for this article, I realise I may have mis-read the earlier question. No harm done?
I clicked “Other” this time.
Step 6: Review that your sending your funds to the correct person and bank account.
Step 7: As I don’t have any balances in my TransferWise account, I had to pay for the transaction. I chose to make payment in PayNow, seeing that it was the cheapest option.
You will then be given information on how to make the payment. I logged into my bank account and made the payment within a few minutes. In future, I could simply keep a balance in my TransferWise account to skip this step.
Finally, I am brought to a page telling me that the payment will be made within six hours. I let me foreign domestic worker know, and tell her to let me know if her family does not get the money by the next day.
Hassle-Free Way To Send Money Overseas
The next day, the funds were indeed transferred into the account in Indonesia. The funds was also processed much quicker than the 11 hours they estimated it may take.
The whole process is done in about the same time as transferring money to someone in Singapore. As it was my first time, I had to open a TransferWise account as well as verify my personal particulars and pay for the transaction using PayNow.
TransferWise also enables us to store and send money currencies of our neighbouring countries, so that’s a big plus. If I were to do it the next time, it would very likely be even faster.
Top Up Your TransferWise Account Before Sending Money In Future
The one thing I did learn was that due to the relatively small amount of the transfer, the $1.17 fee to pay for the transfer ended up making the conversion rate slightly poorer.
Having reviewed what I did, I realised that if I had topped up my TransferWise account, which doesn’t incur a fee, and sent the money that way, I would have gotten a better rate. I’ll be sure to do this the next time.
[Update: Upon subsequent transfers made for my helper, I realised that we will be charged a fee regardless of whether we use our balances in TransferWise or pay for it on the spot. From the latest transaction I made, paying for the transaction was cheaper (surprisingly) than using my TransferWise balances.]