The Euro - Everything You Need to Know About Singapore's Currency

Information on the Singapore Dollar denominations, exchange rates and currency transfers...

The Singapore Dollar – everything you need to know about Singapore’s currency  

Are you sending money to or from Singapore to pay a foreign mortgage, purchase property, cover living costs or support loved ones?

If you need to make currency transfers for any of these reasons you’ll need to understand the Singapore Dollar, exchange rates and how international payments work.

In this guide we’ll tell you everything you need to know.

Singapore Dollar denominations

If you’ve never handled the Singapore Dollar before, here are the different denominations you’ll come across.

Coins1 cent, 2 cents, 5 cents, 10 cents, 20 cents, 50 cents, 1 dollar

Notes – 2 dollars, 5 Dollars, 10 Dollars, 50 Dollars, 1000 Dollars

Fun(ish) fact... The entire Singapore national anthem is printed on the back of the $1000 note in microprint.

What a difference a rate makes

Whenever you transfer money abroad exchange rates make a big difference to how much your funds are worth.

If you’ve had experience with exchange rates you can go ahead and skip this section, but if you’re new to the occasionally confusing world of currency here’s a quick overview of what exchange rates are and why they’re important… 

An exchange rate is the value of one country's currency relative to another. Most exchange rates are free-floating and will rise or fall based on supply and demand in the market.

Exchange rates are typically displayed as two lots of three letters. The three letters are ‘currency codes’, abbreviations which relate to the country and name of the currency. For example, GBP is the currency code for the Great British Pound, while SGD is the currency code for the Singapore Dollar.

So if you had Pounds but wanted Singapore Dollars the GBP/SGD exchange rate would tell you how many Singapore Dollars you would get for each Pound.

Even a seemingly small discrepancy in the exchange rate can make a big difference if you’re buying Singapore Dollars, and the difference becomes more pronounced when you’re transferring larger amounts.

For example...

Currency pair

Transfer amount

Exchange rate

Total

GBP/SGD

£250,000

1.80

$450,000

GBP/SGD

£250,000

1.75

$437,500

 

 

Difference

$12,500

 

As you can see, securing the right exchange rate for your currency transfer is key!

Fun(ish) fact... Singapore has a $10,000 note, the second most valuable banknote in the world. In 2014 the nation stopped issuing the note to prevent money laundering.

Historic Singapore Dollar movement

Exchange rates can move by as much as 5% in a matter of days during periods of heightened volatility (political shifts, economic crises etc.) but if we look back over 10 years you can see just how much rates can change.

GBP/SGD

Over the course of a decade the GBP/SGD exchange rate traded at highs of 2.22 and lows of 1.66.


That’s a huge difference of 0.56 – or $56,000 on a £100,000 transfer!

USD/SGD

The USD/SGD exchange rate, meanwhile, has traded at both 1.20 and 1.45 over the last decade – a movement of 25 cents.


These graphs show that the GBP/SGD exchange rate is weaker now than it was in 2011 (meaning you’d get fewer Singapore Dollars for your Pounds) while the USD/SGD exchange rate has strengthened over the last decade.

Fun(ish) fact... The tree printed on the 5 Dollar note still exists today, if you visit the Botanical Gardens in Singapore you’ll see the ancient 150 year old tree up close.

What causes Singapore Dollar movement?

So we’ve established that Singapore Dollar exchange rates can move quite a bit. But what causes them to move?

Different things cause movement in different currencies, but there are several drivers for SGD fluctuations.

Singapore Interbank Offered Rate

The Singapore Interbank Offered Rate (SIBOR) is the benchmark interest rate for lending between banks within the Asian market. SIBOR is set daily by the Association of Banks in Singapore (ABS). The banking industry uses an interbank market for transferring funds and currency, and for managing liquidity.

Global Risk Appetite

A combination of factors, such as economic and political stability, a well-regulated and liquid real estate market, and the success in attracting foreign investment, have earned Singapore the status of a sanctuary during times of heightened risk aversion.

Currency transfers to and from Singapore

Our top tips

1.     Be cautious of interbank exchange rates – rates quoted online are often the ‘interbank’ rate. This is the rate at which banks and financial institutions buy currency and is not available to private individuals or businesses.

2.     Understand foreign exchange costs -- some foreign exchange costs can be transparent and others can be hidden, so it is important to understand what you are paying for.

3.     Find out more about currency transfer services like limit orders and currency wallets (more on that below!)

4.     Don’t leave it until the last minute – make sure to keep an eye on exchange rates in the weeks and months before you want to make an exchange. Following the market can help you secure a better exchange rate.

Singapore currency transfer services

If you need to transfer money to Singapore there are a number of services you can use to help you get more for your money.

Currency service

What do you need to know?

Spot contract

Use a spot contract when you need to move money ‘on the spot’. Transfers will be made at the current exchange rate and will take between 24-48 hours depending on the country and currencies involved.

Forward contract

Fix an exchange rate up to two years ahead of making a currency transfer.

While fixing the rate in this way would mean you’d miss out if the exchange rate strengthened, you’d be protected from any negative shifts.

Limit order

Target a stronger exchange rate. Set the rate you want to achieve and your transfer will be triggered automatically if the market hits that level.

Rate alert

Set your target rate and get notified by text or email if the market moves to that level.

Regular payments

Automate regular overseas transfers. Remove all the hassle and benefit from excellent exchange rates and no transfer fees.

Currency wallets

Some international payment specialists allow you to buy currency in advance and keep it in a currency wallet until you need it. This allows you to take advantage of favourable rates and can speed up future transfers.

 

Singapore currency transfer FAQs

How long do currency transfers to Singapore take?

The speed of your currency transfer will depend on the provider you use and the countries/currencies involved. A GBP/SGD transfer should typically take between 24-48 hours, although it can be quicker if you have funds on account.

Is transferring money to Singapore safe?

As long as you use a reputable provider your transfer should be safe and secure. Look for a well-established currency provider who’s regulated by the right bodies and has good online customer reviews.

How much do currency transfers to Singapore cost?

If you use a bank to move money to Singapore you may be charged a transfer fee. This can be a flat rate or a percentage of the transfer amount.

Some specialist transfer providers don’t charge anything outside of the exchange rate they quote, and as they work on smaller margins than banks you’ll receive a more competitive rate.

What is a margin and how does it affect my exchange rate?

Banks and other large financial institutions buy currency at the interbank exchange rate and add on a ‘margin’ before selling it on to consumers. The larger the margin applied the less competitive the exchange rate, and the less you’ll receive.

How much can I transfer to Singapore?

Again this depends on the provider you use, but many have no upper transfer limit when it comes to moving money to Singapore.

 

This information has been provided by TorFX

If you need to move money to or from Singapore our currency partner TorFX can help.

TorFX have been offering their customers great exchange rates, no transfer fees and personal account management since 2004.

They’ve won the Moneyfacts Consumer ‘International Money Transfer Provider of the Year’ award for six years running (2016 – 2021) and hold an ‘Excellent’ five-star rating on Trustpilot.

Get a quote now to find out how much you could save.

You can also create an account with them in two minutes online or over the phone. Once you’ve created an account you’ll be able to check live exchange rates 24/7 and make fast, hassle free currency transfers.