Strong Eagle wrote:I'd take a look at opening a Schwab checking account.
There are two Schwabs, really. One is the brokerage, and the other is Charles Schwab Bank.
If you're looking for a solution to transfer funds from Singapore, then it's best to have a Schwab brokerage account called the Schwab One International account
. (There is also a U.S. version of that account, if you have a U.S. mailing address. It's pretty much the same; either works.) Schwab (the brokerage) maintains a custodial account in Singapore, so you can transfer Singapore dollars domestically, for free (using GIRO for example), to Schwab's custodial account. Schwab then immediately converts those Singapore dollars to U.S. dollars and deposits the U.S. dollars in your brokerage account. Typically you'll pay only 0.4% or 0.5% above the hypothetical mid-market exchange rate with no wire transfer or other fees. Unless you're transferring relatively large amounts, this is a rather low cost way to do it -- much lower than typical wire transfer fees. You can also get an excellent, low cost Visa/debit card and a checkbook linked to your Schwab brokerage account.
If that's all you need, great. (If all you need is a low cost U.S. Visa debit/ATM card, a U.S. checkbook, and/or want to invest in U.S. financial markets.) But you might
also need a U.S. bank account to pair with your Schwab brokerage account -- for example, if you want online BillPay services. That could be an account with Charles Schwab Bank, or it could be some other account. However, unlike the brokerage, Charles Schwab Bank does not allow you to maintain a non-U.S. mailing address on your account. Other banks and credit unions do. The State Department Federal Credit Union is one example, and PenFed is another.