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Best exchange rate for moving large sums from SGD to USD?

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mayz945
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Best exchange rate for moving large sums from SGD to USD?

Postby mayz945 » Thu, 05 May 2016 11:03 pm

I am leaving Singapore in a couple of weeks and need to transfer about $100,000 SGD to USD.

What method would give me the best rates?

I know p2p websites do not take SGD. Any other suggestions?

Thank you!

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Re: Best exchange rate for moving large sums from SGD to USD?

Postby BBCWatcher » Fri, 06 May 2016 1:39 am

Interactive Brokers is extremely low cost, especially if you set a "ladder" of limit prices and are patient. But it's "geeky."

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Re: Best exchange rate for moving large sums from SGD to USD?

Postby JR8 » Fri, 06 May 2016 2:38 am

Interactive Brokers geeky? Hmm... depends what you want to do. They are a veery broad/deep/thorough offering for an amateur, perhaps as much as any might want.
But if you don't have an account getting one set up will take time, with them or any such broker. For IB their regional office is in HK, so you'd need an embassy certified copy of your passport to send up there. At a rough guess I doubt you could turn it around in under 2 weeks.

Frankly in the OPs shoes, I'd search here for topics re: changing money. Use key-words like 'The Arcade' and 'Mustafa', and so on, and you will likely find them. Then I'd consider going and changing it cash for cash, and flying it home - declaring in en route as needed.

Carrying such large sums is not exactly a chill-out experience, but there would likely be no cheaper and simpler way of doing it.

p.s. a Ladder-Order for S$100k? That's a strange suggestion, such orders tend to be for where the instrument is illiquid vs the trade size and you fear you'll spook the market with your order. I think the broad global market for the S$ can absorb a whole S$100k sale without having a hissy fit :)
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Re: Best exchange rate for moving large sums from SGD to USD?

Postby JR8 » Fri, 06 May 2016 3:09 am

IB might well route via IdealFX (their site states that), from which the S$100k would buy US$73,580
http://www.ideal-fx.com/
Mustafa, the same right now would buy US$73,910
http://www.mustafa.com.sg/mmsnew/forex.aspx

:lol: How about that, Mustafa beats an FX order at IB :lol:
'Do it or do not do it: You will regret both' - Kierkegaard

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Re: Best exchange rate for moving large sums from SGD to USD?

Postby BBCWatcher » Fri, 06 May 2016 11:11 am

Routing through Ideal is not at all the same as walking up to Ideal.

Hand carrying cash is a really, really bad idea at least in part due to civil asset forfeiture possibilities.

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Re: Best exchange rate for moving large sums from SGD to USD?

Postby mayz945 » Fri, 06 May 2016 12:31 pm

Frankly in the OPs shoes, I'd search here for topics re: changing money. Use key-words like 'The Arcade' and 'Mustafa', and so on, and you will likely find them. Then I'd consider going and changing it cash for cash, and flying it home - declaring in en route as needed.

Carrying such large sums is not exactly a chill-out experience, but there would likely be no cheaper and simpler way of doing it.


Thanks for the advice. Why carry it out of the country however? Could I not just exchange it cash for cash and then deposit it into a USD account here and then wire it to US account?

I don't have USD account right now, but it's probably not difficult to set up I imagine.

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Re: Best exchange rate for moving large sums from SGD to USD?

Postby mayz945 » Fri, 06 May 2016 3:24 pm

Looks like that might be a problem. I opened a USD account with Citi today and they told me that they charge 0.5% to accept USD in cash. They all really find so many ways to $#@! you dont they? :mad:

I'm not too keen to be traveling with $75k US on me, so would prefer another method.

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Re: Best exchange rate for moving large sums from SGD to USD?

Postby JR8 » Fri, 06 May 2016 3:38 pm

mayz945 wrote:Thanks for the advice. Why carry it out of the country however? Could I not just exchange it cash for cash and then deposit it into a USD account here and then wire it to US account? I don't have USD account right now, but it's probably not difficult to set up I imagine.


What you find is that at any stage a bank is involved you'll get charged fees.When you add up all the costs of getting it from S$ at place A to US$ at place B the aggregate cost can be surprisingly high. For example, just for starters, Citibank-SG charge for depositing foreign currency. I wonder how much... hmm. Then wire fees, and perhaps correspondent bank fees and receiving bank fees. So IME there is a point where the balance tips towards carrying it in cash. That said it isn't a particularly comfortable experience and customs at destination will spot a 'brick' of money at X-ray, besides one would declare such a sum of course, and they'll want to have a 1-1 chat with you about it's provenance. Such happened to me once at Heathrow, and I described that experience here a couple of years back.

re: the Ideal-Fx branch in SG. Do they allow walk-in/cash transactions? Their website doesn't say anything about opening hours or meeting customers face-to-face. It doesn't pitch itself as that kind of retail offering.

What ever route you decide if you're opening and bank/trading etc accounts these days give yourself plenty of lead-time. Current ID checks for a/c opening can take quite a while, from you getting the required dox together... to you having access to your functioning a/c.

Edit: QED re: Citi cash depo fees: You posted your previous just as I was typing mine.
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Re: Best exchange rate for moving large sums from SGD to USD?

Postby Grumpy77 » Sun, 15 May 2016 2:58 pm

Bitcoin is tailor-made for moving funds cross border with low fees and almost no FX spread. Also a little 'geeky'

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Re: Best exchange rate for moving large sums from SGD to USD?

Postby BBCWatcher » Sun, 15 May 2016 3:29 pm

Grumpy77 wrote:Bitcoin is tailor-made for moving funds cross border with low fees....

Oh really? I'd appreciate reading how that works in real world practice.

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Re: Best exchange rate for moving large sums from SGD to USD?

Postby Brah » Sun, 15 May 2016 6:10 pm

^^+1
Ape Shall Not Kill Ape.

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Re: Best exchange rate for moving large sums from SGD to USD?

Postby Grumpy77 » Mon, 16 May 2016 10:51 am

To buy/sell bitcoin is almost identical to doing a stock transaction, except you will use 2 exchanges - one in Sg and one in the USA. Since there is no banking entity in the middle of the transaction, the fx spread is effectively nil. There is a bid/ask on each side as you enter and exit the blockchain but they are fairly tight. The fiat funds can be converted to bitcoin in Sg and then immediately (an hour or two...) converted back to USD and transferred to your US acct. There is exchange rate differential risk during the time on the blockchain but is negligible over such a short time and can work in your favour or against.

There is a learning curve to security of your funds since again, there is no bank in the middle taking a cut, but a currency alternative that has ledger, remittance and virtual gold-like characteristics is not a bad thing to learn about in the golden age of the central banker comes to an end.

- set up accts with exchanges that can handle each side of the currency transaction, obviously have bank accounts for those same currencies.
- transfer fiat SGD into the exchange, buy bitcoins, once transaction is confirmed, then you sell bitcoin to USD and transfer funds to your USD account.

Voila, banks and remitters should be terrified of this as it destroys their business model.

One thing to note, bitcoin is undergoing a halving of the mining reward in mid-July and is expected to have some volatility during this time. In theory, a halving of reward should necessitate a doubling of the price to keep the mining ecosystem in balance, but some say it could cause a large drop in price. It will be interesting to see how this every 4 year planned event is digested by the market.

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Re: Best exchange rate for moving large sums from SGD to USD?

Postby BBCWatcher » Mon, 16 May 2016 9:19 pm

Yes, that's the hype version. I've heard that for years now.

Have you ever tried to do what you describe and then measure the total cost of a fiat-to-fiat cross-border transfer? If you actually measure that total cost -- I have! -- you'll find that it isn't cheap. Far from it.

My total cost via International Brokers for fiat-to-fiat cross-border transfers, in the relatively modest amounts I'm moving every month, is running about 0.14% with zero intermediate Bitcoin exchange risk. (And one could argue that's overstating the cost since I do better than zero cost on the reverse when spending with a U.S. credit card. The right U.S. credit cards are very good indeed.) How exactly do you propose to beat 0.14%? What's the exact path from (for example) Singapore Dollars in a Singapore bank account to U.S. Dollars in a U.S. bank or credit union account?

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Re: Best exchange rate for moving large sums from SGD to USD?

Postby JR8 » Mon, 16 May 2016 9:34 pm

'Fiat-to-fiat' as in, what most would refer to as cross-currency - rather than a pile-up of Italian cars :)
'Do it or do not do it: You will regret both' - Kierkegaard

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Re: Best exchange rate for moving large sums from SGD to USD?

Postby Grumpy77 » Mon, 16 May 2016 9:39 pm

Sorry I didn't know this was a contest. I was simply giving my uneducated best answer in response to the OP's query.

I'll defer to your experience.

Regards,


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