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Money matters while moving in to Singapore

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hg
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Money matters while moving in to Singapore

Post by hg » Wed, 20 May 2009 6:39 pm

Hi,

Another 10 days for us to move into Singapore from India. One very urgent question - we are thinking of bringing in some Indian currency in cash as a start-up money. Firstly what is the legal limit for such cash (if any) and secondly can we wire transfer money out of our Indian Bank into a local SG bank, if yes does anyone has first hand experience of how easy or tough it is, what are the legal limits etc?

What about the reverse wire - transfer i.e. From SG to regular Saving account in India?

Any quick reply will be highly appreciated. Can't believe I didn't think of this before :cry:

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littlegreenman
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Post by littlegreenman » Wed, 20 May 2009 6:58 pm

Hi there,

I remember that in November 07 they changed the rules, so everyone bringing in more than SGD 30,000 has to declare this to customs first. This doesn't mean that you are not allowed to bring in more, just that you have to declare it. If you already have your EP/PR they should have no problems with you bringing in that money.

In general though cash means a much bigger spread. So I would not necessarily bring in the cash. Even withdrawing from an ATM using a debit card usually gives you better spreads.

Regarding wire transfers in and out of Singapore: this has been discussed many times before. This is no problem at all as Singapore does not have any capital controls prohibiting that. Have a look around the forum for more details on which ways there are.

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Post by hg » Wed, 20 May 2009 7:13 pm

Thx,

My EP/DP etc are all in place and I surely am not rich enough to bring in equivalent of 30K SGD :-)

Just wanted to be on the right side of law as Singapore has quite a reputation for being a "fine" country !!

So this means that SG tax rules allow EP holders to bring in their native money and spend it in SG? In India this can be objected to by Income tax sleuths.

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Post by Strong Eagle » Wed, 20 May 2009 7:37 pm

littlegreenman wrote:In general though cash means a much bigger spread.
I disagree with this. Money changers are quite a competitive lot and it is easy to beat the banks rates plus the obnoxious fees they add on.

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Post by durain » Wed, 20 May 2009 7:55 pm

if you got foreign cash, the best place to exchange it to local currency is the independent money changer dotted everywhere. shop around and haggle the rate if you got a lot to exchange. they can give you a little more than the rate on the board.

as for openning a bank account, you can open a saving account on the spot. search the forum as this been asked many times. once you got a bank account, you can wired the money either direction (via swift or BAC).

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Post by jpatokal » Thu, 21 May 2009 10:23 am

Strong Eagle wrote:
littlegreenman wrote:In general though cash means a much bigger spread.
I disagree with this. Money changers are quite a competitive lot and it is easy to beat the banks rates plus the obnoxious fees they add on.
Yup. For Indian rupees (or most any other currency, really), Mustafa in Little India is the place to go.
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Post by akhild » Thu, 21 May 2009 11:53 am

I guess you are still defined as ordinarily resident in India.

Any person resident in India
i. may take outside India (other than to Nepal and Bhutan) currency notes of Government of India and RBI Notes upto an amount not exceeding Rs. 5,000/- (Rupees Five Thousand) per person.

Indian currency is not fully convertible, don't export it out.
FEMA for your reference:

http://finmin.nic.in/the_ministry/dept_ ... /fema6.pdf

get USD cash, SGD cash or TCs or a prepaid card that u can use on the atm.

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Post by hg » Thu, 21 May 2009 3:15 pm

akhild wrote:I guess you are still defined as ordinarily resident in India.

Any person resident in India
i. may take outside India (other than to Nepal and Bhutan) currency notes of Government of India and RBI Notes upto an amount not exceeding Rs. 5,000/- (Rupees Five Thousand) per person.

Indian currency is not fully convertible, don't export it out.
FEMA for your reference:

http://finmin.nic.in/the_ministry/dept_ ... /fema6.pdf

get USD cash, SGD cash or TCs or a prepaid card that u can use on the atm.
Wow !! (I always had doubt about exportability of Indian Currency and hence this post)

So SG govt lets you bring in equivalent of upto 30,000 SGD in cash but Indian govt will not like you to take more than a piddly ~150 SGD per person? ...and how on earth the govt of India will track all this? (Does the Mustafa in SG needs to know your passport or any other id before they convert INR to SGD?)

Secondly, does it mean that I can convert whatever INR (no limits here?) in cash to USD/ SGD in India but can't take it out of India in INR form?

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Post by littlegreenman » Thu, 21 May 2009 3:23 pm

jpatokal wrote:
Strong Eagle wrote:
littlegreenman wrote:In general though cash means a much bigger spread.
I disagree with this. Money changers are quite a competitive lot and it is easy to beat the banks rates plus the obnoxious fees they add on.
Yup. For Indian rupees (or most any other currency, really), Mustafa in Little India is the place to go.
Geez guys, Mustafa really has excellent rates. When I left Singapore in 07 that was not the case. TT was still cheaper. I remember writing them an email back then to let them know that the currency is actually called "Euro", not "Eurodollar" (a Eurodollar is a Euro traded in an FX transaction offshore). Good to see that two years later they still didn't change it but at least have excellent exchange rates. :wink:

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akhild
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Post by akhild » Thu, 21 May 2009 4:37 pm

hg wrote:
Wow !! (I always had doubt about exportability of Indian Currency and hence this post)

So SG govt lets you bring in equivalent of upto 30,000 SGD in cash but Indian govt will not like you to take more than a piddly ~150 SGD per person? ...and how on earth the govt of India will track all this? (Does the Mustafa in SG needs to know your passport or any other id before they convert INR to SGD?)

Secondly, does it mean that I can convert whatever INR (no limits here?) in cash to USD/ SGD in India but can't take it out of India in INR form?
1) It is that way for SG vs India because of the currency and its controls. India has capital controls, whereas SG lets currency be a dirty float. If i go into international economics, it can be explained via. just google impossible trinity..

2) mustafa will need ur passport for any significant amounts. But this is for MAS (RBI equivalent here). If you decide to carry INR and If you cross Indian customs with the money, u shud be ok. But pls remember this is illegal and ur trip might end before it starts..

3) You cannot convert whatever INR you want. Holding FX in India in non designated accounts is illegal also. There is a limit on what Indians livign in India can send out per year. If im not wrong it is about USD 200,000 per year per person. I don't know how this affects family members. HUF act might kick in?? But this is for Indians living in India. For travellers there used to be a BTQ at one point. For ppl moving out, I am not sure.

I strongly suggest you to contact airport customs to clarify.
All info here is based on my knowledge (which can and probably is outdated or outright incorrect). Pls exercise caution.

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Post by hg » Thu, 21 May 2009 8:47 pm

akhild wrote:
1) It is that way for SG vs India because of the currency and its controls. India has capital controls, whereas SG lets currency be a dirty float. If i go into international economics, it can be explained via. just google impossible trinity..
Thanks for that idea. Now I know the theory....at least a bit :-)

I wrote a mail to ICICI about NRE/ NRO accounts and my head is still spinning after reading all that 5 pages. These guys want me to change my local ICICI SB account to NRO account once I am in SG. How on earth will I then manage my Indian earnings/ spendings???? (They want me to surrender my ATM Card and cheque book too)

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Post by akhild » Fri, 22 May 2009 7:10 am

hg wrote:
akhild wrote:
1) It is that way for SG vs India because of the currency and its controls. India has capital controls, whereas SG lets currency be a dirty float. If i go into international economics, it can be explained via. just google impossible trinity..
Thanks for that idea. Now I know the theory....at least a bit :-)

I wrote a mail to ICICI about NRE/ NRO accounts and my head is still spinning after reading all that 5 pages. These guys want me to change my local ICICI SB account to NRO account once I am in SG. How on earth will I then manage my Indian earnings/ spendings???? (They want me to surrender my ATM Card and cheque book too)
they are giving u unsound advice.. from watever info u have given, u r still not a non resident and hence can't have NRE\NRO. Also, interest income on NRO is taxable.

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Post by hg » Fri, 22 May 2009 9:55 am

akhild wrote:
they are giving u unsound advice.. from watever info u have given, u r still not a non resident and hence can't have NRE\NRO. Also, interest income on NRO is taxable.
Hmmm...so when does one become non-resident? From the time I have an address proof in Singapore? (which is at least a month away) or after having lived outside India for some number of days?

Since you seem to know the subject, can you tell me this - I sold most of my household goods here and want to use the proceeds (in my local ICICI Bank) to buy a 2nd hand Car in SG. Is it possible and what's the correct method? (I asked this in my original query but somehow the discussion happened on Cash part)

This whole NRE/ NRO thing is still not very clear to me <time>

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akhild
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Post by akhild » Fri, 22 May 2009 10:37 am

FEMA (1999) and Income Tax act define NRI differently. I am not sure which one applies for NRE\NRO. You will have to speak to a CA or a NRI banker in India.

They should also be able to advise you on the correct and legal procedure for repatriating your money!

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Post by jpatokal » Fri, 22 May 2009 11:04 am

littlegreenman wrote:Geez guys, Mustafa really has excellent rates. When I left Singapore in 07 that was not the case. TT was still cheaper. I remember writing them an email back then to let them know that the currency is actually called "Euro", not "Eurodollar" (a Eurodollar is a Euro traded in an FX transaction offshore). Good to see that two years later they still didn't change it but at least have excellent exchange rates. :wink:
Depends on what you want to exchange into what, of course, but if some place on this island has better rates for SGD<->INR and SGD<->USD, I'm sure I'm not the only one who'd like know!

For example, right now at the Mustafa website, they're selling USD for 1.4430 and INR for 3.1500. DBS's website gives USD 1.4535 (OD) and INR 3.1629 (TT/OD) respectively, and they don't even offer an INR buying rate.

Now, the DBS TT rate for USD is better at 1.4315, a savings of 0.7% -- but only before you add in the TT charges on both ends, which will usually be at least S$30, which means you'd need to transfer at least ~$4000 to save a few pennies this way. And if you're exchanging that much, Mustafa will probably give you a better rate!
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