What is a remittance service?

A remittance service involves the transfer of funds to persons resident in another country or a territory outside Singapore.

Who you should deal with

If you need to remit money to another country, you may approach a bank or a licensed remittance agent. In Singapore, it is against the law to operate a remittance business without a valid licence from the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS). You should not engage the services of unlicensed persons.

Licensed remittance agents are required to display their licences prominently at their places of business. A list of licensed remittance agents is also published on the MAS website.

If you have information to suspect that an individual or a company is conducting or advertising to conduct remittance business without a valid licence, you may:

• lodge a police report at the nearest police station or online via; or

• write to the Commercial Affairs Department at:

391 New Bridge Road #06-701
Police Cantonment Complex Block D
Singapore 088762

Do note that some remittance agents may use overseas agents who could be unlicensed or an informal network of friends and relatives to deliver money to your beneficiary.

Banks and remittance agents may impose different commission and exchange rates. Do not choose the remittance agent based on cost alone. Be aware of the possible risks posed by different remittance channels.

What can go wrong?

Case 1:
Ben, a remittance agent, was heavily involved in gambling and lost a lot of money. He offered exchange rates which were much better than those offered by other remittance agents, to attract foreign workers to remit money through him. Ben then ran away with the money collected. He was later caught and sentenced to jail. However, not all the remittance money was recovered.

Case 2:
Danny remitted money through a remittance agent, ABC Remittance, which used unlicensed agents in the country where Danny’s beneficiary resided. However, the foreign licensing authority decided to clamp down on unlicensed agents in the country and froze all their assets. Danny’s remittance did not reach his beneficiary. When Danny approached ABC Remittance, the remittance agent disclaimed responsibility, saying the matter was beyond its control and it was unable to help.


• Choose your remittance agents carefully. Do shop around and be wary of special rates offered.

• Find out how your money will be remitted, including the overseas agents they will be using. Consider both cost (including the commission and exchange rate) and reliability of the bank/remittance agent and the overseas bank/agent.

• Choose remittance agents that have installed adequate security systems (e.g. CCTVs) to provide a secure and safe environment for you to remit your money.

• Bring your personal identification documents for verification purposes.

• Make sure you obtain a proper receipt as proof of transaction in case of dispute. The receipt should include the following information:

   -Business particulars of licensed remittance agent 
   -Date of transaction, amount remitted, exchange rate, commission and other charges
   -Your particulars and contact details
   -Your beneficiary’s particulars and bank account details, where applicable

• Ask your remittance agent about the recourse available to you, if your beneficiary does not receive your remittance.

• Contact your beneficiary to ensure he has received the money. Check with your remittance agent if there is a delay. Your remittance agent is also expected to contact you for further instructions if the remittance does not reach the beneficiary within 7 days.

• Although remittance agents are required to be licensed, such licensing does not guarantee their performance. Customers take the risk of any loss suffered in dealing with them. Cases involving fraud should be reported to the police.

Read more here.