5 Key Factors That Make Remitting Money to Malaysia (Actually, Anywhere Too) Stress-Free, Especially for First-Timers

This post was written in collaboration with Instarem. While we are financially compensated by them, we nonetheless strive to maintain our editorial integrity and review products with the same objective lens. We are committed to providing the best information in order for you to make personal financial decisions with confidence. You can view our Editorial Guidelines here.

Many people on both sides of the Causeway rejoiced when the borders fully reopened between Singapore and Malaysia. But that also means longer queues at money changers, a situation none too ideal for the large number of Malaysians who work and live here, as well as Singaporeans who regularly make that trip.

There are around 900,000 Malaysians working in Singapore — that’s a whole lot of people who are missing their food at home! Well, while we can’t easily savour Malaysian food from Malaysia here on a daily basis, what’s definitely doable is transferring money back home to your loved ones.

Aaand, let’s talk about the favorable interest rate of over 3.2 MYR to 1 SGD. This sweetens things further for those working here — more people than ever are changing currencies and remitting money to their loved ones across the Causeway.

Whether you’re a first-time remitter or seasoned remitter, below are 5 key factors to look out for.

These will make your remittance such a stress-free and smooth experience that your money could reach your recipient even before you’ve cleared customs and arrived physically in Johor Bahru!


1. Super-fast overseas transfers

Imagine this: Your family is anxiously in need of money… plus you have THAT notoriously impatient or kanchiong relative (ugh, we know) who will keep asking you for updates every. single. minute.

It’s difficult to deal, especially at a time when you are worried and being bugged left, right and centre — all while trying to find a speedy and reliable solution.

Enter a remittance service such as Instarem that can handle speedy transfers to save you the stress and constant hounding (even if it’s just for your sanity).

How fast you may wonder? Well, Instarem’s remittance process is just under an hour. 

In fact, 95% of transactions from Singapore to Malaysia get processed within an hour or less, so you can reassure your family! Now you can also track the progress of the transfer through the new transaction timeline feature as well, so you have an absolute answer of when the amount will reach the recipient account whenever that relative asks! 


2. Great FX rates

Whenever you change money at a physical money changer, or go through your bank, these intermediaries take a cut of the amount. We end up with less than the actual foreign exchange (FX) rate — and this can make quite a lot of difference especially when we’re transferring huge sums of money.

All we want is more bang for our buck right? It really doesn’t feel good to see the live FX rate but the actual one you get at the bank or money changer is just way worse. 

For instance, if your Google search shows that the exchange rate is 3.23:1 but the money changer offers you 3.1:1 on S$1,000, that’s already significant at MYR130 less

But the good news is, remittance service Instarem offers great FX rates! You can check the rate before you do the transfer so you’re always aware of how much you’ll get before conversion.

See how it saves you money with the lower FX rate (as of 3 Oct, 10.25am):

Instarem rate:

Singapore money changer rate (estimated):

3. Transparency

Transparency is great when it comes to money-related matters. But we don’t really know that banks and money changers typically charge hidden fees. A simple example is that the credit card transaction on a purchase overseas uses a different exchange rate than the live FX rate / mid-market FX rate, and that your visits to different money changers on the same afternoon yield different results.

For money changers, it’s a bit tough to determine the exact fees, because some might set their own rates, especially if they’re in a crowded part of town or at the airport. For banks, it’s most obvious when you pay by credit card. On your credit card statement, you’ll see a CCY charge, which can be about 2.8% on the converted SGD (inclusive of 1% paid to Visa/Mastercard).

A good remittance service such as Instarem is upfront about the FX rates and any other fees involved in the transaction so that users will know immediately what they’ll get and any hidden costs involved. Plus, it also helps you avoid that calculative family member from asking why you transfer $X amount but she only got $Y, which was lesser. 

With Instarem, when you key in the amount you want to convert, you can also see the different fees charged based on the type of payment method you choose.

For instance, converting SGD to MYR through PayNow or bank transfer costs only $6, while if you pay through a debit or credit card, the fee increases to $26! That’s a huge difference and can buy you 4 to 5 plates of nasi lemak. 

Screenshot via Instarem


The transaction fees via Instarem differ from countries by about 0.25% to 1%. But you’ll always be able to see them before you make a transfer so you don’t get a shock later. 

Note: Instarem’s fees differ from countries and corridors of transfers with typical fees varying between 0% and 1%. The fees are subject to change and can be reviewed at any given time on our currency converter.


4. Earn rewards on top of savings

Sure, remittance is an essential service, and we should be happy if we can just get a good rate with lower fees…right? But what if we’re loyal to a particular service — it would be nice to get some recognition for our commitment.

Plus, it’s definitely a bonus if we can also earn rewards for doing our filial piety (or parental) duties (by remitting money to them).

With Instarem, you can earn points called InstaPoints when you perform certain actions. These points can later be used as discounts or cashback. Discounts on your transfer fees as high as S$5 redeeming 400 InstaPoints that you earn on the transfers. 

Once you have a minimum of 100 InstaPoints, you can redeem them on your next transfer.

You can also earn more instaPoints by referring a friend to sign up. You earn 200 points when they make their first transfer. Your friend also benefits and gains 225 points as a welcome bonus. 


5. Safety and reliability

With money, it never hurts to check, double-check and triple-check before sending. One zero or a missing decimal point can make a whole world of difference! Even a single digit difference in the account number can be disastrous. It has definitely happened to us…

While it’s on us to do our own due diligence, we also need to ensure that the remittance platform has in place safety measures too. You see, sometimes there’s no way to be super-sure as the screen only displays the account number and amount and that’s it — who are you sending the money to, you can only hope there’s no typo~

Instarem always makes sure to verify throughout its various processes, whether it’s a new recipient you are sending money to, the amount of money you’re sending, and so on. 

Instarem is also regulated by 9 financial regulators across the globe, so you can be sure it does everything by the book! And since it’s in Singapore, Instarem is also regulated by the Monetary Authority of Singapore, which means that every transaction undergoes risk checks to ensure compliance, so that’s definitely one less thing to worry about. 


Bonus: Get a S$20 bonus for your first Instarem overseas transfer

Who would say no to more money? Enter the code SMART20 to get S$20* bonus when you make your first overseas transfer. Which means that when you want to send S$1,000 on your first transfer, Instarem will only charge you S$980 + relevant payment method charges on that transaction! More money to you from them!

This applies to transfers not just to Malaysia but also anywhere in the world, so expats working here who want to send money back home can get the bonus too. 

Instarem’s interface is simple and intuitive, so even your boomer auntie or uncle can use it to easily send money to their loved ones overseas (or to you).

Sign up for an Instarem account to start transferring, stress-free!


How easy is it to sign up for Instarem? 

Creating an account with Instarem is simple and free! You can even sign up with MyInfo via your Singpass for instant user verification.

Pro tip: Keep your ID proofs and address proofs ready as per your country of residence. 

Log on to instarem.com on desktop or mobile. You can also download the Instarem app from Google Play Store or the App Store.

Sign up using your Google, Facebook account or your email.
Fill out your personal details and verify your mobile number by entering the 6-digit one-time code.
Upload your proof of address and identification documents to get your account approved.
And that’s it! You’re now ready to enter your recipient account details to set up your first transfer and select your payment preference to complete it. 


SMART20 bonus is only applicable for the first time transfers via Instarem. Offer valid until 31st January 2023. 
Minimum transfer amount of S$500 or above is required for the offer to be applicable. 


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Original article: 5 Key Factors That Make Remitting Money to Malaysia (Actually, Anywhere Too) Stress-Free, Especially for First-Timers.

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