DBS Bank and Western Union a freaking joke

As a former small businessman from the “Merdeka” Generation, I find that the stupidity of some businesses or its staff are simply beyond comprehension.

I have a son who is getting married next month to a PRC girl in a small city in China. As I am already old and mobility is an issue, I am physically unable to attend their wedding, so I decided to remit some money to my son to buy a small apartment, as a wedding gift to the couple.

So yesterday morning, I approached a Western Union (WU) in Clementi area with the intention of remitting S$50k to my son. To my disbelieve, I was informed by one of the counter staff that I can only remit a maximum of S$5000 to my son (recipient) per instance.

I have used WU in the past and have never heard of such a regulation, so thinking that it may be a new regulation by MAS, I then asked that the S$50k be split into 10 remittance to stay within the S$5k limit, but was again informed by the staff that there is a limit of 1 remittance per day per recipient, so even if I ask 10 friends to remit the balances, WU would not process the transactions at all.

I was further informed by the staff that I can only do another remittance to my son (same recipient) after 3 days subject to the same limit of S$5000, meaning that if I were to insist on using WU to remit the S$50k, I would need to visit WU every 3 days to remit S$5k at a time, utilizing a total of (50,000/5000) x 3 = approximately a month.

Editor’s note: TRE has called WU as a possible client and established that this was indeed the case.

Not wanting to waste time since I have already wasted 3 hours queueing, I left the office and decided to use DBS bank thinking that since I have an account with the bank, it would be a breeze to effect a Telegraphic Transfer (TT), although it would take about 3 days for the remittance to reach my son compared to WU’s within hours.

Click to enlarge

So armed with my son’s banking particulars, I went to a DBS bank nearby, but lo and behold, I received another shock of my life when the teller told me that they cannot effect the TT because DBS bank requires an ENGLISH name and address for the receiving bank and my son’s residential address in China.

Having remitted funds to China just a few years back when I still in business, I calmly inform the teller that all that was needed to be done was to translate the Chinese bank name and address to Hanyu Pingin, but the teller refused to let me do so and insisted that it is not acceptable.

I then tried to explain to the teller that since I am using SWIFT information for the TT, receiving bank’s address is not a must and can even be omitted because whatever information required for the receiving bank for TT are already contained in the SWIFT.

I also informed the teller that I have remitted funds to China in the past through other local commercial banks and I had only filled in the bank’s location, i.e. province and city.

To get my point across, I even informed the teller that even for my USA Paypal account, I had added a local bank account only with bank name, bank location and a SWIFT number and I could withdraw funds to my local bank account without any issue. Anyone with a Paypal account can simply verify this by trying to add a new bank account.

Again, I received a flat reply that as long as I do not provide the name and address of the bank and the recipient’s address in ENGLISH, my TT request cannot be processed.

Exhausted after having wasted 3 hours queueing at WU and another hour at DBS, I went home.

When I reached home, I called my son and asked if he could provide the information which DBS bank had requested in ENGLISH and was advised by him that most of the places in China do not have official english names and most of the time, Hanyu Pingyin is used without any problem, for example Peking and Beijing are internationally accepted, even for bank remittance.

Anyway, I have decided to use a remittance service to remit the funds but just out of curiosity, can any banking-related readers or English experts please help me to translate the following address to English (not Hanyu Pingin).

湖北省, 老河口市, 张集镇
胡家寨, 村委会对面前行150米.

Thank you.


Ong Jimmy


* The actual name and certain details have been renamed and altered slightly to protect the writer’s privacy.




19 Responses to “DBS Bank and Western Union a freaking joke”

  • Err…

    Having been in China for more than a decade, maybe I can try help.

    湖北省, 老河口市, 张集镇
    胡家寨, 村委会对面前行150米

    Agricultural Savings Bank Of China
    Hubei Province, Old River Mouth City,
    Chan Collect Town, Mustache House Stockade,
    Village Appoint Meeting in front walking 150 meters

    Ask the bank like that can nor not? lol

    Anyway, in China, they do not limit the number of times a recipient can receive or send WU, but there is a limit of US$50,000 combined, after which you would need to declare certain things, like why and who and probably pay some taxes (I think).

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  • How about this?:

    China Agricultural Savings Bank
    Hubei Province, Laohekou City, Zhangji Town
    Hujiazhai, the village committee walks 150 meters in front of you.


    How can one be sure the money will reach the real one using unofficial names?

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  • @How about this?

    DBS say liao, cannot use Hanyu Pingyin. Laohekou, Zhangji and Hujiazhai are Hanyu Pingyin names. lol

    IF I am not wrong, when using SWIFT, as long as the bank’s name, location (country, city) and account number is correct, you can fill in an address at TianAnMen or Mandai Zoo the funds will still reach its intended recipient.

    The banks in China (and maybe in other bigger countries) have special codes for different province and cities. For example in China, the city of XiangYang is 6226 xxxx xxxx xxxx. LaoHeKou will then probably have 6227 xxxx xxxx xxxx. The banks surely would recognise its own coding and redirect the funds into the correct account since remittance via SWIFT are credited only to the bank’s head office remittance department.

    I have received funds in China remitted via UOB just with a receiving bank name, country and account number using SWIFT information.

    Maybe rules and regulations have changed, its been some years since I have received any funds via TT.

    Would readers in the know please share?

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  • Scam:

    I think they have done they right thing.
    Too many Scammers now. This is just to reduce risks.!

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  • Francescar Lim Fei Hai:

    Why your son don’t want to stay in SPore?

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  • fpc:

    use transferwife.

    it costs less and sends directly to the recipient bank account in China.

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  • tan kin lian is pea brained:

    Francescar Lim Fei Hai:
    Why your son don’t want to stay in SPore?

    no now.

    maybe after New Government is in power, parleement is renamed parliament, and all the pap S$m thieves are indicted by new cj under new cpib new agc new spf and new bank negara chiefs.

    come back now is as good as reporting to ceca ah neh manager with fake ceca degree whose job is to recruit ceca village clan members at lucrative under the sarong fees.

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  • Prof Wei Shin YU:

    You think this is ridiculous? How about Bank of China in Sydney cannot remit money to my wife’s Bank of China account in Guangzhou, even though their Aus website shows the procedure???
    So we had to use a remittance service, but only less than A$10k each time in every 24 hours.


    A 60+++, arrogant, ex-Singaporean, that regrets grass is not greener on the other side!

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  • TUMASIK Patriot:

    Money Changer in Chinatown lah!!! they will do anything for a PRICE!!!

    Risk??? maybe but most likely minimal lah since they do transactions by the MILLIONs for PRC residents sending money HOME!!! “DAILY”

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  • oxygen:

    DBS BANK PLAYED HARDBALL with its customers – this is well-noted in the Lehman Brothers mini-bond collapse saga.

    Reuters :Singapore’s biggest bank, the DBS Group, was among the banks that sold Lehman products to its customers, many of whom were simple, working-class people looking for safe investments for their retirement savings in a country without state pensions.

    DBS has said it will pay up to S$80 million to compensate some investors


    There was angry sombre protests in Hong Lim Park. Did MAS kicked DBS and other banks’ tight a*ses instead of fair compensation for mis-selling financial products?

    Guess what happened in Hong Kong later.

    BBC News :Hong Kong banks will repay investors who lost money after the collapse of investment bank Lehman Brothers.

    Sixteen banks have agreed to buy back financial instruments they sold to investors for up to 96.5% of their value.

    Hong Kong banks agree to repay Lehman investors’ losses


    After the HK Monetary Authority kicked a*ses, DBS Bank were caught with pants down – paying nearly every dollars of the investor’s losses in Hong Kong (yet refusing to be compliant in LEE-jiapore????) – its resistance largely collapsed I recalled.

    Those with retail banking experience should not be surprised that PAPpybank has two different interpretations of the same banking law – one that is comfortable it applies for itself of compliance but onerously demand of compliance it demands of its own customers. When challenged, it took a stubborn unyielding stand – the unspoken implicit is that if you are not happy, SUE US as if each customer has got the unlimited time and bottomless deep pocket to sue!! I speak from prior experiences.

    PAPpybanks and domestic banks know there is NO BANKING OMBUDSMAN in LEE-jiapore to order them of fair compliance just like the Lehman Bros mini-bond mis-selling saga.

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  • oxygen:

    @ Prof Wei Shin Yu

    SURPRISED THAT YOU DIDN’T REFER A FORMAL COMPLAINT to the Financial Ombudsman (now called the Australian Financial Complaints Authority).


    I had stiff recalcitrant problems with St George Bank’s deceptive or misleading conduct with its credit card marketing and billing. Instead of trying to reason with them that the sun actually rise in the East and set in the West instead of the reverse apparently argued strenuously by SG Bank in Sydney, I walked into the Office of Financial Ombudsman (OFO) and made a verbal representation, leaving the OFO to write to SG Bank to come to their senses.

    SG Bank backed down completely. I refused and didn’t pay a single cent of disputed amount of hidden charges after I persuaded the OFO that the offending Bank’s consumer credit marketing was tantamount of hawking of financial products/services contrary to Australian banking laws. In common law application, its selective hard sell ( and concealing the traps therein) is nothing short of what the common law violation of the doctrine of “non-trivial contribution to the cause” since misleading/deceptive conduct in common law application NEED NOT AMOUNT to nor need to prove dishonest conduct; just the misleading outcome of that conduct is sufficient to fault the seller in violation of the FAIR TRADING LAW (State legislation) or Trade Practices Act (Federal legislation) misleading and deceptive conduct in trade practices.

    Prof Wei Shin YU: Hi
    You think this is ridiculous? How about Bank of China in Sydney cannot remit money to my wife’s Bank of China account in Guangzhou, even though their Aus website shows the procedure???

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  • Survey recently:

    Merdeka man , you should go to chinatown peopes park centre !they can do a better job than WU and DBS , cheap and easy !DBS BANK AND WU , FORGET ABOUT THEM , They follow laws ABC , and the managers all are stupid

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  • Jimmy:

    Just issue a cheque n go to Bank of China n do your remittance. DBS is a deadlost bank. They r quick to promise hell of a lot n at the end of it nothing seems ok. At this pandemic, one would expect the bank would open as many oitlet as possible to shorten the queue n heap to contain the virus. However DBS closed all their posb n get requiredc all little client to go queue up at DBS while their rich client can just step in n get short circuited or they go to their Treaury n get their employee suck up to the client like their BOC r places where papplps, CB, garbaged ministers n mps can sit on doing nothing but collect the money for their past deeds.

    All posb clients should pulled out n there r many banks with better interests for seniors than posb. Posb was thrown with profit for lky pap govt n facility declines rapidly. Nelver trusts the pap pstlbs places of exile as their final resting place with angpao to continuong their mouth shut, otherwise like wiki leaks of 100++ millions n billions of lost investment whilt being paid millions in bonus. No, this is not corruption just ownself xxxxx ownself.

    Repeat together now


    Aims, 100 millions, 61+++++ billions, salary increase by hundreds of thousands. Bonus in secrexpcy. Cannot reveal. No accountability. You stupid so PAP OWNSELF XXXX OWNSELF.

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  • Merobok:

    Jimmy, maybe I am being too presumptuous but just a word of caution!
    Yes, you are elated that your son is getting married but a word of caution!
    I have also friends whose sons got married to PRCs in China. Many expressed great disappointment and shock when after the marriage, and after being given money, houses, etc. their daughters-in-law suddenly change their attitude and began to drift away and resulting in a broken marriage but with great benefits to the bride.
    This is not new and has happened in S’pore. I know of another Singaporean who married a PRC and brought her back to S’pore. He gave her what she wanted, money to spend, and opened a joint account. One day, after one and a half years, he came home to find that she had left with all her belongings including the money in the joint account.
    The culture in China, after years of communist rule, has taught them to be dishonest, liars, and cheats so as to survive! The rule of law and the element of conscience does not exist!
    So, be careful of these pitfalls as sweet words are prevalent as love is blind!

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  • Observer:

    My Dear Fellow Merdeka Generation mate …
    Remitting money thru Western Union or any Singapore Commercial banks to Mainland China… is a no-no option
    My present wife is from the Mainland China .. and we have happy marriage for 18 years
    Have you seen .. a few dozens of remittance agencies in China Town area?
    Lately there have been “multiple restrictions” imposed on remitting money to Mainland China .. the orders come from both Singapore and Mainland China relevant authorities
    Not only the quantity, but the same account number and the same recipient name .. within a specified period
    These remittance agencies in China Town area require recipient name, address and recipient bank account .. ALL in Chinese characters .. Sender to produce Singapore IC (pink, blue or green all accepted), to provide Singapore particular in English, to state source of fund and useage of fund for recipient .. For small sum remittance, it’s simple and straightforward .. no further question asked .. I suppose proof of source of fund is required for big sum .. then for subsequent remitting, the agencies have your record .. again no further question asked .. Short and sharp

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  • Observer:

    Again .. my Fellow Merdeka Generation mate
    We use China Construction Bank as recipient bank .. so far so good
    Perhaps in these days S$50K or RMB250K just barely enough to buy a small house in countryside .. or as deposit to buy a small apartment in town .. payment for subsequent instalments?
    Another personal questions ..
    Is your son working or having some business (with his wife) in Mainland China?
    After having kid(s), are these kid(s) going to adopt PRC citizenship?
    Are they going to get a car? .. cant get going around with kid(s) without a car in Mainland China .. PRC driving licence?

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  • jim:

    Not difficult to transfer with DBS Bank,
    Can use the DBS online TT service to do the transfer to China, the fund can arrive almost immidiately

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  • Observer:

    In Mainland China..
    When come to English word(s) that originating from corresponding Chinese word(s), it may NOT be direct translation, neither Hanyu Pinyin …
    They have their way of calling it, just don’t ask why
    Esp come to Proper Noun(s)
    Typical Example: Tencent 腾讯 supposed to be “Teng_Xun” in Hanyu Pinyin
    So … don’t ask why
    Therefore it is wise to check with local official
    … to obtain the official English Name/Title
    Otherwise … not recognized

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  • Observer:

    How about this?:
    China Agricultural Savings Bank
    Hubei Province, Laohekou City, Zhangji Town
    Hujiazhai, the village committee walks 150 meters in front of you.

    In Mainland China
    Physical mails, parcels … or fund transfer
    NEVER quote recipient name and address in English words/characters
    If lucky .. only cause undue delay
    If unlucky .. it will be treated as undeliverable

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