Between Comgateway, Borderlinx, VPost, or Ezbuy, which is the cheapest freight forwarder from the US to Singapore?
First published on 24 Oct 2016. Updated 8 Feb 2017.
There are only a few weeks left until US stores start unveiling their Black Friday sales! To celebrate America’s biggest shopping holiday, Singaporeans will let their fingers do the work as stores from Amazon to Zappos slash their prices.
By choosing the right forwarding service, you can save money shipping your items from the US to Singapore. Here’s a rundown of four popular forwarding services that can help you buy directly from the States.
When to Use a Forwarding Service
Most Singaporeans use a forwarding service when they shop at US retailers who do not ship to Singapore. If you are buying from a store that only accepts US credit cards as a payment method, forwarders offer a concierge service that can pay on your behalf.
When buying from different websites, you can also save money on shipping by consolidating your purchases into one package.
How Does a Forwarding Service Help Me Save Money?
Repacking is a common practice in which the forwarder repackages your item to reduce its volumetric weight – which also lowers shipping charges. However, some items, such as fragile or gift-wrapped items, will not be repacked.
If you buy multiple items over a period of time, take note that you can sharply reduce your freight costs by opting for consolidation. Consolidation means asking your forwarder to hold your parcels, and shipping them together as one shipment.
This avoids paying multiple base charges, which are imposed on the first 0.5kg of your shipment, and are several times more expensive than the subsequent weight portions of your package.
Another advantage of consolidation is that it allows you more time to shop, so you can make sure you get the best deals.
Forwarders also offer optional insurance on your shipments, which covers (up to a cap) your items against damage or loss during shipment. Should this happen, you can recover some or all of the money you spent on your shopping.
Which is the Cheapest Shipping from the US to Singapore?
We’ve done a simple comparison of the rates and benefits offered by different forwarding services: EZBuy (formerly 65daigou), VPost, Borderlinx, and Comgateway. Which is the cheapest, and which offers the most value for money?
Before you go clicking furiously away at your favourite US retailers, do be aware that purchases exceeding USD$2,500 in value will require a Shipper’s Export Declaration (SED) form. If you require one, check with your forwarder on how to submit it.
Also, don’t forget about the 7% GST payable on your buys, which is applicable if the CIF (Cost of Shipping + Insurance + Freight) exceeds S$400 in value.
Shipping From US to Singapore
|Forwarding Service||Shipping Cost||
Number of Business Days
|Repacking and Consolidation||
|Ezbuy (formerly 65daigou)||S$3.99 per 0.5kg||5 to 7 days||Repacking
– Free for 30 days
– S$1 per order per day thereafter
– 3% of total value of shipment, or S$9.90 minimum
– S$2,000 limit
– S$100 compensation for items not insuredConcierge (Buy-For-Me)
– 4% to 8% of total value of shipmentHome Delivery
– S$5 to S$8 per trip
|VPost||S$13.40 for first 0.5kg
S$0.72 per 0.1kg thereafter
|4 to 8 days||Repacking
– Free for 21 days
– S$1.50 per item per day thereafter
– 3% of total value of shipment, or min of S$9.90 per consignment note
– S$20,000 limit
– Currently free
|Borderlinx||Approx US$16.20 for a 0.5kg parcel||2 to 3 days for express service||Repacking
– Up to 20 parcels per release
– No time limit
– 1.75% of total value of shipment, or US$10 minimum
– Covers value of the shipment only
– Mandatory for items of value exceeding US$250
– 5% of total value of items, or US$10 minimum
|Comgateway||US$13.57 for first 0.5kg
US$3.57 for subsequent 0.5kg
|3 to 4 days for express service||Repacking
– US$3 to US$5Consolidation
– Free for 60 days
– US$1 per day thereafter
– 1% of total value of shipment, or US$10 minimum
– USD$10,000 limit
– Mandatory for items of value exceeding US$250
– 5% of transaction cost
– Sales-tax free
– US sales tax exempt
Ezbuy (Formerly 65daigou)
Ezbuy is one of the most popular Taobao shipping agents in Singapore and offers the lowest shipping cost from US. Do note that the service works on a self-collection basis, but you can opt for home delivery for a small fee.
Ezbuy also has a Prime service, which gives unlimited shipping at S$2.99 per checkout. This service is available at S$9.90 for a 1-month trial, or S$99.90 for a year. It may be worth using this option if you shop online frequently.
The freight forwarder has expanded its services to include a shopping portal. Now, you can browse and order from popular USA brands such as Kate Spade, Coach, Disney, Under Armour and Tommy Hilfiger. Your orders will be automatically shipped to Singapore by Ezbuy – talk about convenient.
An overseas forwarding services from Singapore Post, VPost lets Singaporeans access shops from the US, China, Taiwan, and Europe. Although VPost charges a repacking fee, it will only repack your item if there’s a difference of 2 kg or more between the volumetric weight and dead weight of your parcel. Don’t worry though, the S$6 fee is lower than the savings you’ll get from repacking.
For now, VPost is offering it’s VPost4U concierge service for free, handy if your US merchant only accepts American credit cards.
Xmas Promotion: From now until 31 December 2016, you can get a S$20 voucher for use on your shipping charges. To qualify, use your Citibank credit card to make and ship 2 purchases of at least S$40 each. You’ll also have to use the code IWANTVPOST at checkout. Details here.
Borderlinx lets Singaporeans shop at online stores in the US, UK, and Europe. While they don’t disclose their rates, there’s a calculator on the website to help you estimate your charges. Do note there are three levels of service for shipping from the US – Express, Standard and Economy – so you can pick the one most suited to your budget.
One advantage Borderlinx offers is the lack of a time limit for holding your parcels, which is useful if you buy from the US infrequently.
The creme de la creme of all US forwarding services, Comgateway charges premium prices for speedy shipping and great service. Comgateway offers a sales tax-free address, allowing you to save anywhere between 5.5% to 9.45% off your shopping.
We’ve shown the charges and services for Express service in the table above. If you’re looking to spend less on shipping costs, there’s also a Standard service, which ships your package in 5-8 business days.
Because of its detailed tracking and speedy shipping, Comgateway is a good option for high-value items that need careful handling. If you’re looking for more affordable shipping for lower-value items, Ezbuy, VPost, and Borderlinx have you covered.
Don’t Forget to Shop with the Right Credit Card
Use an online shopping credit card to make the most out of your spend or to get cashback savings. Check out the Standard Chartered SingPost Platinum Visa Card, which gives you 7% cashback when you shop online.
When you use this credit card to ship with VPost for the first time, you’ll get 30% discount on your shipping fees, and 20% off thereafter. You’ll also enjoy free insurance of up to USD$250 value.
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By Alevin Chan
A Certified Financial Planner with a curiosity about what makes people tick, Alevin’s mission is to help readers understand the psychology of money. He’s also on an ongoing quest to optimize happiness and enjoyment in his life.