Using international money transfers to manage imports and exports

Finding the best exchange rate can provide a big boost to your bottom line.

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As we move deeper into the 21st century, the operations of Australian businesses are no longer bound by international borders. Whether you’re importing stock from overseas suppliers or exporting your products overseas, businesses are more closely connected with the rest of the globe than ever before.

Compare international money transfer services

Min. Transfer Amount Transfer Speed Online Transfer Fee Rate Amount Received Description CTA Details
GBP 0 1 - 2 days AUD 0.00 0.706 USD
7,063
Azimo sends money directly to a bank account or over 280,000 cash pick-up points. It also has fast transfers to 50+ countries. Go to site Show details
AUD 2,000 1 day AUD 0.00 0.709 USD
7,088
TorFX guarantees to match any competitor's exchange rate. Conditions apply.
TorFX sends money overseas in 30+ currencies, with competitive rates for transfer amounts over $2,000.
Go to site Show details
AUD 1 Within an hour AUD 0.00 0.708 USD
7,083
New customers get their first transaction for free with code FIRSTFREE. T&Cs apply.
Send money in minutes at competitive exchange rates with this Australian money transfer service.
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AUD 250 1 - 2 days AUD 0.00 0.708 USD
7,085
$0 transfer fees for Finder customers.
OFX has no maximum limit transfers, with competitive exchange rates for 45+ currencies.
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AUD 2,000 1 day AUD 0.00 0.708 USD
7,083
Send guarantees to match any competitor’s exchange rate. T&Cs apply.
Send provides fee-free transfers via its 24/7 multi-currency payments platform with real-time quotes.
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AUD 1 Same day AUD 0.00 0.708 USD
7,078
XE has fast transfers with low fees and a range of foreign currency tools. Go to site Show details
AUD 1 Same day AUD 3.99 0.703 USD
7,025
Use promo code 3FREE to send your first 3 transfers with no fee. Conditions apply.
WorldRemit sends money to 110+ countries for bank-to-bank deposits, cash pick-ups or mobile top-ups.
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AUD 1 1 - 2 days AUD 45.00 0.708 USD
7,052
Wise uses the mid-market rate and transparent fees to help you send money in 50+ currencies. Go to site Show details
AUD 200 1 - 2 days AUD 50.00 0.711 USD
7,071
Exclusive: New customers sending over 500 AUD from Australia use code FINDER50 to get 50 AUD off. Pay zero fees on your first transaction. Valid till 31 December 2021. T&Cs apply.
Instarem offers simple transfers with a flat 0.5% transfer fee for most transfers.
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AUD 1 1 day AUD 52.00 0.708 USD
7,041
Pay no fees on your first two transfers, up to $3,000.
SingX offers the real exchange rate every time you make a transfer and can help you send money across the world.
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AUD 10 Within an hour AUD 2.99 0.703 USD
7,033
Special offers like free transfers and better exchange rates available for new customers.
Remitly has quick, affordable transfers around the world, with both express and economy options.
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AUD 5 1 - 2 days EUR 3.00 0.708 USD
7,083
Special offer: Zero fees on your first 10 transfers.
CurrencyFair has bank-beating exchange rates and fast transfer times on 15+ popular currencies.
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The "Rate" and "Amount Received" displayed are indicative rates that have been supplied by each brand or gathered by Finder.

Exchange rates are volatile and change often. As a result, the exchange rate listed on Finder may vary to the actual exchange rate quoted for the brand. Please confirm the actual exchange rate and mention "Finder" before you commit to a brand.

Thanks to fluctuating exchange rates and a range of other costs, managing imports and exports for your business can be an expensive process. But if you’re willing to shop around for the right international transfer provider when sending money overseas or back to Australia, you could find big savings for your business.

Using international money transfers for imports and exports

If you source contents or stock for your business from overseas you’ll need to find a cost-effective and efficient way to pay your suppliers. On the export side of things, you’ll also need to find an affordable way to convert any foreign currency you receive back into Australian Dollars (AUD).

This is when an international money transfer comes in, allowing you to convert your AUD into another global currency, or vice versa, so you can move money across international borders. However, finding the best exchange rate for your international transfers is crucial. If you settle for a lower rate on a large transaction it could make the difference of hundreds or thousands of dollars to your bottom line.

Finally, it’s important to be aware of any laws and regulations that may affect your business imports and exports, such as:

  • Australian customs regulations regarding the items you can lawfully bring in and take out of Australia.
  • Customs regulations in the country you’re exporting to or importing from.
  • Any regulations surrounding the amount of money you send - for example, transfer providers are required to report transactions of $10,000 or more to the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC).
  • Whether there are any trade sanctions imposed on the country with which you are doing business.

International money transfers and the cost of doing business

Like any financial service, international money transfers aren’t free. In fact, there are two costs you need to consider when sending money overseas:

  • The exchange rate, which reflects the value of the Australian Dollar (AUD) relative to the local currency in the country you’re sending money to or from.
  • The transfer fee, which could be a flat fee or a percentage of the transaction amount.

Exchange rates and transfer fees can substantially differ from one provider to the next, so comparing your options could potentially save you thousands of dollars.

How to send an international money transfer – should I use my bank?

Most businesses will have built up a solid business banking relationship with one or maybe two banks. If you hold your business loans, savings accounts and credit cards with one bank, asking them to take care of your international transfers is often the easiest option.

Unfortunately, banks are at the bottom of the pile when it comes to value for money on international transfers. The exchange rates offered are some of the lowest around, a long way below the mid-market rate while also charging higher transfer fees. If you choose your bank to send money overseas you’re most likely not getting the best value for your money.

But there are alternative options available for businesses looking to send money overseas to pay for imports and exports. Recent years have seen the rapid rise of a large number of dedicated online transfer companies. These international transfer specialists are concentrated on foreign exchange, rather than focusing on a wide range of products and services like banks.

With much tighter margins than the banks, online transfer companies can offer far superior exchange rates. Charging lower fees and in some cases waiving fees on large transfer amounts, shopping around to find a specialist transfer provider could save your business a whole lot of money.

Why you should compare transfer providers before choosing

Jack’s homewares business specialises in importing designer kitchen goods from a range of French companies. Jack usually sends the funds via wire transfer straight from his business bank account with a major Australian bank, but he’s realising the exchange rate his bank offers is always well below the mid-market rate.

Keen to cut costs wherever possible, Jack decides to compare his options and see if two online transfer companies can offer a better deal.

BankMoney transfer company AMoney transfer company B
Exchange rate1 AUD = 0.6243 EUR1 AUD = 0.6498 EUR1 AUD = 0.6625 EUR
Transfer fee$22$5$4
Amount of AUD required to send EUR€10,000AUD$16,017.94AUD$15,389.35AUD$15,098.87
Money saved compared to bank-AUD$628.59AUD$919.07

As you can see, both transfer companies offer much better value for money than Jack’s bank. But if he chooses option B, Jack can save an extra AUD$919.07 when sending EUR€10,000 to his French supplier while also saving AUD$18 in transaction fees.

This example clearly shows the importance of finding the best exchange rate for your international transfer. By carrying out a quick online comparison you could find substantial savings for your business.

How to compare online money transfer companies

If you’re searching for the best money transfer company to help your business transfer funds overseas, make sure you take the following factors into account:

  • Exchange rates. The higher the exchange rate, the better value for money from your transaction. Shop around for the provider that regularly offers the best exchange rates for currencies in which you need to transfer funds.
  • Transaction fees. This is usually a flat charge but is sometimes calculated as a percentage of the transaction amount. It’s also worth looking out for providers who will waive their fees on large transfers.
  • Personal support. Does the transfer provider assign a personal account manager for your business? This can help ensure that sensitive business details remain private and that assistance is on hand whenever you need it.
  • Transfer time. How long does it take for the money you send to make it into your recipient’s account? Look for providers that offer fast transfer speeds to ensure you always pay your bills on time.
  • Currencies available. In which currencies do you need to regularly send international payments? Does the provider offer support for all of those currencies?
  • Recurring payments. If you need to make regular payments to an overseas supplier or regularly transfer money back to Australia, does the provider allow you to set up recurring payments? This is a convenient option that can save time by ensuring you don’t have to manually enter transfer details every time you send funds.
  • Forward contracts. This allows you to lock in an exchange rate now for a transfer that will take place months or possibly years in advance and protects you against a falling exchange rate.
  • Limit orders. Does the provider allows you to place limit orders? This means you specify the exchange rate you want and then let the transfer provider automatically execute your transaction when the rate you want becomes available.
  • Customer support. Finally, check to see whether you can access phone, email and live chat support when you have a problem with your account. Some providers also offer online education centres to help you get more out of your account and minimise your currency risk exposure.

Once you’ve compared a range of transfer providers using the above factors you’ll be able to find an international transfer provider that offers excellent value for money for your business.

7 tips for Australian import/export businesses

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