How to get the best exchange rate when sending money overseas

You can get a better exchange rate with a specialist money transfer service compared to the banks.

The value you receive from an international money transfer mostly relies on the exchange rates and fees. If you use specialist international money transfer services, you're likely already getting the best possible exchange rate. However, if you're still using your bank, then you may not be getting the best value.

International Money Transfer Offer

WorldFirst International Money Transfers Offer

  • Preferential rates for Finder customers
  • Same-day transfers to most countries
  • Price Promise – WorldFirst will match any eligible quote by another provider

International Money Transfer Offer

WorldFirst offers competitive exchange rates, fast transfers and a convenient online process for international transfers. Enjoy a $0 transfer fee and options to service spot contracts and forward contracts, as well as access to expert weekly market updates and rate alerts.

  • Minimum transfer amount: $2,000
  • Online transfer fee: $0
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Promoted

Compare Australia's top exchange rate providers

Min. Transfer Amount Transfer Speed Online Transfer Fee Rate Amount Received Description CTA Details
AUD 1 2 days AUD 9.00 0.652 USD
6,517
Transfer to over 99 countries via online banking, phone banking or through an ANZ bank branch. Go to site Show details
AUD 2,000 1 day AUD 0.00 0.671 USD
6,707
TorFX guarantees to match any competitor's exchange rate. Conditions apply.
Send money overseas in 30+ currencies with competitive rates for transfer amounts over $2,000.
Go to site Show details
AUD 3,000 1 day GBP 20.00 0.671 USD
6,698
Global Reach will match any competitor's exchange rates. Conditions apply.
No transfer fee when transferring more than £10,000 or equivalent. Send money in over 130 currencies. No maximum transfer amount.
Go to site Show details
AUD 2,000 1 day AUD 0.00 0.671 USD
6,707
Better exchange rates for Finder customers.
Send 60+ currencies at competitive rates and no fees. If you find a better eligible quote, WorldFirst will beat it.
Go to site Show details
AUD 2,000 1 day AUD 0.00 0.671 USD
6,707
SendFX guarantees to match any competitor's exchange rate. T&Cs apply.
Fee-free transfers in 30+ currencies to over 200 countries.
Go to site Show details
AUD 250 1 - 2 days AUD 0.00 0.671 USD
6,707
$0 transfer fees for Finder customers.
No-maximum limit transfers with competitive exchange rates for 100+ currencies. No transfer fee over AUD$10,000.
Go to site Show details
AUD 2,000 1 day AUD 0.00 0.671 USD
6,707
BFX can help you send fee-free transfers to 30+ currencies. Go to site Show details
AUD 5 1 - 2 days EUR 3.00 0.667 USD
6,665
Special offer: Pay zero fees on your first 5 transfers.
Get bank-beating exchange rates and fast transfer times on 15+ popular currencies.
Go to site Show details
AUD 1 Within an hour AUD 3.99 0.665 USD
6,650
An online money transfer service with cash pickup, bank account to bank account and airtime transfers available. Go to site Show details
AUD 200 1 day AUD 0.00 0.668 USD
6,680
Low minimum transfer amount of just AU$200, with no set-up fees or transfer fees. Go to site Show details

Compare up to 4 providers

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.

An FX expert can help you get the best exchange rate

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Save money on your personal or business international money transfer today. Fill in the form and you’ll be contacted by a foreign exchange expert to have an obligation-free discussion about your options. Our foreign exchange experts offer a best rate guarantee, are ASIC authorised and never charge transfer fees.

They can help you with all your needs including:

  • Buying property abroad
  • Emigrating
  • Regular overseas payments
  • Risk management
  • Forecasting

How do I get the best exchange rate?

Here are some tips to ensure you get the best deal on fees and exchange rates when transferring money:

  • Find out what current rates are. You should have a reliable baseline to compare the rates offered by money transfer companies and banks. Two well-known currency conversion resources include XE and Oanda. These are free tools you can use to see live conversion rates, and both feature currency conversion calculators.
  • Compare by asking for a quote. Getting the best exchange rate can be difficult because money transfer services can charge high fees but offer competitive rates. This means sometimes it’s a good idea to ask for a quote, and then compare this to quotes from other providers.
  • Ensure you’re comparing the most accurate rate. Until you register with a money transfer service, you’re more than likely seeing their indicative exchange rates, and not the most accurate rates available. If you choose not to compare quotes, compare the exchange rate you’ll actually receive. This will usually require you to register with a service or make a call.
  • Utilise forward contracts. A forward contract allows you to lock in an exchange rate for a transfer that will take place in the future. In most cases, you can lock in a rate for up to 12 months in advance, saving you from receiving a poor rate when you make a money transfer in the future. Not all transfer companies will allow you to use a forward contract, so ensure you consider this when comparing. The transfer service may only offer forward contracts on larger transfer amounts.
  • Consider a market order. A market order, also known as a limit order, allows you to choose a favourable rate, and then instructs your money transfer company to buy or sell your chosen currencies only once that rate is available. Like a forward contract, some money transfer companies will only offer these for larger transfer amounts.
  • Consider a multi-currency bank account. If you regularly deal in currencies, whether this is due to an international business or for personal reasons, a multi-currency bank account can be a good idea. Also known as a foreign currency account, they allow you to hold different currencies and convert them into Australian dollars when you want. This means you can avoid short-term rate fluctuations from harming your balance.
  • Carry out one large transfer rather than several smaller transfers. If you’re looking to send a large amount of money, try to send it all at once rather than in smaller batches. Many transfer companies can offer better rates and lower fees for large transfers.

finder.com.au's best exchange rates

ServiceAUD/USDAUD/EURAUD/GBP
WorldFirst0.770.670.59
OFX0.770.670.59
CurrencyFair0.7640.6690.588
Rational FX0.770.670.59
1st Contact0.7520.6590.578

*Rates recorded on 3 July 2017. Please source quotes for current rates.

Getting the best rate when travelling overseas

If you’re travelling to a country and looking for tips on receiving the best exchange rate, here are some things to consider:

  • Avoid busy areas and airports. Unless you’re organising a currency pickup, like you can with companies such as Travelex, these areas can provide poor exchange rates. Other businesses can give competitive rates, such as Flight Centre kiosks.
  • Exchange in the country you’re travelling to. While you may want to exchange a small amount before you leave your home country to ensure you have money to get you from the airport to your hotel, save the majority of your currency exchange until you get into the country if you can. Avoid the airport and tourist destinations when looking for a currency exchange provider once you touch down .
  • Consider an international debit, credit or travel card. Some of these cards are offered by major banks and offer 24/7 support as well as exchange rates offered by Visa and Mastercard, which can be competitive. Read more about these options below.
  • Avoid exchanging at a restaurant or hotel. These locations can offer convenient, on-the-fly currency conversion but might not offer the most competitive rate.
  • Avoid purchasing in your own currency. Some retailers will offer you the option to pay in your home currency and will then convert the funds themselves. This can be tricky if you don’t have a currency calculator on hand, meaning you might lose out on the exchange.

Definition: Exchange Rate

An exchange rate is a way of showing the value of one currency compared to another.

Exchange rates are affected by the supply and demand of a currency, a country’s inflation, the trade between two countries and more, so rates can fluctuate throughout the course of a day. Indirectly, exchange rates dictate the costs of many day-to-day items you buy that are purchased from overseas or made using materials that come from foreign countries. Directly, you’ll come across exchange rates when travelling overseas, purchasing goods from overseas or sending funds overseas.

This guide will explain how to get the best exchange rate available when sending money overseas.

Where can I exchange money?

The answer to this question depends on the reason for your exchange. If you’re looking to convert money to send it overseas, some of these providers won’t be the best option for you.

  • Money transfer companies. These are specialist currency exchange and money transfer companies, and they offer competitive exchange rates and low fees. Many of them also offer a large range of services such as forward contracts and market orders.
  • Walk-in kiosks, banks and post offices. These are the best known currency exchange and money transfer destinations for many Australians. Some of them, such as Flight Centre, Western Union and MoneyGram, offer competitive deals for sending money overseas or converting money depending on the service.
  • Credit cards, debit cards and travel cards. Apart from travel money cards, these will exchange your funds from Australian dollars to the currency of your choice instantly using the applicable exchange rate. For some cards this will be the Visa or Mastercard rate, which by itself is competitive. However, if you have to pay a transaction fee or ATM withdrawal fee for the transaction, it may become expensive. Travel cards will allow you to transfer funds onto your card at the exchange rate set by the card provider. This allows you to avoid exchange rate fluctuations.

Comparing exchange rates

Below is a comparison of the advertised rates for three different money transfer companies. Whenever you carry out a comparison, be sure to get an accurate quote from the provider rather than using the advertised rates as the two may be different.

CommBankOFXMoneyGram
AUD/USD0.72810.770.72
AUD/EUR0.63440.670.64
Fee to senderAUD$22$0AUD$20

*The above rates and fees are correct on 3 June 2017. Always source a quote for accurate, current day rates.

As you can see, the highest rate in this comparison was offered by OFX, which also had no transfer fee. This comparison doesn’t take into account transfer speed, which may be an issue for you. It also doesn’t take into account transfer methods, for example sending money to be picked up in cash by your recipient.

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International Money Transfer Offers

Important Information*
Logo for ANZ International Money Transfer
ANZ International Money Transfer

Transfer to over 99 countries via online banking, phone banking or through an ANZ bank branch.

Logo for TorFX International Money Transfers
TorFX International Money Transfers

TorFX guarantees to match any competitor's exchange rate. Conditions apply.
Send money overseas in 30+ currencies with competitive rates for transfer amounts over $2,000.

Logo for Global Reach (formerly FC Exchange) International Money Transfers
Global Reach (formerly FC Exchange) International Money Transfers

Global Reach will match any competitor's exchange rates. Conditions apply.
No transfer fee when transferring more than £10,000 or equivalent. Send money in over 130 currencies. No maximum transfer amount.

Logo for WorldFirst International Money Transfers
WorldFirst International Money Transfers

Better exchange rates for Finder customers.
Send 60+ currencies at competitive rates and no fees. If you find a better eligible quote, WorldFirst will beat it.

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15 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    peteOctober 24, 2017

    I need to transfer $20000 US from Australia to an elderly man in the USA but am not sure how to do this safely. I want assurance he will get the money but I need assurance I get what I pay for.
    Any suggestions ?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JhezOctober 24, 2017Staff

      Hi Pete,

      Thank you for your comment.

      There are different ways you can go about transferring money to the US. You may do an online banking, wire transfer or through money transfer services. Meanwhile, you may compare fast and secure way of sending money to the US through this page. Bank transfers are safe and reliable, though they are by no means the most cost effective or fastest option. Inter-bank money transfers and transferring money from one bank or one financial institution to the other within the same country, is mostly free of cost. However, sending money from one country to another includes different types of fees (some hidden), so be sure to factor this into your decision making process.

      Hope this helps.

      Regards,
      Jhezelyn

  2. Default Gravatar
    JonathanJuly 22, 2017

    Hi Jeff,

    Thank you for writing to us. :)

    You are on the right page. Please enter the AUD transfer amount and choose the desired currencies on our comparison table then click “Calculate”. It will prompt you the list of transfer services available and their updated rates.

    Alternatively, you can also fill out the Enquiry form located a bit below for a FX expert to check on your options.

    Hope this helps.

    Cheers,
    Jonathan

  3. Default Gravatar
    SteveMay 29, 2017

    My existing FX account now does not handle small amounts for my family in the U.K., EG UKP100.00 transfers. They are happy to continue to handle my company transfers to China. Are you able to recommend a service for both of these accounts?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JhezMay 31, 2017Staff

      Hi Steve.

      Thank you for your inquiry.

      You may consider a multi-currency bank account if you regularly deal with currencies due an international business or personal reasons. This is also known as the foreign currency account wherein they would allow you to hold different currencies and convert them when you want to so you can avoid short-term rate fluctuations from harming your balance.

      Please refer to the table above to compare international money transfer companies.

      Hope this helps.

      Regards,
      Jhezelyn

  4. Default Gravatar
    PokiMarch 27, 2017

    what is one advantage of floating exchange rate?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      DeeMarch 28, 2017Staff

      Hi Poki,

      Thanks for your question.
      Flexible exchange rates are said to be ‘floating’ and can fluctuate regularly due to many factors as we have listed on this page.

      A floating exchange rate offers several advantages. One of which is the flexibility and automatic adjustment of the rate in case of disequilibrium (deficit or surplus) as an effect of import and export transactions. The exchange rate is also stable and predictable, which is a good thing especially for exporting firms.

      I hope this answers your question.

      Cheers,
      Anndy

  5. Default Gravatar
    JanisJune 26, 2016

    i want to know please what is best – AUD to USD or British pounds?
    I intend to set up a multi-currency account and would also like details.
    Thank you.

  6. Default Gravatar
    FionaMarch 19, 2016

    I have to buy something in USA which will cost $18000 US. What is the best way to arrange payment getting the best exchange rate and other costs. The payment will be made next week.
    I have the money in an ING account

  7. Default Gravatar
    KevinAugust 6, 2015

    I wish to transfer $10,000 AUD into a debit card that I can use whilst travelling overseas. Can I do this through Macquarie and Ox Forex? What is the process? I have a cash management account with Macquarie. How do I transfer AUD funds from that account into EUR and then into my Debit Card.

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      MarcAugust 7, 2015Staff

      Hi Kevin,
      thanks for the question – you must be excited to be travelling!

      At the current time Macquarie Bank doesn’t offer a specific travel card option which allows you to load funds onto and spend overseas, and they also don’t offer a specific debit card, although they do offer credit cards which could in theory be used overseas and then paid off.

      OFX on the other hand do offer a specific travel card, and the way this works is simple: You activate your account, and then pay your funds into it using BPAY. The funds will still be in AUD at this point. Once you see a favourable exchange rate, you can convert your funds into EUR, which helps you avoid any exchange rate fluctuations while you’re travelling.

      Read more about the OzForex Travel Card and visit OFX directly to find out more.

      You can also compare other travel money options from other providers here to make sure you’re getting the best deal.

      I hope this helps,
      Marc.

  8. Default Gravatar
    LynJuly 27, 2015

    I have a Citibank plus account which has no foreign conversion fees or transaction fees. When I withdraw money from an ATM in Britain, are Citibank conversion rates applied or the bank owning the ATM’s rates. Is it better to convert Aussie dollars to British pounds here or wait till I arrive in Britain?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      SallyJuly 28, 2015Staff

      Hi Lyn,

      Thanks for your question.

      As finder.com.au is a financial comparison service, we can’t actually recommend any one product, service or strategy to our users, as the ‘best’ option will always depend on the user’s individual needs.

      However, we can compare that the exchange rates applied are determined by the Visa exchange rates at the time of purchase. Although there are no international ATM withdrawal fees charged by Citibank, please note that a local ATM fee may apply.

      I hope this has answered your question.

      Thanks,

      Sally

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