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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 be getting ripped off.

International Money Transfer Offer

WorldFirst International Money Transfers

  • Worldwide access
  • Competitive exchange rates
  • 24-hour online payments system
  • Fast international payments process

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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Compare Australia's top exchange rate providers

Rates last updated October 17th, 2018
Name Product Min. Transfer Amount Transfer Speed Services Description Online Transfer Fee Rate Amount Received
WorldFirst International Money Transfers
AUD 2,000
1 day
Online, Phone, Bank Account to Bank Account
Great rates and $0 transfer fees for Finder customers. Access live rates, currency converter and market updates via the WorldFirst Money Transfer mobile app.
TorFX International Money Transfers
AUD 200
1 day
Online, Phone, Agent
TorFX guarantees to match any competitor's exchange rate for a transaction. Conditions apply.
Send money overseas in 45 currencies. Once registered, you'll be assigned an Account Manager who can provide support and guidance.

OFX (Ozforex) International Money Transfers
AUD 250
1 day
Online, Phone, Agent
$0 transfer fees for Finder customers.
Transfer any amount from $250 upwards. $0 transfer fee on transfers over AU$10,000, $15 flat fee applies otherwise. 24-hour customer service available with a local support team.
FC Exchange International Money Transfers
AUD 3,000
1 day
Online, Phone, Bank Account to Bank Account
FC Exchange 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.
XE International Money Transfers
USD 0
1 day
Online, Bank Account to Bank Account
With global payments provider XE, enjoy fast and secure transfers and a range of foreign currency tools and calculators while benefiting from $0 transfer fees.
HiFX International Money Transfers
AUD 50
2 days
Online, Phone, Agent
Transfer amounts as low as $50. No maximum transfer amount. No transfer fees if you transfer more than AU$10,000.
BFX Australia International Money Transfers
AUD 250
2 days
Online, Phone, Agent, Bank Account to Bank Account, International Money Order
Pay $0 fee when you transfer more than $5000, regardless of whether you transfer online, over the phone or in branch.
FlashFX International Money Transfers
AUD 200
1 day
Online, Bank Account to Bank Account
Low minimum transfer amount of just AU$200, with no set-up fees or transfer fees.
PayPal International Money Transfers
AUD 1
1 day
Online, Bank Account to Bank Account
Send money overseas to more than 20 countries. Rate last updated on 17/08/2018 at 1:30 pm. Find out how we calculate this exchange rate.
Remit2India International Money Transfers
AUD 50
Same day
Online, Bank Account to Bank Account
Instant transfers to India from anywhere in the world with $0 transfer fees.
New customers who create an account with Remit2India and make a transfer of AUD$500 or more for the first time will receive a complimentary $25 Coles/Myer e-voucher. Click 'Go to site' for T&Cs.
Commonwealth Bank International Money Transfers
AUD 0
3 - 5 days
Online, Phone, Bank Account to Bank Account
Send money overseas using NetBank or the CommBank app. Rate last updated on 17/08/2018 at 1:30 pm. Find out how we calculate this exchange rate.
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.

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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?

Want a better exchange rate?

Keep ahead of the curve with daily currency exchange rate alerts.

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

Service AUD/USD AUD/EUR AUD/GBP
WorldFirst 0.77 0.67 0.59
OFX 0.77 0.67 0.59
CurrencyFair 0.764 0.669 0.588
Currency Online 0.757 0.677 0.594
Rational FX 0.77 0.67 0.59
1st Contact 0.752 0.659 0.578

*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.

CommBank OFX MoneyGram Currency Online
AUD/USD 0.7281 0.77 0.72 0.757
AUD/EUR 0.6344 0.67 0.64 0.677
Fee to sender AUD$22 $0 AUD$20 AUD$12

*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.

Q&A: Finding the best rate

The latest in foreign exchange

Westpac Exchange Rates

Westpac Exchange Rates

A good exchange rate can make a big difference to the amount of money that ends up with your recipient at the end of the day. Check out our guide to the foreign exchange rates offered by Westpac. Read more…

International Money Transfer Offers

Important Information*
TorFX International Money Transfers

TorFX guarantees to match any competitor's exchange rate for a transaction. Conditions apply.
Send money overseas in 45 currencies. Once registered, you'll be assigned an Account Manager who can provide support and guidance.

OFX (Ozforex) International Money Transfers

$0 transfer fees for Finder customers. Transfer any amount from $250 upwards. $0 transfer fee on transfers over AU$10,000, $15 flat fee applies otherwise. 24-hour customer service available with a local support team.

WorldFirst International Money Transfers

Great rates and $0 transfer fees for Finder customers. Access live rates, currency converter and market updates via the WorldFirst Money Transfer mobile app.

FC Exchange International Money Transfers

FC Exchange 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.

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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 ?

    • finder Customer Care
      JhezelynOctober 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?

    • finder Customer Care
      JhezelynMay 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?

    • finder Customer Care
      LouMarch 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.

    • finder 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?

    • finder 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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