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Best currency brokers

Find out how specialist currency brokers can help you save money when you send international transfers.

The big banks offer a simple and convenient way to send international money transfers. But banks also charge big markups on top of the mid-market exchange rate — which means the transaction can end up costing you much more than it should.

So if you use a provider that specialises in exchanging foreign currency, you can get a better bang for your buck. And that's where the best currency brokers come in.

What is a currency broker?

A currency broker makes it easy and more affordable to send money overseas. When you use a broker to send an international transfer, they buy and sell currency on your behalf and then transfer the funds overseas.

For example, if you want to send money to the UK, a currency broker can exchange your Australian dollars for British pounds at an attractive exchange rate, and then transfer the pounds to your recipient's UK bank account.

Currency brokers are sometimes referred to as foreign exchange brokers or money transfer services. Unlike banks, which offer a diverse range of financial products and services, currency brokers specialise in moving money around the world. And because they buy and sell large volumes of currency, they can access better exchange rates — in other words, they can get a better price because they buy in bulk.

This means they can generally offer better exchange rates than banks when you want to send money overseas.

Top currency exchange brokers

Searching for the best currency brokers in Australia? Here are four options worth considering.


TorFX

TorFX is a foreign exchange broker that offers international transfers in over 40 currencies. It also supports forward contracts, limit orders and stop-loss orders to help you get the exchange rate you want, and personal and business accounts are available based on your transfer needs.

Transfer fees: $0

Exchange rate markup on major currencies: Approx. 0.5-2%

Maximum transfer limit: No maximum limit

Pros

  • Competitive rates and no fees
  • Dedicated account manager to answer your questions
  • Suitable for large transfers

Cons

  • Rates are poor for small transfers
  • Doesn't accept credit card payments
  • You'll need to provide your details to get an exchange rate quote

Read our TorFX review


OFX

Currency broker OFX supports international transfers in over 55 currencies. You can lock in your exchange rate for up to 12 months with a forward contract, and there's 24/7 customer support if you need help with a transaction. Personal and business accounts are available depending on your needs.

Transfer fees: No fees on transfers over $10,000, $15 fee if you transfer less than $10,000

Exchange rate markup on major currencies: 0.5-2%

Maximum transfer limit: No maximum limit

Pros

  • Send money to over 170 countries
  • No fees on large transfers
  • Supports forward contracts, limit orders and recurring transfers

Cons

  • Minimum transfer amount of $250 won't suit everyone
  • Phone verification required for first transfer
  • Flat $15 fee on small transfers

Read our OFX review


WorldFirst

WorldFirst offers a range of international payment solutions for business customers. A World Account from WorldFirst lets you open up to 10 local currency accounts, while forex tools like forward contracts help you get the exchange rate you want. Other features include the ability to make up to 200 payments at once, and Xero integration to make accounting management easier.

Transfer fees: $20 on transfers up to $2,000, $10 on transfers $2,000-$9,999, no fees on transfers $10,000 and over

Exchange rate markup on major currencies: 0.15-0.50% based on annual transfer volumes

Maximum transfer limit: No maximum limit

Pros

  • Competitive exchange rates and no fees on large transfers
  • Same-day transfers to USD, EUR and GBP
  • Advanced tools like forward contracts and firm orders

Cons

  • Business transfers only
  • High fees on small transfers
  • Doesn't support as many currencies as some other options

Read our WorldFirst review


Send Payments

Founded in 2018, Send Payments is a currency broker that offers personal and business foreign exchange solutions. It allows you to send payments around the world in 37 currencies, and it supports advanced foreign exchange tools like forward contracts and regular payments.

Transfer fees: $0

Exchange rate markup on major currencies: not available

Maximum transfer limit: No maximum limit

Pros

  • Dedicated account manager to provide support
  • Fee-free transfers
  • Send money to 180 countries

Cons

  • A relatively new company
  • Doesn't have any locations overseas

Read our Send Payments review


Compare money transfer providers for large transactions

Our table below lets you compare services you can use to send money abroad. Compare fees, exchange rates and discounts from different money transfer services, and when you have made your choice, click Go to site.
1 - 4 of 4
Name Product Filter Values Fastest Transfer Speed Fees (Pay by Bank Transfer)
TorFX
24 hours
$0
TorFX sends money overseas in 40+ currencies, with competitive rates for transfer amounts over $2,000.
Xe Large Transfers
24 hours
$0
Xe has fast transfers with low fees and a range of foreign currency tools.
OFX
24 hours
$0
OFX has no maximum limit transfers, with competitive exchange rates for 50+ currencies.
Send Payments
24 hours
$0

Send provides fee-free transfers via its 24/7 multi-currency payments platform with real-time quotes.
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Things to think about when choosing a currency broker

Keep the following factors in mind when comparing currency brokers:

  • Exchange rate markup. The lower the broker's markup, the more affordable your international payment will be. Look for a broker that offers consistently low markups on the currencies you want to exchange.
  • Transfer fees. Check whether the broker charges any transfer fees. The best currency brokers often won't charge fees or will waive their fees on large transfer amounts.
  • Transfer speed. If you want the money to arrive to your recipient as quickly as possible, check the broker's transfer processing times.
  • Transfer limits. Check whether the broker's minimum and maximum transfer amounts suit your needs.
  • Advanced tools. Does the broker support forward contracts, so you can lock in today's exchange rate for a future transfer? Can you place a limit order to automatically send your transfer when the exchange rate you want becomes available?
  • Business tools. If you're transferring money overseas for business, check whether the broker allows you to set up recurring payments or mass payments.
  • Customer service. Is 24-hour customer support available if you need help with a transfer? Check how you can contact the support team — phone, live chat, email or all of the above.
  • Are they regulated? Check to see if the currency broker is regulated by the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC). If they offer foreign exchange contracts that don't settle immediately, such as forward contracts, check to see whether they have an Australian Financial Services Licence.
  • Customer reviews. Finally, read independent customer reviews to find out what other users have to say about the broker's transfer costs, speeds and customer service. Would they recommend the provider to other people who need to send money overseas?

Are currency brokers cheaper than banks?

Yes, currency brokers tend to offer cheaper international transfers than banks.

The main cost you need to consider when sending money overseas is the exchange rate markup (or margin). This is the difference between the exchange rate at which a transfer provider buys currency and the exchange rate it offers when it sells the currency on to you.

Banks commonly charge exchange rate markups of 3-5%, while currency brokers have lower markups so you can get an exchange rate closer to the mid-market rate.

The second cost you need to consider is the transfer fee. Banks usually charge a flat fee for international transfers. Some currency brokers don't charge any fees, while others will waive their fees on large transactions.

To demonstrate the cost difference, let's look at the example of sending $20,000 to the USA with a bank vs a currency broker. The mid-market exchange rate is 1 AUD = 0.65 USD, and the exchange rate markup varies between providers as follows:

  • If the bank's markup is 4.5%, you'll get a rate of 1 AUD = 0.62 USD
  • If the currency broker's markup is 1.5%, you'll get a rate of 1 AUD = 0.64 USD.

The currency broker doesn't charge any fees on transfers of $10,000 or more, but the bank charges a flat fee of $20 on all transfers. As you can see in the table below, this means it'll cost you $20 more to send the transfer via your bank, but your recipient will get US$400 less.

BankCurrency broker
Transfer amount$20,000$20,000
Exchange rate1 AUD = 0.62 USD1 AUD = 0.64 USD
Transfer fee$20$0
Total cost of transfer$20,020$20,000
Amount receivedUS$12,400US$12,800

Bottom line

If you're sending a large international money transfer or you need to make lots of international payments, using a currency broker instead of your bank could save you money. Compare a range of currency brokers to find the best rates, lowest fees and reliable customer service.

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