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How to pay international credit card bills from Australia or overseas

International money transfers, PayPal and global currency bank accounts are some of your options – here's what you need to know.

If you've moved overseas but still need to pay off a credit card from your home country, you'll usually need to use a currency exchange service so that the repayments are made in the right currency.

For example, if you had an Australian credit card but lived and worked in the US, you would need to exchange US dollars for Australian dollars to make repayments. This is typically the case wherever you work abroad. So, let's take a look at the different ways you can pay off your credit card from anywhere in the world.

Quick guide: Key ways to repay an Australian credit card from overseas

Depending on the country your credit card was issued in, you could also use the following options to pay it off if you're living in Australia – or anywhere else in the world.

MethodAverage currency transfer timeAverage transfer costOther info
Multi-currency bank accounts1-2 days$0 but offer weaker exchange rates
  • Earn and spend money in multiple currencies
  • Make payments on your credit card directly through an account
  • Fees may apply if you deposit foreign currency in cash (rather than electronically)
International money transfers1-2 days$0-$32
  • Transfer foreign currency to your Australian bank account, then make a credit card repayment from there
  • Fees and minimum/maximum transfer amounts vary
  • Online transfer, but you will need to have foreign currency available
Foreign bank account transfersVaries, but could be 1-2 days or up to 6 weeksVaries between banks and transfer methods
  • Transfer foreign currency income directly from an overseas account to your Australian account and make a payment from there
  • Transfer times and fees vary a lot, so check with your overseas bank for details
PayPalSame dayTransfers from PayPal or a bank account: 5% (AUD $0.99 min. AUD $5.99 max)

Transfers from a card: 5% + 2.6% of the transfer amount + a fixed fee based on the currency

  • Transfer foreign currency to your Australian bank account directly from PayPal, your overseas bank account or your card
  • Low minimum transfer amount of AUD$0.03, with support for 25 currencies
Online work and payment platforms (Upwork, Freelance, Fiverr)VariesVaries
  • Find jobs and get paid in a variety of currencies
  • Get paid directly into your overseas or Australian bank account
  • Fees for transferring the funds vary by platform, so check before you start using one

International money transfers

You can use an international money transfer to send money from one country to another, with most services offering competitive exchange rates.

To do this, you need to set up an account with a money transfer service, deposit the funds in an approved currency, then transfer it to a nominated Australian account by providing the IBAN/SWIFT number, BSB and account number.

If you can get these details from your Australian credit card provider, you may be able to pay off your credit card directly when you use an international money transfer service. Otherwise, you can send money to your Australian bank account and use Internet banking to make your credit card repayment.

Just keep in mind that fees for international money transfers typically range from $0 to $32, depending on the service you use.

Finder survey: On average, how long do Australians of different ages say their international money transfer takes?

Response75+ yrs65-74 yrs55-64 yrs45-54 yrs35-44 yrs25-34 yrs18-24 yrs
Same day1.72%2.33%3.11%2.03%5.05%1.03%
1 business day1.14%2.59%2.03%3.21%4.12%
3-5 business days0.57%1.74%0.52%2.03%2.29%2.06%
2 business days1.16%1.55%1.02%1.38%4.12%
Unsure0.58%1.04%0.51%1.38%3.09%
5+ business days0.46%
Source: Finder survey by Pure Profile of 1110 Australians, December 2023

Compare international money transfer services

1 - 25 of 25
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.
Revolut
Within minutes
$0
Send money with great rates and low fees in 30+ currencies.
Xe Money Transfers
Within minutes
$0
Xe has fast transfers with low fees and a range of foreign currency tools.
Instarem
Within minutes
From 0%
50% off first transaction fee from any country in APAC (outside India).
Minimum transfer of $250 and max transfer of $500,000
Wise (TransferWise)
Within minutes
From 0.43%
Wise uses the mid-market rate and transparent fees to help you send money in 50+ currencies.
TorFX
24 hours
$0
TorFX sends money overseas in 40+ currencies, with competitive rates for transfer amounts over $2,000.
Remitly
Within minutes
From $0
Remitly has quick, affordable transfers around the world, with both express and economy options.
WorldRemit
Within minutes
From $0.99
Use promo code 3FREE and pay no fees on your first 3 transfers. Conditions apply.
WorldRemit sends money to 110+ countries for bank-to-bank deposits, cash pick-ups or mobile top-ups.
Rocket Remit
Within minutes
From $0 to $5
Send money instantly to friends and family in over 45 countries using just your mobile number.
MoneyGram
Within minutes
From $1.99
MoneyGram has fast cash pick-up transfers to more than 350,000 agent locations worldwide.
SingX
Within minutes
From 0.5%
SingX offers the real exchange rate every time you make a transfer and can help you send money across the world.
CurrencyFair
Within minutes
€3
CurrencyFair has bank-beating exchange rates and fast transfer times on 15+ popular currencies.
OFX
24 hours
$0
OFX has no maximum limit transfers, with competitive exchange rates for 50+ currencies.
Send Payments
Send Payments
24 hours
$0
Send provides fee-free transfers via its 24/7 multi-currency payments platform with real-time quotes.
MasterRemit
Within minutes
From $0
Get your 1st and 2nd money transfer for free with promo codes FIRSTFREE and MASTERFINDER!.
Send money in minutes at competitive exchange rates to the Middle East, Africa and South Asia.
Western Union
Within minutes
From $0
Western Union sends money online to friends and family in 200+ countries around the world.
Qantas Business Money
Within minutes
$0
Limited time offer: Earn up to 125,000 bonus Qantas Points as a first-time converter. Ends 30 April 2024. Conversion limits and T&Cs apply.
Set up accounts in 11 different currencies and get rewarded for global business payments by earning Qantas Points.
Airwallex
Within minutes
$0
Streamline global payments in 60+ currencies. Send & receive securely in 150+ countries, with fast settlements & competitive rates. Simplify book-keeping & manage everything in one place.
TorFX Business Transfers
24 hours
$0
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.
OFX Business Transfers
24 hours
$0
OFX has no maximum limit transfers, with competitive exchange rates for 45+ currencies.
WorldFirst
24 hours
From $0
Open bank accounts in Australia, the UK, US, Canada, Japan and Europe. Send and receive funds with zero fees for large sums, including same-currency supplier payments.
Send business
24 hours
$0

Send provides fee-free transfers via its 24/7 multi-currency payments platform with real-time quotes.
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Multi-currency bank accounts

A lot of financial institutions in Australia offer multi-currency or foreign currency accounts, including CommBank, NAB and HSBC.

These accounts let you deposit, spend and transfer money through a single account, instead of opening an overseas bank account or relying on platforms like PayPal. They also give you a way to pay off your credit card without using another service (as long as you're earning money in one of the supported currencies).

In comparison, the HSBC Everyday Global Account lets you load and spend funds in a range of currencies but offers limited deposit options at HSBC branches. So, you'd have to withdraw cash (or get paid in cash), then go to a branch to deposit it before you could transfer the funds to Australian dollars and pay off your credit card.

Foreign bank account transfers

Most banks around the world let you transfer funds directly to an authorised financial institution in another country. So, if you're working in one country and get paid through a bank account there, you could request an international transfer directly between that account and one you have in Australia.

Usually, you'll need your Australian bank account's IBAN/SWIFT number, BSB and account number. You may also need your bank's address, branch location and a phone number to go ahead with the transfer.

But be aware that international transfers directly between bank accounts can take time and attract high fees. They may also have less competitive exchange rates compared to independent, international money transfer services.

For example, if you were transferring money from a US bank account to an Australian account, you could be charged between US$25 and US$65 per transaction. So, while it can be convenient, it could end up costing you more if you choose this option.

What about international bank drafts?

If you have an overseas bank account, another option is to get an international bank draft sent to your Australian bank account. With this option, you can use your money with one financial institution to get a cheque written up in another currency.

This type of bank cheque is widely accepted around the world and offers more security than regular cheques. When you get an international bank draft, the money is taken from your account at the time it's issued, which also means that there is no risk of it bouncing. The downside is that it can be expensive and slow, with international bank drafts typically taking several weeks to be processed and cleared.

How to send funds abroad from a bank account

PayPal

You can use PayPal to make and receive payments across a range of currencies. You can even make international money transfers through PayPal (although the fees could be higher than some other services).

If you're working as a digital nomad or freelancer, you could also set up a business account so that clients can pay you through PayPal. This does attract fees, which vary depending on the payment type and whether it's an Australian or international payment.

For example, online payments from Australia are charged a fee worth 2.6% of the transfer amount, plus $0.30 per transaction. If the payment is from overseas, you'll pay a fee worth 3.6% of the transfer amount, plus a fixed fee that varies by country.

While these costs can add up, using PayPal for work means you can transfer funds into Australian dollars, make a deposit to your Australian bank account and pay off your credit card from there. It also means you'll have a way to get paid and make payments regardless of where you are in the world and the currency you're earning through your work.

Compare PayPal to other international money transfer options

Online work platforms for freelancers

If you get work through services like Upwork, Freelance, Fiverr or PeoplePerHour, the money you earn will be sent and received via the platform. From there, you can deposit it into your chosen bank account.

Depending on the platform you're using, you may need to sign up via the Australian website so that you can link it to your Australian bank account (or the website for whichever country you're from). This will allow you to deposit the money you earn into your bank account so that you can then make repayments on your credit card.

Some of these work platforms also offer other payment options, such as PayPal or Payoneer. But before relying on these services for work, take note of the fees involved (both for jobs and money transfers), as they could add up.

Can I pay off an international debt with a balance transfer?

A balance transfer is one of the most popular ways for Australians to pay off credit card debt, offering a promotional low or 0% interest rate for a set period of time. But you can only balance transfer debt from another Australian credit card (or other eligible account).

This means if you wanted to pay off a credit card from, say, New Zealand while living in Australia, you wouldn't be able to do it with a balance transfer offer on an Australian credit card.

In this scenario, one option would be to get a balance transfer from your existing NZ credit card to a new NZ credit card with a balance transfer offer – they do exist in the NZ credit card market. That would give you a lower interest rate for the introductory period, but if you were earning money in Australian dollars you would still need to transfer it to New Zealand dollars to pay off the balance.

What else should I consider?

If you need to pay your Australian credit card bill while living abroad, some of the other key factors to consider include:

  • Your statement period and due date. Take note of the date that your payment is due, keeping in mind that you'll need more time if you're transferring money into an Australian bank account before making the repayment. As Australian credit cards now issue statements electronically, you should be able to check the due date via email, and then set a reminder in your calendar to help avoid penalty fees and additional interest charges. Just remember to factor in the time zone differences so that you have the correct details for the Australian due date.
  • Interest charges. Unless you're paying off the full amount on your credit card each month (which could be more difficult while you're overseas), the balance will attract interest charges. Factor this cost into your repayments to avoid further debt down the track.
  • Exchange rates. While you can do a quick online search to find the official exchange rate between currencies, this rate differs from the rates offered by international money transfer services, banks and other payment platforms. As a result, the rate you get will vary between services, so it pays to get quotes and compare your options before you make the transfer.
  • Currency conversion and transfer costs. International money transfer services charge fees for each transaction. As these costs can vary wildly between different services, do your research before choosing an option.

If you're working overseas, there are a few different options for paying an Australian credit card bill. But as many of these options require a currency transfer, remember to leave enough time for the payment to get from your overseas bank account to your credit card.

Pictures: Shutterstock

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