Receiving money in Australia

PayPal and Western Union aren’t your only options for receiving money from overseas.

PayPal and Western Union are among the most well-known ways to receive money from overseas, but they may not be the cheapest way. If you want to ensure you receive the maximum amount of money possible, using an online dedicated money transfer provider could be the answer.

This guide will outline how to receive money from overseas, what your options are, how much it costs and how long it takes. Plus, you can compare a range of international money transfer providers directly within this guide.

Different ways to receive money

There are many different ways to receive money from overseas. The following are some popular options:

  • Cash pick-up
  • PayPal
  • International money transfer provider
  • Bank-to-bank transfer

Let’s explore these in more detail, including how to receive money with each of these options and the pros and cons of each.

Receiving money via cash pick-up

With services such as Western Union and MoneyGram, the person sending you money (the sender) can arrange for you to collect it in cash at a store front, agent or third-party outlet such as 7-Eleven. You don’t need to set up a special account with the provider to receive money.

To receive money via cash pick-up, follow these steps:

  • When the sender has completed the transfer on their end, ask for the payment reference number.
  • Find the closest store, agent or third-party merchant for the company you’re using (eg, MoneyGram or Western Union). The company you use will have a map on their website with all their merchant locations.
  • Present the payment reference number and your government-issued ID, such as your birth certificate, driver's licence or passport.
  • You’ll be required to complete a form detailing the transfer details to receive the money. This is a requirement for all cash transfers into Australia in order to conform to anti money laundering regulations.
  • Leave with your cash in hand.

The pros and cons of using a cash pick-up service:

Pros
  • Receive the money in cash rather than electronically
  • Providers like Western Union and MoneyGram have hundreds of thousands of locations worldwide
  • It’s super fast – you can collect your cash within just 10 minutes
Cons
  • It’s very expensive, so your sender may not want to use this service.
  • You need to visit a physical store to collect your money, which could be an issue if you live outside of a major city.
  • You often can’t send more than $10,000 with a cash pick-up service

Receiving money via PayPal

PayPal is a convenient way to receive money since it’s widely used around the world and is a trusted brand. Anyone with a PayPal account can send money to your account, whether it’s a personal transfer or coming from a business account. However, you will need an account in order to receive the money, so if you don’t already have a PayPal account, you’ll need to get this sorted before you start.

If you want to receive money to your PayPal account but the sender does not yet have an account, they can pay using a credit or debit card. However this will incur a fee.

To receive money via PayPal, follow these steps:

  • If you don’t have an existing PayPal account, you’ll need to create one.
  • Once your account is set up, give your confirmed email address to the sender. This is all they need to send you money.
  • You’ll get an email confirmation when the money has been received into your PayPal account.

The pros and cons of receiving money via PayPal

Pros
  • Widely used around the world
  • Safe and secure
Cons
  • Poor currency exchange rates
  • Expensive transfer fees for amounts above $200
  • Both the sender and receiver are charged a transfer fee

Receiving money via an online money transfer provider

Dedicated online money transfer providers such as TransferWise, OFX and WorldFirst enable people to send and receive money from all over the world. This is likely the cheapest way to send and receive money since online money transfer providers offer low or no transfer fees, and some offer the real interbank exchange rate with no margins applied. However, the sender will need to sign up for an account in order to transfer money to you.

To receive money via an online money transfer service, follow these steps:

  • Once the sender has successfully set up an account with their chosen money transfer provider, they’ll book in the transfer on their end.
  • You will need to provide the sender with the details for the bank account that you’d like to money to be sent to. This may include the SWIFT code or the Bank Identification Code (BIC) for your bank as well as your bank account number.
  • Transfers generally take between one to two business days to arrive into your account. The sender can track the progress of the transfer on their end.

The pros and cons of receiving money via an online money transfer provider

Pros
  • Better exchange rates than the banks
  • Often charge low or no transfer fees
  • Can cater to a large range of transfer types, including recurring transfers
  • Transfers generally take one to two days
  • Receive the money into your existing bank account
Cons
  • Not as fast as cash pick-up services
  • Often require the sender to set up an account with the provider

Compare online money transfer providers below

Min. Transfer Amount Transfer Speed Online Transfer Fee Rate Amount Received Description CTA Details
AUD 1 2 days AUD 9.00 0.666 USD
6,656
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 0.685 USD
6,845
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 2,000 1 day AUD 0.00 0.685 USD
6,845
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 0.685 USD
6,845
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 0.685 USD
6,845
$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
GBP 3,000 1 day AUD 0.00 0.685 USD
6,845
Global Reach will match any competitor's exchange rates. Conditions apply.
Get no fees as a Finder customer when you transfer your money overseas with Global Reach.
Go to site Show details
AUD 2,000 1 day AUD 0.00 0.685 USD
6,845
BFX can help you send fee-free transfers to 30+ currencies. Go to site Show details
AUD 5 1 - 2 days EUR 3.00 0.68 USD
6,803
Special offer: Zero fees on your first 10 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 0.679 USD
6,788
Use promo code 3FREE to send your first 3 transfers with no fee.
An online money transfer service with cash pickup, bank account to bank account and airtime transfers available.
Go to site Show details
AUD 1 1 - 2 days AUD 45.00 0.687 USD
6,842
Make online transfers at the mid-market rate with transparent fees in 45+ currencies. Go to site Show details
AUD 200 1 day AUD 0.00 0.682 USD
6,818
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.

Receiving money via a bank-to-bank transfer

Perhaps the easiest way to receive money from overseas is simply to have it sent from someone’s bank account to yours. While this may save you time by not having to look into different options, it will almost certainly end up costing you more and take longer.

To receive money via a bank-to-bank transfer, follow these steps:

  • The sender will initiate the transfer from their own bank account.
  • You will need to supply the sender with your full name, the name on your bank account, your residential address and your account numbers.
  • You will also need to provide your bank’s name and its SWIFT code or BIC. If you’re not sure what these are, you can request these from your bank.
  • You should receive the money within one to three business days.

The pros and cons of receiving money via a bank-to-bank transfer

Pros
  • Easy to organise as your account is already set up
  • Safe and secure
  • Often works out cheaper than using PayPal for transfers above $1000
Cons
  • Poor exchange rates
  • High transfer fees for both the sender and receiver
  • Not as fast as using a dedicated money transfer service or cash pick-up

How much does it cost to receive money from overseas?

Transfer OptionFees to send US$2000Fees to receive in AUD
Cash pick up: MoneyGramTransfer fee: $32None - the fee is paid by the sender when initiating the transfer
Online money transfer provider: TorFXTransfer fee: $0None - the fee is paid by the sender when initiating the transfer
Bank to bank transfer: CommBankTransfer fee (via internet banking): $12

Transfer fee (via a bank branch): $30

Up to $11 per transfer (this will vary depending on the sender's bank)

How to receive the maximum amount of money possible

The amount of money you receive is determined by two factors: the currency exchange rate and the transaction fee. The currency exchange rates offered by service providers can vary. Small differences in the rate can have a big impact on the amount you receive at the end of the transaction.

Receiving US$1000

For example, let’s say the sender is transferring US$1000 to your Australian bank account. If the exchange rate is US$1 = AUD$1.33, you’ll receive AUD$1330.30 (assuming there are no transfer fees). However, if the exchange rate is only US$1 = AUD$1.22, you’ll only receive AUD$1220.20 (again assuming there are no transfer fees).

Therefore to make sure you receive as much as you possibly can, your sender will need to shop around and opt for a transfer method that offers competitive exchange rates. The current market conditions will also affect the exchange rate, so if the transfer isn’t urgent, it’s a good idea to wait until the exchange rate is favourable before making the transfer.

How long does it take to receive an international transfer?

This depends on which method you select to receive your money. If you choose to do a cash transfer, you can collect the money in as little as 10 minutes. An online money transfer provider will generally take one to two days to process the payment, while a bank-to-bank transfer will take slightly longer at one to three business days.

What if I need to receive regular payments from overseas?

Most online money transfer providers offer the option of setting up regular, recurring payments. This means that if you need to receive money regularly, for example rental payments from your tenant based overseas, the sender doesn’t need to facilitate a new payment each time.

Some providers that offer regular payments include Global Reach, TorFX and WorldFirst.

So, what’s the best way to receive money?

There’s no one way that is “best”. The best option will largely depend on several factors, including how quickly you need the money and if you need it in cash.

You want to:Your options:
Receive money now, regardless of the costA cash pick-up option, like MoneyGram or Western Union, offers payments within just 10 minutes.
Receive the maximum amount possible, and you don’t mind waitingAn online money transfer service will offer the most competitive exchange rates, ensuring you receive more.
Receive regular paymentsAn online money transfer provider can set up regular, recurring payments.
Your bank may also be able to set up regular payments.
Receive funds into an existing accountA bank-to-bank transfer can be done with your existing account.
If you opt for an online money transfer service, you won’t need to set up an account, but the sender will.
Receive a large sum of moneyBanks can facilitate very large transfers, but the exchange rate may be poor.

Why haven’t I received my money?

The following are some of the reasons why you may not have received your money yet:

  • It’s a weekend. Most banks will not facilitate international transfers on weekends.
  • The payment bounced. If the sender accidentally entered your account details incorrectly, the payment will have bounced back into their account.
  • It hasn’t been sent yet. This may sound obvious, but the payment may not have been sent in the first place. If it’s a business payment, many companies will only initiate payments once a month.
  • The requested exchange rate has not been hit yet. If the sender is using an international money transfer service, they may have used a forward contract order. This means that their payment will be processed when their ideal exchange rate has been hit.

It’s important to compare your options when receiving money from overseas. While most of the transfer fees will be paid by the person sending the money, the exchange rate used will directly impact how much money you receive into your bank account or pocket.

Unless you need the money urgently and are able to do a cash pick-up, an international money transfer service will offer the lowest fees and the best exchange rates in most cases.

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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 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.

Logo for SendFX International Money Transfers
SendFX International Money Transfers

SendFX guarantees to match any competitor's exchange rate. T&Cs apply.
Fee-free transfers in 30+ currencies to over 200 countries.

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34 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    BaaleJanuary 21, 2019

    Iam in Uganda and my friend is in Australia but wants to send for me money and luggage
    iam stack what method should we use

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JohnJanuary 22, 2019Staff

      Hi Baale,

      Thank you for reaching out to finder.

      You may click on this link to be routed to our page on “Sending money to Uganda”. Once on the page, you could use the calculator to estimate how much would be received in Uganda once the transfer is completed. If this is satisfactory to you, you can click on the “Go to site” button to be routed to the providers page where you could make the transfer.
      Before applying, please ensure that you meet all the eligibility criteria and read through the details of the needed requirements as well as the relevant Product Disclosure Statements/Terms and Conditions when comparing your options before making a decision on whether it is right for you.As per the luggage, you may need to reach out to local couriers that provide international package delivery for a quote on how much it would cost. Hope this helps!

      Cheers,
      Reggie

  2. Default Gravatar
    WooferNovember 21, 2018

    I would like to GIFT cash to an Australian friend, who is in dire straits. What is the limit, and will it be taxable for her?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JohnNovember 21, 2018Staff

      Hi Woofer,

      Thank you for leaving a question.

      For social security means test purposes, individuals and couples (combined) can give up to $10,000 in cash gifts and assets each financial year. This amount is also limited to $30,000 over five consecutive financial years. Hope this helps!

      Cheers,
      Reggie

  3. Default Gravatar
    JoyAugust 7, 2018

    How to track/check the money transfer in ORbitremit..

    • Default Gravatar
      JoelAugust 7, 2018

      Hi Joy,

      Thanks for leaving a question on finder.

      Your balance will be updated through your account regularly as to the status of your transfer. You can check this by going directly to OrbitRemit’s website. For further help about this, you can go to the help section in their website. You can also learn more about OrbitRemit if you click HERE.

      Cheers,
      Joel

  4. Default Gravatar
    LindaJanuary 25, 2017

    Can money be sent from India to Kenya through Moneygram?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JasonJanuary 26, 2017Staff

      Hi Linda,

      Thank you for your enquiry.

      You may send money from India to Kenya through Moneygram. You may also avail the services of these money transfer companies that have agent locations in Kenya listed on this link.

      Kind regards,
      Jason

  5. Default Gravatar
    LaunicaprincesaNovember 19, 2016

    What’s the best way to receive money transfers from Greece to the USA what should I use for this because my partner is trying to send me money but im not eligible for a bank account because my license expired and I can’t renew without a bit certificate my wallet was stolen all I got is a crappy photo copy of the expired license

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      ShirleyNovember 21, 2016Staff

      Hi Launicaprincesa,

      Thanks for your question.

      You can utilise cash pick up services such as Western Union, Moneygram and Worldremit.

      All you need is a government ID to pick up the funds from a specified location.

      Hope this helps,
      Shirley

  6. Default Gravatar
    SophieOctober 30, 2016

    Just wondering if the receiver can receive the same currency as the sender.

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      DeeOctober 31, 2016Staff

      Hi Sophie,

      Thanks for your question.

      Yes, same currency transfer is possible. We have a guide how it works on this page.

      Cheers,
      Anndy

  7. Default Gravatar
    PrabhaOctober 4, 2016

    Hello, I will be moving to Australia from India very soon and will need to transfer funds for the initial period. One of my major concern is the charges for incoming wire transfer charges by Australian banks. There does not seem to be one clear figure they charge, it seems to vary due to tie-ups. How can I get information about incoming wire transfer charges?

    Are there any Forex services which do a local bank transfer thus avoiding the incoming wire transfer charges.

    Thanks.

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      ClarizzaOctober 5, 2016Staff

      Hi Prabha,

      That is a great question.

      Unfortunately you are correct – the fees charged by each bank vary. That’s one reason some people prefer to use dedicated foreign exchange company over banks. You can however look into using an international bank such as Citibank and ING Direct. Generally international banks offer better deals on money transfers and there are some conditions that apply. For example, Citibank offer free global transfers between Citibank accounts in specific countries.

      Your other option is to use a dedicated foreign exchange service. Our page on Free Money Transfers might help you – you can use the comparison table to compare exchange rates. However, there may be fees applied from the receiving bank. You may also want to consider our Moving to Australia Guide and our Migrant Banking page.

      Regards,
      Clarizza

  8. Default Gravatar
    LeonieAugust 10, 2016

    Hi I am currently working in California for 3months my pay will go into a western union acct can someone in Australia open an acct for me? And can I then transfer it to a.n.z. or commonwealth acct? As I don’t want to fly home with a bit of cash
    Thanks

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      ShirleyAugust 11, 2016Staff

      Hi Leonie,

      Thanks for your question.

      You can set it up so someone in Australia can pick up the cash for you at a Western Union kiosk and then they can deposit it into your bank for you.

      Alternatively, you may want to consider an international money transfer service and have the funds directly deposited into your bank account here in Australia, this eliminates the need for someone to pick up the cash.

      I hope this has helped.

  9. Default Gravatar
    bungJune 14, 2016

    Hi. Do you have a physical office in Thailand ?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      ShirleyJune 14, 2016Staff

      Hi smngrffth,

      Thanks for your question.

      Since finder.com.au is an Australian third party comparison service, we don’t have any offices in Thailand.

      Western Union has a number of kiosks available in Thailand.

  10. Default Gravatar
    michaelMay 20, 2016

    Hi i am moving back to melbourne, and i will have a large sum of money transferring back to australia(over a mil AUD). so i don’t trust these small transfer bank. So which is the best rate for bank? st george, westpac, commonwealth, or anz? thanks.

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      ShirleyMay 25, 2016Staff

      Hi Michael,

      Thanks for your question.

      Please note that the international money transfer services that we list are regulated in Australia by ASIC under the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Terrorism Financing Act 2006 and is regulated by the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre ‘AUSTRAC’.

      The exchange rates will depend on the currency you’re transferring from, so we’re unable to tell you immediately which bank is “best”. Please compare St.George rates here, Westpac rates here, CBA rates here and ANZ rates here.

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