- No transfer fees
- Price match guarantee
- Dedicated account manager
- Forex tools available
Whether you're sending money home to family, friends or your own bank account overseas, you need to research. Most people still use banks but they charge extra for the convenience. Money transfer services focus on one thing: sending money across borders. Compared to Australian banks, these providers typically have lower fees, stronger exchange rates and more options to send and receive cash.
Based on our experience, money transfer services provide the best value for money. Banks struggle to compete as they offer multiple financial products while money transfer providers specialise in foreign exchange. Transfer specialists normally add a margin of 0.4% to 2% onto the mid-market rate. Funding your international transfer via bank transfer is the cheapest option, some providers charge extra fees for credit card and debit card payments.
Major Australian banks can safely transfer your funds but are more expensive, especially for large transfers. Banks rely on existing links between banks and banking systems worldwide and it'll often be called a telegraphic transfer. However, two downsides are the high fees and weak exchange rates you'll receive in comparison to other options. If you're sending AUD $5,000 to the US, Commbank will add a margin of around 4.13% on to the exchange rate.
Cash pickup services can be a convenient and quick way to get your money to more exotic destinations. And a particularly useful option if your recipient doesn’t have a bank account. Western Union and Remitly offer cash pickups - sometimes within minutes. Once processed, your recipient generally has instant access to the funds at a specific location.
Known for digital payments, PayPal offers transfers to over 200 countries and supports 25 currencies. This is useful if you and your recipient both have PayPal accounts. PayPal calculates its transfer fee as a percentage of the amount you're sending - meaning it's often better for sending smaller amounts of money. Its exchange rates are similar to banks, if not slightly worse.
You can get an international money order, similar to a cheque, issued by your bank or local Australia Post Offices and mailed to your recipient. There’s a charge for the printed money order and you’ll have to pay the amount you wish to send upfront. While money orders can be issued and sent straight away, they may take some time to reach your recipient. Your recipient may be charged a fee by their own bank to cash in the money order.
Although complex for the average person, it’s possible to use Bitcoin to send money overseas. You and your recipient both require Bitcoin wallets. You can load your wallet with AUD that is then converted to Bitcoin and transferred to your recipient overseas via a decentralised network. Your recipient then receives your Bitcoin in their wallet and can convert and withdraw it in their chosen currency. However, the value of Bitcoin is volatile, and there may be additional risks associated with using it for money transfers.
We’ve highlighted four of the top providers to cover every scenario:
If you wish to send a small amount to your recipient of money overseas, for example, under $2,000, some money transfer services specialise in small international remittances. XE doesn’t charge transfer fees but instead, adds a margin to the exchange rate so check your happy with the amount your recipient will receive. XE’s online currency calculator won’t show you how much your transfer will cost as it only shows the mid-market rate. Once you create an account, you can see the exchange rate you’ll get.
If you need to send a large amount of money to your recipient, for example, more than $10,000, TorFX allows you to do so with no added transfer fees. Instead, it adds a markup to the exchange rate. There’s no limit to how much you can transfer when TorFX handles your transfer over the phone. However, you will be limited to sending up to $50,000 when using its online services.
If you’re after the best exchange rate going, you can’t get any better than the mid-market rate. This is the “true” exchange rate between two currencies that the banks and other money transfer services use. Banks and other money transfer services will usually add a markup to this rate in order to make a profit, which can vary from 0.1% to 10%. However, there are select services that don't. Wise is renowned for passing on the mid-market rate to customers so you’ll always get the “true” exchange rate alongside transparent fees.
If your recipient doesn’t have a bank account, one of your options is a money transfer with cash pickup. Remitly offers cash pickups delivered to specific locations and can send money to more than 100 countries. Your recipient will need to bring an ID that matches the name on the transfer but you can choose how to pay for it and how quickly you need the funds to reach your recipient.
Although the process differs by company, to send money overseas you'll generally need to do the following:
Please note that the process is different for every provider. The example below shows just one of the ways you can initiate a transfer.
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