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How to send money overseas from Australia

Discover the best way to send money overseas from Australia.

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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.

Cheapest ways to transfer money internationally

1. Online money transfer services

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.

2. Bank transfers

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.

3. Cash pickup

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.

4. PayPal

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.

5. International money order

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 will take a couple of days to reach your recipient. Your recipient may be charged a fee by their own bank to cash in the money order.

6. Bitcoin

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.

Compare money transfer services to send money overseas

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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Finder survey: What do people think is the cheapest way to transfer money overseas?

ResponseFemaleMale
I do not send money overseas46.22%37.11%
Bank transfer29.53%30.8%
International money transfer16.34%22.82%
Mobile wallet4.75%6.12%
Cash pickup2.11%1.86%
Money order1.05%1.3%
Source: Finder survey by Pure Profile of 1110 Australians, December 2023

Best providers to send money overseas

We’ve highlighted four of the top providers to cover every scenario:

XE - small transfers

If you wish to send a small amount to your recipient of money overseas, for example, under $2,000, certain 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.

TorFX - large transfers

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 on 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.

Wise - exchange rates

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.

Remitly - cash pickups

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.

How to minimise costs when making a money transfer

  • Shop around. The best way to save is by comparing rates, fees and transfer speeds of each provider, closely looking at their benefits and drawbacks. Use your currency's mid-market rate as a baseline to compare against the rates you're offered. You want a provider whose rate is closest to the mid-market rate with the lowest transfer fees.
  • Be aware of hidden fees. Avoid surprises by reading the fine print for fees that could apply to your transfer, including charges your recipient will need to pay.
  • Forex tools. Movements in an exchange rate can be unpredictable. However, with a forward contract, you can lock in a favourable exchange rate for a future transfer and avoid missing out. Similarly, with a limit order, a transfer will be executed only when your specific target rate is reached.
  • Sending larger transfers. Providers such as OFX waive fees when you send more than $10,000 in one go. Even the slightest change in the exchange rate can make all the difference in the amount your recipient receives.
  • Make regular transfers. You may be able to save money on exchange rates or pay lower transfer fees by setting up a plan to automate regular payments overseas.

How do I send money with a money transfer specialist?

Although the process differs by company, to send money overseas you'll generally need to do the following:

How do I send money from my bank?

Please note that the process is different for every provider. The example below shows just one of the ways you can initiate a transfer.

How to get the best exchange rate

Frequently asked questions

Read more on this topic

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22 Responses

    Default Gravatar
    elhamDecember 20, 2018

    I have got a US dollar account that I want to send to my son in Egypt and he doesn’t have a bank account. is there a way to send Us dollars from Australia?

      AvatarFinder
      JohnDecember 20, 2018Finder

      Hi Elham,

      Thank you for leaving a question.

      Our guide for sending money to Egypt should guide you to the companies that can help you to send money to your son. You may also check with the provider if it is possible for your son to receive the amount in US dollars as well. Once you have chosen a particular provider, you may then click on the “Go to site” button to proceed with your transfer or get in touch with their representatives for further assistance. Hope this helps!

      Cheers,
      Reggie

    Default Gravatar
    mattJuly 26, 2016

    hi which is the best, cheapest and safest exchange company to send approx $15k to spain, from my AUD bank account, to a bank account over there? Looking for best ex rate too obviously.
    thanks,
    matt

      AvatarFinder
      MayJuly 27, 2016Finder

      Hi Matt,

      Thank you for your question.

      Usually, transferring money from your bank account is an expensive way of sending money overseas. In the table above, you can compare different money transfer service providers. Using our comparison tool above, I’ve put your figures, and based on the results, the options that you may want to consider are:

      • Moneycorp and World First – both offer competitive rates too and without fees. World First takes 2 business days before the funds can be received while Moneycorp processes the transfer on the same day.

      You would know if the service providers are safe and legit if they are registered and with ABN.

      Hope this helps.

      Cheers,
      May

    Default Gravatar
    sharonJune 11, 2016

    Wanting to send money to friend in Lagos Nigeria

      AvatarFinder
      DeeJune 16, 2016Finder

      Hi Sharon,

      Thanks for your comment.

      If you want to send money to Nigeria, you can compare money transfer companies that can help you with our guide about sending money to Nigeria.

      I hope this helps.

      Cheers,
      Anndy

    Default Gravatar
    BWardMay 28, 2016

    What is the cheapest way to transfer money from my Australian bank account (Australian dollars) into my US bank account (US dollars, with Wells Fargo bank)?

      AvatarFinder
      ShirleyMay 30, 2016Finder

      Hi BWard Powers,

      Thanks for your question.

      This will depend on how much you intend to send, but our comparison tables show that World First, TorFX and OFX are worth looking at.

      Hope this helps.

    Default Gravatar
    AnnetteApril 7, 2016

    I need to send US$1,162 and later two instalments of US$581each, at different times. The recipient prefers not to use electronic transfer. How do I avoid high fees on sending these instalments and the hidden costs at the other end that will affect the transferred amount, and the recipient won’t receive the amount promised from me because of those hidden fees? Would you be able to help me please? Apparently my bank is not accepted in USA.

      AvatarFinder
      ShirleyApril 7, 2016Finder

      Hi Annette,

      Thanks for your question.

      Since your recipient prefers to use electronic transfer it narrows down your options a lot. You may want to compare international money transfer services that allow cash pick up.

      These services typically won’t charge you recipient fees and have relatively competitive exchange rates.

      Usually international bank-to-bank transfers charge heft fees and exchange rates.

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