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Cheap ways to send money overseas

What's the most affordable way to send money overseas from Australia? Find out with this guide.

While banks do offer secure wire transfers around the world, they also tend to have weaker exchange rates, higher fees and fewer options to send and receive cash when compared with a money transfer service. Unlike banks, they specialise in one thing: transferring money to countries worldwide.

With this expertise comes cheaper and faster transfers, meaning more savings for you and more money in the pocket of your recipient. The table below lists some of the best services you can use to transfer money overseas.

International Money Transfer Offer

TorFX International Money Transfers

  • No extra fees
  • Fix your exchange rate for up to 2 years
  • Price-match guarantee
  • Personal account manager

International Money Transfer Offer

TorFX has no charges and 0% commission that lets you save on fees with a competitive exchange rate.

  • Minimum transfer amount: $200
  • Online transfer fee: $0
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Compare money transfer services to help you send money overseas

Min. Transfer Amount Transfer Speed Online Transfer Fee Rate Amount Received Description CTA Details
AUD 200 1 day AUD 0.00 0.684 USD
6,844
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 0.684 USD
6,844
Send 60+ currencies at competitive rates with $0 transfer fees for Finder customers. WorldFirst will beat any eligible quote from another provider. Go to site Show details
AUD 250 1 - 2 days AUD 0.00 0.684 USD
6,844
$0 transfer fees for Finder customers.
$0 transfer fee on transfers over AU$10,000, $15 flat fee applies otherwise. 24-hour customer service available with a local support team.
Go to site Show details
AUD 250 1 day AUD 0.00 0.684 USD
6,844
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 200 1 day AUD 0.00 0.684 USD
6,837
Low minimum transfer amount of just AU$200, with no set-up fees or transfer fees. Go to site Show details
AUD 5 1 - 2 days EUR 3.00 0.684 USD
6,836
Special offer: Pay zero fees on your first 5 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 0.684 USD
6,834
An online money transfer service with cash pickup, bank account to bank account and airtime transfers available. Go to site Show details
AUD 3,000 1 day AUD 0.00 0.684 USD
6,842
Global Reach will match any competitor's exchange rates. Conditions apply.
No transfer fee when transferring more than £10,000 or equivalent. Send money in over 130 currencies. No maximum transfer amount.
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AUD 1 1 day AUD 0.00 0.684 USD
6,837
With global payments provider XE, enjoy fast and secure transfers and a range of foreign currency tools and calculators while benefiting from $0 transfer fees. Go to site Show details
AUD 200 1 - 2 days AUD 50.00 0.687 USD
6,832
Exclusive: Finder customers receive $15 off their first transaction. T&Cs apply.
Quick and simple international money transfers with zero-margin exchange rates. There's a flat 0.5% transfer fee for most transfers. Earn loyalty points on sign up, referral and every transaction.
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AUD 1 Within an hour - - Limited time offer: $0 fees on your first THREE transfers at any 7-Eleven. T&Cs apply.
Fast cash pick-ups to more than 350,000 agent locations worldwide.
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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.

Learn more about

How can I transfer money overseas with an online specialist?

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

  1. Register for a free account. You'll provide your full name, contact info and date of birth. Most providers also require ID and proof of address.
  2. Provide your recipient's information. Specify who's receiving the funds by providing their name and contact information. If you're sending money to a bank account, you'll need to include the bank name, SWIFT code and your recipient's account number.
  3. Add the details of your transaction. Enter how much money you're sending and in which currency it'll be received.
  4. Review and confirm. For most providers, you'll see a summary of your transfer showing the amount you're sending, the exchange rate, any fee you'll pay and the total your beneficiary will receive.
  5. Pay for your transfer. Payment methods vary by company but could include credit or debit card, bank account, cash or mobile wallet.
  6. Track your transaction. You should receive confirmation that includes a tracking number or receipt for monitoring the progress of your transfer online or with a company branch.

You may also receive an email or text when your recipient has received your funds and the transaction is completed.

What are the ways I can send money overseas?

With so many specialised money transfer companies to choose from, it's no surprise that you have options when it comes to how your recipient receives your funds.

How you send your money and how it's received will ultimately affect delivery speed and how much you're paying in fees. In general, your options include the following:

  • Bank transfers. Many major Australia banks can safely transfer your funds to countries around the world. 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 the weaker exchange rates you'll often receive in comparison to other options.
  • Online money transfer services. These specialists offer more affordable transfers than banks do, allowing you to quickly and easily manage your transactions from home. With competitive exchange rates and lower fees, you can send funds from your bank account. Many also allow you to pay with a credit or debit card.
  • Services with cash pick-up. Services like Western Union and MoneyGram offer the key advantage of giving your recipient fast access to the cash you send – sometimes within minutes. You can pay online or at one of the thousands of agent locations worldwide. However, services typically cost more than an online transfer specialist and vary by where you're transferring your money and how you're paying for it.
  • PayPal transfers. Not just for online purchases, PayPal offers transfers to more than 100 countries and supports multiple currencies. Its exchange rates are often better than those you'll get from a bank but not quite as strong as rates from money transfer companies. 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.
  • Cheques and money orders. Although not a quick option, you could send an international cheque overseas, obtained from your bank. It costs a little more – you'll have to purchase the cheque and your recipient may be charged a fee by their own bank when cashed.

Let's crunch the numbers: Banks vs money transfer services

To put this into perspective, let's see what a $1,000 transfer to India looks like with a bank compared to a money transfer service.

Major Australian bank Money transfer specialist
Transfer fee $24 $3.99
Exchange rate 1 AUD = 47.193 INR 1 AUD = 48.661 INR
Transfer speed 2-4 days Same day
Receiving options Bank account Bank account, mobile credit recharge
Total rupee received INR46,060.37 INR48,466.84
Receiver gets INR2,407 less INR2,407 more

The transfer through the bank ends up giving your receiver roughly $50 less than the money transfer service. Not only is the exchange rate worse, but the fees are a lot higher. It'll also take a few days longer, so it pays to see what your other options can be.

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How can I minimise costs when making a money transfer?

  • Compare exchange rates. 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.
  • Send more money per transfer. Many providers discount transfer fees or waive them altogether when you send larger amounts.
  • Look for 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.
  • Sniff out special offers. Keep an eye on promotions that offer, for example, no fees on your first transfer. While ideal for limited transfer needs, you could also end up with a new preferred service.
  • 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.

Tools to help you save more on international transfers

There's a lot riding on a competitive exchange rate and low fee. But depending on how much you're sending, how soon your recipient needs it and rates at the time of transfer, you could save even more with the following tools.

  • Forward contracts. With this tool, you lock in a favourable exchange rate for a future transfer, avoiding unpredictable movements in the rate.
  • Limit orders. A limit order allows you to request a transfer that's executed only when a specific rate is reached, at which point your provider locks it in.
  • Regular, automated transfers. You may be able to shave a few pennies off an exchange rate or pay lower transfer fees by setting up a plan to automate more regular payments overseas.

What to be aware of

Exchange rates

You've probably noticed that the exchange rate you see online or reported in the media (known as the wholesale or mid-market rate) isn't the same rate you get when you make a transaction. Banks and most money transfer services make their profit on the margin added to this wholesale exchange rate, but it can vary from 0.1% to 10%.

With this in mind, it pays to compare the products available to make sure you find the best overseas money transfer solution for you.

Fee-free transfers

Unfortunately, fee-free transfers are never really free. Even though international money transfer companies are cheaper than the banks, they still have margins and fees. While there might not be a fee included, the company is still making money by adding a margin to the mid-market rate.

How to get the best exchange rate

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.

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Frequently asked questions

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International Money Transfer Offers

Important Information*
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

Send 60+ currencies at competitive rates with $0 transfer fees for Finder customers. WorldFirst will beat any eligible quote from another provider.

Logo for OFX (Ozforex) International Money Transfers
OFX (Ozforex) International Money Transfers

$0 transfer fees for Finder customers.
$0 transfer fee on transfers over AU$10,000, $15 flat fee applies otherwise. 24-hour customer service available with a local support team.

Logo for TransferWise International Money Transfers
TransferWise International Money Transfers

Make online transfers at the mid-market rate with transparent fees in 45+ currencies.

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22 Responses

  1. 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 Customer Care
      JohnDecember 20, 2018Staff

      Hi Elham,

      Thank you for leaving a question.

      Please click on this link to be routed to our “Sending money to Egypt”. This should guide you to the companies that you could work with in sending 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. Hope this helps!

      Cheers,
      Reggie

  2. 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 Customer Care
      MayJuly 27, 2016Staff

      Hi Matt,

      Thank you for your question. Please note that finder.com.au is a comparison website – we don’t represent any service providers we feature on our site and we only give a generalised advice.

      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:

      FC Exchange International Money Transfers – offer the best* exchange rate of your money which can be received in one business day with no fees on a particular transfer

      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

  3. Default Gravatar
    sharonJune 11, 2016

    Wanting to send money to friend in Lagos Nigeria

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      LouJune 16, 2016Staff

      Hi Sharon,

      Thanks for your comment.

      If you want to send money to Nigeria, you can compare money transfer companies that can help you on this page.

      I hope this helps.

      Cheers,
      Anndy

  4. 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 Customer Care
      ShirleyMay 30, 2016Staff

      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.

  5. 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 Customer Care
      ShirleyApril 7, 2016Staff

      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.

  6. Default Gravatar
    lindaMarch 29, 2016

    Hi I want to send $4,000 aud to my fiance who is working on a contract in Nigeria. I’m having a lot of trouble doing this and its urgent. Is there any way you can help me please? I can send it but before it gets received, its knocked back

  7. Default Gravatar
    PaulOctober 24, 2015

    Hi,

    Am from Melbourne, I need to send US$100 from Australia to company called NANO67 in the UK, if i send through PAYZA how much do they charge? i have already asked this matter from them but they did not reply to me yet, do you trust Payza? how reliable they’re? they said there going to reply to me in 24Hrs when i open my account with Payza

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      ShirleyOctober 26, 2015Staff

      Hi Paul,

      Thanks for your question.

      Please see this page for Payza fees and charges. finder.com.au is not in a position to comment on a service’s reliability – our regulatory body, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission is in a much better position to do this.

      Cheers,
      Shirley

  8. Default Gravatar
    CurrencySeptember 16, 2015

    I understand that finder.com.au is a comparison site and assume that quoted conversions are based on actual customer prices. Is this correct as I have setup an account from the list and the quoted exchange does not reflect that on your site?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      ShirleySeptember 16, 2015Staff

      Hi Currency,

      Thanks for your question.

      The quoted conversions are generated from figures that are provided to us by the international company services. In some cases there are discrepancies due to the volatile nature of exchange rates and your transfer amount.

      Cheers,
      Shirley

  9. Default Gravatar
    ChristineMarch 3, 2015

    Would like to send a large amount of money ($500,000) to Poland – If I was to transfer $10,000 every week into a Bank account in Poland – Does the person I am sending the money have to pay tax on each deposit and how much?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      ShirleyMarch 4, 2015Staff

      Hi Christine,

      Thanks for your question.

      Please note that finder.com.au is an Australian comparison site and can only provide general advice regarding products issued in Australia. Please have your recipient ask his or her bank if they would need to pay tax on the money sent on each deposit and how much, as this will depend on the tax regulations of Poland.

      Cheers,
      Shirley

  10. Default Gravatar
    BrendonJanuary 15, 2015

    Any idea how much most Canadian banks such as CIBC or Western union would charge if I were to go in and send all of my 44,000 Canadian dollars to a Chinese bank account? I read someone had to pay 174$ plus 27$ transfer fee to get 150$ to the US!!!

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      ShirleyJanuary 15, 2015Staff

      Hi Brendon,

      Thanks for your question.

      Outgoing wire payments for amounts in between $10,000 – $50,000 is $50 per payment.

      On their website it states “outgoing wire fees will be charged in Canadian currency. For wires from foreign currency accounts (including U.S. accounts), the equivalent fee will be charged in the same currency as the account using an exchange rate set by CIBC on a date determined by CIBC.”

      For more information, please get in touch with CIBC directly.

      Cheers,
      Shirley

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