send-money-overseas

How to send money overseas cheaply

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

The best* way to send money overseas cheaply is by using a dedicated money transfer service that has lower fees, more options and better exchange rates than what regular bank services offer. The table below lists some of the best services you can use to transfer money overseas.

The below providers allow you to send money internationally to your recipients bank account. If you're looking to send physical cash internationally for your recipient to pick up, take a look at our international cash transfer page instead.

Compare $0 fee money transfers below

Rates last updated November 21st, 2017
Name Product Min. Transfer Amount Transfer Speed Services Online Transfer Fee Rate Amount Received Description
TorFX International Money Transfers
AUD 200
1 day
Online, Phone, Agent
TorFX guarantee to beat any competitor's exchange rate for a transaction. Conditions apply.
Send money overseas in 45 currencies. Once registered, you'll be assigned an Account Manager who can provide support and guidance.
Exclusive: OFX (Ozforex) International Money Transfers
AUD 250
1 day
Online, Phone, Agent
Exclusive offer: Discounted exchange rates for your first and ongoing transactions. $0 transfer fee.
A higher exchange rate applies to non-finder customers. Send money in 45 currencies.
Exclusive: WorldFirst International Money Transfers
AUD 2,000
1 day
Online, Phone
Exclusive offer: $0 transfer fee and discounted exchange rates for your first trade only.
A higher exchange rate applies to non-finder customers. Send money in more than 130 currencies.
FC Exchange International Money Transfers
AUD 3,000
1 day
Online, Phone, Bank Account to Bank Account
FC Exchange can save you money with its Best Exchange Rate Guarantee. Conditions apply.
No transfer fee when transferring more than £10,000 or equivalent. Send money in 43 currencies.
Exclusive: Sable International Money Transfers
AUD 0
1 day
Online, Phone, Bank Account to Bank Account
Exclusive offer: $0 transfer fee and Price Beat Guarantee
Quote "finder" when your Sable International account manager calls you - guaranteed to beat any competitors exchange rate.
Foremost Currency Group International Money Transfers
GBP 2,500
2 days
Online, Phone, Bank Account to Bank Account
Make the most of your money with Foremost Currency Group - excellent personalised service and bank-beating rates.
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.

Compare up to 4 providers

*The offers compared on this page are chosen from a range of products finder.com.au has access to and are not representative of all the products available in the market. Products are displayed in no particular order or ranking. The use of terms "best" and "top" are not product ratings and are subject to our disclaimer. You should consider seeking independent financial advice and consider your personal financial circumstances when comparing products.

Keep ahead of the curve with daily currency exchange rate alerts

Sort through different services using the table headings and click "More" to read a review of the product or "Go to Site" when you're ready to transfer money. You want to use the best service for your needs so it's cheaper to send funds abroad. Your recipient can also receive more if you choose a provider that offers great rates and low fees.

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Save money on your personal or business international money transfer today. Fill in the form and you’ll be contacted by a foreign exchange expert to have an obligation-free discussion about your options. Our foreign exchange experts offer a best rate guarantee, are ASIC authorised and never charge transfer fees.

They can help you with all your needs including:

  • Buying property abroad
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Watch our video to learn how money transfers work

Definition: Best* way to send money overseas

There is no single best way to send money overseas, and the best way for you may not be the best for someone else. There are other factors besides the exchange rate to consider when sending an international money transfer, including the transfer fees, the payment method, the speed of delivery and the level of customer service. One person may prioritise the exchange rate, while someone else may prioritise the payment method. You should consider a range of products when deciding which provider is best suited to your personal money transfer needs.

Beware of the traps and pitfalls

You've probably noticed that the exchange rate you see reported in the media, which is known as the wholesale or mid-market rate, isn't the same rate you get when you make a transaction. Financial services providers make their profit on the margin added to this wholesale exchange rate. During Christmas 2015, research conducted by finder.com.au found that Australians could save on average $63 when transferring $1,000 overseas by comparing their options.

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

How can you transfer money overseas?

International money transfers let you send money quickly and securely to countries around the globe using different currencies. There are several ways you can transfer money overseas.

Online money transfer companies

These companies offer the quickest and cheapest way to transfer funds overseas, and they let you set up an online account to send your money electronically. It's a quick way to get your money where you need it to be, but you will need to be comfortable making financial transactions online.

Examples of online money transfer companies include OFX, WorldFirst and CurrencyFair and the industry continues to grow. Once you've created an account, these companies transfer these funds to your nominated account.

Some providers have a minimum transfer amount (approximately $1,000-$2,000), while other companies have no minimum. Other fees involved can include a transfer fee and transaction charges when the money is deposited at the other end.

Online money transfer with OFX (formerly Ozforex)

Send money overseas

Ben wants to transfer money overseas through OFX. He'll need to send at least $2000 to use the service, but OFX will charge wholesale foreign exchange rates and a smaller margin, as low as 0.3%, compared to the average bank rate of 4%. OFX charges its fees in the currency Ben is selling, in this case Australian dollars, and will waive the fee completely if he transfers over a certain amount. If Ben is transferring less than AUD$10,000, the fee is $15.

Ben knows the online money transfer market is growing all the time and becoming increasingly competitive, so he shops around for the best possible deal.

Want to stay up to date with the latest exchange rates?

Electronic funds transfer

You can transfer money to an overseas bank account straight from your own account. This method is also known as an international money transfer, a telegraphic transfer (TT), a wire transfer or a SWIFT transfer. While this option is convenient and secure, it does have downfalls.

It may take several days for the money to go through and there are also a number of fees to consider. Your bank and the bank at the other end of the transaction could charge "sending" and "receiving" fees, while the exchange rate offered can have a huge effect on how much the transaction ends up costing you. For example, the Commonwealth Bank transfers money to over 200 countries, using more than 30 currencies, but you'll have to pay a $30 fee if the transfer is issued via a branch or a $22 fee if it is issued via NetBank.

Cash transfer

Money transfer companies can send your money abroad using cash or EFTPOS. These companies will have a storefront or a third-party convenience store counter and your recipient will be able to collect the funds from the money transfer office in their country. While this cash transfer option is usually extremely quick, it can be expensive.

Companies such as Western Union, Xpress Money and MoneyGram offer this service. Once you've set up an account, depending on the company, you may also be able to transfer money online, over the phone or using a bank card.

MoneyGram has more than 320,000 agent locations worldwide. The fees involved in transferring money overseas can vary depending on a range of factors, including how much money you're sending and where you're sending it. As an example, MoneyGram's cost estimator calculates that transferring $1000 from Australia to the United States will incur a fee of $65.

International money order

Safer than sending a personal cheque overseas, an international money order (IMO) is when you give your money to a bank or post office and get an international guaranteed cheque. Think of it as the international equivalent of a bank cheque.

Once you've posted the cheque to the recipient, they can cash it at their local bank and deposit the money into their own account. While this transfer method is secure, posting a cheque will take longer than an electronic transaction and can cost more. You'll have to pay to purchase the IMO and there may be transaction costs when the money is deposited into the overseas account.

You may also be interested in

What's the cheapest* way to send money overseas?

Take advantage of offers such as "first transfer free"

You'd be surprised at the length that new money transfer companies are willing to go for your business. You could save up to AUD$15 using services such as HiFX, which will give you your first money transfer for free when signing up. Standard fees will apply thereafter for transactions that fall below their fee thresholds.

Lock in a forward exchange contract

If you don't have enough funds available but want to secure a certain rate now, you can enter into a forward contract. This ensures that you get the lowest rate and the ability to purchase or sell your currency now, at the prevailing rate.

Settlement for the transaction happens on a pre-determined date in the future, depending on the conditions of the contract. Typically, you'll need to provide a deposit, which is usually a certain percentage, to be held as security to finalise the transaction. When the contract is implemented, you'll be required to send the remaining balance on the date stated in your forward exchange contract.

A forward exchange contract is similar to an "agree now, pay later" situation where you can lock in an exchange rate even if you don't have the money available. If rates go down, you won't be affected, but you may lose the deposit that you put in depending on the conditions of your contract. However, if rates improve and go beyond what you locked in, you may not be able to change your contract.

Use a service that is fit for the amount you're sending

A lot of transfer companies waive their fees if you transfer over a certain amount. If you're transferring large amounts, around the AUD$10,000 mark, it may be best to use a transfer company. For smaller amounts (running into the hundreds), you may want to use a bank transfer or similar, such as PayPal or a Citibank Plus transaction account, which doesn't charge foreign transaction fees.

Definition: Cheapest*

There is no one way to send money overseas that is guaranteed to be the cheapest. You may be able to find the cheapest transfer fee, but the exchange rate may not be as competitive, or vice versa. You may need to send money within 24 hours, while other people may have no time limit. You should always consider a range of products when deciding which provider is best suited to your personal money transfer needs.

Are free international money transfers real?

It's unrealistic to expect truly free international money transfers. Even though international money transfer companies are cheaper than the banks, they still have margins and fees. While international money transfer companies stand to make money from your international transfer, they still make less profits than the banks. International money transfer companies usually charge a margin on top of the market rate and may charge fees for smaller transfers. Keep in mind that when a transfer service says they have no fees, there is likely to be a small fee weaved into the exchange rate offered.

In some cases, to get a truly free transfer, you'll need to transfer large amounts above the $10,000 mark. This is because international money transfers actually save money when you transfer big amounts due to economies of scale.

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.

1. Log in to your account and choose the "international money transfer" option.

Screenshot 2015-03-06 13.18.28

2. Choose which country you'd like to send the funds to. You will also need to know your recipient's SWIFT/BIC code, account number and account name.

Screenshot 2015-03-06 13.18.533. In most cases, you will also need to provide the recipient's residential address and phone number. Choose which transaction account that you'd like the funds to come from. Screenshot 2015-03-06 13.19.01 Here is another version of what it could look like on your screen (Citibank). Screenshot 2015-03-06 13.26.18

Wait, I still need more help!

Choosing the best option to send money overseas can seem a little daunting at first, but if you do your research and shop around, you can transfer your funds quickly and efficiently – and save money along the way.

International Money Transfer Offers

Learn about our information service
TorFX International Money Transfers

TorFX guarantee to beat any competitor's exchange rate for a transaction. Conditions apply.
Send money overseas in 45 currencies. Once registered, you'll be assigned an Account Manager who can provide support and guidance.

Exclusive: OFX (Ozforex) International Money Transfers

Exclusive offer: Discounted exchange rates for your first and ongoing transactions. $0 transfer fee.
A higher exchange rate applies to non-finder customers. Send money in 45 currencies.

Exclusive: WorldFirst International Money Transfers

Exclusive offer: $0 transfer fee and discounted exchange rates for your first trade only.
A higher exchange rate applies to non-finder customers. Send money in more than 130 currencies.

FC Exchange International Money Transfers

FC Exchange can save you money with its Best Exchange Rate Guarantee. Conditions apply.
No transfer fee when transferring more than £10,000 or equivalent. Send money in 43 currencies.

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20 Responses

  1. 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

    • Staff
      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

  2. Default Gravatar
    sharonJune 11, 2016

    Wanting to send money to friend in Lagos Nigeria

    • Staff
      AnndyJune 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

  3. 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)?

    • Staff
      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.

  4. 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.

    • Staff
      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.

  5. 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

  6. 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

    • Staff
      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

  7. 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?

    • Staff
      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

  8. 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?

    • Staff
      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

  9. 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!!!

    • Staff
      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

  10. Default Gravatar
    AlanAugust 8, 2014

    after using torfx and paying all transaction fees
    in UK, my bank cibc charged me 15 percent on 200.00 dollars, that was sent in canadian dollars.
    why.

    • Staff
      ShirleyAugust 8, 2014Staff

      Hi Alan,

      Thanks for your question. finder.com.au is a comparison service, we allow you to compare factual information on a range of financial products.

      For any further information relating to specific account enquiries and issues, please speak to your TorFX consultant directly.

      All the best,
      Shirley

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