send-money-overseas

How to send money overseas cheaply

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

The best way to send money overseas for less 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.

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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Min. Transfer Amount Transfer Speed Online Transfer Fee Rate Amount Received Description CTA Details
AUD 200 1 day AUD 0.00 0.713 USD
7,128
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.
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AUD 2,000 1 day AUD 0.00 0.713 USD
7,128
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 0.713 USD
7,128
$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.
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AUD 1 1 - 2 days AUD 45.00 0.716 USD
7,125
Make online transfers at the mid-market rate with transparent fees in 45+ currencies. Go to site Show details
AUD 1 Within an hour AUD 3.99 0.712 USD
7,118
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 0.713 USD
7,127
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 0.712 USD
7,121
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 0.715 USD
7,113
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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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.

Watch our video to learn how money transfers work

The following information will help you choose the best money transfer service for your needs

Beware of the traps and pitfalls

You've probably noticed that the exchange rate you see reported in the media (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.

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.

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. Quite a few services have deals where you can get your first transfer free, so keep an eye out for that.

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.

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

Bottom line

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.

Wait, I still need more help!

International Money Transfer Offers

Important Information*
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.

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.

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.

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?

    • finder 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

    • finder 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

    • finder 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)?

    • finder 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.

    • finder 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

    • finder 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?

    • finder 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?

    • finder 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!!!

    • finder 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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