Cheap ways to send money overseas

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

We’re reader-supported and may be paid when you visit links to partner sites. We don’t compare all products in the market, but we’re working on it!

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.

Looking for a cheap way to send money overseas?

There are lots of factors to consider when sending an international money transfer in addition to the fees, including the exchange rate, the payment method, the speed of delivery and the level of customer service. Keep in mind that we don't compare every product in the market, but we hope that our tools and information will allow you to compare your options and find the best service for your needs.

Send money overseas with WorldRemit

Use promo code 3FREE to send your first 3 transfers with no fee. Conditions apply.

WorldRemit sends money to 110+ countries for bank-to-bank deposits, cash pick-ups or mobile top-ups.

  • Send money online within minutes
  • Large range of destinations
  • Able to send to cash pickup locations
Promoted

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 1 Same day AUD 4.00 1.043 NZD
517
XE has fast transfers with low fees and a range of foreign currency tools. Go to site Show details
AUD 1 Same day AUD 3.99 1.045 NZD
518
Use promo code 3FREE to send your first 3 transfers with no fee. Conditions apply.
WorldRemit sends money to 110+ countries for bank-to-bank deposits, cash pick-ups or mobile top-ups.
Go to site Show details
AUD 1 1 - 2 days AUD 2.50 1.044 NZD
519
Wise uses the mid-market rate and transparent fees to help you send money in 50+ currencies. Go to site Show details
AUD 1 1 day AUD 3.10 1.048 NZD
521
Pay no fees on your first two transfers, up to $3,000.
SingX offers the real exchange rate every time you make a transfer and can help you send money across the world.
Go to site Show details
AUD 5 1 - 2 days EUR 3.00 1.036 NZD
515
Special offer: Zero fees on your first 10 transfers.
CurrencyFair has bank-beating exchange rates and fast transfer times on 15+ popular currencies.
Go to site Show details

Compare up to 4 providers

Disclaimer: Exchange rates change often. Confirm the total cost with the provider before transferring money.

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.

Promoted
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.

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 bankMoney transfer specialist
Transfer fee$24$3.99
Exchange rate1 AUD = 47.193 INR1 AUD = 48.661 INR
Transfer speed2-4 daysSame day
Receiving optionsBank accountBank account, mobile credit recharge
Total rupee receivedINR46,060.37INR48,466.84
Receiver getsINR2,407 lessINR2,407 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.

|

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.

|

Frequently asked questions

Promoted
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.

More guides on Finder

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.
TorFX sends money overseas in 30+ currencies, with competitive rates for transfer amounts over $2,000.

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

$0 transfer fees for Finder customers.
OFX has no maximum limit transfers, with competitive exchange rates for 45+ currencies.

Logo for Send International Money Transfers
Send International Money Transfers

Send guarantees to match any competitor’s exchange rate. T&Cs apply.
Send provides fee-free transfers via its 24/7 multi-currency payments platform with real-time quotes.

Logo for XE International Money Transfers
XE International Money Transfers

XE has fast transfers with low fees and a range of foreign currency tools.

Ask an Expert

You are about to post a question on finder.com.au:

  • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
  • finder.com.au is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
  • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
  • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked

Finder only provides general advice and factual information, so consider your own circumstances, or seek advice before you decide to act on our content. By submitting a question, you're accepting our Terms of Use, Disclaimer & Privacy Policy and Privacy & Cookies Policy.

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 Customer Care
      JohnDecember 20, 2018Staff

      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 Customer Care
      MayJuly 27, 2016Staff

      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:

      • 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

    Default Gravatar
    sharonJune 11, 2016

    Wanting to send money to friend in Lagos Nigeria

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      DeeJune 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 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 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.

    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.

Go to site