The history of Australian-Russian relations can be traced back to 1807 and the arrival of the Russian warship Neva in Sydney. Today, there are almost 75,000 Australians of Russian ancestry, many of whom still maintain strong links with Mother Russia. If you ever need to send an international money transfer from Australia to Russia, perhaps to provide financial support to friends or family, there are several banks and money transfer companies who can help. But if you don’t compare your options and shop around for good value, your international transfer could end up costing you a whole lot more than it should.
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If your bank handles all of your other financial needs, why not see if it can handle an international transfer to Russia for you as well? Unfortunately, banks are notorious for providing quite dismal exchange rates on international wire transfers, not to mention for charging high fees on each transaction. The banks offer such a raw deal on international money transfers that recent years have seen the emergence of several online money transfer companies. With expertise in moving funds abroad, these companies, such as TorFX, offer better exchange rates and lower fees than the banks. There are plenty of other reputable online transfer providers available - you can find a list of them at finder.com.au - but many of them don’t offer any support for Russian Rubles. Another option is to use a money transfer company with a cash pickup option, such as Western Union or MoneyGram. These two companies offer large worldwide transfer networks and allow your recipient to pick up the cash you send within minutes.
Vera sends money to Russia
Vera has received a job posting in Australia and after working here for six months, she’s decided she will one day apply to become a permanent resident. Although she loves her new country, Vera still maintains strong ties with her homeland, specifically her parents. So when they need money to pay for repairs to their car, Vera offers to send the $1,000 as soon as possible. Instead of accepting the low exchange rate offered by her bank, Vera compares two money transfer companies with cash pickup options to see which one will offer a more affordable solution.
Money transfer company 1
Money transfer company 2
1 AUD = 0.669792 USD
1 AUD = 0.67269 USD
Amount received (in USD)
As you can see, Vera’s parents will have to convert the US Dollars she sends into Russian Rubles. The second transfer company can save Vera $35 in transfer fees and also allow her parents to receive a few extra US Dollars.
How do I compare transfer companies when transferring money to Russia?
Exchange rates. What exchange rate does the company offer when converting Australian Dollars to Russian Rubles, or possibly into Euros or US Dollars that your recipient can then convert into Rubles?
Transfer fees. Compare how much each company will charge you for sending your money overseas.
Transfer time. How long will it take from the moment you pay for your transfer to the moment your beneficiary gets the cash in their wallet or bank account?
Transfer methods. Will you place your transfer online, over the phone, or will you need to visit a branch?
Pickup methods. Does the company offer a cash pickup option or transfers directly to bank accounts? If they offer cash pickups, do they have locations convenient for you and your recipient to access?
Flexible options. Can you place forward contracts and limit orders, or perhaps schedule regular payments, to provide extra convenience?
Minimum transfer limit. Does a minimum limit apply to all transfers and will you be able to exceed it?
Customer service. Will you be able to access phone, email and online support if you ever need help with a transaction.
While sometimes you have the luxury of being able to wait several days for your funds to arrive, there are other times when you need to send your money to Russia as quickly as possible. When you find yourself in such a situation, always remember to check the exchange rate and any fees that apply to your transaction, as urgent transfers will usually cost more. Reading all the details of your transaction before you hand over your money will prevent any nasty surprises in the future.
Cash pickup locations in Russia/ Western Union / MoneyGram branches in Russia
If you want to send a cash transfer to Russia, Western Union and MoneyGram both offer plenty of agent locations throughout Russia. Some popular cash pickup locations are listed below, but tell your beneficiary to confirm addresses and opening hours before visiting. Taking along a transaction tracking number and photo ID is also essential.
MTC Bank Москва, 129010 +7-495-2251520 Open 9:30am to 8pm Monday to Friday, 9:30am to 3pm Saturday
ВТБ 24 Красная Пл., 3 Москва, 109012 +7-495-9602424 Open 10am to 10pm seven days
BelarusBank Leninskaya Ul 2 Krasnopole, 213560 +375-2238-22760 Open 8:30am to 7pm Monday to Friday, 8:30am to 4pm Saturday
MTC Bank Сенная Пл., 5 Санкт-Петербург, 190031 +7-812-3333443 Open 9am to 10pm Monday to Friday
MTS Menzhinskogo Dom 36 Korpus 2 Moskva G 4957108606 Open 9am to 9pm seven days
MTS Pyatnitskoe Sh 39 Moskovskaya Obl Moskow G, 4957108606 Open 10am to 10pm seven days
MTS Nauki Pr-Kt Dom 14 Sankt-Peterburg G 4957108606 Open 9am to 10pm seven days
Bank Viking Nevskiy Prospekt 35 Saint-Petersburg, 191011 8127105433 Open 10am to 10pm seven days
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade recommends that Australian visitors to Russia “exercise a high degree of caution”, explaining that petty crime, pickpocketing and mugging are all common problems in high tourist areas. With this in mind, make sure to exercise extreme caution when picking up a cash transfer in Russia. Only visit a transfer agent in an area where you feel safe and make sure to stay aware of your personal security at all times. Don’t display your money in public and leave it somewhere safe (rather than carrying it around) as soon as possible.
As you can see, there are several options at your disposal when you need to send money to Russia. Transfer processes will vary depending on the provider you choose, but you will usually have to provide your name, address, contact details and proof of ID before you can send a transfer. Next, you’ll need to supply your recipient’s information, such as their name and contact details, and in some cases their bank account information. Once you’ve explained how much money you would like to transfer and in which currency, you can pay for your transfer and wait for the funds to be sent to your beneficiary. You will also usually be given a tracking number to allow you to check up on the progress of your transfer.
Shirley Liu is Finder's global program manager. She was previously the publisher for banking and investments and has also written comparisons for energy, money transfers, Uber Eats and many other topics. Shirley has a Master of Commerce and a Bachelor of Media, Journalism and Communications from the University of New South Wales. She is passionate about helping people find the best deal for their needs.
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