The southeast Asian nation of Timor-Leste, formerly known as East Timor, is one of Australia’s closest international neighbours, so there are plenty of reasons why you might want to send an international money transfer from Australia to Timor-Leste. Happily, there are plenty of transfer providers who can manage your transaction — but you’ll need to compare your options before deciding which one offers the best transfer deal.
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If you’ve already got an account with a ‘big four’ bank, the easiest transfer option at your disposal might very well be to send an international transfer straight from your bank account. Unfortunately, sending the funds via your bank will not be the most affordable solution, as banks offer some pretty disappointing exchange rates and also charge high transfer fees.
But there’s now an easy and affordable solution when you need to send money overseas. Specialist money transfer companies, including providers like OFX and Currency Fair, offer safe and secure online transfers that are usually much more affordable than bank transfers. With higher exchange rates and lower fees, they can save you a lot of money the next time you send funds overseas.
Tony Sends Money to Timor-Leste
Tony lives in Sydney but has friends all around the world. One of those friends is Charlie, who lives in Dili in Timor-Leste, and who has fallen on some hard financial times. When Charlie finds Tony and asks him for urgent cash, Tony looks for the quickest way to get the funds to his mate.
Tony compares his bank to special transfer service and looks at their exchange rate and transfer fee to see which will be more cost-effective. The results of his comparison are found in the table below.
Money transfer company
1 AUD = 0.6639
1 AUD = 0.67974 USD
Online, bank or phone
Cash pickup transfer
Amount received (in USD)
As you can see, Tony’s recipient can receive USD$30.45 more if he uses an international money transfer service.
How do I compare transfer companies when transferring and receiving money via Timor-Leste?
Exchange rates. Compare quotes from a number of companies to see what sort of exchange rates they offer. The company with the highest exchange rates always sounds like an attractive prospect, but make sure to check how much the company charges in transfer fees as well.
Transfer fees. Transaction fees can range from a couple of bucks right through to $70 or even more, so it pays to check how much you’ll have to pay for each transaction before you sign up for an account with a transfer provider.
Transfer methods. Online, over the phone, via a mobile app and/or by visiting a branch — how does the company allow you to send transfers?
Flexible options. Can you place limit orders or forward contracts and target the exchange rate you want? If you need to send regular transfers, can you set up a recurring payment plan?
Turnaround time. Check to see how long the company will take to deliver the money to your beneficiary. Processing times can vary from a few minutes to five business days or more.
Transfer limits. Some companies impose minimum and maximum transaction limits, so check to see if these limits will inconvenience you at all.
Pickup options. Will the money be sent to your recipient’s bank account, or will they be able to pick up cash from a transfer agent?
Customer service. Are phone, email and live online chat available? How quickly will the customer support team answer any questions you have?
Sometimes you need to get money to another country as fast as possible. If you need to send an emergency cash transfer to Timor-Leste, be prepared to pay more than you would for a normal transaction. Higher transfer fees and lower exchange rates are common features of emergency transfers, so it’s always a good idea to review the transaction details before you send any funds. This is the best way to ensure that you don’t get a nasty surprise the next time you check your bank balance.
Cash pickup locations in Timor-Leste / Western Union / MoneyGram branches in Timor-Leste
Below you will see the details of some Western Union and MoneyGram locations in Timor-Leste. As the two largest money transfer providers in the world, Western Union and MoneyGram offer convenient cash transfers from Australia to destinations all around the world. Just make sure your recipient has a transaction ID number and photo ID when they go to pick up the funds.
Pacific Holdings Timor Ltd Ground Floor, Sang Tai Hoo Building Rua Nicolau Lobato Colmera Dili, +670-3321589 Open 9am to 4:30pm Monday to Friday, 9am to 12pm Saturday
Pioneer Shop Vila Dato Liquica, +670-7277918 Open 9am to 3pm Monday to Friday, 9am to 12pm Saturday
Loja Kmanek Lahomea Maliana, Bobonaro +670-3321 589 Open 9am to 4:30pm Monday to Friday, 9am to 12:30pm Saturday
Island Dream Money LDA Rua De Luis Dos Reis Noronha Villa Verde DILI, 7611000 Open 7am to 8pm Monday to Saturday
Island Dream Money LDA Rua Berlarmino Lobo Ailele Hun Dili, 7611000 Open 7am to 8pm Monday to Saturday
Island Dream Money Telkomcel Plaza Maliana Maliana, 604 7611000 Open 7am to 6pm Monday to Saturday
Island Dream Money Telkomcel Plaza Gleno Ermera Gleno Ermera, 608 7611000 Open 7am to 6pm Monday to Saturday
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade recommends that Australian visitors to Timor-Leste exercise a high degree of caution, so take care when collecting cash from a transfer agent. Confirm the agent’s location and opening hours before visiting and only go to a cash pickup branch in an area you know to be safe. Take a friend along rather than picking up cash alone, and make sure not to display your cash in public and make yourself an easy target for thieves.
The transfer method you must follow will vary depending on the transfer provider you choose, but you will generally need to:
Sign up for an account. This is usually free to do. You may be able to sign up online or by visiting a branch, and you’ll need to supply your name, contact details and proof of ID.
Provide your transaction details. You’ll need to specify where you are sending the money, how much you are sending and who will be receiving the funds.
Complete your transfer. You can then submit your transfer after reviewing the exchange rate you will receive and the transaction fee you will need to pay. Most providers will then give you a reference number that you can use to track the progress of your funds.
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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