Sending money overseas has traditionally been expensive, but that's not necessarily the case anymore. With the introduction of dedicated money transfer services and products, you can now send money to Tonga and enjoy competitive exchange rates and fees. Read onto to compare these services and to find out how much of a difference they can have on the amount that actually ends up in Tonga.
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Banks versus money transfer companies and services
Amelia’s family transfers
With a scholarship offered by an Australian tertiary school, Amelia plans on studying in Australia to become a teacher. Her family will be waiting for her return to start working in a local school, but for now she needs to consider how she will be continue helping them while overseas.
With money saved from a part time job, Amelia intends on sending her family $1,000 Australian dollars (AUD) and has decided to check banks and international money transfer companies to see how many Tonga Pa'anga (TOP) that would exchange to.
How to compare transfer companies when transferring money to Tonga
Amelia discovers that using a money transfer company in place of a bank meant her family receives TOP 90.30 more. If you were to do similar research, you would want to focus on the following features:
Exchange rate. The exchange rate reflects how much money in the recipient country currency is equivalent to AUD 1.00.
Transfer fee. The transfer fee can make a big difference in savings. In Amelia’s instance, it was a savings of TOP 7.28. Transfer companies do change their fees depending on the country and also on the amount sent.
Amount received. By checking the exchange rate against the approximate amount of money you will be sending, you can get a better idea of the savings.
Transfer time. This can be important if you need to send money in an emergency situation that cannot wait the two or three days that a bank typically takes to make an overseas money transfer.
Transfer options. You may also want to check first how convenient the transfer company pick up center is to your recipient's home.
With the number of immigrants, workers and students from Tonga spending time in Australia you will find that there are a few Australian based companies and banks that are able to transfer money there:
Australia’s big four banks. For example, NAB charges a nominal fee of $20 AUD for every request to transfer money overseas regardless of the country. They have an extended list of countries that they are able to provide this service for, including Tonga.
Western Union. The international money transfer company is able to provide services between Australia and Tonga.
MoneyGram. MoneyGram only allows for cash pick up when sending money to Tonga from Australia.
WorldFirst Foreign Exchange. Senders need to set up an account first, after which they can send money from Australia to Tonga online or over the phone.
If you travel to Tonga and lose your cash or it gets stolen, there are a few ways in which you could obtain more:
Your credit card. In some cases, if you use your credit card to purchase your international travel bookings you qualify for limited travel insurance. One feature of many complimentary travel insurance policies is a cash replacement in the event that your wallet or purse is lost or stolen.
Travel insurance. It's recommended that any Australian travelling outside of the country purchase traveller’s insurance first. A travel insurer may provide you with emergency cash, but will expect supporting documents like a police report when you file your claim.
Emergency cash transfer. You can pick up money sent by friends or family at a cash transfer agency like Western Union or MoneyGram. You will need to present photo identification and know details about the transfer.
You will find a number of money transfer agents located throughout Tonga for both Western Union and MoneyGram. Before visiting one of the following, or any, cash pick up locations call ahead to verify their hours and that they will have enough cash on hand to complete your transaction:
Fexco Tonga LTD Opposite Queen Salote College Kapeta Hihifo Rd Nukualofa, Nukualofa Phone +676-28603 Open 8:30am to 4pm Monday through Friday. Saturday 8:30am to 12:30pm. Sunday closed
Fexco Tonga LTD Ace Lionvest Tofoa Nuku’alofa, Tongatapu Phone +676-29900 Open Monday through Friday 8:30am to 4pm. Saturday 8:30am to 12:30pm. Sunday closed.
Fexco Tonga LTD LIU Gas Station Manuka Hahake Tongatapu Phone +676-33488 Open Monday through Friday 8:30am to 4pm. Saturday 8:30am to 12:30pm. Sunday closed.
Fexco Tonga LTD Kanongata A Store Fatumu Hahake Tongatapu Phone +676-31288 Open Monday through Friday 8:30am to 4pm. Saturday 8:30am to 12:30pm. Sunday closed.
Westpac Bank of Tonga Road TM Fifita Bldg Taufa’ahau Nuku’alofa, 0 Phone +676-25108 Open Monday through Friday 8:30am to 5pm. Saturday 8:30am to 12pm. Sunday closed.
Westpac Bank of Tonga Next to post office Nuku’alofa, 0 Phone. +676-23933 Open Monday through Friday 8:30am to 5pm. Saturday 8:30am to 12pm. Sunday closed.
Friendly Islands Bookshop – Happi Pangai Happi Phone. +676-60198 Open 8:30am to 5pm Monday through Friday. Saturday 8:30am to 12:30pm. Sunday closed.
Westpac Bank of Tonga Pangai Ha’apai Island Pangai,0 Phone. +676-60730 Open Monday through Friday 8am to 5pm. Closed on Saturday and Sunday
If you are travelling to Tonga for holidays or business the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade recommends that you exercise normal safety precautions. When picking up a cash transfer you should still maintain a higher level of diligence and travel with a trusted companion.
Find a secure means of travelling to the agency and return to your lodgings immediately afterwards to secure your cash.
If using one of the international money transfer companies to send cash from Australia to Tonga, be advised that the pickup agency will want to ensure that they are sending money to the right person. You and your recipient will need to follow these steps to help facilitate the pick up of the cash:
Full name. Contact details for the beneficiary must be exactly as they appear on his or her identification document, including their full name.
Transfer number. You will be given a transfer number after completing the transaction. Your recipient will need this number in order to pick up the cash.
Transfer amount. The beneficiary may also be asked how much they are expecting to receive.
Your information. Be sure that the beneficiary knows pertinent information about you, including the city and state or territory where you live and your phone number.
Save the documents given to you at the end of your transaction. These will be necessary in the event of a dispute with the money transfer company.
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.
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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