In this guide, we compare a variety ways to send money from Australia to the UK to help you find the best value. By using a specialist online transfer service instead of your bank, you'll typically save on fees and get a better exchange rate. It's as simple as:
- Start your transfer. You'll need to specify the amount of money you want to send, the details of the account the funds will be paid into, and nominate a payment method.
- Secure an exchange rate. Review the exchange rate and fee that will determine the total cost of your transaction.
- Send your funds. The money will be transferred to your recipient's account in the UK.
Compare money transfer from Australia to the UK
Use the table below to compare transfer options from Australia to the UK. Sort through products using the headings at the top of the table, and if you'd like to find out more about a product or register an account, click the "Go to Site" button.
Banks vs money transfer companies
When you need to send money overseas, using your bank might seem like the logical choice. You can send funds from your everyday transaction account, making it incredibly convenient, and you also get the peace of mind of dealing with a financial institution you trust.
However, sending international money transfers via your bank is a mistake for two reasons:
- Low exchange rates. Banks impose a hefty margin on top of the foreign currency they sell, which means you receive an exchange rate that's well below the mid-market rate.
- High fees. Most banks impose large transaction fees of around AUD$15 or more on international transfers.
If you're looking for better value for money, you can often find it from a dedicated online money transfer company. These providers specialise in international transfers and usually offer much better exchange rates and lower fees than the banks. This means you can enjoy substantial savings when sending money between Australia and the UK.
Karen sends money to the UKLet's pretend Karen, a teacher in the UK, has been offered a position at a prestigious Australian school. Since she will be returning home on holidays, she would like to be able to maintain her London flat while away. In order to do this, she knows she will need to send money to make her monthly mortgage repayments as well as pay for utilities and maintenance. She decides first to find out if it would be easier and cheaper to do this with a bank or a money transfer company.
As you can see in the table below, Karen can send nearly an extra 20 pounds simply by using the money transfer service instead of her bank. She can also save AUD$15 in transfer fees and enjoy a faster processing time, all of which makes the dedicated transfer service a much better choice for Karen.
|Australian bank||Money transfer service|
|Exchange rate||1 AUD = 0.48 GBP||1 AUD = 0.49 GBP|
|Amount of GBP received for AUD$1,000||GBP£469.44||GBP£486.57|
|Options||Bank-to-bank transfer||Bank-to-bank transfer|
|Time for transfer to complete||Two to four days||Up to two days|
*This is a fictional case study and the rates and fees quoted are correct as of April 2020. Always seek a quote for current rates and fees.Back to top
How to compare transfer companies when sending money between Australia and the UK
Make sure to consider the following factors when searching for the best money transfer company to help you send funds between Australia and the UK:
- Exchange rate. Even a small difference in exchange rates can have a huge impact on the total cost of a transfer, so compare AUD/GBP and GBP/AUD exchange rates across several providers. Make sure that any rate a company quotes you is the rate you will actually receive on your transfer, and not merely the current interbank rate provided as a guide.
- Fees. Fees vary from one transfer provider to the next and can also make a big difference to the overall cost of a transaction. Some companies charge flat fees while others charge their fees as a percentage of the total transaction amount. Some companies will also waive their fees on large transfers, helping you save even more when sending money between Australia and the UK.
- Transfer options. Can you use forward contracts or limit orders to secure the exchange rate you want for your transaction? Is there a regular payments option if you need to send money between Australia and the UK on a recurring basis?
- Turnaround time. If you need to send funds between Australia and the UK as quickly as possible, check to see how long each provider takes to process a transfer from start to finish.
- Pickup options. Does the company offer bank deposits only, or can you also send cash for your recipient to collect in person if required?
- Currencies available. Make sure any provider you choose allows you to transfer funds in AUD, GBP and any other currency you may want to send overseas.
- Customer service. Transferring money overseas does carry some risk. Make sure you can always get in touch with the company as quickly as possible if you ever need help with a transaction.
How to send money between Australia and the UK
There are several options to choose from when you need to send money between Australia and the UK:
- Money transfer services. Online money transfer providers offer competitive exchange rates, minimal transaction fees and access to a wide range of currencies. Many providers also offer flexible options such as forward contracts and limit orders to help you find better value for money.
- Banks. You can send international transfers direct from your regular bank account, but you'll need to be willing to accept a lower exchange rate and higher transfer fees. You may also want to consider using a multinational bank that offers accounts specifically designed for international transfers, such as the Citibank Plus Account and the HSBC Multi-Currency Account.
- Cash transfer companies. Western Union and MoneyGram operate extensive international money transfer networks, allowing you to send funds between Australia and the UK within minutes. The money you send is then available for your recipient to collect as cash from their nearest cash pickup location.
- PayPal. If you and your overseas recipient both have PayPal accounts, you can send fast and convenient transfers between Australia and the UK using those accounts. You'll need to link a bank account or credit card to your PayPal account to pay for the transaction, and be aware that the transfer fee is calculated as a percentage of your transaction amount. The fee also varies depending on whether or not you use a credit card to pay for your transfer, so it's essential to check the total cost of a transfer before using PayPal to move money between Australia and the UK.
Emergency cash transfers
Regardless of whether you're an Australian tourist in the UK or vice versa, anything can happen when travelling overseas and you could find yourself in sudden need of cash. If your wallet or bag has been stolen, you should first report it to the local police and obtain a police report. Then look into the following choices for getting a fast cash replacement:
- Your bank account. Many banks have emergency services to get you cash and a replacement card if you happen to lose your card or have your wallet stolen while overseas.
- Cash transfer company. If you still have photo ID, you'll be able to pick up a cash transfer sent to you by a friend or relative.
- Travel insurance. Many travel insurance policies offer a cash solution if your wallet or purse is stolen while travelling. Make sure you keep the police report to submit to the insurer.
Cash pickup locations in the UK
Western Union and MoneyGram offer myriad cash pickup locations throughout the UK. Before going to pick up a transfer, it's worth phoning ahead to confirm a store's location and opening hours. You should also make sure you remember to take your photo ID and the transaction reference number.
Tips for picking up cash in the UK
Although the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade lists the UK as a destination where no more than normal safety precautions need to be taken, you should always take simple steps to stay safe when picking up cash. Have a trusted friend accompany you to the agency and never overtly display your cash in public. Never carry a large sum of money for any longer than necessary and deposit the cash somewhere safe as soon as you can.Back to top
How to send money between Australia and the UK
If you want to send money between Australia and the UK using a cash transfer service, you'll need the following information:
- Recipient name. The recipient name you give to the cash transfer company must be exactly the same as it appears on the recipient's photo ID.
- Transfer amount. The person who is picking up the money will be asked how much has been sent as a security measure.
- Tracking number. Your recipient will also have to provide a tracking number or transaction reference number.
- Your details. For further security, they may be asked for your name and contact information.
There are many options available when you need to send money between Australia and the UK, so make sure you compare a range of providers to find the most convenient and affordable transfer provider.Back to top
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