How to send money to the USA

Here's how to send a quick, affordable and secure money transfer to the United States from Australia.

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Statue of Liberty, New York, USA

While your local bank branch might be the most obvious option for sending money across borders, you can save on fees and take advantage of more competitive exchange rates with an online money transfer company. In this guide, we'll go through tips on how to get the best deal and what options you have.

In short, to transfer money to the United States, you'll need to:

  1. Compare some services that can send your money to US dollars.
  2. Choose one and sign up for an account.
  3. Provide the details of your transfer, including the amount and who you want to send it to.
  4. Confirm and pay.

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Send money to the US with FlashFX

Low minimum transfer amount of just AU$200, with no set-up fees or transfer fees.

  • Minimum transfer amount: $200
  • Online transfer fee: $0
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How much does it cost to send money to the US? Compare your options

Min. Transfer Amount Transfer Speed Online Transfer Fee Rate Amount Received Description CTA Details
AUD 2,000 1 day AUD 0.00 0.682 USD
6,816
TorFX guarantees to match any competitor's exchange rate. Conditions apply.
Send money overseas in 30+ currencies with competitive rates for transfer amounts over $2,000.
Go to site Show details
AUD 2,000 1 day AUD 0.00 0.682 USD
6,816
Sign up for a new account and receive a $50 Myer gift card when you transfer $10,000 or more.
Send 60+ currencies at competitive rates and no fees. If you find a better eligible quote, WorldFirst will beat it.
Go to site Show details
AUD 2,000 1 day AUD 0.00 0.682 USD
6,816
SendFX guarantees to match any competitor's exchange rate. T&Cs apply.
Fee-free transfers in 30+ currencies to over 200 countries.
Go to site Show details
AUD 250 1 - 2 days AUD 0.00 0.682 USD
6,816
$0 transfer fees for Finder customers.
No-maximum limit transfers with competitive exchange rates for 100+ currencies. No transfer fee over AUD$10,000.
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AUD 5 1 - 2 days EUR 3.00 0.677 USD
6,773
Special offer: Pay zero fees on your first 5 transfers.
Get bank-beating exchange rates and fast transfer times on 15+ popular currencies.
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AUD 200 1 day AUD 0.00 0.679 USD
6,788
Low minimum transfer amount of just AU$200, with no set-up fees or transfer fees. Go to site Show details
AUD 3,000 1 day GBP 20.00 0.682 USD
6,806
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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AUD 1 1 - 2 days AUD 45.00 0.684 USD
6,812
Make online transfers at the mid-market rate with transparent fees in 45+ currencies. Go to site Show details
AUD 1 Within an hour AUD 3.99 0.676 USD
6,758
Use promo code 3FREE to send your first 3 transfers with no fee.
An online money transfer service with cash pickup, bank account to bank account and airtime transfers available.
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AUD 2,000 1 day AUD 0.00 0.682 USD
6,816
BFX can help you send fee-free transfers to 30+ currencies. Go to site Show details

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The "Rate" and "Amount Received" displayed are indicative rates that have been supplied by each brand or gathered by Finder.

Exchange rates are volatile and change often. As a result, the exchange rate listed on Finder may vary to the actual exchange rate quoted for the brand. Please confirm the actual exchange rate and mention "Finder" before you commit to a brand.

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What's the best way to send money to the US?

There are three main options that you can use, each with their own pros and cons.

The best way to send money to the United States depends on your situation. The main options include the following:

Blue icon representing money transfers Image: Infogram

Money transfer services

These offer some of the most cost-effective transfers as they only trade in foreign currencies. You'll also have a variety of options for your recipient to get the money, like to a mobile wallet or home delivery.

Picture not described: BlueCoinsCashIcon_Infogram_94x62.png Image: Infogram

Cash transfers

Services such as Western Union allow you to send cash transfers for immediate pick-up by the recipient. While it's a fast way to send money, it generally won't match the rates or fees of dedicated money transfer services.

Picture not described: BlueBankIcon_Infogram_62x56.png Image: Infogram

Banks

The US dollar is one of the most popular currencies, so it's safe to assume that any major bank in Australia will offer it. However, beware of the higher fees and less competitive exchange rates banks offer compared to the other options.

Let's crunch the numbers: Sending $2,000 to the US

To put this into perspective, let's see what a transfer with each of these options looks like. This table uses real fees and exchange rates so is current as of 6 May 2019.

Bank transfer Cash transfer Money transfer service
Fee $24 + additional correspondent bank fees $30 $3.99
Exchange rate 1 AUD = 0.6723 USD 1 AUD = 0.6757 USD 1 AUD = 0.69457 USD
Transfer speed 2-4 days Minutes 1-3 days
Amount received US$1,328 US$1,331 US$1,386
Overall
  • Slowest and most expensive
  • Fastest
  • Best value

The bank option ends up being both slow and getting the least amount of money to your recipient. If you go with the specialist money transfer service, your recipient ends up with US$58 more. However, if speed is what's most important, the cash transfer can't be beaten for instant transfers.

How long will it take to transfer money to the US?

It depends on what method you choose to go with, but the fastest one is instant and the slowest can take up to a week. Since banks need to transfer your money through several correspondent banks, it takes the longest. Cash transfers are the fastest and normally arrive in minutes.

Emergency cash transfer

If something happens and you need to transfer money to the US as fast as possible, cash transfers will be your best bet. This involves paying with a credit or debit card and transferring to a cash pick-up location. While it is fast, there'll be more fees involved.

How to send money to the US without a bank account

Cash transfer services can also help you out if either you or your recipient is unbanked. If you don't have a bank account, look for transfer services that have agent locations so you can go in and pay in cash. These cash transfer services will also have agent locations in other countries where your recipient can pick up the cash, without needing a bank account.

What to watch out for

If you're sending a lot of money to the US, your recipient will need to declare it to the IRS. US citizens and residents will need to fill in Form 3520 if the transfer is one of the following:

  • A gift worth $100,000 or more and it's from a non-resident.
  • A gift of $15,601 or more from a foreign corporation or partnership.

While foreign gifts generally aren't subject to income tax, you still need to file the form with your taxes or face penalties.

Documentation you'll need to send money to the US

  • The recipient's full name. Your recipient will need to show photo identification if they're picking up the money, so make sure the name on the order is the same as the name on their ID.
  • The sender's full name. As an additional security measure, the agent may ask for the full name of the sender. Be sure that the recipient knows your complete name.
  • Your recipient's contact information and bank details. Both the sender and the recipient must have each other's address and contact details.
  • The tracking number. Keep the tracking number given to you upon sending the transfer as the recipient must provide this to the agent before the cash can be released.

It's always best to keep all the paperwork to do with your transfer, just in case you need proof that the money was sent.

What to compare to get the best deal

When you're choosing what transfer service to go to, you should look into the following:
  • Exchange rates. Most services will add a margin to the exchange rate, but banks can often add the most. A small difference to the exchange rate can have a big impact when you transfer large amounts of money.
  • Fees. Fees are either charged as a flat fee or a percentage, which means the more you send, the higher the fee will be. While some services offer fee-free transfers, this means they'll add a bigger margin to the exchange rate.
  • Payment options. Most, if not all, transfer companies will let you pay through your bank account, but if you can only pay with cash, you'll have to look a bit harder.
  • Delivery methods. This depends on your recipient – would they prefer it deposited in their bank account or mobile wallet? Or can they pick it up from an agent location?
  • Customer service. Some services are only open during business hours, which can make it difficult when something goes wrong. Also, check out how you can contact them – do they only have a phone number? Or can you live-chat with them as well?

Foreign exchange rates explained

The exchange rate is how much one country's currency is worth in another country's currency. With the AUD/USD currency pairing, you'll get more money when either the Australian dollar is strong or the US dollar is weak.

You'll also see that the exchange rate you get quoted from money transfer companies differs. Compare what you get quoted with the mid-market rate below, which is what your money is actually worth.

Today's exchange rate AUD to USD

1
0
Updated: 12 Nov 2019 02:02:51 UTC

Cash pick-up locations in the US

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

Logo for Global Reach (formerly FC Exchange) International Money Transfers
Global Reach (formerly FC Exchange) International Money Transfers

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.

Logo for WorldFirst International Money Transfers
WorldFirst International Money Transfers

Sign up for a new account and receive a $50 Myer gift card when you transfer $10,000 or more.
Send 60+ currencies at competitive rates and no fees. If you find a better eligible quote, WorldFirst will beat it.

Logo for SendFX International Money Transfers
SendFX International Money Transfers

SendFX guarantees to match any competitor's exchange rate. T&Cs apply.
Fee-free transfers in 30+ currencies to over 200 countries.

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8 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    MarieJuly 17, 2018

    What’s the cheapest and fastest way that my family can send money from Melbourne to California? Please give me the most trusted site.

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JhezJuly 17, 2018Staff

      Hello Marie,

      Thank you for your comment.

      If you’re looking for a fast money transfer to the U.S.A, you may want to check this page with a guide about same-day money transfer. You can see two popular money transfer companies that will let you transfer money to the U.S. within the day. I hope this helps.

      Regards,
      Jhezelyn

  2. Default Gravatar
    DarrelNovember 28, 2017

    I have actual US dollars(hard currency) that I want to send to someone in the USA. Thus, I don’t need to change Australian dollars into US dollars. Does any company allow this, noting that they usually probably make their profit from the exchange rate.

    • Default Gravatar
      MariaNovember 29, 2017

      Hi Darrel,

      Thank you for your inquiry.

      While there are services on this page that allow USD to USD transfers, they implement an exchange rate which you can compare or the amount received on the table.
      Another factor to consider is the transfer fee which can reduce the value of the amount transferred.

      You may opt to reach out to the services directly if you have any further concerns.

      I hope this helps.

      Best,
      Maria

  3. Default Gravatar
    NaomiJuly 11, 2017

    I compared options a few weeks ago and Sable came up as the best option.
    Now it is not coming up at all – why is this?

    • Default Gravatar
      DanielleJuly 12, 2017

      Hi Naomi,

      Thank you for contacting finder. We are a comparison website and general information service, we’re more than happy to offer general advice.

      If you wish to know more about Sable, you may refer to this page.

      I hope this helps.

      Cheers,
      Danielle

  4. Default Gravatar
    WolfgangMay 18, 2015

    If I send money to China by using citibank plus account, how much total cost would expect?Citibank doesn’t charge but receiving bank or intermediary bank charge for the service. Say, Today I send money US$1000 to Bank of China. How much I have to send AU$ to receiver side to get US1000?

    • Default Gravatar
      JodieMay 28, 2015

      Hi Wolfgang,

      Thank you for reaching out.

      Please visit our send money to China page to find information regarding sending funds from AU to China including fees and exchange rates for multiple exchange services.

      Regards
      Jodie

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