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Transferring money internationally? Here are 5 things to look for in 2022


When you're sending cash across the world, you want to make sure it's in safe hands.

Sponsored by HSBC. Convert currencies online anytime, anywhere with the HSBC Everyday Global Account. Proud winners of the Finder Award Best Transaction Account 2021.

More than any other point in history, we're living in a global village.

It's not unusual for people to have family, friends, business associates and creditors spread across the planet.

So when you want to send cash to any of them – well, it means you need a money transfer service that's reliable.

But how can you tell? Well, we've put together 5 key things for you to look out for when you're sending money across the globe.

1. Provider reliability

There are tons of different money transfer services available. Some are run by banks, while others are independent services.

Both have their benefits.

However, some people prefer to use banks when they're sending money internationally.

There is generally a more established network and greater traceability if something does go wrong.

Whichever provider you choose, it's important that it works across a wide variety of countries and currencies.

It should also be able to provide you with up-to-date exchange rates and transparency around fees.

Let's take a look at HSBC as an example – an international bank with a global network.

Currently, the HSBC Everyday Global Account allows you to hold up to 10 different currencies and make international transfers in over 60 currencies via HSBC Australia Mobile Banking.

Additionally, HSBC real-time exchange rates are refreshed every 60 seconds on HSBC Australia Mobile Banking – so you'll always know how much you will receive from your currency conversion.

Of course, everyone's international transfer needs are different. You should always opt for a provider that meets your specific requirements.

2. Fees

When you're sending money, there are 2 main types of fees to consider – direct fees or increased exchange rates.

Depending on the provider, it may charge a flat fee or effectively take a cut from the exchange rates.

Both flat fees and increased exchange rates have their advantages and disadvantages – so it's tricky to say which is "better".

But when large sums of money are involved, many opt for a flat fee, to minimise costs in the process.

Sometimes you're able to save on fees by grouping several transactions together.

Just make sure you check out point number 4 below before you assume this is always the case.

And another thing to watch out for – you may also find there are sending bank fees and receiving bank fees.

Speak to the relevant financial institutions before beginning the transfer to see if there will be additional costs.

3. Exchange rates

When you send money overseas, it's converted into the local currency, based on the current exchange rate.

Now, this is an important consideration.

This is because exchange rates are always shifting and changing, driven by wider economic circumstances. They're rarely predictable, either.

Ideally, you want to be able to send money when the exchange rate is in your favour.

However, this isn't always possible – after all, international money transfers often need to be done in a hurry.

Additionally, some providers will charge based on exchange rates rather than a fee.

So if you know you're going to be transferring money overseas on a regular basis, make sure that you are making note of exchange rates often.

Additionally, if you spot a good exchange rate from a provider, you check it closely to see if there are any other fees required.

This will help both you and the recipient get the maximum bang for your buck.

4. Transfer limits

Different countries, money transfer services and financial institutions can all have varying transfer limits in place.

These limits are usually connected to fraud prevention or tax laws.

So before starting your transaction, check if there are any transfer limits first.

This will ensure that you're able to send it properly and that the recipient will be able to receive it without issue.

However, if the amount of money you're sending is lower than the transfer limit, you may be able to combine several transfers into one.

This way, you'd only need to pay one transfer fee, rather than multiple fees for multiple transactions.

5. The recipient's details

Last – but absolutely not least – make sure that you have all of the recipient's correct information.

When you're transferring money within Australia, you typically just need a BSB and an account number. Or if you're paying a bill, you might have a BPAY code.

But when you're sending money internationally, it can be a bit more involved. The way account details are formatted often varies from country to country.

As a result, you'll generally need to provide the following details:

  • The recipient's name and address
  • Their bank account number, or a specific International Bank Account Number (IBAN)
  • The SWIFT code from the financial institution (also known as a Bank Identification Code, or BIC)

The same principles broadly apply if you're transferring money to pay a bill, too.

Remember – the wrong information may mean that your money is unable to be sent. So make sure you check everything carefully before starting the transaction.

Learn more about transferring money with HSBC

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