International Money Transfers

Find the best international money transfers and compare your options with Savvy to help you get the lowest fees and highest exchange rates.

Last updated on August 11th, 2022 at 05:01 pm by Cate Cook

Compare international money transfers from Australia

International money transfers are a fast and efficient way of transferring money overseas. Over AUD $7 billion is sent out of Australia to overseas destinations each year this way. There are many different options available with a variety of speeds, exchange rates and fees to get your head around. You can find and compare your options right here with Savvy to help you get the best deal on your international money transfer. Get the process started with us today.

site-logos Xe
  Minimum Transfer Amount Transfer Speed Transfer Fee Total Currencies Available  
site-logos $0 1-3 days From $0 100
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Xe is a 2021 Canstar Award Winner and offers the best exchange rates, low to no fees so customers save the most money

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site-logos OFX
  Minimum Transfer Amount Transfer Speed Transfer Fee Total Currencies Available  
site-logos $250 1-3 days $0 50+
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OFX offers speed, security and simplicity with no hidden fees, total transparency and real people support 24/7

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site-logos Wise Money Transfer
  Minimum Transfer Amount Transfer Speed Transfer Fee Total Currencies Available  
site-logos $0 1-3 days From 0.41% 53
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Send money cheaper and easier with Wise with no hidden fees.

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site-logos TorFX
  Minimum Transfer Amount Transfer Speed Transfer Fee Total Currencies Available  
site-logos $200 0-2 days $0 35
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Excellent exchange rates with no transfer fees. Trusted by over 325,000 customers. Awarded Canstar’s 5 star rating 2018-2021.

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site-logos SingX
  Minimum Transfer Amount Transfer Speed Transfer Fee Total Currencies Available  
site-logos $0 0-2 days From $0 30
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SingX offers live exchange rates with no mark ups and only charge a nominal fee shown to you upfront

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site-logos Remitly
  Minimum Transfer Amount Transfer Speed Transfer Fee Total Currencies Available  
site-logos $0 0-2 days From $0 21
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Remitly offers fast, safe and secure money transfers with excellent rates to over 100 countries

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More information on international money transfers

What is an international money transfer?

An international money transfer (IMT) is a way of getting money from your Australian bank account to a person in another country, either in cash instantaneously or through the international banking system. This may be to pay for goods or services, to send money to relatives or to pay for work or contracts carried out overseas. Payments can either be made to an individual’s bank account, to a company’s account, to a digital wallet or to a phone account.

The amount you can send overseas in one transfer ranges from $1 right up to $500,000 or more, although this differs between providers and may be impacted by your bank’s maximum withdrawal limit. Some international money transfer providers also have a minimum transfer limit, which can reach up to $250, so this is one feature well worth comparing.

The main advantage of using an international money transfer provider is they’re usually far cheaper than conventional banks. They provide a fast, secure and convenient service that can’t be matched by the big banks.

How can I make an international money transfer?

You can make an international money transfer in several ways:

  • in person at a bank branch where you have an account
  • online, through your regular banking platform or using your normal banking app
  • online, through an international money transfer provider (which is a company specialising in sending money internationally)
  • in person at the branch of an international money transfer provider

You can pay for your transfer either in cash, using a credit or debit card or by electronic transfer out of your Australian bank account. The total amount you’ll pay will include any fees and charges levied by the service provider, plus the sum you wish to send overseas (transferred into the local currency at an agreed exchange rate).

What is the international money transfer process?

Using an international money transfer provider is simple and easy. To pay someone overseas using online banking, just follow these steps:

  1. Find and connect to your international money transfer provider through Savvy and create an account (which will include supplying personal ID if requested, passwords for your new account and providing bank details of where the funds should come from)
  2. Enter the amount you wish to transfer in AUD or in the receiving currency and your international money transfer provider will show you immediately how much you’ll need to transfer in AUD
  3. Provide details of who to send the money to, including the appropriate international bank code (depending on which country the recipient lives in)
  4. Press send to accept the exchange rate quoted and send the money
  5. You’ll receive a confirmation email or notification that your transfer has been successful and you’ll see on your bank statement the money has left your bank account
  6. Keep all receipt numbers and transfer details handy just in case they’re needed to check details in the future

What information do I need to complete an international money transfer?

Before you can transfer money abroad, you’ll need the following information to hand:

  • Destination country: the country where you’re sending the money
  • Recipient’s name: who it is you’re sending the money to (this could be an individual person or a company name)
  • Recipient’s bank: the name of the bank you’re sending the money to
  • Recipient’s account name: you’ll need the exact name of the receiving account to make sure your funds are sent to the right person or company
  • Recipient’s account number: we know these numbers as BSB and Acct No, but there are different numbering systems internationally to identify accounts.

Some of the most popular of these include:

  • SWIFT Code (Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications) – between 8 and 11 alphanumeric characters consisting of country code, bank code, location code, and sometimes branch
  • BIC (Bank Identifier Code) – again, between 8 and 11 numbers or letters which describe a bank’s exact location
  • IBAN (International Bank Account Number) – between 15 and 30 digits, which identify the exact account where your money will land
  • ABA (American Bankers Association) routing number – a 9-digit code given to each financial institution in the US by the American Bankers Association
  • IFSC (Indian Financial System Code) – an 11-character code that consists of numbers and letters used for electronic money transfers in India, as well as other neighbouring countries such as for money transfers to Bangladesh

Your transfer provider or bank will tell you which specific account details they require depending on the destination of the funds you wish to transfer.

How do I compare international money transfer providers?

The factors you should look at when comparing service providers are:

  • The exchange rate quoted to you – this is the current value of the Australian dollar versus the currency you’re transferring money into. Different providers will offer different exchange rates, which change on a day-to-day basis, so you should always compare these at the moment you make your transfer.
  • Whether there’s an exchange rate guarantee provided – this ensures the rate you’re quoted when enquiring about the transfer is the same as the one applied to your transaction, which may take place minutes, hours or days later when international exchange rates may have shifted. Guarantees are often provided for a set number of hours after the quote is offered (for example, your quote may say ‘the exchange rate to send an international money transfer to India is guaranteed for 24 hours from provision date’).
  • Transfer time – check how long it may take for the money to be available at your chosen destination. While some transfers can be completed almost instantly, it could take up to five working days for the order to arrive through other providers.
  • Fees and commission charged – these fees can range from a flat fee (which can be charged up to $10 to $15) to a conversion ‘margin fee’ (which is a percentage markup charged on the exchange rate for each exchange). Transfer fees can also be charged as a percentage of the total transfer and may fall between 0% and 1% or more.
  • Receiving fees – this means the person you send the money to will also be charged a fee to receive their money. Such fees may be levied by international money transfer providers or by third-party companies such as Visa or Mastercard for use of their card services.
  • Payment method – whether you pay for your international transfer in cash, by PayWave, PayPass or EFTPOS, via credit card or via electronic transfer.
  • Transfer limits – is there a minimum or maximum amount stipulated for international transfers by your provider? Check you’re comfortable with the quoted limits and that they’ll enable you to make the necessary payment.
  • Receiving method – how will your recipient get their money? This ranges from a cash pickup, funds deposited into their bank account or transferred to their digital wallet linked to their phone.
  • Countries serviced and currencies offered – not all providers will transfer funds to all countries in all currencies, so check your chosen provider services the country you wish to send to.

Which are some of the best international money transfer providers available in Australia?

Xe.com

A Canadian-based online FX trading specialist and international money transfer provider which is a subsidiary of the Euronet Group, Xe.com started as Xenon Laboratories and has been established for over 25 years. It offers both retail and business FX accounts.

  • $1 minimum transfer amount
  • 139 currencies available in over 220 countries
  • Offers international payment to bank accounts (no cash transfers)
  • Provides comprehensive foreign currency tools online and mobile
  • Maximum USD $500,000 transfer

OFX

OFX is an Australian-based company launched in Sydney in 1998. It now has over one million customers globally. It charges a standard flat fee of $15 if you transfer an amount under $10,000, and over $10,000 there’s no transfer fee.

  • $250 minimum transfer amount
  • More than 50 currencies available across over 190 countries
  • One to three-day transfer speed
  • Fee-free transfers over $10,000
  • Phone support 24/7 worldwide

Wise Money Transfer

An online app and international money transfer provider offering an international account to make spending easier in any currency, WISE offers a host of useful currency conversion tools and sophisticated banking technology.

  • Transfer fees from 0.41%
  • Offers international currency accounts with a debit card
  • 50 currencies available
  • 80 countries covered
  • 80% of transfers arrive the next day

TorFX

Founded in Queensland in 2004, TorFX is still based in Australia but has offices worldwide and over 450 employees. It’s won awards for the most outstanding value in FX transactions for many years running from companies comparing money transfer providers.

  • $200 minimum transfer amount, $50,000 maximum
  • Offers forward and spot contracts
  • Online platform including FX trading
  • 35+ currencies offered
  • Guarantee to match competitor’s exchange rates

SingX

Sing X was founded in Singapore but has now expanded to Australia and permits money to be sent to China via Hong Kong. They’re known for charging a percentage fee and using the mid-market exchange rate, making them a highly economic option for some transfer amounts.

  • Asian currency specialists
  • 30 countries served by 15 currencies
  • Transaction fee around 0.5% of transfer amount
  • Speedy transfers – most transfers happen within one day
  • Guaranteed locked-in exchange rate available

Remitly

Remitly was established in Seattle in the USA. It specialises in helping immigrants send funds from the USA to support their families.

  • Special offer of no fees for the first transfer
  • Operates in over 100 countries worldwide
  • 21 currencies available
  • Known for low fees and fast service
  • Mobile app specialist

How to compare international money transfer providers

Pros and cons of international money transfers

PROS

Traceable

You’ll be able to trace your funds to know exactly when they’ve been sent and when they’ve arrived, often with sophisticated tracking apps keeping a round-the-clock watch on your funds.

Safe

Avoid the unpredictability of cheques or relying on postage by using 100% online transfer service providers who use highly secure encryption services and are as safe as the large banks.

Convenient

Convenient online and mobile apps with handy conversion tools make it simple to transfer funds 24/7 with day or night phone support possible from some providers.

CONS

Fees

There can be fees involved in transferring money internationally, ranging from a flat service fee to currency conversion and transfer charges.

Non-reversible

One downside to having efficient processing is that most international money transfers are non-reversible. For those companies who do offer cancellation, a fee will generally be applied and the cancellation may not be guaranteed.

Exchange rate

There can be uncertainty about the amount to transfer with international exchange rates changing so rapidly. However, many providers offer locked-in quotes so you’ll know in advance what exchange rate you’ll get for your transfer.

Frequently asked questions about international money transfers

How do I increase the safety of my international money transfer?

To ensure the safety of your transfer, use a reputable money transfer provider such as one of Savvy’s partners and double-check all account details before lodging. Using an international money transfer provider who is regulated by the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) provides an extra degree of reassurance if any issues occur. It’s worth remembering to only transfer money to people you know and remain vigilant to possible money scams.

Do I need to pay tax on international money transfers?

Tax usually refers to income tax in Australia. Any income is typically seen as taxable by the Australian Government, but if you’re receiving money from abroad, it’s advisable to seek guidance from the ATO or a registered tax agent as to whether your international funds are considered income. This also applies if you’re transferring money from Australia to a foreign bank account in your name.

Will I need to open a new account before I can use an international money transfer?

Unless you’re using your existing bank, it’s likely you’ll need to establish an account with whichever international money transfer institution you choose to use. It is particularly important to ensure your identity is correctly verified. Set up of accounts is usually very straightforward and only takes a few minutes. 

How do I find the receiver’s bank code?

The receiver of the funds will need to provide the appropriate details to you. They may need to contact their bank to find out the required codes and details to ensure they receive their money on time.

Will the receiver need to have a bank account?

No, not necessarily with all providers. Some transfer providers will require the recipient to have a bank account, but others such as Western Union can make payments to digital wallets or to accounts identified by a phone number using ApplePay.

Can I transfer money to an account in my own name internationally?

Yes – if you’re a dual citizen, looking to relocate, or intend to take a working holiday or gap year abroad, using an international money transfer is a safe option to send money overseas to yourself. Make sure you’re aware of any fees your overseas bank may charge to receive the money.