Best International Money Transfer

Find and compare the best exchange rates and lowest fees on international money transfers with Savvy.

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

Find the best international money transfers with Savvy

Are you looking to send money to your loved ones overseas from Australia in the cheapest way possible? With so many international money transfer service providers in the market now, competition for your business has never been fiercer. Savvy has partnered with some of Australia’s best specialist providers to help you secure the top exchange rates and lowest transfer fees. Compare your options here to help you find your ideal provider with Savvy and start sending money overseas 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 55,000 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 about the best international money transfers

How do I find the best international money transfer (IMT) provider?

There’s no such thing as a ‘one size fits all’ international money transfer provider. The best one for your transfer may not be the best one for your neighbours, as all international money transfer providers tend to have their own specialities. 

The best provider for your transfer will be influenced by:

  • the amount you wish to send
  • the country you wish to send it to
  • how fast you need the money to arrive
  • whether it’s going to be a one-off transfer or a regular occurrence
  • whether you’re sending money electronically or by cash
  • how you’re going to pay for the transfer
  • if there are fees charged to the receiver of the transfer

There are essentially two main options to send money overseas: an online money transfer and exchange service and your bank.

International money transfer service providers

Online money transfer services specialise in sending funds internationally and are often the cheapest way to do so. They frequently offer the highest exchange rates, low fees and great online and mobile platforms to make transferring money internationally simple. Most importantly, they can have your money at its destination within two days, with same-day and even instant transfers also possible in certain situations.

Many offer an online-only transfer service, often backed up by 24/7 customer support either by phone or online chat service. They either charge a flat fee (up to $15) to do the money transfer or they charge a percentage of the transfer amount (typically from 0.4% to 0.5%), with some even offering free transfers over a certain amount (such as $10,000).

However, some providers (such as Western Union) offer instant cash transfers which can be arranged in many countries around the world. The fee you’ll pay will depend on whether you want a standard or express service and whether you’re paying in cash or using a credit card. These tend to be much higher than those charged on online transfers, though.

Of course, the exchange rate you’re offered should always be your first point of comparison, as this will have the greatest overall effect on the cost of your transfer.

Banks

Banks were traditionally the way that most people transferred money overseas and many people still use banks for this function. However, because their international transfer fees range from between $6 and $35, they’re often far more expensive than other money transfer options. It’s worth watching out for hidden fees from banks, such as ‘receiving bank fees.’ This means the person you send money to also has to pay their bank to receive their payment. Such fees can range from $1 right up to $30, with $25 being an average fee.

However, crucially, most banks will take between three and five days to transfer your funds to your chosen destination. This means that if you’re in a situation where you need to send funds urgently, a bank is unlikely to be your best option.

Which international money transfer features should I compare to find the best one for me?

There are two basic features of international transfers which will affect your hip pocket:

  • the exchange rate you’re offered
  • the fees charged

Once you’ve compared these two features, you can then narrow down your choice by looking at other ‘convenience’ factors, such as minimum and maximum transfer limits, speed of transfer, currencies offered and countries served.

Transfer limits

Transfer limits are important to consider if you’re planning to send either large or small amounts of money. You can typically send up to USD $500,000 in one transfer, although this varies between providers. For instance, you should avoid companies which have an AUD $50,000 maximum transfer limit if you need to send money to Fiji to buy your dream holiday condo.

The same applies to minimum limits, too. If you want to send $200 to your family in the Philippines, there would be no point use choosing a provider which has a $250 minimum transfer limit.

Therefore, it’s vitally important to know more about each provider and what their specialities are. Savvy can help you find the right provider for your specific needs by providing the information you need to help you make the right choice.

Speed of transfer

Expect international money transfers to take between one and five days, although this again depends on the service provider you choose. Transfers to high-volume destinations such as the USA and UK will often be processed much more quickly than those to less-connected nations. If your transfer is urgent, though, you can sometimes pay more for an express service through certain providers.

Countries and currencies

All providers vary as to how many countries they serve and currencies they deal in. Some specialise in one continent: for example, specialist provider Remitly was started to help migrants in North America send money back to their families in South American nations and SingX is an Asian currency specialist. Before you choose your provider, it’s important to confirm whether they support the transfer you’re looking for.

How do I find the best exchange rate and lowest fees?

Both banks and international money transfer providers make their money by charging fees or adding a ‘margin’ on exchange rates. This means they’ll offer slightly less than the mid-market rate, so they make a small profit each time currency is exchanged. The smaller the margin (also known as the ‘mark-up’), the better the deal is for you and the more money your Aussie dollar will buy. Some key ways to get the best exchange rate and lowest fees include:

  • look at the exchange rate of your destination currency well in advance of your transfer so you are familiar with which direction it’s travelling in
  • try to time your transfers so you get the best exchange rate
  • know the mid-market exchange rate and find a rate as close to this as possible
  • think about whether a set fee or a percentage on the transfer amount would be the best option in your circumstances. Percentage fees are generally better for smaller transfers, while set fees are more advantageous for larger transfers
  • use transfer tools such as forward contracts and limit orders to ensure you get the best exchange rate (enabling you to lock in a particularly high rate)
  • consider setting up an international bank account if you intend to make international transfers regularly. Exchange as much currency as you can afford when rates are high, and store it in your international account (with a provider such as WISE) until you are ready to send it
  • compare exchange rates often with Savvy, as they can move quickly, and even the slightest rise or fall can potentially affect your transfer substantially

Four of our top international money transfer provider picks

Xe.com

Canstar Award-winning provider Xe is a globally-recognised online FX trading specialist based in Canada. It’s a subsidiary of the Euronet Worldwide Group and has been established for over 25 years.

What we like about Xe:

  • Award-winning online and mobile platform
  • Five out of five stars from TrustPilot
  • Customer support in three languages (English, French, Spanish)
  • Low fees (0.5% to 2% of transfer amount)
  • 139 currencies in over 220 countries
  • Bank to bank transfers (no cash transactions)
  • One to five days transfer speed (with an average of two days)

OFX

Rated by TrustPilot as four out of five stars, OFX is based in Australia and was established in 1998. They offer transfers directly from a debit card into a receiver’s bank account – again, no cash transfers.

What we like about OFX:

  • Offer a lock-in exchange rate feature
  • $250 minimum transfer amount
  • Flat fee of $15 for transfers up to $10,000
  • Free transfers for amounts over $10,000
  • Two to five-day transfer speed (no same-day transfers)
  • Funds tracking available
  • 24/7 worldwide phone support

WISE

An online international money transfer provider, WISE offers a foreign currency account with a linked debit card to make spending easier in whatever currency you choose. It’s popular with people who travel overseas often.

What we like about WISE:

  • Percentage-based transfer fee (around 0.41% of transfer amount)
  • Great for smaller transfers
  • Offer multiple tools on their website to help with currency conversion
  • Speedy service, with 80% of transfers arriving the next day
  • TrustPilot five-star rating
  • No margin added to the exchange rate

TorFX

Specialising in larger transfers, TorFX is commonly used by businesses. Founded in the UK in 2004, but with offices around the world including in Queensland, it offers a full FX service which has won multiple awards.

What we like about TorFX:

  • Canstar five-star rated for Outstanding Value International Money Transfers
  • AUD $200 minimum transfer amount, AUD $50,000 maximum
  • No transfer fees or commissions
  • Guarantee to match any competitor’s exchange rate
  • Forward contracts and limit orders offered
  • Dedicated account managers available for repeat business

Top tips to get the best international money transfer deal

Look for favourable exchange rates

Since international exchange rates change so often, it’s worth doing your research about which way the currency you’re wishing to buy is heading compared to the Australian dollar. It may be worth waiting a few days to get a better rate if your transfer isn’t urgent.

Send larger amounts less often

If you’re using a provider which offers a flat-fee transfer rate, it makes more sense to transfer a larger amount less often, rather than smaller amounts frequently (if, for example, you’re regularly sending money back home to your family).

Get spot quotes often

Don’t be shy about asking for a spot quote from your provider frequently. The larger your transfer amount, the more quotes you should get before making your transfer decision, as even small changes in the exchange rate can mean the difference of hundreds or even thousands of dollars.

Compare providers with Savvy

Compare the different international money transfer providers with Savvy before making your transfer decision and when you’re ready to sign up, use the direct link to take you straight to the IMT provider of your choice.

Frequently asked questions about the best international money transfers

How do I track my international money transfer?

The best international money transfer providers offer a tracking service via their website or mobile app which allows you to track your transfer. You’ll always receive a notification when your transfer is complete.

Which countries can I send a money transfer to?

It’s possible to send money to almost every developed country in the world, with the exception of those countries which may be subject to international financial sanctions or whose monetary system is not integrated with the rest of the world (such as North Korea and Iran). In many African nations, you may have to use a system of mobile phone pre-paid top-ups to pay recipients, as many recipients may not have a bank account.

When is the best time to transfer money internationally?

If you wish to avoid delays, it’s best to send your IMT on a weekday during business hours. This way, it won’t be held up by weekend delays. The international money transfer time system revolves around London business hours, since this city is the international exchange capital of the world.

Are all international money transfer providers reliable and safe to use?

Yes – they are reliable and safe as long as they are registered by the appropriate authority. International money transfer providers are usually regulated in their country of origin or registration. Make sure the company you choose is regulated by the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) and is a member of the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA), which could assist you if anything goes wrong.

Do any providers offer free international money transfers?

Yes – some international money transfer providers offer the first transfer free of charge to attract new clients. However, if you wish to take advantage of such an offer, make sure you check the exchange rate you’re being offered is on a par with other companies who may charge a small fee.

Are international money transfers refundable?

In general terms, money transfers aren’t refundable once delivered. Once you’ve made a transfer, it can’t be withdrawn or refunded. The exception may be a transfer to New Zealand, as it shares the Australian banking system. If you’ve sent an international money transfer to New Zealand incorrectly, it may be possible to be refunded if you act quickly after you’ve realised you’ve made a mistake.