Cheapest International Money Transfers

Find the cheapest international transfer deal by comparing your options with Savvy.

Last updated on July 19th, 2022 at 05:38 pm by Cate Cook

Compare international transfer services to find the cheapest

Are you looking to send money overseas and want to find the cheapest way to do so? You can compare a range of different international money transfer providers right here with Savvy. Choose a company which offers the highest exchange rates and lowest fees from our panel of trusted exchange partners and start your transfer 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 the cheapest international money transfer services

What is the cheapest way to transfer money internationally?

Using an international money transfer company will nearly always be the cheapest way of sending money overseas. They will almost certainly be cheaper than using a traditional bank, as they can charge anywhere from $6 up to $30 to transfer money overseas. Paying by credit card can also attract hefty fees (often around $30) plus a percentage fee on the cash amount you wish to exchange. This fee can be as high as 5% of the total transfer amount.

On the other hand, companies that specialise in international transfers will, on average, charge around $10 or less for a transfer. The fee for smaller transfers can sometimes be as little as a dollar or two, which makes them a very economic method of getting money overseas safely.

However, there isn’t one international money transfer provider which will suit all customers, because the cheapest provider for one transfer (such as under $1,000) may not be the cheapest for another transfer (such as over $10,000). That’s why it’s important to compare providers with Savvy until you find one offering the cheapest exchange rates and lowest fees for exactly the sort of transfer you wish to complete.

How do I work out which transfer company will be the cheapest for me?

There are two parts to the cost of transferring money overseas:

  • The exchange rate offered between Australian dollars and the currency you wish to buy. This is the most important factor to compare, especially if your transfer is a large one over $5,000.
  • Any fees which may be charged to carry out the transfer. There are a couple of ways that fees are charged, and the size of your transfer will determine which one will be the cheapest transfer option for you.

Exchange rates

International currencies are traded 24/7 around the world at several major foreign exchange (FX) centres. The value of one Australian dollar constantly changes compared to other currencies. How much you get for your one dollar is known as the exchange rate. Even small differences in the exchange rate can mean the difference of hundreds or even thousands of dollars for your money transfer (depending on its size) which is why it’s important to compare providers with Savvy.

As there are buy and sell prices for currencies, the rate you should concentrate on is known as the mid-market rate, which is halfway between the buy and sell price. The closer the exchange rate you’re offered is to the mid-market rate, the better the deal is for you.

Some international money transfer services (and banks too) make their money by adding a margin to the exchange rate they offer. This is known as a mark-up. The bigger the mark-up charged, the more the transfer will cost you, so you should keep a clear eye on this when comparing your options.

Fees

Fees to transfer money internationally are either charged as a flat fee (for example, $15 per transfer) or as a percentage of the transfer you wish to make (from 0.4% to 0.5% of the transfer value). If a flat fee is charged, the exchange rate you’ll be offered will often be close to, or right on, the mid-market exchange rate; in other words, there may not be much of a mark-up on the exchange rate you’re offered. A percentage transfer fee will vary according to the provider you choose, the amount you wish to transfer and the destination you wish to send money to.

Some companies also offer fee-free transfers, either for a transfer over a set amount (such as $10,000), as an incentive to attract new customers or simply because they make their money on exchange rate mark-ups. Knowing which method of charging a company uses can be useful when comparing transfer providers. It’s always worth checking the exchange rate offered with fee-free deals to make sure you’re being offered the cheapest possible international transfer deal.

Which is best: a flat fee or a percentage fee?

This will depend on how much you’re wanting to transfer to another country. In general terms, flat fees are better for larger transfers over $5,000, as charging a percentage of this amount is likely to be much more expensive. However, percentage fees work best for small transfers. For instance, a $100 transfer with a 0.5% fee would only cost $0.50 compared to a flat fee of $10 or more.

What other factors impact the cost of an international transfer?

Other factors which impact the cost of transferring money overseas include:

  • the size of your transfer (for example, some companies have limits on how much they can transfer to smaller nations, so they will charge more for larger transfers)
  • the speed of the transfer – whether you wish to pay more for an instant cash transfer
  • whether you’re using tools such as a limit order or a forward contract to give you certainty about the exchange rate you’ll receive
  • geopolitical considerations and the political stability of the country you want to send money to. For example, if the country is experiencing political unrest, the fees to transfer money to that country will typically be far higher

Who are some of the cheapest money transfer providers in Australia?

Savvy is partnered with a range of providers who can offer cheap, affordable transfers. Some of our top picks include:

Wise

  • Offers an international account so you can transfer money when the exchange rate is at its best and store currency until needed
  • Charges a percentage of transfer (from 0.41%)
  • Offers 53 currencies, and transfers in 1-3 days

TorFX

  • Account managers to assist with business money transfers
  • Canstar 5-star rating from 2018 to 2021
  • Offers 35 currencies and transfer speed of 0-2 days

SingX

  • No mark-ups on exchange rate
  • Charges a percentage fee of up to 0.50%
  • 30 currencies available, mainly in Asian nations

Remitly

  • Offers low fees based on a percentage of transfer
  • Serves over 100 countries and 21 currencies
  • Mobile app specialists offering fast transfers from 0-2 days

Top tips to save money when sending funds overseas

Send larger amounts less often

If you’re using a flat-fee transfer provider, sending money less often will save you in transfer fees. However, if you’re using a company which charges a percentage of the transfer amount as a fee, be aware that minimum transfer limits may apply.

Get a forward contract if you need to send money regularly

A forward contract is an agreement to set the exchange rate and fix it for a certain length of time. You can get a forward contract for anywhere between one day and 12 months. Think of it like a fixed interest rate on your mortgage: it’ll offer protection against falling rates, but won’t be so good if they increase.

Lock in your rate with a limit order

A limit order is an instruction to carry out your international transfer when the exchange rate hits a set level. This way, you’ll know exactly how much you’ll receive. You may have to wait minutes or even days to achieve your transfer, but at least you’ll have certainty and will be able to budget in advance.

Compare exchange rates before making your transfer

Since exchange rates move so quickly, it’s vital to constantly compare rates to make sure you achieve the cheapest possible international money transfer. Keep checking back in with Savvy to make sure you get the best deal possible.

Frequently asked questions about international money transfer services

Which other factors are important to compare when finding the cheapest international money transfer provider?

Other factors to compare include:

  • Minimum and maximum transfer limits – some companies impose minimum limits up to $200 to $250 instead of $0, while others may require you to send no more than $50,000 total (compared to others offering up to $500,000)
  • Currencies available – not all companies will be able to transfer money internationally to all countries and territories
  • Customer service available – some companies offer 24/7 customer service in multiple languages, whilst others can only answer queries during business hours
Can I send money to all countries overseas?

No – you’re limited by the countries and currencies offered by the international money transfer company that you choose; not all transfer providers service all countries. In addition, some countries are banned by international sanctions or are currently not connected to the international banking system. Examples in 2022 include North Korea and Russia.

Are international transfer companies safe to use?

Yes – they use the same digital encryption systems banks use, so your bank and personal details are kept safe and secure. In addition, all the international money transfer companies partnered with Savvy have the necessary licences to operate in their country of origin, so by choosing to use one of Savvy’s trusted partners you’re choosing peace of mind and can be assured your money will arrive safely at its destination.

Is it cheaper to exchange my money at an airport?

No – the most expensive way to transfer money is at an airport, a tourist ‘currency exchange’ bureau or through a travel agent. All these methods should be avoided if you want the cheapest international money transfer possible.