International Money Transfer Fees

Compare and find the lowest fees with Savvy before making your international money transfer today.

Last updated on July 19th, 2022 at 05:08 pm by Cate Cook

Compare international money transfer fees

Are you about to transfer money overseas but want to find out what fees are charged for doing so?  Savvy can help you compare international transfer service providers to find the lowest fees and highest exchange rates available in Australia right now.  Start your international transfer journey with us today and save money in the process.

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 about international money transfer fees

What fees are charged on international money transfers?

International money transfer providers make their money in one of three ways:

  • charging a flat transfer fee to send money abroad (up to $15)
  • charging a set percentage fee based on the transfer amount (typically around 0.4% to 0.5%)
  • by adding a margin onto the exchange rate offered

Whichever method they use to set their charges, any fees will almost certainly be less than those charged by your bank and could be in the region of $5 to $10 or less depending on how much money you wish to transfer abroad.

Banks will generally charge higher fees to transfer money and will be far more expensive than those who specialise in international money transfers.  Their fees can range from $6 up to $30 or more per international transfer, while the exchange rate offered by a bank may not be as good as that offered by a transfer specialist. Therefore, if you’re looking to find the cheapest way to send money overseas, specialist international transfer companies are likely to be your best bet.  

Receiving fees

Another reason to use an international money transfer provider rather than a conventional bank is receiving fees.  These are fees charged by a bank to receive an international money transfer, which ranges between $15 and $30, and will apply to the recipient of your funds. 

Overseas banks may impose whatever receiving fees they choose, so bank transfer providers in Australia have no influence over these potential fees.  Using a money transfer company will help ensure your recipient won’t have a nasty surprise when they receive their money.

Which factors can affect the cost of international money transfer fees?

Which one of Savvy’s money transfer partners will charge the lowest fees for your transfer will depend on several factors.

To find the lowest fees for your particular transfer you should compare companies that offer different fee charge methods.  In general terms, those who charge a flat fee may be the cheapest for larger transfers, whilst those who charge a percentage of the transfer amount may be your lowest-fee option for smaller transfers.

Other factors affecting the price of an international transfer include:

The amount transferred and its destination

The amount you wish to transfer can affect the fees charged, as some money transfer services have a limit on the amount of foreign money available for less-often exchanged currencies.  This means they may charge higher fees for these less common currencies and lower fees for the most popular ones.  The most popular destinations include sending money from Australia to India, the UK, the USA, New Zealand and China.

For example, compare the cost of sending AUD $1,000 to some of these high-traffic countries, compared to less well-used destinations.  Specialist provider Wise charges the following (as of July 2022):

Fees to send AUD $1,000 to high-traffic destinations:

  • To the UK: $5.14
  • To New Zealand: $5.37
  • To India: $6.15

Fees to send AUD $1,000 to lower-traffic destinations:

  • To Argentina: $18.21
  • To Botswana: $17.45
  • To Costa Rica: $19.65

Legal compliance

In addition, all cash transfers over $10,000 leaving Australia have to be reported to AUSTRAC, which is the Australian Government’s anti-money-laundering agency.  AUSTRAC compliance can also add to the cost of the transfer in some cases if you wish to move more than $10,000 overseas, as some companies will charge more for the administration to fill in compliance forms.

The method of payment

In addition to your transfer provider charging fees to make the transfer, you may also be charged fees if you decide to use your credit card to pay for the transfer.  For example, some credit cards charge a fee of up to 5% of the transaction value for international transactions. For this reason, it’s cheaper to pay for your transfer either in cash, using a direct debit from your bank account or by using EFTPOS with your debit card if you wish to avoid additional credit card fees.

The speed of delivery

The cheapest method to send money overseas will not necessarily be the fastest international transfer.  Generally, you’ll have to pay more if you wish to make an instant transfer, a cash transfer or an overseas cash delivery (a service offered by a limited number of international money transfer providers).  Some providers also offer an express service, which means you’ll pay a fee to guarantee same-day delivery.

In addition to fees, how else should I compare international money transfer providers?

There are many factors to consider when finding the right money transfer for your needs. Some of the main variables to compare when choosing your ideal provider with Savvy are:

Exchange rate

Naturally, the exchange rate you’re offered will have the largest influence on how much money you send overseas.  Even a small difference can have a big impact.  Check how close the exchange rate offered is to the advertised mid-market rate for that currency.  The mid-market rate is known as the ‘true’ exchange rate currently on offer and is halfway between the buy and sell rate offered on the international money market.  The closer to the mid-market rate, the more your recipient will receive in their currency. 

Transfer limits

Companies typically have minimum and maximum limits when sending money overseas.  For example, OFX has a minimum transfer amount of $250 and TorFX has a minimum lower limit of $200.  Maximum limits can range from $50,000 to $500,000 or more, but some will require you to stick to a daily limit, which may cap your transfers at $5,000 for any given day.

Currencies offered

Not all companies deal in all currencies, so you’ll need to compare to find out if your preferred company does offer your currency of choice.  If your intended destination is a more remote nation, you may have to spend more time searching for a company that offers a currency exchange service to that particular nation. 

Regions of operation

It’s also worth comparing transfer companies which specialise in a particular region of the world, as they may prove to be the cheapest transfer provider for that region.  Transfer providers operating in the country of their incorporation may also offer the lowest fees for a transfer to that particular country. However, it’s always worth comparing with Savvy to find the most affordable transfer to your chosen destination.

More of your questions about international money transfer fees

Do some companies offer international transfers with no fees?

Yes – there are companies offering international money transfers with no fees.  These companies offer such transfers for the following reasons:

  • as a special offer to attract new customers (such as offering the first three transfers free as an incentive to sign up). However, subsequent transfers will be charged as normal
  • because their business model doesn’t rely on transfer fees to make money; rather, they make their money on mark-ups on the exchange rate offered
  • to attract customers wanting to make large transfers (for example, some offer free transfers for amounts over $10,000 to attract larger business customers)
Are there any fees charged to track the progress of my transfer?

No – many international money transfer service providers have a tracking service built into the tools offered either on their website or their mobile app.  Once your transfer has been initiated, you will usually receive an email or a notification giving you a tracking number which you’ll be able to use to see the progress of your transfer to its destination.

Will an international account help me avoid fees if I send money overseas regularly?

Yes – you can use an international account to exchange a larger sum of money when the exchange rate is most advantageous.  You can then store this international currency in your international account and send it overseas when required, rather than wait for an exchange rate rise which may not come before you need to transfer the funds.  Sending a larger sum of money less often can save you hundreds in fees if you wish to send money home regularly.

Can I save money by using a limit order when I transfer money overseas?

Yes – using a limit order can make your transfer cheaper. A limit order is an instruction to exchange currency up to a set exchange rate of your choice.  It’s a way to specify the exact exchange rate you receive so there’s no possibility of nasty surprises.  If your overseas transfer isn’t urgent, it’s well worth monitoring the market and setting a limit order so the deal will be done at the exact price you specify.