There are hundreds of ways to transfer money between the US and Australia, but how do you know you’re getting the best deal? When you’re exchanging between US dollars and Australian dollars, you want to keep your money transfer fees as low as possible. In this helpful guide we’ll cover everything you need to know about money transfers between Australia and the US and give you the guidance you need to keep your currency exchange costs to a minimum.

 

You'll find advice on:

  • Why you might want to transfer money between the US and Australia.Currency in wallet
  • How international money transfer works.
  • The main factors that impact the fees you will pay.
  • Examples of actual fees for money transfers.
  • Why using your bank or PayPal isn’t a good idea.
  • Dedicated currency exchange providers and the benefits they offer.
  • Using a currency provider to send money to the US or Australia.
  • Advice on transferring money between the US and Australia.

Let's get into it:

 

Why you might want to transfer money between the US and Australia

We’ve never been more mobile. With the advent of fast, inexpensive travel, and opportunities around the world, more of us than ever are taking advantage and broadening our horizons. You might be moving between Australia and the US for a variety of reasons:

  • You work for an international US organisation and have been asked to work from the regional office in Australia.
  • You live in Australia but want to buy investment properties in California.
  • You’ve emigrated from the US to Australia and you’re travelling home to see friends and family.
  • You’re relocating from Sydney to San Diego, or Melbourne to Miami.
  • You’re studying overseas.
  • Although you are based in the US, you’ll be spending the next four years completing a degree in Adelaide.
  • You have an Australian business and you’re expanding into the US market.
  • You need to collect money from US customers and pay US suppliers.
  • Perhaps you’re having a wedding in the US, or retiring to Australia.

Whatever your reason, it’s vital to get your money to stretch as far as possible. That starts by minimising your currency transfer fees. Before we look at the best way to do that, let’s explore how fees are charged in the first place.

 

How international money transfer works

Currency exchange is the process of converting money from one currency to another. It uses an exchange rate to determine exactly how much the recipient will receive, based on the amount you are transferring. This amount will be subject to certain fees and exchange rate commissions.The amount the recipient receives depends on several factors:

  • The prevailing, interbank, baseline exchange rate.
  • How much you are transferring.
  • How you are paying for your transfer.
  • The variation between the baseline exchange rate and the exchange rate you are offered.
  • How the recipient is receiving their money (e.g. local pickup or transferred into a bank account).
  • Various other fees and factors.

 

The main factors that will impact the fees you will pay

There are several areas that have a big influence on how much you will pay for your money transfer.

The Rate Providers Offer You to Transfer Between US and Australia

Factors to consider when Transferring Money Between Australia and the USCurrency transfer providers come in many shapes and sizes, from your bank and PayPal to Western Union or MoneyGram, to dedicated currency exchange businesses like World First or OFX. One of the biggest differences between these providers is how much the exchange rates they offer you differ from the interbank, or mid-market, baseline rate. Any difference between those rates directly translates to the amount you pay.
Here's an example of converting US dollars to Australian dollars:

  • Interbank, mid-market rate for transferring USD to AUD (baseline) — 1.34479 AUD per USD.
  • PayPal exchange rate for transferring AUD to USD — 1.31026 AUD per USD.
  • CommBank exchange rate for transferring AUD to USD — 1.29282 AUD per USD.
  • OFX currency provider exchange rate for transferring AUD to USD — 1.33677 AUD per USD
  • Difference between PayPal and baseline rate — 2.5% worse.
  • Difference between CommBank and baseline rate — 3.5% worse.
  • Difference between OFX and baseline rate — 0.6% worse.

These exchange rates are correct as of early June 2017. The exchange rate you are offered may vary depending on multiple factors including date, time, amount you are transferring, and various other areas.

 

Commissions or Extra Fees for Money Transfers

In addition to making money on exchange rates, some providers charge additional fees, either as a fixed fee, or as an additional commission percentage. For example, Commonwealth Bank charges a varying fee of around $10 – $20 for currency transfers. These can really add up, especially if you make a number of smaller value currency exchanges.

 

Payment Fees for Deposit and Withdrawal

Some banks and other payment providers charge an additional fee for sending and receiving money into an account. This might be as an “international wire fee” or some other charge. Picking money up in cash from a local agent can also incur additional fees.

 

Other Fees

Some providers do charge other fees for transfers, either as a fixed fee or as commission. Additionally, if you are funding your transfer using a credit card you may be charged a higher rate by your credit card company as a “cash advance.”

 

Examples of Actual Fees for Transferring from Australian Dollars to US Dollars

Our money transfer and currency exchange comparison tool takes into account exchange rates and fees to accurately show you how much money you could save. Here’s how much you would get from various providers if you were converting 1,000 Australian dollars to US currency.

Provider AUD to USD Exchange Rate Transfer Fee Total USD for 1,000 AUD Difference to Baseline
Baseline Rate 0.7382 n/a $738.20 n/a
World First 0.731 $10 $723.69 $14.51
HiFX 0.7303 $15 $680.79 $57.41
Commbank 0.6961 $22 $680.79 $57.41

As you can see, using a dedicated currency provider like World First, HiFX or OFX can save you a significant amount.

 

Why Using Your Bank Isn't a Good Idea

As you can see, using your bank isn’t a great idea if you want to get the best value for money. They often charge a fee on top of the poor exchange rates they offer to their customers. It could be up to 60 AUD more expensive to send 1,000 AUD via your bank instead of using a dedicated currency provider.

 

Why Using PayPal Isn't a Good Idea

Although PayPal is popular and easy, it certainly isn't cheap. As we mentioned in our guide to using PayPal to send money overseasPaypal logo

  • You might pay a small fee (of 2.4% + $0.30) if: You’re transferring money within the same country and you make the payment from your Australian bank account that is not linked to your Paypal account. This includes debit and credit cards.
  • You will pay a moderate fee (of 0.5% – 3.3%) if: You’re transferring money between countries and you use money from your PayPal account or a direct debit from a bank account linked to your Paypal account.
  • You will pay a higher fee (of 3.9% – 7.4% plus a fixed fee) if: You’re transferring money between countries and you use a debit or credit card to fund your transfer.

These costs are all more expensive than using a dedicated currency provider.

 

Using Currency Exchange Providers and the Benefits they offer.

Fortunately, there are some really good alternatives when you want to exchange money between Australia and the US. Dedicated currency providers like OFX, World First, and HiFX provide low-cost, competitive options for transferring money quickly and easily. OFX logo
They have several benefits including;

  • Lower fees than PayPal or banks.
  • Fast transfers, money can sometimes be transferred within one working day.
  • Dedicated customer support and advice.
  • Online options for sending money through their website or app.
  • Forward or limit orders to manage risk and reduce market fluctuations.
  • Mobile apps and other tools to manage the money transfer processes.
  • In some cases, local pickup is available for the recipient.

Go to top of page

 


 

How to Find the Cheapest Way to Transfer Money Overseas

Compare The Total Cost

The total cost of the transfer comes down to 2 things:

Money transfer fees

1. Transfer Fees

Every Australian bank and money transfer company will charge you a different fee to send money overseas. Usually it’s between $10 and $32.

Exchange rate margin fees

2. Exchange Rate Margin

There is no “standard” exchange rate. Each bank will offer you a different exchange rate based on the currency you want to send overseas and the amount you need to send.

Provider Exchange
Rate
Transfer
Fee
Transfer
Time
Total (AUD) Rates last updated September 19 2018
TransferwiseRead Review 0.7264 $63.45 1-2 Days $13,829.97Lowest Cost Option Go to site Read Review
So, sending USD 10,000 to United States at an exchange rate of 0.7264 will cost you $13,829.97 which includes a fee of $63.45

About TransferWise

Transparency and an easy online experience are the 2 things that set TransferWise apart from the banks and other money transfer companies. If you prefer to bank online, you'll like TransferWise. Setting up an account and making a transfer is very easy. They are also very clear on the exchange rate and fees you'll pay before you make a transfer. Click here for the full review

Pros

  • Clear and transparent exchange rates fees
  • The online experience is first class
  • Like the banks, they are regulated by ASIC and registered with AFSL
  • Constantly bringing out new innovative products

Cons

  • There are currently a number of global currencies they do not currently support
  • Limited support based in Australia
  • Percentage based fee can add up on very large transfers

TorFXRead Review 0.7228 $0.00 2-3 Days $13,835.70$5.73 more expensive Go to site Read Review
So, sending USD 10,000 to United States at an exchange rate of 0.7228 will cost you $13,835.70 with no fees.

About TorFX

TorFX are particularly good taking care of customers over the phone but using their website isn't the easiest to use. They don't charge a flat fee which is great but it's important to consider their exchange rates. While, they don't offer fantastic rates for small amounts under $2000 , TorFX offer exceptionally good exchange rates for larger transfers to the UK, New Zealand, South Africa and Europe.

Pros

  • No transfer fees
  • Highly competitive exchange rates
  • Secure transfers with authorised
  • Assigned account manager
  • 24 / 7 Assistance
  • Available range of transfer options

Cons

  • Limited exotic currencies available
  • Exchange rates on small transfers aren't great
  • Website experience could be better

XERead Review 0.7225 $0.00 2-3 Days $13,841.26$11.29 more expensive Go to site Read Review
So, sending USD 10,000 to United States at an exchange rate of 0.7225 will cost you $13,841.26 with no fees.

About XE

XE is a well known and trusted name in the money transfer industry. With over twenty years experience, they now help 33,000 people and 2,000 businesses make transfers each year. Over 60 currencies can be transferred with XE and they pride themselves on the free tools and transparent rates they offer. Click here to read the full review

Pros

  • Well known and trusted brand.
  • Very informative website. Extensive information on currency and money transfers.
  • XE App is available on both iOS and Android. It allows you to see the interbank rate for over 100 currencies.
  • XE themselves charge no fees for international money transfers.
  • Offers support for both individuals and businesses when it comes to international money transfers.

Cons

  • Cannot pay via cash or cheque. Must pay via bank transfer, BPay is also accepted in Australia.
  • Maximum transfer amount is $500,000USD.
  • While XE compares more than 100 currencies, there are only 60 that are available for money transfers.

WorldFirstRead Review 0.7220 $0.00 2-3 Days $13,849.62$19.65 more expensive Go to site Read Review
So, sending USD 10,000 to United States at an exchange rate of 0.7220 will cost you $13,849.62 with no fees.

About World First

World First was founded in 2004 in the UK and has grown rapidly with offices now in the U.S., Canada and throughout Asia. They consistently receive strong customer reviews and in a recent study, 98% of their clients said they would use them again.World First have a strong online offering, particular for businesses selling online. They do provide local support as well with offices in Sydney. Click here to read the full review

Pros

  • Low fees and great exchange rates
  • Safe and secure transfers
  • Regulated by ASIC and registered with AFSL
  • Great for personal and business payments

Cons

  • Does not accept BPAY, credit card, cheque or cash
  • Limited currencies available

HIFXRead Review 0.7220 $0.00 2-3 Days $13,849.62$19.65 more expensive Go to site Read Review
So, sending USD 10,000 to United States at an exchange rate of 0.7220 will cost you $13,849.62 with no fees.

About HiFX

HiFX are one of the biggest money transfer companies in the world. Their parent company Euronet is listed on the NASDAQ and recently acquired Xe.com. They are particularly useful for individuals doing regular transfers overseas. HiFX provide competitive exchange rates no matter how much is being transacted. Their $50 minimum transaction size and flat fee makes them a great option for any international payment. Locally, HiFX have Australian offices in Sydney, Melbourne and are expanding to the remaining capital cities. Click here to read the full review

Pros

  • Fantastic bank - beating exchange rates
  • Low fees for transactions less than $10, 000
  • No fees for transactions of $10, 000 or more
  • High security transfers regulated by ASIC and FMA
  • Fast and easy for personal or business accounts

Cons

  • Only electronic bank transfers accepted
  • Limited exotic currencies
WorldRemitRead Review 0.7187 $3.99 1-2 Days $13,917.61$87.64 more expensive Go to site Read Review
So, sending USD 10,000 to United States at an exchange rate of 0.7187 will cost you $13,917.61 which includes a fee of $3.99

About WorldRemit

WorldRemit are particularly good for transfers under $10,000 to destinations across Asia, Africa and South America. Sending money online is significantly easier than using companies like Western Union or Moneygram and their exchange rates and fees are clear and transparent. With 2 million users, WorldRemit has a focus on improving access to remittances for the billions people worldwide who don’t have access to banking. Because of this, WorldRemit has a number of ways to both make and receive transfers. They concentrate on servicing individual needs as opposed to businesses. Click here for the full review

Pros

  • They have a great network in Asia and Africa and number of receiving options like cash-pick up or bank transfer.
  • They are clear about their exchange rates and fees
  • No minimum amount

Cons

  • Maximum transfer sizes for every transfer
  • No support for business customers
  • They are not licensed to provide financial advice.
OFXRead Review 0.7168 $0.00 1-3 Days $13,950.89$120.92 more expensive Go to site Read Review
So, sending USD 10,000 to United States at an exchange rate of 0.7168 will cost you $13,950.89 with no fees.

About OFX

OFX (formally known as Ozforex) is the largest Australian owned money transfer company. It launched in 1998 and grew rapidly until finally listing on the Australian Stock Exchange in 2013. OFX excels in 2 areas – Online experience and customer service. The company was born online and continues to develop easy, intuitive products. While OFX customers do most of their transactions online, they are backed up with exceptional customer service.

Pros

  • Better exchange rates compared to banks
  • Highly safe and secure transfers
  • 1 - 2 days delivery times for most countries
  • Quick response time
  • Fantastic customer service

Cons

  • Credit cards, cheques and cash are not accepted
  • Transfers to Thailand can take up to 4 days
  • Fees for transfers smaller transfers

ANZRead Review 0.6963 $0.00 1-2 Days $14,361.63$531.66 more expensive Go to site Read Review
So, sending USD 10,000 to United States at an exchange rate of 0.6963 will cost you $14,361.63 with no fees.
ANZ International Money Transfer is a secure and fast way to transfer money overseas.

Pros:

  • Fast transfers
  • Safe and secure
  • No fee for transfers under $10 000 via Internet banking

Cons

  • $12 fee for transfers under $10 000 via Internet banking
  • Poor exchange rates
  • 24 hour hotline not available

Commonwealth BankRead Review 0.6857 $12.00 1-2 Days $14,595.64$765.67 more expensive Go to site Read Review
So, sending USD 10,000 to United States at an exchange rate of 0.6857 will cost you $14,595.64 which includes a fee of $12.00
Commonwealth Bank provides secure and easy transfers to over 200 countries and more than 30 currencies.

Pros:

  • Fast transfers+ Easy transfers
  • Security guarantee covers any losses from unauthorised transactions

Cons

  • $6 fee for transfers under $1000 via Internet banking
  • $12 fee for transfers under $1000 via Internet banking
  • Poor exchange rates

WestpacRead Review 0.6736 $10.00 1-2 Days $14,855.61$1025.64 more expensive Go to site Read Review
So, sending USD 10,000 to United States at an exchange rate of 0.6736 will cost you $14,855.61 which includes a fee of $10.00
Westpac is one of the big four banks in Australia offers speedy and secure transfers.

Pros:

  • Fast payment processing times
  • Secure transfers

Cons

  • Must be Westpac account holder
  • $20 fee for transfers via Internet or phone banking
  • $32 fee for transfers at an ANZ branch
  • Poor exchange rates

 

Using a Currency Provider to Send Money Between Australia and the US.

It's easy to set up an account with a currency provider to transfer money. Here's how you go about it.

  1. Use our comparison tool to see who can offer you the best deal.
  2. When you’ve decided on a provider, just visit their website directly from our tool.
  3. Create an account with the currency provider — you will generally need a proof of identification and a proof of address.
  4. Get an up-to-date quote for transferring between US dollars and Australian dollars.
  5. Arrange your transfer using their online service or over the phone.
  6. Provide details of the person receiving the money — you will generally need their IBAN or SWIFT number.
  7. Send money to your currency provider by funding your account, normally by bank transfer or debit card. (We do not recommend funding by credit card as you may be subject to additional fees).
  8. Your currency provider will make the exchange and deposit funds into the recipient’s bank account or make them available for local collection.

 

Advice on Transferring Money Between Australia and the US

Here are a few tips on getting the most value out of your international currency exchange.

  • The best provider for transferring from US to Australian dollars may not be the best one for transferring from Australian to US dollars. Use our quote tool to find the best value in every circumstance.
  • Check with the sending and receiving bank to see if they charge any fees for sending or receiving funds.
  • If you are transferring a large amount, give your currency provider a call as they may offer more competitive rates.
  • Don’t pay by credit card — you will have to pay higher fees.

There you have it, a complete guide to transferring money between the US and Australia. We hope the extra money you save means you can treat yourself in two of the most beautiful nations in the world!

Helping You Save Money on Currency

Buying travel money or transferring money overseas can be expensive and confusing. So how do you make the best choice and get the most out of your money?

An easy way is to use a comparison table for either international money transfers or currency exchange. These tables list and compare the banks with other large foreign exchange companies.

We’ve also put together tons of helpful videosguides and reviews that will help you make the right decision. You can work out a cheaper way of converting currency while still keeping your money safe.