Compare Currency Transfer Rates, Fees and Services in Australia

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2019 Foreign Currency Transfer Comparison and Reviews

In Australia, it is really expensive to transfer currency overseas . This can make it tricky to find the best way to make an international currency transfer from Australia without spending all your hard-earned cash on fees.

The good news is, just a couple minutes of your time can make a huge difference on how much you save on your currency transfer.

Want even better news? We make it really easy.

The Best Foreign Currency Transfer Service

Your first choice for currency transfers shouldn’t be your bank. You’ll likely pay lower costs and get your money there faster if you use TransferWise.

Rapidly growing since 2010, TransferWise now transfers over $1 billion every month. They offer an easy to use online service and mobile app, ideal for sorting out your international currency transfer.

TransferWise offers you the best exchange rates — identical to the base, interbank rate. They then charge a small, percentage-based service fee. In comparison after comparison, TransferWise are either the top, or in the top three best priced currency exchange providers.

  • It’s very fast and easy to create an account.
  • They offer the best exchange rates available.
  • Their service charge is low, fees and pricing are transparent and easy to understand.
  • They’re loved by customers, scoring nine out of ten on Trustpilot.
  • There’s no minimum transfer size.
  • Can't pay for your transfer via cash or cheque.
  • There’s limited customer support, you can’t call them so need to interact via email or through their website.
  • If you’re transferring more than around $40,000, their service charge can make them less competitive than other providers.
  • They don’t support all global currencies.

The Cheapest Currency Transfer

If you want a fee-free currency transfer option use XE Money Transfer. They don’t charge a fee for sending money, instead they make a profit by offering a slightly worse exchange rate than the base rate.

The overall XE business has been around since 1993, so they know a thing or two about sending money overseas! XE provide a wealth of trusted information on exchange rates, including currency price history, news and more.

In addition to providing currency exchange information to financial institutions, they also have their own international money transfer service.

  • XE are a worldwide, trusted authority for currency exchange.
  • They don’t charge any fees for sending money overseas.
  • There’s no minimum transfer amount.
  • It’s easy to get in touch with and use their customer service.
  • They’re loved by customers, scoring 9.2 out of ten on Trustpilot.
  • You can’t pay for your transfer using cash or a cheque.
  • There’s limited customer support over the weekend.
  • They don’t support all global currencies.

Instant Online Currency Transfer

Sometimes, you just need it done, now! For those moments when you urgently need to transfer currency overseas, we know the fastest ways to get funds to the right people. We trust WorldRemit to get your money instantly to your destination. They are also cheap and online service is easy to use.

WorldRemit offers a same day service to selected banks around the world. They have a large presence in Asian countries, so they’re a great choice if that’s where your recipient is. WorldRemit always displays the expected delivery time before you pay for the transfer, so you know exactly how long it will take.

  • Their website is easy to use, and you can set up an account very quickly
  • They have competitive rates, and a lot of the time these will be better than what you'd find a your bank
  • They don't have a minimum amount you can transfer
  • 24/7 support available in nearly 20 countries worldwide
  • Can easily get an accurate quote for your currency transfer using their online calculator
  • They have a maximum transfer size of $10,000 and this even lower for some currencies
  • Don't offer support for businesses
  • Their transfer fee is not fixed, so it can change between different currencies
  • They are unable to offer financial advice
  • Not all transfer methods are available in all countries. For example, you can't organise cash pick up when sending money to India

Foreign Currency Transfer Reviews

We’ve listed some of the very best money transfer providers above, and they’re some of your best options if you want to send money abroad. You’re not limited to those choices though — there are many providers that will offer to send currency overseas, all with differing fees, exchange rates and services.

We’ve reviewed all of these providers — it’s a tough job but someone has to do it! You can find links to all of these reviews below.

Transferring Currency With Your Bank?

Banks are almost always more expensive than specialist currency providers if you want to send money abroad. They charge high fixed fees and worse exchange rates than you can get from companies like TransferWise, XE Money Transfer, WorldRemit and similar businesses.

We think it’s vital for you to make a fair comparison though, so we’ve reviewed all of these banks and shared what’s good and bad about each one.

Best Bank for International Currency Transfers

We don't typically recommend banks for international currency transfers, as they always charge more than specialist providers...but if you still need to transfer currency overseas with a bank, Citibank is your best choice. They charge the lowest fees and offer the best exchange rates.

Although their fixed fee ($25) for a transfer seems high, they offer better exchange rates than other banks. This means that as long as you’re transferring a decent amount (more than $1,000 AUD), your money will go further than with most other high street banks.

We suggest you look at other providers though, as you’ll save much more money.

  • It’s easy to send money internationally to another bank account or to Citibank accounts.
  • CitiBank offers competitive exchange rates, compared to other banks.
  • CitiBank charges a relatively high, fixed fee of $25 for most international currency transfers.
  • Transfers can take up to five days for processing and receipt.

Your currency transfer questions, answered

This is the way you transfer money from your Australian bank account to an account held by someone you know in another country. International currency transfers are popular for both large one-off payments and small frequent amounts and can be made using your local currency or a foreign currency.

Learn more about how to make an international money transfer.

You’re probably not looking forward to a long, exhaustive explanation of currency exchange rates and fees, so we’ll keep this mercifully brief! When you send money abroad using your bank or a specialist currency transfer company, you could be charged fees in several ways:

1. They may offer a slightly worse exchange rate

The “best” exchange rate available is the “base” exchange rate.* Some currency providers make money by offering you a slightly worse rate, and take a profit on the difference — this is known as the “margin” or “spread.” For example, the base rate might get you $1,000 US dollars for $1,412 AUD, but a provider charges you $1,430 AUD. That $18 difference is their margin, where they make a profit.

*The standard exchange rate is also known as the standard, mid-market or interbank exchange rate.

2. They may charge a fixed fee

Some providers, especially banks, will charge you a fixed fee to send money. These fees can range from anywhere between $1 to $25 or more. High street banks are particularly bad at charing high, fixed fees — but don’t worry, we’ve got some good alternatives for you.

3. They may charge a commission or service charge

Some providers like TransferWise charge a fee based on the total amount you’re transferring as a commission or service charge. These will typically be shown seperate to the exchange rate, and as the amount you send increases, the service charge will also go up.

Comparing charges for international currency transfers

Providers do vary in how they charge for international money transfer services, and they may apply a combination of different types of fees. When we compare providers, we show you the total amount you’ll pay, so you always get a fair, side-by-side comparison.

Something else to bear in mind — if you’re sending money to someone else’s bank account, their bank may charge processing fees. A money transfer company has no influence on these fees, and you should speak to the receiving bank to understand how much they might be.

Find out how much it really costs to transfer your currency internationally, and get the best rates by using our currency transfer comparison tool.

So, what do all these fees and charges mean for your bank balance? Here’s a quick comparison of how much it will cost you in Australian dollars (local currency) for a recipient to get $1,000 USD (foreign currency) in the US.

Type of Provider Provider Name Exchange
Fixed Fee Total AUD Fee as a %
Base exchange rate Best exchange rate 0.7082 $0 $1,412 0.0%
Specialist provider TransferWise 0.7085 $7 $1,419 0.5%
Specialist provider WorldRemit 0.7005 $4 $1,432 1.4%
Specialist provider XE Money Transfers 0.6978 $0 $1,433 1.5%
Bank Citibank 0.6996 $25 $1,454 2.9%
Specialist provider OFX 0.6945 $15 $1,455 3.0%
Bank ANZ Bank 0.6846 $12 $1,473 4.1%
Bank NAB 0.6779 $10 $1,485 4.9%
Bank Suncorp 0.6799 $20 $1,491 5.3%
Bank BankWest 0.6761 $15 $1,494 5.5%
Bank Westpac 0.6738 $10 $1,494 5.5%
Bank Commonwealth Bank 0.6717 $6 $1,495 5.6%
Bank Bendigo 0.6728 $30 $1,516 6.9%

This comparison was made at 2pm AEST, 4th March, 2019.

The actual length of time between you paying for a transfer and the recipient getting the money varies depending on a few different factors:

  • The international money transfer provider or bank that you’re using.
  • The country and currency you’re sending from.
  • The country and currency of the person receiving the transfer.
  • How you’re paying for the transfer (e.g. by a wire transfer, bank transfer, credit or debit card).
  • Whether your transfer needs an extra review or validation.

That may not be a good enough quick answer though. So, we’ve looked at all the different providers to come up with some average transfer times, in business days:

  • Bank to bank transfers: 2 to 5 business days.
  • International money transfers: 0 to 5 business days.
  • Wire transfers and telegraphic transfers: 1 to 5 business days.

And here are some average times for some of our most popular specialist providers:

TransferWise: 0 to 3 business days
XE Money Transfers: 0 to 3 business days
WorldFirst: 1 to 2 business days
Western Union: 0 to 3 business days
OFX: 0 to 3 business days

Learn more about how long your transfer could take.

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Need a hand? Call to speak to a human 1800 004 930 or send us an email.