When it comes to sending money internationally, currency exchange fees are everywhere! Whether it’s a difference in exchange rates, a fixed fee, or a commission, these costs can quickly add up. We’ve broken down exactly what fees you and the recipient of your money transfer can expect to be charged, and give you an idea of how much you’re likely to pay.

 

If you want an immediate comparison of how much you could save using a specialist currency provider, head over to our money transfer comparison tool now.

 

Here Are All the Ways You Can Be Charged a Currency Exchange Fee

It’s useful to understand how all of this fits together. Here are all the ways you’re charged by banks, PayPal, and currency exchange specialists. In all of our examples below, we’ve compared two popular Australian banks (ANZ and CommBank), PayPal, and two popular specialist currency exchange providers (OFX and World First).

 

1. A Difference Between the “Base” Exchange Rate and the Exchange Rate You Get

This is the most hidden of all the fees — simply put, a provider gives you a less favourable exchange rate than they can get themselves, and makes a profit on the difference.

 

The “best” exchange rate available at any moment in time is known as the “Mid-market, Interbank” rate. It’s the exchange rate that banks and other big financial firms use when determining how much one currency is worth in another. That’s the rate they can trade at.

 

Then, there’s the “Retail” rate that’s charged to you. This differs between providers, and can make a big difference to how much your money is worth to the recipient, once its been exchanged. Here’s how some providers stack up when it comes to the exchange rate fee.

Comparing Exchange Rate Fees – AUD to USD

Provider Base Rate ANZ Bank CommBank PayPal OFX World First
Base Exchange Rate 0.7558 0.7558 0.7558 0.7558 0.7558 0.7558
Retail Exchange Rate n/a 0.7308 0.7227 0.7293 0.7520 0.7519
Difference n/a -3.31% -4.38% -3.51% -0.50% -0.52%
Cost if transferring $1,000 AUD n/a -$33.08 -$43.79 -$35.06 -$5.03 -$5.16
Cost if transferring $10,000 AUD n/a -$330.78 -$437.95 -$350.62 -$50.28 -$51.60
All amounts are correct as of December 2017


2. Fixed Fees and Commissions Charged for Making a Transfer

In addition to the currency exchange difference, many providers also charge a fixed fee or commission for making transfers. These fees can vary depending on if you make the transfer via an online service, over the phone, or in person. Here are some example fees:

 

ANZ Bank International Money Transfer Fees

Internet banking — $18 per transfer for most transfers, reduced to $12 per transfer if you’re sending more than $10,000 AUD.

In branch, over the phone, or via a foreign exchange center — $32 per transfer.

More details on transferring money through ANZ Bank.

 

CommBank International Money Transfer Fees

Internet banking — $12 for sending money online via NetBank or through the CommBank app or $6 for amounts under $1,000.

In branch — $30 for sending money from a branch.

More information on sending money overseas via CommBank.

 

PayPal Fixed Fees and Commissions

PayPal doesn’t generally charge fixed fees for transferring money. Instead, they charge a commission based on how you’re funding your transfer.

 

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 around 1% 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.

More on PayPal’s fees here.

 

OFX International Money Transfer Fees

For lower amounts, OFX typically charges around $15 depending on where you are sending money to.

For larger amounts, there is no transfer fee from OFX to send money internationally.

Find out all about OFX here.

 

World First Fixed Fees

World First is fee free for transfers over US $10,000 or US $10 for transfers under that amount.

Learn how to transfer money using World First.

 

3. Sending and Receiving Bank Fees

The banks can also charge other fees depending on how you decide to send your transfer, and how the receiver gets their money. For example:

  • ANZ Bank charges between $35 and $50 for paying foreign currency drafts or bank cheques into your ANZ account.
  • ANZ Bank charges up to $35 for receiving telegraphic transfers of funds from overseas.
  • CommBank charges $11 for receiving an international transfer.

 

The problem is, every bank around the world is different in how much they charge someone to receive money transfers. We recommend that your recipient checks with their bank to see how much they are likely to be charged.

 

In most cases, recipient fees will be charged regardless of how you choose to transfer money. These recipient charges are outside the control of the currency exchange service you choose to use.

 


 

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 August 16 2018
XERead Review 0.7244 $0.00 2-3 Days $13,804.56Lowest Cost Option Go to site Read Review
So, sending USD 10,000 to United States at an exchange rate of 0.7244 will cost you $13,804.56 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.

TransferwiseRead Review 0.7276 $63.35 1-2 Days $13,807.17$2.61 more expensive Go to site Read Review
So, sending USD 10,000 to United States at an exchange rate of 0.7276 will cost you $13,807.17 which includes a fee of $63.35

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

WorldFirstRead Review 0.7232 $0.00 2-3 Days $13,826.78$22.22 more expensive Go to site Read Review
So, sending USD 10,000 to United States at an exchange rate of 0.7232 will cost you $13,826.78 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

TorFXRead Review 0.7232 $0.00 2-3 Days $13,826.78$22.22 more expensive Go to site Read Review
So, sending USD 10,000 to United States at an exchange rate of 0.7232 will cost you $13,826.78 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

HIFXRead Review 0.7232 $0.00 2-3 Days $13,826.78$22.22 more expensive Go to site Read Review
So, sending USD 10,000 to United States at an exchange rate of 0.7232 will cost you $13,826.78 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
OFXRead Review 0.7177 $0.00 1-3 Days $13,933.40$128.84 more expensive Go to site Read Review
So, sending USD 10,000 to United States at an exchange rate of 0.7177 will cost you $13,933.40 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 0.7108 $0.00 1-2 Days $14,068.66$264.10 more expensive Go to site Read Review
So, sending USD 10,000 to United States at an exchange rate of 0.7108 will cost you $14,068.66 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 0.6977 $12.00 1-2 Days $14,344.81$540.25 more expensive Go to site Read Review
So, sending USD 10,000 to United States at an exchange rate of 0.6977 will cost you $14,344.81 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 0.6972 $10.00 1-2 Days $14,353.09$548.53 more expensive Go to site Read Review
So, sending USD 10,000 to United States at an exchange rate of 0.6972 will cost you $14,353.09 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

 

The Main Factors that Influence the Currency Conversion Fees You Pay

The fees charged by providers like your bank, PayPal, or specialist currency exchange services do vary widely. Here are the main areas that influence how much you will end up paying.

 

The Money Transfer Service You Decide to Use

There are three main ways to send money internationally — via your bank, through PayPal, or by using a specialist money transfer provider like TransferWise, OFX, or World First. You will almost always pay more if you use your bank or PayPal, than if you were to use a dedicated currency exchange service.

 

The Country and Currency You’re Sending Money To

It costs more to send money to some countries and currencies than others. This is generally reflected in a less favourable exchange rate to transfer funds to certain destinations or currencies.

 

The Amount You Are Transferring

You will generally get better exchange rates and lower fees if you’re transferring larger amounts. It costs less to send $10,000 AUD to the US compared to sending $1,000 or $100 AUD. You will pay lower fees if you complete one or two larger transfers than multiple small ones.

 

How You Fund Your Transfer

Some money transfer providers, especially PayPal, charge you more if you decide to fund your transfer in a particular way. Generally, funding a transfer via a bank draft, direct transfer, or direct debit is the cheapest option. If you pay for your transfer via a debit or credit card, you may be charged a higher fee.

 

How You Arrange Your Transfer

Some providers charge more for a transfer if you arrange for it in person (in a bank branch) or over the phone (by calling a service center). For the lowest fees, you should almost always use an online money transfer portal.

 

How You Send Money to the Recipient

It’s not just you who will pay fees when sending money. Depending on how the recipient receives their funds (e.g. directly deposited into their bank account, picking up in person, getting an international bankers draft), they may have to pay additional fees levied by their bank or currency exchange provider.

 

Hints and Tips to Keep Your Currency Exchange Fees as Low as Possible

Here are our recommendations on how to keep your costs down, and make sure your recipient gets as much of your hard-earned money as they can.

 

  • Avoid using your bank or PayPal to transfer money overseas — their fees are higher and their currency exchange rates are worse.
  • Try to use a specialist currency exchange service like OFX, World First, TorFX, HiFX, or Transferwise. You will get more favorable rates and lower fees.
  • Where possible, fund your transfer via a bank transfer, direct debit, or debit card. Generally, you will pay lower fees than if you use a credit card.
  • Speak to your bank and the recipient’s bank top understand the fees they will charge for sending and receiving money.
  • Check how you can save money using our money transfer comparison tool — it lists all of the popular providers and how much money you will save by using each one.

 

Here at The Currency Shop, we want to give you the right information to save you money and help you make an informed choice for all your currency exchange needs. If you’ve still got questions we’re here to help, so feel free to give us a call on 1800 004 930.

 

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.