Life as an expat is exciting but it also has unique challenges.

If you’re an expat sending money overseas, some basic knowledge helps you compare exchange rates and avoid some of the common problems.

Here are 5 common issues you may face – and some tips on how to overcome them.

 

Expat Overseas Money Transfer1. Poor exchange rates

The rates listed as ‘official’ refer to the interbank rates and the fact is, you can do better if you shop around. By choosing a bank for your foreign exchange, you’re also choosing a different rate for both buying and selling and often a sizeable commission added on top.

 

2. Fees

Beware of banks that charge flat fees for each transfer. If you send money overseas regularly, you may end up spending a small fortune in fees.


 

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 15 2018
XERead Review 0.7208 $0.00 2-3 Days $13,873.20Lowest Cost Option Go to site Read Review
So, sending USD 10,000 to United States at an exchange rate of 0.7208 will cost you $13,873.20 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 0.7240 $63.65 1-2 Days $13,875.80$2.60 more expensive Go to site Read Review
So, sending USD 10,000 to United States at an exchange rate of 0.7240 will cost you $13,875.80 which includes a fee of $63.65

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 0.7197 $0.00 2-3 Days $13,895.53$22.33 more expensive Go to site Read Review
So, sending USD 10,000 to United States at an exchange rate of 0.7197 will cost you $13,895.53 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 0.7197 $0.00 2-3 Days $13,895.53$22.33 more expensive Go to site Read Review
So, sending USD 10,000 to United States at an exchange rate of 0.7197 will cost you $13,895.53 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 0.7197 $0.00 2-3 Days $13,895.53$22.33 more expensive Go to site Read Review
So, sending USD 10,000 to United States at an exchange rate of 0.7197 will cost you $13,895.53 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 0.7141 $0.00 1-3 Days $14,003.64$130.44 more expensive Go to site Read Review
So, sending USD 10,000 to United States at an exchange rate of 0.7141 will cost you $14,003.64 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$195.46 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$471.61 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$479.89 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

 

3. Lack of personalised service

International Currency SymbolsWhen you choose a big financial institution to look after your foreign exchange conversion, you may find you get lost in the mix. Instead, consider looking for a local currency exchange expert and aim to create a positive, personal relationship. With some genuine customer service, you can have your questions answered to help you make the best currency conversion decisions that minimise your costs.

 

4. No access to hedging tools

This isn’t about gardening – just trimming costs. Hedging tools limit your exposure to the fluctuations in foreign currency that can add up to wasted dollars.

 

Reduce Unwanted Fees – Maximise Benefits

Transferring money shouldn’t be a negative experience. With the right information at your fingertips and a professional currency conversion expert at your disposal, you can boost the potential benefits and minimise your risks. With the right foreign exchange specialist, it is possible to:

  • Achieve a spread of 1% – and even lower
  • Reduce or remove fees
  • Create a strategy for purchasing currency
  • Access hedging tools. These types of contracts enable you to buy currency at a fixed rate for a set period of time – often 1 or 2 years. With your rate fixed, you will avoid the stress of market volatility and have a clear idea of what you will pay and how much you will receive in exchange, before each transaction is completed.

 

Which company is best for expats?

Currency Service ProviderThe top two on our list are and Transferwise and OFX

What we looked for include:

  • The ability to make regular payments
  • Customer service that is dedicated and personalised
  • No (or very low) fees
  • Impressive exchange rates

 

If you are an expat, look for a professional currency provider in your local area by asking some questions that matter to you – and ensuring you are happy with the answers provided.

Choose a provider that suits your needs and won’t cost you a fortune in either precious time or money. For any other questions about foreign exchange issues for expats, call our office and speak to our experts at The Currency Shop.
 
 

Finding the right option

The Currency Shop offer free personalised advice via phone, email or even face-to-face if it all seems a bit overwhelming. Explore our website or give us a call on 1800 004 930.

 

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How to transfer money back to Australia

Transferring Money Back to Australia

Transferring money back to Australia isn’t easy. It can also be really expensive depending on what exchange rate you get. This articles compares the best ways of moving money back to Australia.


 

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.