We have reviewed the fees and exchange rates of the most widely used banks and money transfer company in Australia.
The cost comes down to two common fees and charges:
Exchange Rates: 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.
Transfer Fee: Every Australian bank and money transfer company will charge you a different fee to send money overseas. Usually it's between $10 and $32.
Everytime you send money overseas, you'll get a different exchange rate. You've probably noticed that it is never the same what you see on google, xe.com
This is because the rate you see on google or xe.com is the wholesale (or interbank) rate. It is the exchange which the banks buy the currency in large amounts (usually above 2 million at a time). So unless you are a bank and need to buy a wholesale amount of currency, you can't access this rate.
So how do you find the best exchange rate? You need to compare exchange rates. Exchange rates change all the time and you may get a better exchange rate for a larger amount so when you do compare, make sure you do it at the same time and get a quote for the amount you intend to send.
The below table shows the fee for each bank and online transfer company. Banks won't give you a discount for a larger amount but they will lower the fee if you transfer online instead of in one of their branches. Online transfer companies will generally waive the transfer fee for payments above $10,000
|In Branch||Online||Over $10,000|
|N/A||Fee Free||Fee Free|
TorFX was one of only two companies we found that had no flat fee, regardless of amount. They also had a better exchange rate than any bank we compared and offered sharper rates for larger amounts.
Benefits of using TorFX
- No transfer fees for international currency transfers
- Easy to get an online quote with no obligation to proceed
- Dedicated account managers and personalised service
- Minimum transfer amount of $2,000
- No branch network
To learn more about TorFX click here
OFX has a $10 fee for amounts under $10,000
While the exchange rate wasn't quite as good as TorFX, getting started was the easiest of all the companies we compared. It's also the only Australian company besides the banks that we compared.
The downside is that since their rebrand, it's not easy to find the exchange rate you'll actually receive on their website.
Paypal are also a good option when sending small amounts. This is because they charge fees as a percentage rather than a flat fee. 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.
Using internet banking may not be the cheapest way to transfer money, but it is one of the easiest and fastest. The Big 4 banks charge between $18 and $22 to send money online. They take the funds directly from your account, meaning the funds are sent overseas on the same day. Unfortunately, their exchange rates are consistently worse than most other methods.
The cost to transfer money overseas isn't easy to calculate, but it can be easy to compare once you take into account both the exchange rate you are getting and include the fee that you are paying.
There is not one bank, company or payment method that is always going to be the cheapest.
Comparing your options based on your currency and amount is a good first step.
Traveling to another country? Our experts share exchange currency tips to help you get a better exchange rate and lower fees.
This article explores the cheapest ways to transfer money back to Australia based on the amount you want to send.
Using a bank is one of the easiest ways of sending money overseas but it is also the most costly. Here are 5 cheaper alternatives.
What you should know: This covers most common ways of sending money. it doesn't cover EVERY single method of payment. Some, but not all of the companies mentioned are affiliated with The Currency Shop. If you choose to use any of these companies, we may receive a referral fee. Exchange rates change constantly and so do the indicative quotes provided by currency exchange outlets. This information is not advice nor is it a recommendation in any way.