How Much It Really Costs to Transfer Money Overseas

Transferring money overseas is full of hidden costs. Exactly how much it costs to transfer money overseas differs between money transfer providers.

In this article, we review the fees and exchange rates of the most widely used banks and money transfer companies.

At the end of the day, the total cost comes down to two common fees:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.

The best and worst: quick comparisons of money transfer services

We compared a range of money transfer specialists and looked at their exchange rates, fees and services.

TransferWise

2. TransferWise is one of the only money transfer companies in the world that offers the wholesale or interbank exchange rate. The downside is that they charge a percentage based service fee. This means the larger your transfer, the bigger the fee. As a result they are an excellent, easy choice for smaller transfers under $10,000.

Best For:

  • Transparent exchange rates and fees.
  • Their Borderless Account.
  • You prefer to do everything online.

Not Great If:

  • You are transferring a significant amount of money.
  • You prefer to have local phone support.
  • You make business transfers.

Learn more about TransferWise

XE

XE was one of only companies we found that was as big as a bank with no fee. They also had a better exchange rate than any bank we compared and offered sharper rates for larger amounts.

Best For:

  • Transfers to the UK, New Zealand and Europe.
  • Larger amounts over $50,000.
  • If you prefer talking to someone over the phone.

Not Great If:

  • You are transferring less than $200.
  • You prefer to do everything online.
  • You make business transfers.

Learn more about XE Money Transfers

WorldRemit

Worldremit logoWorldRemit has grown into a global leader over the last few years. The website is incredibly easy to use, they
have no minimum transfer amount and a range of payment options including debit and credit cards.

Best For:

  • Transfers to the India, the Philippines, South America and Africa.
  • Transfers under $10,000.
  • Sending money to family using cash pick-up.

Not Great If:

  • You need to send more than $10,000.
  • You want to talk to someone locally.
  • You make business transfers.

Learn more about WorldFirst

OFX

OFX has a $10 fee for amounts under $10,000.

While their exchange rates may not be as competitive as TorFX or TransferWise, getting started was the easiest of all the companies we compared. It’s also the only Australian company besides the banks that we compared.

Best For:

  • Setting up an account. It’s quick, easy and can be done online.
  • Transfers over $10,000.
  • Local phone and email support.

Not Great If:

  • You want to know the exchange rate before you sign up.
  • You are transferring less than $10,000.
  • Transfers in CNY to China.

Learn more about OFX

PayPal

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.

Also, the good news is that in the last 12 months, ANZ, CBA and NAB have all reduced their fee to transfer money overseas online. The bad news is that their exchange rates are still much worse than the likes of OFX, TransferWise or TorFX. Heading to a branch is almost the same as using internet banking, just with a higher fee. Bank charges range between $30 and $32 dollars for the same service

So, what does it all mean?

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.

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.

Compare the cost to transfer money overseas