Paying bills

Losing a friend or a loved one then it can be a distressing and stressful time on its own.  If it is your responsibility to arrange and pay for the funeral arrangements then it can certainly prove to be even more of a challenging time. This challenge can be even more tough if you have a loved one die abroad and they wished to have the funeral abroad.

The fees for a funeral can also be very high, with funeral director’s costs running into thousands of dollars, not to mention burial or cremation fees.

If you have to transfer money abroad in order to pay for a funeral, then there can be a number of ways to do it. If you are the executor of an estate then it is your responsibility to make payments in the most cost effective way. Here are some of your options with the pros and cons.



1. Credit Card

Credit cards are generally only cost effective when paying money abroad if the amount in question is small.  Your credit card issuer will charge you a fee which is a percentage of the amount being paid, generally 3-5%.  This means that a funeral cost running into the thousands will incur a large charge.

Pros Cons
tick Easy to use and convenient cross The fee charged is generally a percentage of the amount being paid.  A funeral costing thousands of dollars could rack up a fee of hundreds of dollars
tick Accepted worldwide
tick For small amounts, cost effective


2. Bank Transfer

Using your bank account to transfer money is one of the easiest options.  You don’t have to transfer your money anywhere else before making the transaction.

The issue is that banks almost always have worse exchange rates than most other options for transferring money.  This is because they make money on the difference between the rate they give you and the rate they’ve bought the currency at.

In Australia, you’ll also find that banks will charge a high transaction fee for the transfer.  You may also receive a charge from the receiving bank.


Pros Cons
tick Easy to use and convenient cross Some banks will apply a charge for every transaction
cross Uncompetitive exchange rates
cross Receiving bank may also charge a receiving fee


3. Online Money Transfer

There is the additional hassle of setting up an account if you don’t already have one, but other than that using a money transfer company would appear to be a good option.  The only other negative is usually the minimum transfer amount they put in place, but as funeral costs often run into the thousands this is unlikely to be a problem.

Exchange rates are also generally the best available on the market.


Pros Cons
tick Good choice for larger transfers cross Have to set up an account first
tick Flat fees help save money cross Minimum amount generally set at around $1,000 per transaction
tick Best available exchange rates


How to Find the Cheapest Way to Transfer Money Overseas

Provider Exchange
Total (AUD) Rates last updated September 19 2018
TransferwiseRead Review 0.7264 $63.45 1-2 Days $13,829.97Lowest Cost Option Go to site Read Review
So, sending USD 10,000 to United States at an exchange rate of 0.7264 will cost you $13,829.97 which includes a fee of $63.45

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


  • 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


  • 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

TorFXRead Review 0.7228 $0.00 2-3 Days $13,835.70$5.73 more expensive Go to site Read Review
So, sending USD 10,000 to United States at an exchange rate of 0.7228 will cost you $13,835.70 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.


  • No transfer fees
  • Highly competitive exchange rates
  • Secure transfers with authorised
  • Assigned account manager
  • 24 / 7 Assistance
  • Available range of transfer options


  • Limited exotic currencies available
  • Exchange rates on small transfers aren't great
  • Website experience could be better

XERead Review 0.7225 $0.00 2-3 Days $13,841.26$11.29 more expensive Go to site Read Review
So, sending USD 10,000 to United States at an exchange rate of 0.7225 will cost you $13,841.26 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


  • 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.


  • 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.

WorldFirstRead Review 0.7220 $0.00 2-3 Days $13,849.62$19.65 more expensive Go to site Read Review
So, sending USD 10,000 to United States at an exchange rate of 0.7220 will cost you $13,849.62 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


  • Low fees and great exchange rates
  • Safe and secure transfers
  • Regulated by ASIC and registered with AFSL
  • Great for personal and business payments


  • Does not accept BPAY, credit card, cheque or cash
  • Limited currencies available

HIFXRead Review 0.7220 $0.00 2-3 Days $13,849.62$19.65 more expensive Go to site Read Review
So, sending USD 10,000 to United States at an exchange rate of 0.7220 will cost you $13,849.62 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 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


  • 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


  • Only electronic bank transfers accepted
  • Limited exotic currencies
WorldRemitRead Review 0.7187 $3.99 1-2 Days $13,917.61$87.64 more expensive Go to site Read Review
So, sending USD 10,000 to United States at an exchange rate of 0.7187 will cost you $13,917.61 which includes a fee of $3.99

About WorldRemit

WorldRemit are particularly good for transfers under $10,000 to destinations across Asia, Africa and South America. Sending money online is significantly easier than using companies like Western Union or Moneygram and their exchange rates and fees are clear and transparent. With 2 million users, WorldRemit has a focus on improving access to remittances for the billions people worldwide who don’t have access to banking. Because of this, WorldRemit has a number of ways to both make and receive transfers. They concentrate on servicing individual needs as opposed to businesses. Click here for the full review


  • They have a great network in Asia and Africa and number of receiving options like cash-pick up or bank transfer.
  • They are clear about their exchange rates and fees
  • No minimum amount


  • Maximum transfer sizes for every transfer
  • No support for business customers
  • They are not licensed to provide financial advice.
OFXRead Review 0.7167 $0.00 1-3 Days $13,952.84$122.87 more expensive Go to site Read Review
So, sending USD 10,000 to United States at an exchange rate of 0.7167 will cost you $13,952.84 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.


  • 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


  • Credit cards, cheques and cash are not accepted
  • Transfers to Thailand can take up to 4 days
  • Fees for transfers smaller transfers

ANZRead Review 0.6963 $0.00 1-2 Days $14,361.63$531.66 more expensive Go to site Read Review
So, sending USD 10,000 to United States at an exchange rate of 0.6963 will cost you $14,361.63 with no fees.
ANZ International Money Transfer is a secure and fast way to transfer money overseas.


  • Fast transfers
  • Safe and secure
  • No fee for transfers under $10 000 via Internet banking


  • $12 fee for transfers under $10 000 via Internet banking
  • Poor exchange rates
  • 24 hour hotline not available

Commonwealth BankRead Review 0.6857 $12.00 1-2 Days $14,595.64$765.67 more expensive Go to site Read Review
So, sending USD 10,000 to United States at an exchange rate of 0.6857 will cost you $14,595.64 which includes a fee of $12.00
Commonwealth Bank provides secure and easy transfers to over 200 countries and more than 30 currencies.


  • Fast transfers+ Easy transfers
  • Security guarantee covers any losses from unauthorised transactions


  • $6 fee for transfers under $1000 via Internet banking
  • $12 fee for transfers under $1000 via Internet banking
  • Poor exchange rates

WestpacRead Review 0.6736 $10.00 1-2 Days $14,855.61$1025.64 more expensive Go to site Read Review
So, sending USD 10,000 to United States at an exchange rate of 0.6736 will cost you $14,855.61 which includes a fee of $10.00
Westpac is one of the big four banks in Australia offers speedy and secure transfers.


  • Fast payment processing times
  • Secure transfers


  • 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


4. PayPal

PayPal is the easiest way to transfer money and the most convenient, but only if the receiver already has a PayPal account in place, otherwise it can be frustrating and time consuming.

PayPal is the world’s largest online payment company and is likely to be accepted in most instances.  However, PayPal charges a transaction fee and a percentage of the transfer amount so in the case of funeral costs, the charges could end up being incredibly expensive.


Pros Cons
tick Ease of use cross If you have to wait for the receiver to set up an account, it can be frustrating
tick Convenient if you already have money in the account cross PayPal charges both a flat fee plus a percentage of the transaction. Large transfers can incur massive fees.
tick Cost effective for payments that are lower than $200


5. Western Union

Western Union has been around a long while and may still be a lot of people’s transfer company of choice.  They are still well represented around the world so this is little surprise, and there are instances if when using Western Union can prove to be beneficial.

If you are paying for a funeral in a place with a less than modern banking system such as parts of Africa or South America, then Western Union can make them a lot more accessible than they otherwise might have been.


Pros Cons
tick Global company.  Western Union is represented in more countries around the world than any other company cross Impossible to compare costs to other options.  Exchange rates and fees are not set.  Total cost depends on where you are sending the money, how much you are sending and how the person wants to pick it up
tick The recipient can pick up payment in cash if need be
tick Initial payment can be made by credit card if convenient



Things to consider when paying for an overseas funeral

You’ll need to consider plenty of things before deciding how to transfer your currency overseas to pay for a funeral.

How much are you sending?  

Overseas Bill PaymentIt is likely to be in the thousands of dollars as opposed to hundreds.  In this case using credit cards or PayPal are not cost effective as the more you send the higher the fee.


Fee payable

The fees charged by Australian banks can be high making them rarely the best option.  Credit card companies and PayPal charge fees according to the amounts sent, so are not going to be your cheapest options.  Money transfer companies have flat fees on the whole, making them effective for larger transfers.


Exchange rates

It is unlikely that you will find the best exchange rates if you opt to use a bank to make money transfer, plus a flat fee. The best exchange rates can usually be found offered by the money exchange specialists.



WATCH: 4 Tips for Making an International Money Transfer


Case Study

Tony and his family are from Perth.  His aunt left the family and went to live and work in New Zealand thirty years ago and has been there ever since.  Although she never married and has no other family there, she wants to be cremated in her adopted hometown of Christchurch.

Tony has been named as the executor of her will.  The will has advised him to use money his aunt left in an old Australian savings account to pay for the funeral expenses.  A friend of hers will arrange the funeral in Christchurch and money needs to be transferred to her account to distribute accordingly.  He now has to work out the most economical way of transferring it to New Zealand.

He speaks to OFX, a money transfer specialist.  He sets up an account with them and speaks to an account manager who specialises in money transfers for funeral arrangements.  Tony is advised of the fees involved and the exchange rate offered, which he accepts and transfers the money across.


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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.