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When transferring larger amounts of money, it is particularly important that you are aware of all the hidden fees, charges and rates that can, a lot of the time, sneak up and catch a lot of people out. With so many costly traps to look out for, money transfers can be both overwhelming, and exhausting.

With this in mind, we’ve put together a short and simple article to help highlight all of those sneaky numbers, so you can get more value for your hard-earned money without feeling like you’ve swallowed a financial jargon dictionary!

There are two general methods to choose from when transferring money abroad:

  1. Banks
  2. Money Transfer Providers

 


 

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 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

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

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.

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

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

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.

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

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

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 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
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

Pros

  • 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

Cons

  • 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.

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 0.6963 $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.

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 0.6857 $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.

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 0.6736 $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.

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

 

Table of contents

  1. The general costs to consider when transferring your money overseas
  2. How much you would get in exchange for $50,000 AUD in USD
  3. FAQs
  4. Security

 

4 costs to consider when transferring money overseas

Cost of sending money overseas

Below of 4 of the main costs to consider when transferring your money overseas. Particularly when transferring larger amounts of money, this is highly important

  1. The baseline exchange rate
  2. The exchange rate margin
  3. A commission fee
  4. A flat fee

 

1. The baseline exchange rate

To add confusion, many banks and providers will also use the terms: ‘mid-market’ or ‘interbank’ rate, but don’t be alarmed, they all mean the same thing. What this means is the amount of money one currency is worth when you exchange it to another. These rates fluctuate due to contributing factors like the financial market, global events etc.

In early 2017, $50,000 AUD would get you roughly $38,399.83 USD through the baseline exchange rate.

 

2. The exchange rate margin

In short, this is the margin between the baseline exchange rate and the rate you are offered by your bank or provider. This margin will differ with each method you choose, which will affect the amount of money you get in total when transferring it abroad.

TIP: Be aware that this margin is the most important area to consider when transferring larger amounts of money. So keep an eye on this if you are looking to transfer $50,000 or more.

 

3. A commission fee

Not all providers and banks will charge this additional commission fee, but some do so it is important to know before transferring your money. This fee can be anywhere between 1-5%.

 

4. A flat fee

Nearly all providers and banks will charge a flat rate fee but this will, in most cases, be waived for transfer amounts over $10,000 so you don’t need to worry too much. However, for those interested, fees are usually between $18-$40 per transfer for banks, and $10-$15 for providers.


 

How Much USD Would You Get In Exchange For $50,000 AUD?

As explained above, banks will apply a larger margin to the baseline exchange rate in order to take more profit. Dedicated currency providers will take a smaller margin, therefore giving you more value for your money.

 

In February 2017, the rates are as follows:

  • 0.766 — Mid-market exchange rate or Interbank rate

 

Currency providers and banks make their profit on the margin they choose to add to the mid-market exchange rate (the rate you would find on Google, or xe.com). As a general rule, banks will inflict a larger margin and currency providers a smaller one.

 

On average, the rates for currency providers and banks are as follows:

  • 0.755 — Currency provider exchange rate
  • 0.735 — Bank exchange rate

 

Taking all of the above information into account, it’s time to get down to the figures. We’ve put together a table below for you to see which shows you an estimated amount you will get for $50,000 AUD-USD

 

  • Note that most currency exchange providers will not allow you to see a quote based on their own customer rates (rather than the baseline exchange rate) until you sign up with them and obtain a quote. In these cases, we have put the baseline rate offered on their websites.

 

AUD Fees in AUD Total Received in USD 
OFX $50,000 $0 $37,446.40
HiFX $50,000 $5 $37,352.27
TorFX $50,000 $0 $37,484.05 (Cheapest)
WorldFirst $50,000 $0 $37,427.57
TransferWise $50,000 $268.66* $37,363.16
Commonwealth Bank $50,000 $22 – $30** $35,489.38
ANZ $50,000 $18 – $32** $36,042.02
NAB $50,000 $22 – $30** $35,075.24 (Most expensive)
Westpac $50,000 $20 – $32** $35,600.75

*TransferWise only ever use the mid-market exchange rate, so unlike all other banks and currency providers they make a profit in fees.
**When there are two fees shown, this means the two fees for online and in-branch.

Case Study

 

lady calling to enquire how to transfer $50000 overseasLucy and her husband, Mike are looking to buy a two bedroom apartment in Chicago, as Mike’s job will mean he has regularly to fly over there for up to 2 months at a time. Instead of spending the long periods of time apart, Lucy decided to organise working remotely so she could fly with him and work from the apartment in the US.

Once they found the apartment they wanted, Mike needed to transfer an estimated $50,000 AUD-USD. Ever the bargain hunter, Mike researched the best providers around and found that the exchange rate offered by his bank would mean he would be losing around $1900 in the transaction. He decided to go through OFX, as they offered great advice with highly competitive rates with no fees, and organised his transfer quickly and easily online.

 


 

 

FAQs

We know currency exchange can be a confusing process, especially filled with jargon and permanently fluctuating rates, meaning the information you look at is never set for very long.

Are there different types of transfers that I can do?

Yes. These options will differ with each money provider and bank, but in general, you will have the option of a standard single transfer, a forward exchange contract (where you can lock in an exchange rate on a payment you wish to make in the future), or a regular (recurring) payment. You will need to do your research on this beforehand.

 

How do I know when my transfer has been completed?

You will need to provide your contact details when you set up an account with a money exchange provider, including either your email address or phone number. Some companies/banks will send you an SMS alert, or simply an email when your money is transferred safely.

Should I compare currency providers before transferring my money

Definitely. All currency providers offer competitive rates which reflect the details of your transfer i.e. how much you plan to transfer, the destination you wish to transfer to and which payment method you wish to proceed with. Some providers will charge a flat rate fee, which is usually taken off with transfers over $10,000, while others will charge a rate that fluctuates.

 

Do some currency provider offer fee-free transfers?

Yes. A lot of providers will offer fee-free transfers for any amount over $10,000. TransferWise retain their fees but this is based on offering a better exchange rate than their competitors.

How quickly will my money take to transfer?

Your transfer will take between 2-4 working days depending on the details of the transaction.

 

What other charges should i look out for?

In a lot of cases, the bank on the receiving end of the transfer will take their own cut, so be aware.

 

Are there minimum and maximum limits to transferring money overseas?

Yes. These limits will differ with each company or bank. TorFX have no minimum transfer amount, with HiFX only having $50 as a minimum transfer. However, in comparison, other providers such as OFX and WorldFirst have a $250 minimum transfer. Most maximum transfer amounts are $1,000,000.


Security

All currency providers listed in this article hold Australian Financial Services Licenses and are members of the Australia Financial Ombudsman Service.

 

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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.