NAB international transfer: Fees and exchange rate

NAB international transfer: Fees and exchange rate

This article will cover everything you need to know about NAB international transfers including: how much a payment costs, how long it takes to arrive, and how to get started.

NAB is one of the Big Four, and serves over 9 million customers. But that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best choice for sending an international payment.

Alternative specialist providers like Wise, OFX and Western Union may be able to get your money where it needs to be faster and for a lower overall fee.

Compare international money transfer providers

NAB international money transfer comparison

We’ll walk through the details in just a moment – first let’s look at a comparison of NAB against a couple of specialist providers.

It helps to know that the full cost of sending an international wire transfer can include several different fees:

  • Your own bank’s transfer fee – this is often the lowest of the costs you’ll pay
  • Exchange rate markup – this is a percentage fee added to the exchange rate used, which can often be the highest of the 3 fees overall
  • Third party charges  – paid to intermediaries and your recipient’s own bank – you may not know in advance what these fees will be

Here’s how the costs stack up if we are sending 1,000 AUD to a friend in the UK:

Provider Total fee Recipient gets in the end
NAB 10 AUD + exchange rate markup + third party charges 501.45 GBP
Wise 5.14 AUD 523.29 GBP
Western Union 0 transfer fee + exchange rate markup 522.58 GBP
OFX 15 AUD + exchange rate markup 510.79 GBP
  • Data correct at time of research – 11 February 2022

NAB’s transfer fee – at 10 AUD – doesn’t look so high. But when you look a little closer, your recipient would get quite a bit less when you send money with NAB compared to a specialist provider. Here the difference is in the exchange rate applied.

Banks like NAB typically include a markup on the mid-market exchange rate. This is an extra fee – which can often far exceed all of the other costs of the transfer. Typically bank exchange rate markups are in the region of 3%. It doesn’t sound like much, but that’s an extra 150 AUD fee on a transfer worth 5,000 AUD.

Specialist providers can often offer lower overall fees, and a better exchange rate compared to banks. Because international money transfers are their core business, getting set up and using the platforms is usually straightforward, too.

NAB international transfer fees

We mentioned that whenever you arrange an international transfer with your bank or any other provider, there are 3 common fees to check out. We’ll unpack these fees one by one in a moment, and look at how they really stack up.

First let’s take a look at the transfer fees typically involved in sending and receiving international payments with NAB.

Service type NAB fee
Incoming international payment
  • Deposited to your NAB account – up to 15 AUD
  • NAB acting as intermediary to deposit funds in another bank’s account – up to 30 AUD
  • NAB passing funds without converting them to another bank – up to 35 AUD
Send international payment online
  • In foreign currency –  10 AUD
  • In AUD – 30 AUD
Send international payment in branch
  • 30 AUD
Send international payment by email or fax
  • 35 AUD
International payment cancellation
  • 2- AUD

NAB exchange rate

You’ll be able to see the NAB exchange rate that will apply to your international transfer when you arrange it. Alternatively you can model your payment online using the NAB currency converter. In this case you’ll see the rate, any applicable fees and third party costs, and what your recipient will get in the end.

If you’re setting up your payment out of hours, or scheduling an advance payment, it’s important to note that the rate you see may not be the live rate at the time the payment is processed. In this case you’ll usually only see the applicable exchange rate once the transaction has started.

NAB exchange rates include a markup – also known as a margin – on the mid-market exchange rate. That’s an extra fee added onto the rate that NAB gets when it sells and exchanges currency itself.

Adding a margin to the exchange rates available for customers is common – and NAB state clearly that this is the case when you model your payment using their currency converter. However, exchange rate markups do make it trickier to see exactly what you’re paying, and can push up the costs of your transfer too.

Exchange rate margins are commonly about 3%. Sounds small – but over a higher value transfer it works out to be a whole lot. Here’s how the exchange rate markup would stack up with a 3% margin used for different transfer values:

  • Sending 1,000 AUD – the exchange rate markup adds 30 AUD to the total
  • Sending 5,000 AUD – the exchange rate markup adds 150 AUD to the total
  • Sending 50,000 AUD – the exchange rate markup adds 1,500 AUD to the total

Here’s a reminder of the total costs – including exchange rate markups – from the providers we looked at earlier. This is what you’ll pay with each when sending 1,000 AUD to a friend in the UK:

  • NAB: 10 AUD transfer fee + exchange rate margin
  • Wise: 5.14 AUD (no exchange rate markup applies)
  • Western Union: 0 transfer fee + exchange rate margin
  • OFX: 15 AUD transfer fee + exchange rate margin

NAB additional fees

In many cases, banks send international payments using the SWIFT network, which can result in extra fees. That’s because several banks – known as correspondent banks – partner under this method, to move money from one account to another – and these partner banks can charge a fee for their service.

NAB tries to work with partner banks which don’t charge – and will usually cover all correspondent bank costs, so you’ll know in advance exactly what your recipient will get. However, some overseas banks won’t let NAB pay their fees – so it’s not always possible for NAB to cover the correspondent charges. On these occasions, your recipient may get less than you were expecting in the end.

How long does a NAB international money transfer take

NAB transfers are usually received within 24 hours, as long as all information has been received and processed by the bank’s cut off time. NAB has different cut off times for different currencies, so it’s worth checking when you send your payment whether it’ll be processed immediately or whether it will have to wait until the next day.

Here’s a reminder of how that measures up against the specialist providers we looked at earlier:

Pros and cons of transferring money abroad with NAB

Pros:

  • Flat fee for transfers
  • Send online or in branch
  • NAB try to cover all correspondent fees
  • Familiar and safe option

Cons:

  • NAB’s fees may not be market beating
  • Exchange rate margins apply which push up costs
  • Some overseas banks won’t let NAB cover correspondent charges

If you’re an NAB customer and want an in person service in a branch you might like to use NAB for your transfer. If you’re sending online however, you may find a better balance of cost and convenience with a specialist provider. While NAB has a reasonable, low fee for online payments, the exchange rate markups applied can push up the overall costs significantly.

How to make an international transfer with NAB

You can send an NAB international transfer in a branch – in this case you’ll be guided through the process in person – or choose the online or mobile service. Online and mobile payments are cheaper and can be faster, too. Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Log into your online banking or open the NAB app
  2. Open Transfer & Pay
  3. Select international transfer if you’re on the desktop, or international payment in-app
  4. Select the account you want to pay from
  5. Enter the country and currency, and the amount to send
  6. Add your recipient’s details
  7. Confirm the payment and you’re done

What information do you need to make an international transfer with NAB?

When you make your NAB international transfer you’ll need to give some information about your recipient to make sure the money arrives safely:

  • Recipient’s full name and street address
  • IBAN or account number
  • SWIFT/BIC code for the recipient’s bank
  • Any other country specific information like a routing number for the US or sort code for the UK

Transfer limits and available countries

Limits apply to the amount of money you can send internationally with NAB. Check your limits in the NAB app or in a branch – or call 13 22 65 to request a change to your limits.

You can send payments in over 40 global currencies, to 230 countries around the world. Get the full list of available countries – and the exchange rates that will apply – on the NAB website.

Receiving money from abroad with NAB

There’s a fee of up to 15 AUD to get a payment from abroad deposited in your NAB account. You’ll need to give the sender your name as shown on your account, the account number and the NAB SWIFT code to make sure it arrives safely.

Depending on where the payment is being sent from you might also need a few other details – your sender will be able to confirm what is required when they arrange the payment.

NAB SWIFT code

SWIFT codes – also known as SWIFT/BIC codes – are unique identifiers given to banks and used in international transfers, to make sure the money ends up in the right place in the end. You’ll need to give anyone sending you money the NAB SWIFT code to make sure your payment isn’t delayed, returned, or deposited in the wrong account by mistake.

NAB’s SWIFT code is NATAAU3303M.

Conclusion

Sending an international payment using your regular bank might seem like the easy way to go. However, while it’s familiar and reliable, it’s not often the cheapest way to get your money to someone based overseas.

In the cost comparison we ran, your recipient would have ended up with more if you send your transfer with an alternative specialist provider instead of NAB. That’s because specialist services tend to offer lower overall fees – and better exchange rates than banks.

FAQs

1. How much does a NAB international transfer cost?

Sending a NAB international transfer online costs 10 AUD. In branch payments are 30 AUD. You’ll also pay an additional fee which is added to the exchange rate used.

2. How long does a NAB international money transfer take?

NAB international transfers are usually deposited within 24 hours. Check the cut off time for your currency to make sure it’s processed on the same day you send it.

3. How to transfer money internationally with NAB?

Send an NAB international money transfer online, in the NAB app or in a NAB branch.

By Ileana Ionescu Updated February 27th, 2022