Whether you need to pay school fees, medical expenses, household or power bills, paying these expenses to a country overseas can be tricky. Here are 5 ways you can reduce the cost of these international invoices and avoid some of the stress.

 

1. By Credit Card

Giving your credit card details online, or directly to someone you are paying the bill to, means you are likely be charged a fee as a percentage from your bank or card issuer. Usually, it is between 3% and 5%. Importantly, you won’t be charged a flat transaction fee on top.

paying international invoices by credit card

When this is a good option?

This makes it a cost-effective way to pay for small international bills under $200.

Pros and Cons of paying a bill by credit card

Using a credit card is the easiest way to pay for bills in another country. The biggest downside is that the bank fee is usually a percentage of your bill payment. This means for bigger payments, the fee can really add up.

 

2. An International Money Transfer Online

If your biller has a bank account you can pay into, then an international money transfer can be a great option. You can transfer the money into their bank account using a bank or a money transfer company. Be mindful though, many money transfer companies have a minimum transaction size of $1000

International Money Transfer Online

When this is a good option?

An international money transfer is a good option for larger bill payments above $1000 and when your biller has a bank account you can pay into. If you are using this method, make sure you include your invoice or bill number on your payment so they know it’s from you.

Pros and Cons of paying a bill via an International Money Transfer

The exchange rate you will get from making an international money transfer will usually be better than Paypal or using a credit card, but there is more work involved. Banks will often charge between $18 to $22 so, for smaller amounts especially, it can be an expensive way to send money overseas for smaller amount

 

3. Paypal

Paypal remains the world’s largest internet payment company. It is very easy to set up an account and most overseas billers will accept payment from Paypal, making this very handy.

Paying Bills with Paypal

When this is a good option?

Paypal is great to pay bills if you already have a Paypal account with money in it. It’s also a relatively cost-effective way to pay for smaller bills up to $200

Pros and Cons of paying a bill by Paypal

Paypal is very quick and easy – particularly if you already have a Paypal account.

Paypal does charge for this convenience though. They charge a flat fee and a percentage of the payment. This won’t matter too much for small bill payments under $200 however there are cheaper options for larger amounts.

 

4. Western Union

Some view Western Union as outdated, with the emergence of newer online players, such as Paypal and Transferwise, however they still remain a good option in certain situations.

Transferring a Monetary Gift from Overseas

When this is a good option?

The biggest advantage of using Western Union is their global reach. They are particularly useful if you need to pay into a country that doesn’t have a big banking sector. Payments to some parts of South America, Africa and Asia are almost impossible through a bank but with its unparalleled global reach, Western Union can be a good option.

Pros and Cons of paying a bill via Western Union

The biggest con of using Western Union is the cost. Unfortunately, there is no flat or common fee. The exchange rate, fees and charges all depend on where you are sending the money, how much and how it is being received.

 

5. Set up a local bank account

These days, most banking can be done online so it can make sense to set up a bank account in the country you are paying the bills to. For example, if you own a property in France and are constantly paying bills in Euros relating to the house, it might pay to set up a French bank account next time you are in the country.

Once the account is open, you can make an international money transfer to add money to the account and then use it to pay bills as they arise.

Set up a local bank account

When this is a good option?

This is a great option when you are a dual citizen or when you often have lots of bills in the same country.

Pros and Cons of setting up a local account

The biggest advantage is saving on common fees and charges that come with paying via credit card or Paypal. It’s also so much easier to pay a local bill in a local currency using a local account. The big drawback is the hassle of opening the account and maintaining a balance. This might not even be possible if you are not a resident of the country.

 

 


 

How to Find the Cheapest Way to Pay International Invoices

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 August 15 2018
XERead Review 0.7194 $0.00 2-3 Days $13,900.08Lowest Cost Option Go to site Read Review
So, sending USD 10,000 to United States at an exchange rate of 0.7194 will cost you $13,900.08 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.

TransferwiseRead Review 0.7226 $63.78 1-2 Days $13,902.70$2.62 more expensive Go to site Read Review
So, sending USD 10,000 to United States at an exchange rate of 0.7226 will cost you $13,902.70 which includes a fee of $63.78

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

WorldFirstRead Review 0.7183 $0.00 2-3 Days $13,922.45$22.37 more expensive Go to site Read Review
So, sending USD 10,000 to United States at an exchange rate of 0.7183 will cost you $13,922.45 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

TorFXRead Review 0.7183 $0.00 2-3 Days $13,922.45$22.37 more expensive Go to site Read Review
So, sending USD 10,000 to United States at an exchange rate of 0.7183 will cost you $13,922.45 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

HIFXRead Review 0.7183 $0.00 2-3 Days $13,922.45$22.37 more expensive Go to site Read Review
So, sending USD 10,000 to United States at an exchange rate of 0.7183 will cost you $13,922.45 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
OFXRead Review 0.7129 $0.00 1-3 Days $14,027.21$127.13 more expensive Go to site Read Review
So, sending USD 10,000 to United States at an exchange rate of 0.7129 will cost you $14,027.21 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 0.7108 $0.00 1-2 Days $14,068.66$168.58 more expensive Go to site Read Review
So, sending USD 10,000 to United States at an exchange rate of 0.7108 will cost you $14,068.66 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 0.6977 $12.00 1-2 Days $14,344.81$444.73 more expensive Go to site Read Review
So, sending USD 10,000 to United States at an exchange rate of 0.6977 will cost you $14,344.81 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 0.6972 $10.00 1-2 Days $14,353.09$453.01 more expensive Go to site Read Review
So, sending USD 10,000 to United States at an exchange rate of 0.6972 will cost you $14,353.09 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

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.