Sending savings from USA to Australia can be complicated. And scary if it’s your life savings!

Transferring Savings from The USA to Australia If you’re looking at moving from the US to Australia, it is a very exciting time in your life! One thing you will need to focus in how you’re going to manage your finances and whether you’re going to bring all your money with you or leave some or all of it in the US.
Before you transfer all of your savings from the US to Australia, it’s important to assess all of your options to see which ones will work best. This guide will take you through a lot of the considerations you need to make, and help you work out the best way to go.
While this might not be the most exciting part of your move, investing time into making the right decision will definitely be better for you in the long run.
In this guide we’ll cover:

  • The reasons for transferring your savings overseas.
  • How money transfers and currency exchange works.
  • Why it’s important to get the best deal when moving savings.
  • Typical fees and commissions for transferring savings overseas.
  • The difference between your bank and a dedicated provider.
  • Dedicated currency exchange providers and the services they offer.
  • How to use a currency provider to transfer your savings from the US to Australia.
  • What to do with your money that’s still in the US.
  • Hints and tips.

Read on for our advice on how to make the most of your money and get off to a great start in Oz.


 

How to Find the Cheapest Way to Transfer Money From the States to Australia

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 0.7166 $0.00 1-3 Days $13,954.79$124.82 more expensive Go to site Read Review
So, sending USD 10,000 to United States at an exchange rate of 0.7166 will cost you $13,954.79 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

 

Reasons to Transfer Your Life Savings from the US to Australia

There are a multitude of reasons that you could be making the journey to Australia from the US and need the financial backing of your savings.

  • You might be looking to study abroad and are going to continue your education overseas.
  • Maybe you want a change of scenery and are heading for the sunny beaches along the Australian coast.
  • You might have a new work opportunity, maybe your company is expanding overseas.
  • Maybe you’ve just retired and want a big change to welcome this new stage of your life.
  • Whatever the reason, we want to help you make the most of this big new adventure on the other side of the world.

 

How Currency Exchange and Money Transfer Works

sending savings from usa to australia

When you’re transferring your money internationally, it will involve converting it from one currency into another. In this instance, you’ll be exchanging from US dollars to Australian Dollars. International transfers rely on a universally agreed upon exchange rate as the baseline. From here, it is calculated exactly how much will be converted into Australian Dollars. This will be dependent on the amount you’re transferring.
The amount of US dollars you get will be be subject to certain fees certain fees and exchange rate commissions which will determine how many Australian dollars you receive. This depends on several important factors:

  • The prevailing, interbank, baseline exchange rate between USD and AUD.
  • The amount that you’re transferring.
  • How you plan to pay for your transfer (typically via bank transfer or debit card).
  • The difference between the baseline exchange rate and the exchange rate you are offered by the provider you use.
  • How you are receiving your money in Australia (typically directly into a bank account).
  • Any other factors and fees.

 

 

Why You Want the Best Deal When You’re Moving Savings Internationally

So, why not take the simple and easy approach and use your bank or PayPal to transfer your money? Because the bank or PayPal will not offer you nearly as good an exchange rate as a dedicated currency exchange provider and may charge additional fees. In general, compared to banks, dedicated providers will usually:

  • Offer a much lower exchange rate.
  • Charge higher, or additional fees.
  • Don’t provide dedicated customer service to help and support you through your transfer.
  • Don’t give you access to ‘forward contracts’, which allow you to lock in an exchange rate for a future time.

By our estimate, if we take into account the average exchange rates and fees that banks provide and compare it to a currency exchange provider:
On a transfer of US $50,000, you could pay over $2,500 more if you use a bank or PayPal. 

 

Typical Fees and Commissions

There are a number of areas that have a big influence on how much money you will pay for your transfer from the US to Australia. Let’s have a look at the areas that impact how much you will pay for your transfer.

The Exchange Rate

From your bank and PayPal to dedicated exchange providers such as TransferWise or OFX, the biggest thing that will impact how many Australian dollars you’ll receive, is the exchange rate. The impact comes from the difference between the interbank rate and the rate that the provider is offering you.
Any difference between the interbank or mid market rate will directly impact the amount of money you will receive.

Here are examples of converting your US dollars to Australian dollars:

  • Interbank, mid-market rate for transferring USD to AUD (baseline) — 1.313AUD per USD.
  • PayPal exchange rate for transferring USD to AUD — 1.278 AUD per GBP.
  • Barclays exchange rate for transferring USD to AUD — 1.263 AUD per USD.
  • TorFX currency provider exchange rate for transferring USD to AUD — 1.309AUD per USD.
  • Difference between PayPal and baseline rate — 3.5% worse.
  • Difference between Barclays and baseline rate — 5% worse.
  • Difference between TorFX and baseline rate — 0.4% worse.

These examples are correct as of late June 2017. The exchange rate you are offered will differ depending on date, time, amount you’re transferring and various other factors.

 

Your Bank Versus a Dedicated Currency Exchange Provider

You can us our money transfer and currency exchange comparison tool to compare providers rates. It takes into account exchange rates and fees to accurately show you how much money you could save. We looked into converting US$50,000 to Australian Dollars to see what it would cost.

Provider USD to AUD Exchange Rates Transfer Fee Total AUD for $50,000USD Difference to Baseline
Baseline Rate 1.313 n/a $65,650 n/a
TorFX Currency provider 1.308 $0 $65,415.53 $234.47
OFX currency provider 1.307 $0 $65,350.57 $299.43
PayPal 1.278 $0 $63,889.98 $1,760.02
ANZ 1.263 $15 $63,124.29 $2,525.71
Commonwealth 1.253 $11 $62,669.21 $2,980.79

As you can see, using a dedicated currency provider like TorFX or OFX can save you a massive amount compared to using your bank — you could get between 5% and 6% more money using a currency provider.

 

The Benefits of Currency Exchange Providers

There are some really good choices when you want to bring your savings in the US to Australia. Dedicated currency providers like TorFX, HiFX, OFX, and World First provide low-cost and competitive options for transferring money quickly and easily.
These providers have several benefits including:

  • Substantially lower fees and better exchange rates than PayPal or banks.
  • Fast transfers, sometimes within one working day.
  • Dedicated customer support and advice, essential when you’re doing something of this magnitude.
  • Online options, including mobile apps.
  • Forward or limit orders to manage risk and reduce market changes.
  • Mobile apps and other tools to manage the money transfer processes.

Steps to Using a Currency Provider

It’s easy to setup an account with a currency provider to transfer your savings:

  1. Use our comparison tool to see who can offer you the best deal.
  2. Visit their website directly from ours once you’ve decided on a provider.
  3. Create an account with the currency provider through their website— you will generally need a proof of identification and a proof of address.
  4. Get an up-to-date quote for transferring between USD and AUD.
  5. Organise your transfer using their online service or over the phone.
  6. Give them details of the bank account receiving the money — you will generally need an IBAN or SWIFT number.
  7. Send money to your currency provider by funding your account, normally by bank transfer or debit card.
  8. The provider you’ve chosen will make the exchange and deposit the funds into the recipients bank account.

 

If You Leave Money in The US, What Should You Do With It?

If there are still income payments coming into your US account, such as from property or pension payments, it’s easy to set up regular transfers from the US to Australia with one of the dedicated currency providers.
You can organise to automatically transfer funds reguarly. From there the correct exchange rate will be applied and the money deposited in your Australian bank account within a couple of days.

 

Final Tips for Transferring Your Savings

Here are a few tips on getting the most value out of your international currency exchange.

  • Use our comparison tool to find which company will be best for you.
  • Check with the sending and receiving banks to see if they charge any fees for sending or receiving funds before committing to anything.
  • Ask your currency provider about “forward” or “market limit” orders — these allow you to set a “threshold” for exchange rates, so you only move money if it hits a rate you’ve set.
  • This can help you manage risk and get a better rates for your money transfer. This is especially handy if you’re not in a rush.
  • Because you’re transferring a large amount, give your currency provider a call as they may offer more competitive rates, it’s always worth asking!

And there you go! A complete guide to transferring you savings between the US and Australia. Hopefully, you can use the money you’ll save to enhance your Australian experience even more.
The information provided in this article was correct at the time it was written in June 2017. Exchange rates change constantly, and therefore the rates will be different at the time of the transaction. The article is designed to give you an idea of the differences in cost of using different providers, not to give you an exact estimate of what your transfer will cost. Personal research is pivotal in discovering the best option for your own situation.

 

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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.