Sending savings from USA to Australia can be complicated. And scary if it’s your life savings!
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:
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.
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.
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
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|
|TorFX Currency provider||1.308||$0||$65,415.53||$234.47|
|OFX currency provider||1.307||$0||$65,350.57||$299.43|
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:
- Use our comparison tool to see who can offer you the best deal.
- Visit their website directly from ours once you’ve decided on a provider.
- Create an account with the currency provider through their website— you will generally need a proof of identification and a proof of address.
- Get an up-to-date quote for transferring between USD and AUD.
- Organise your transfer using their online service or over the phone.
- Give them details of the bank account receiving the money — you will generally need an IBAN or SWIFT number.
- Send money to your currency provider by funding your account, normally by bank transfer or debit card.
- 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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