The Best Ways to Transfer Large Sums of Money Internationally
Do you have a large sum of money to send overseas, but you don't know which company is safe, gives you the best exchange rate and is free from hidden fees? We do.
In this article, we guide you through the costs of an international money transfer, how to safely send money overseas and the best ways to do it online from Australia. Find out quickly which money transfer company has transparent costs, mobile phone apps and available delivery options to make your international money transfer easier.
What will it cost to send a large amount of money overseas?
There are generally 3 different costs when sending a large amount of money overseas.
1. Exchange rates - The better the exchange rate, the more money you get in the account abroad. The difference between 0.9545 and 0.9845 AUD/USD exchange rates is A$3,000 when transferring A$100,000 overseas.
Money transfer services offer better exchange rates on foreign currency transfers than banks. They offer rates closer to the market exchange rates shown on Google or XE. It's important to check exchange rates as part of the total costs.
2. Transfer fees - Transfer fees are sometimes known as 'transaction' or 'fixed fees' and are charged by all banks (roughly $10-30). Some online money transfer companies charge fixed fees, but they are often offer better exchange rates than banks.
Some online transfer companies offer fee-free transfers for sending large amounts of money. But you still have to check the exchange rate to find out the total cost.
3. Receiving fees - You or the person you're sending money too will often get charged a bank receiving fee of up to $20. They are often called "Overseas Delivery Charges". If you use your bank, this fee is often unknown until after you've made your transfer.
Most online money transfer companies will tell you the total cost of your transfer, including receiving fees even before you send money overseas.
To sum it up, total costs are lower with online money transfer companies than banks because:
- They charge less transfer fees
- Give better foreign exchange rates and
- They reduce the amount or don't charge additional overseas delivery charges
Like most Australians, Jason had never sent money overseas so he was pretty nervous when he had to transfer over $100,000 to his brother in Singapore.
'I've used my bank for 20 years so I just assumed it would be the best way to do it.' said Jason. 'It wasn't until he asked me to check the foreign exchange rate, that I realised I was getting ripped off.'
Unfortunately, he's not alone. Research from TransferWise showed more than two thirds of Australians use their bank which means we pay over 3.9 billion dollars in fees to transfer money overseas.
One of the biggest problems is trying to work out all the costs involved, given each bank or money transfer service charges different fees.
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The best options to transfer large sums of money internationally
TorFX offer great exchange rates to transfer large amounts of US dollars (USD), British pound (GBP) and New Zealand dollars (NZD). Customer service is excellent, particularly if you want support with a large transfer and are nervous about making a transfer online. In addition, they don't charge a flat transfer fee. TorFX was founded in 2004, is a British company that has offices worldwide.
How much does it cost to transfer large sums of money with TorFX?
Transfer Fee: Fee free transfers
Exchange Rate: Torfx offer competitive exchange rates when transferring large amounts overseas. To obtain a quote you need to sign up first.
How to transfer money with TorFX?
- Register your details through the TorFX website. Choose the type of account you need, your details and the currencies you'll transfer.
- Once you have a quote for your transfer fill in the recipients details. If you're sending money to your own international account, fill in your own details.
- Pay TorFX via bank transfer.
How long does it take?
Your recipient will get the money in the local bank account within 2-5 business days.
Is TorFX safe?
Yes they are, read our full review of TorFX.
- Very competitive rates especially when you're transferring large sums of money
- Assigned a dedicated account manager
- Support for both individuals and businesses
- Excellent customer support available via phone and email
If you prefer to transfer larger amounts of money online, TransferWise is the easiest way to do it. It's incredibly simple to set up an account or make a transfer using their app. They also have the best exchange rates, because they offer the same market rate you see on XE or Google and don't add any hidden exchange rate mark ups. TransferWise is the way to go for amounts up to $40,000.
How much does it cost to transfer funds internationally?
Transfer Fee: Percentage based fee. For example, it costs you 0.47% to transfer AUD to the United Kingdom for amounts over $40,000; flat fee of $1.18 for POLi transfers over $10,000
Exchange Rate: TransferWise gives you the best possible rate for currency transfer. They do not use a margin.
Additional Fees: Bank transfer is free; then POLi transfer; followed by debit card and credit card for amounts up to $10,000
How to transfer money with TransferWise?
- Create an online account, login and set up your first transfer.
- Tap in how much and where to. Enter your recipients details.
- Make local AU payments to TransferWise, using a bank transfer, POLi transfer, your debit card or credit card.
How long does it take?
Your recipient will get the money in Great British Pounds (GBP) directly from TransferWise's local bank account within 0-1 business days.
Is TransferWise safe?
Yes they are, click here to see our full review of TransferWise. Their bank account is with Barclays in the UK and Wells Fargo in the US.
- Quick online set-up
- Easy to get a quote
- Transparent fees and offer the best exchange rates online
- Simple cell phone app
OFX is one of the oldest money transfer companies and have a good track record for security. They are a good option for business users who still want strong customer service over the phone and dedicated foreign exchange risk tools. The company offers fee-free transfers for amounts over $1,000 and also improve their exchange rate margins the larger your transfer amount is.
How much does it cost to transfer large amounts of money from Australia?
Transfer Fee: Fee free transfers for amounts over $10,000 Australian dollars.
Exchange Rate: OFX add a margin to the exchange rate when you convert your Aussie dollars into foreign currency.
OFX has a currency exchange calculator, but it shows the interbank rate. This is the rate BEFORE they apply their margin. To get an accurate quote, you need to set up an account with OFX. Alternatively, use our exchange rate comparison engine. You'll see OFX's actual exchange rates and fees and comparison with other services.
How to transfer money with OFX?
- Create a free online account and login to get a live quote for your transfer.
- Enter your recipients details including the name on the bank account, bank sort code (BSC) and account number.
- 'Finalise transaction' and pay using a bank transfer (Bpay) or direct debit.
How long does it take?
Your recipient will get the money into their account within 1-3 business days.
Is OFX safe?
Yes they are. See our full review of OFX for more information.
- Easy online set-up
- Great exchange rates and lock-in rate for larger amounts
- 24/7 phone support
- Forward contracts available
Citibank, HSBC and ANZ
CitiBank have the lowest transaction fees if you want to make a transfer through a bank. The Citibank Plus transaction account is an everyday bank account that doesn't charge for large international transactions. Citibank Global Transfers which are transfers between Citi accounts are not only fee free, but instant. Citi Global Currency account will let you hold 10 currencies and no fees to send money (however, there can be receiving fees from different banks).
HSBC Premier customers can make instant transfers across your HSBC accounts with no transfer fees. You can send up to $200,000 per day. HSBC also have a Everyday Global account and Foreign Currency Flexi Saver where you can hold up to 10 currencies in the one account.
ANZ generally offer the most competitive exchange rates across the banks. To find out more about how to receive large sums of money from overseas to your ANZ account read our review. The benefits of sending large sums of money through the ANZ include:
- they are very convenient if you already have an ANZ bank account
- It’s a relatively simple and straightforward process
- You can make transfers online
- You’re protected by the ANZ Fraud money back guarantee
- You can get access to the ANZ Shield app
- Able to send money to over 90 countries around the world
- Funds are sent through the worldwide bank network and are protected by a “two factor authentication” system
Making sure your money is secure
The most important part of any payment overseas is the safety of your money. When it comes to international money transfers, Australia is one of the most highly regulated countries in the world. This doesn’t mean there are no scams, but it does give you the opportunity to do your homework first on the company you're thinking of using.
Make sure the bank or company you use has these 3 things:
- An Australian Financial Services Licence (AFSL)
- Is registered with AUSTRAC
- A member of the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS)
All the banks and companies that we compare on our table meet these requirements.
As a trusted and seasoned name in foreign exchange, XE could be a good option for safety-conscious online users who aren't under time pressure. They don't charge fixed fees, but you need to be happy with their exchange rates.
Our FAQs for international money transfers, answered
When you set up an account with a money transfer service specialist, you will need to provide your personal details, including either your email address or phone number. This is for the exact reason of notifying you when your money has successfully transferred and currency exchange completed. With some companies or banks you can set up SMS alerts, or simply just receive an email.
Yes, there is. Money transfer providers offer various types of transfers to their customers. You will have the option of a standard single transfer, a forward 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. The total transfer amount will also affect the money transfer company your choose.
If you are making an international money transfer with an established account and you are a frequent user, then a transfer should normally take between 1 - 2 business days to complete. However if you are transferring money in large amounts with a money transfer service you have never used before, they will have to verify your identity and this will add to the delay.
Furthermore the more money you send, the more security manual checks they have to perform and this adds time to sending a large sum overseas.
Yes. If you’re receiving more than $10,000 or a foreign currency equivalent, you’ll need to abide by Australian laws put in place. AUSTRAC (Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre) collects data on all cash transfers that exceed $10,000. This is to help prevent money laundering or terrorism.
Australian law requires banks and money transfer companies to report personal, identifiable information, which can include the following:
- Your name and contact information.
- The name and contact information of the person who sent you the money.
- If it’s a bank transfer, the financial details of the recipient, including SWIFT code.
- Your banking details, including your bank account number.
- The amount you received.
Yes. These limits will vary with each company or bank, for instance WorldFirst have a $250 minimum transfer and OFX have a $200 minimum transfer amount.
TransferWise's maximum limit with a bank transfer from Australia is 1.8 million AUD. OFX state their maximum limit is 2 billion AUD. However this does depend on whether your bank will let go of the funds in one transaction from your bank account.
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General advice: The information on this site is of a general nature only. It does not take your specific needs or circumstances into consideration. You should look at your own personal situation and requirements before making any financial decisions.