Westpac international transfer: Fees and exchange rates

If you’re thinking about making a Westpac international transfer this guide is for you. We’ll run through all you need to know about Westpac transfer fees, delivery times, and how to make a payment.

Westpac is the oldest bank in Australia, and serves 14 million+ customers. But that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best choice for sending an international payment.

To help you compare Westpac to some alternative options we’ll also walk through a cost comparison with specialist providers like Wise, OFX and Western Union to see if you can move your money faster and for a lower overall fee with an alternative provider.

Go to Wise Go to OFX

Westpac international money transfer comparison

There are a few different fees you might have to pay when you send money overseas with your bank:

  • Transfer fee – this may be the lowest of the costs involved in sending money overseas
  • Exchange rate markup – 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

We’ll dive into the costs involved with sending a Westpac international transfer in more detail in just a moment. Let’s start with a look at the costs of sending 1,000 AUD to a friend in the UK with Westpac compared to a couple of specialist services:

Provider Total fee Recipient gets in the end
Westpac 10 AUD + exchange rate markup 505.76 GBP
Wise 5.14 AUD 530.26 GBP
Western Union 0 transfer fee + exchange rate markup 527.05 GBP
OFX 15 AUD + exchange rate markup 517.56 GBP
  • Data correct at time of research – 24 February 2022

Westpac has a 10 AUD transfer fee, but you’ll also pay a charge which is wrapped up in the exchange rate you’re given for your payment. That’s why, in our comparison, your recipient would get much less when you send your payment with Westpac compared to a specialist provider.

Westpac isn’t alone in using an exchange rate markup. In fact most banks and money transfer services use them. However, a markup is an extra fee which isn’t transparent and which can quickly become the most costly of all the fees you pay to send money overseas. Typical bank exchange rate markups sound low at around  3%, but mount up quickly. A 3% margin represents 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.

Westpac international transfer fees

Let’s start with a look at the easiest to spot and understand of the Westpac international payment fees – the upfront transfer fee paid to Westpac. We’ll work through the other likely costs one by one in a moment.

 

Service type Westpac fee
Incoming international payment 12 AUD
Send international payment online
  • Sent in foreign currency from AUD account – 10 AUD transfer fee
  • Sent in AUD – 20 AUD transfer fee
Send international payment in a branch
  • Sent to a Westpac Pacific account – 10 AUD transfer fee
  • All other payments – 32 AUD transfer fee

Westpac exchange rate

You’ll be able to see the Westpac exchange rate online – check you’ve got the rate for the service you need, as available rates vary depending on what you want to do.

Westpac exchange rates are likely to include a markup on the mid-market exchange rate. The mid-market rate is the one you find online with a Google search, or using a currency converter tool – and the one the bank will get when it buys currency itself. A markup is an extra fee – and it’s often the highest cost of all the fees involved with sending an international payment.

Banks often use exchange rate margins in the region of about 3%. It doesn’t sound like much, but it’s not transparent, and it can add up quickly. 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:

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

Westpac additional fees

Banks like Westpac usually process international payments using the SWIFT network. This is reliable and trusted, but also slow and expensive. Under the SWIFT system, several correspondent banks can be involved in a single payment. Each correspondent bank can deduct a fee for the service they provide as they process the payment. It’s not always possible to know in advance what these fees will be, which can make it harder to predict exactly what your recipient will get in the end.

The good news is that you won’t be charged a Westpac correspondent fee on payments made in 10 major currencies, although recipient bank fees may still apply. Currencies covered include:

  • USD
  • GBP
  • NZD
  • INR
  • EUR

On other payment routes correspondent fees apply. Westpac gives an estimate of the correspondent fees you’re likely to pay based on different currencies. These include:

  • Payments in Canadian dollars: 15 CAD
  • Payments in Swiss francs: 25 CHF
  • Payments in Chinese yuan: 100 CNY

How long does a Westpac international money transfer take

Westpac transfers typically take 1 – 3 business days to arrive with the recipient. That’s not necessarily the fastest available option out there.

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

  • Westpac: 1 – 3 business days
  • Wise: 80% of the payments arrive in 24 hours
  • Western Union: Up to 2 days
  • OFX: 1 – 2 business days

Pros and cons of transferring money abroad with Westpac

Pros:

  • Familiar and safe option
  • No Westpac correspondent fees on 10 major currency routes
  • Send money in a branch or online

Cons:

  • Exchange rate margins are likely to apply which push up costs
  • Delivery times are not the fastest available
  • Correspondent and recipient bank charges also apply on some currency routes

Like many big banks, Westpac relies on outdated technology to process international payments. That means the costs and delivery speed are unlikely to be market beating. Choosing a specialist provider could mean you get a better exchange rate, more transparent fees, and a lower overall cost.

How to make an international transfer with Westpac

You can send a Westpac international transfer online or in a branch. Here’s what you need to do to make your transfer online with Westpac:

  1. Log in to your Westpac online banking account
  2. Follow the prompts to enter the recipient’s name, address and account number
  3. Add the recipient’s bank details including the bank name, address, branch and SWIFT code
  4. Confirm the payment amount and currency
  5. Check everything over and complete the verification check using the SMS code you’re sent
  6. Your money is on its way

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

When you make your Westpac international transfer you’ll need details about the recipient which can vary a little depending on where you’re sending money to. Typically, the information you need to provide includes:

  • Your recipient’s name and address
  • Your recipient’s bank account number or IBAN
  • Your recipient’s SWIFT/BIC code
  • Name and address of your recipient’s bank branch
  • Reason for the payment

Transfer limits and available countries

Different Westpac account types will have different payment limits, which may include daily limits on the amount you can send overseas. You can usually change the daily payment limits easily by logging into your online banking or visiting a branch.

You can send payments in 27 currencies with Westpac. It’s good to know that payments to a selection of countries can only be made if you’re sending more than the equivalent of 1,000 AUD. At the time of writing this applies to payments being made to:

  • Cambodia
  • Ghana
  • Indonesia
  • Laos
  • Mexico
  • Pakistan
  • Philippine
  • Thailand
  • Vietnam

Receiving money from abroad with Westpac

There’s a fee of 12 AUD when you receive a payment from abroad to your Westpac account. Westpac also highlights the fact that intermediary fees may also have been deducted before the payment reaches your account.

To make sure your payment arrives safely and with no delays, you’ll need to give the sender the following information:

  • Your name as shown on your account
  • Your Westpac account number
  • Your Westpac BSB
  • The Westpac SWIFT code

Depending on the specific payment you might also need a few other details like your residential address – check with your sender what exactly is required before they arrange the payment.

Westpac SWIFT code

To make sure your payment arrives safely without any unnecessary delays you’ll need to give your sender the Westpac SWIFT code – also known as a SWIFT/BIC code.

This is a unique bank identifier used by Westpac when receiving international transfers, like a postal code for a street address.

Westpac’s SWIFT code is WPACAU2S.

Conclusion

If you need to send money overseas, making your payment with your regular bank might seem like an easy option. However, it’s often a relatively slow and costly way of getting your money to where it needs to be. Many customers can save by using an alternative specialist provider which can often offer lower overall fees and better exchange rates than banks. That saves you money, and might also mean your recipient gets more in the end.

Compare money transfer providers

Westpac international bank transfer FAQs

How much does a Westpac international transfer cost?

Sending a Westpac international transfer online costs 10 AUD, plus an exchange rate markup. Third party fees may also apply.

How long does a Westpac international money transfer take?

Westpac international transfers arrive in 1 – 3 business days.

How to transfer money internationally with Westpac?

Send a Westpac international money transfer online or in a branch. Online payments have lower transfer fees compared to transfers made in person.

By Ileana Ionescu Updated March 29th, 2022