There are so many reasons why you might need to send money overseas. Maybe you have a home or family abroad, need to pay for an upcoming holiday or are...
In today’s digital age, we have more options than ever for getting money from one country to another. If you’re in Australia and need to send money elsewhere, you won’t want for ways to do it. You’ll just need to do your research to make sure you’re picking the option that’s best for your needs.
Whether you’re looking for the cheapest option, the fastest or something else, keep in mind that the tips below are just that — tips. You should still look into your specific transfer needs to determine what option is going to work best for you, since a lot of factors can change.
Read on to find out what you need to know about choosing the best way to transfer money overseas from Australia.
If you have a bank account, and the person receiving the transfer has a bank account, one of the most common options for transferring money overseas is an international money transfer with your bank, which is sometimes also called an (international) telegraphic transfer.
Banks transfer money internationally via the SWIFT system, which is a secure messaging system that allows them to send information, like transfer instructions, quickly and safely. That means your transfer will likely arrive at its destination pretty quickly (though this also depends on a lot of factors). The cons, however, are that there may be both sending and receiving fees for an international bank transfer. SWIFT transfers also generally travel through intermediary banks before reaching their final destinations, and each of those banks is entitled to charge a fee that will come out of the transfer amount. And banks are notorious for marking up their exchange rates to make an extra profit off international money transfers. This means that instead of converting your money from the sender’s currency to the recipient’s currency at the mid-market exchange rate, or the actual exchange rate you see when you Google the two currencies, banks often mark up the exchange rate by an average of 3-5% and keep that extra profit for themselves. This is essentially a hidden fee that the converting bank gets to keep out of the transfer amount, so the recipient will end up receiving less than what was sent.
A very common alternative to bank transfers is online money transfer services. You’ve probably heard of a few of them even if you’ve never transferred money overseas: Western Union, Moneygram, Rio and many others provide this service.
Their fees will likely vary depending on how you want to pay for your transfer, and what country you’re sending money to. But one thing is consistent among many of these services: they almost always mark up their exchange rates. Wise offers fast, convenient online transfers, and always converts your money at the mid-market rate, guaranteed. Compare Wise to other online money transfer providers’ exchange rates, or check exchange rates with an online currency converter to see if the quote you’re offered is a good deal.
Some of the online transfer services above, like Western Union, also offer the option to send cash for the recipient to pick up overseas. This is a great option if you need to send money to someone who doesn’t have a bank account, but it often has higher fees that come with it than a transfer to a bank account. You can also send cash in the mail, but that’s risky because mail can get lost, and it’s also inconvenient because international mail can take a long time to arrive, and you’ll have to either buy the recipient’s home currency from your bank to send, or send your home currency that the recipient will then need to exchange after picking it up. That’s quite a hassle.
Sending a cheque is another option, but again, you’ll run into the long times it can take to send international mail, so if the recipient needs to get their payment quickly, this likely isn’t the best option. And a regular cheque won’t work; you’ll have to go to your bank to order a foreign currency draft, which also generally comes with higher fees, compared to an international transfer to a bank account.
If you’re traveling to the recipient’s country, you can also take some cash with you and convert it when you arrive, or just withdraw the needed amount from a local ATM once you land in their country. Remember, though, to always choose to view ATM transactions in the local currency, even if you get the option to view them in your own currency. This seemingly convenient option actually allows the ATM owner to set a marked up exchange rate for your withdrawal. Use the local currency, and you’ll usually get a better rate.
It’s hard to name one “cheapest” way to send money overseas, since there are so many variable factors that affect how much it costs to make an international transfer. That’s why, before you choose an option, you should thoroughly research providers and options using your own specifics: how you want to pay, how much you need to send and where you’re sending it to. No matter what you choose, though, the easiest way to save money on an international transfer is to make sure you get the real exchange rate, which is the mid-market exchange rate.
This will just depend on your own needs. Think about your priorities in making your transfer. Do you need the money to arrive quickly? Or are you more concerned about how much the transfer will cost you? Decide what’s most important to you, and then research accordingly. If you need to make frequent international transfers, or if you also need to receive money in either Australian or US dollars, euros or British pounds, you may want to look into a Wise borderless multi-currency account, where you can send, and hold money in dozens of global currencies all at the same time. You can also open a balance account in AUD, USD, EUR or GBP, which allows you to receive these currencies via local transfer methods. An easy way to save on the fees associated with an international SWIFT transfer.
No matter what option you choose, research will be your best tool to make sure you’re getting the deal you need. Good luck with your transfer!
This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication. The information in this publication does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from TransferWise Limited or its affiliates. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.
This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication. The information in this publication does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from Wise Payments Limited or its affiliates. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.
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