Bankwest international transfer: Fees, rates & transfer time

Roberto Efflandrin

Sending money from Australia to a bank account held abroad shouldn’t be too much of a headache. You’ve got a wide range of options to choose from, including traditional banks and more specialist providers. Using your regular bank might be a familiar choice, but you could find that your international money transfer is cheaper if you use a specialist, such as Wise.

If you need to make an international money transfer for the first time, it pays to do your homework before choosing a provider. The cost of making an international payment can vary significantly, so a little research can save you a lot of money.

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In this guide below, we'll fill you in on all you need to know about making an international wire transfer with Bankwest. Let’s start with the fees.

What are the fees for a Bankwest International Transfer?

The fees for international transfers will naturally change from time to time. Make sure you know the exact costs for your transfer, on the website of Bankwest¹ or by checking their banking fees pdf² - before you make a decision.

Bankwest international transfer fees table

All fees shown below are in Australian Dollars, AUD.

International TransfersRegular fees¹
Incoming international transfer$10
Outgoing international transfer arranged by internet banking$15
Outgoing international transfer arranged in a branch$35
Additional fees may applySee Additional Fees section

A cost example: Sending A$1000 from Australia to the UK, Bankwest vs Wise

Let’s start with a real example - a transfer of A$1000 from your Bankwest account in Australia to a friend’s GBP account in the UK.

Here’s the fee structure, using Bankwest, compared with the cost of the same transfer if you arrange it online with Wise:

ProviderFee¹Exchange rateTotal cost
Bankwest$15 (when you make the payment via online banking) or $35 (when you make the transfer from a bank branchExchange rate + possible markup$15 + possible exchange rate markup + likely fees from intermediary and recipient banks which may cause your recipient to receive less than intended¹
Wise$5.14The real exchange rate$5.14 (see pricing calculation)

Price as seen on 29 March 2022

Bankwest charges a $15 fee for international money transfers set up online, and $35 to arrange a payment in a branch. You’ll need to activate your account for online banking before you can benefit from this lower rate.

Aside from the upfront fee, there are also a few other, potentially hidden, costs you need to know about.

Firstly you need to know what exchange rate will be offered by Bankwest for your currency pairing. It’s not uncommon for banks to add an extra 4-6% onto the real exchange rate, to calculate the rate they offer customers.

They then keep the difference as their profit. It’s easy enough to make sure you’re getting a fair deal. Just look up the real exchange rate using an online currency converter, and compare it to the rate your bank proposes before you confirm your payment.

Secondly, you need to watch out for the extra charges that could be added if your international wire transfer is sent via SWIFT - more on that later.

These fees are deducted from the transfer as it moves through the SWIFT system, and can mean that your recipient gets less than you might expect. Bankwest advises that you add a little extra to your transfer to avoid underpaying your recipient because of this. Or, of course, you could choose an alternative provider with no hidden fees.

Bankwest international transfer exchange rates

Wherever in the world you’re sending money, the exchange rate that’ll be used is very important. If a poor rate is applied to your transfer, the recipient will get much less than you might expect. This cost adds up with every single unit of money you send.

When you place your transfer, it’s smart to check which rate the bank will use. You can then compare it with the real, mid-market rate using an online currency converter, to check if it’s fair.

You might find that the rate offered is not as good as the mid-market rate you’ll find on Google, or with a currency converter. In fact, many banks and currency conversion services make a profit by adding a markup to their exchange rates. In other words, you’re paying an additional fee - but it’s not described as such, so you could be caught out if you don’t check the exchange rate before you commit to a transfer service.

However, depending on how you structure your transfer, Bankwest might not be able to tell you exactly what the exchange rate used will be. Here’s the small print from Bankwest’s international transfer form²:

“The receiving beneficiary financial institution and any intermediary institution, may also complete a currency conversion. The conversion of the funds to a local or other currency at their country of destination is subject to the banking systems of the countries or other institutions through which the payment is made and is therefore beyond our control.”

This means that if your transfer passes through several banks , the exchange rate used to convert the currency from AUD might be set by one of the intermediary banks handling it, or the recipient’s own bank. You won’t be able to see the rate used until the transaction is received by your recipient.

If you’d rather know for certain that you’ll get the real exchange rate every time, you could try an alternative service, like Wise.

Meet Wise

Additional transfer service fees

We have mentioned intermediary banks and the SWIFT system a few times already, as it’s pretty crucial to the way most banks process international money transfers. It’s a network of banks working together to make sure that international bank payments reach their end destination.

Along the way, your payment will pass via a network of intermediary banks - usually up to 3 on any one transfer - and each of these banks can add a charge for their services. Here’s how Bankwest explains it in their terms and conditions²:

“Other institutions (including intermediary banks and the beneficiary’s bank) may charge a fee for handling the international transfer or for making the payment to the beneficiary. If other institutions charge a fee, they will deduct their fee from the payment (so the beneficiary will receive a lesser amount than your original request to us to remit). The amount of any fees imposed by other institutions is beyond our control and subject to the rates set by those other institutions (which may vary between countries)."

Intermediary fees vary widely, but can be as high as $20-$50. And as you can see above — Bankwest can’t tell you in advance what the total fee taken by intermediaries might be.

To sum up, if you’re unlucky there could not only be fees from one - or several - intermediary banks, but your payment could also be converted by the receiving bank, or one of those intermediary banks, and their rate could be quite a lot worse than the exchange rate you’ll find on Google.

International TransfersAdditional Fees³
Sending/recipient bank and/or intermediary bank(s)Here’s what Bankwest say on their website about possible charges due to the use of intermediary banks: “Other institutions (including intermediary banks and the beneficiary’s bank) may charge a fee for handling the international transfer or for making the payment to the beneficiary.”
1st inquiry to trace late international money transfers$25
Subsequent enquiries, or messages regarding tracing international payments$15 + “other out of pocket expenses and Agent Fees at cost”
Foreign bank draft, issued in overseas currency$30

How do you make an international bank transfer with Bankwest in Australia?

If you have a Bankwest account, you can make an international money transfer online via online banking, in a branch, or by sending Bankwest the completed “International Transfer Application Form”.⁴

However, do be aware that if you choose to email or fax in your transfer request, this will add extra time to your transfer - up to 3 business days - so Bankwest can perform some additional security checks.

What do I need in order to make an international money transfer?

Whether you want to place your international money transfer with Bankwest online, in person or by filling in and returning a transfer request form, the information you’ll need is the same.

If you want to submit your request online, you’ll first need to get your account activated on the online banking system. To do this you have to register your account and get an SMS code which you can use to set up the security profile needed. After you’ve done that, don’t forget to also set up your daily transfer limit, and you’re all set.

Once you’re good to go, you’ll need to provide a few pieces of information including the following¹:

  • Recipient’s name and address
  • Recipient’s bank details, including the bank name, branch and address
  • The amount being transferred, and in which currency
  • A message or reference, to help the recipient identify the transfer
  • You may need an IBAN number, or BIC/SWIFT number of the recipient, or another reference number depending on where your money is headed.

What do I need or what should I give to the sender in order to receive an international bank transfer?

If you’re expecting an international wire transfer to your Bankwest account then you’ll need to give the sender some information to set up the transfer. You can expect to need to give the following¹:

  • Your own bank’s BIC/SWIFT code
  • Your full name and address, as detailed on the account
  • Your own Bankwest account details, including your BSB and account number
  • The amount and the currency you’d like to receive the payment in

You might also want to agree with the sender who will cover the charges applied to the transfer, to avoid nasty surprises.

How long does an international bank transfer with Bankwest take?

The length of processing time of an international transfer will depend on where the money is headed. Although Bankwest doesn’t give a very specific estimation as to how long an international payment can take, they do say this³:

“ A payment sent overseas to a major financial centre or to a destination in North America, the United Kingdom or Western Europe will normally be received by the beneficiary within one week. Other overseas destinations may take much longer, and is therefore beyond the control of Bankwest.”

Bankwest contact information

If you need a little more help you can call Bankwest for advice, check out the online Forum FAQs, or call into a local branch.⁵

  • Customer services - Call 131719 or +61 8 9449 2840 from overseas
  • Bankwest branch locator
  • Contact Bankwest via their social media channels, or log in to online banking for more resources

Wise — A cheap and transparent alternative

If you would rather be certain, in advance, of the exchange rate being used to calculate your international payment, and the range of fees which could be added, your bank might not be the best choice.

Instead, it might be time to try using a specialist in international transfers like Wise. Wise offers secure, convenient international money transfers, using the real mid-market exchange rate. There are no hidden charges - just a small transparent fee, which is set out upfront when you arrange the transfer.

If you’re an expat, or travel a lot, it’s also a good idea to look at the new Wise Multi-currency account. This smart new account lets you hold money in any of dozens of different currencies, all in one account. You can then switch between currencies quickly and easily, using the real exchange rate and with just a small fee - whenever you want to.

A debit card can also be ordered for use with the money in the account. You'll always spend at the real exchange rate, as long as you select to pay in the local currency.

You’ll also get your own local bank details for the EU, the UK, Australia and the USA so you can accept payments without the usual high fees associated with international money transfers.

Find out for yourself if you can get a better deal with Wise, today.

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  1. Bankwest fees for international transfers
  2. Bankwest terms and conditions PDF currency conversion Page 27
  3. Bankwest fee schedule PDF
  4. Bankwest International Transfer / RTGS application form
  5. Bankwest contact us

Sources checked on 29 March 2022

*Please see terms of use and product availability for your region or visit Wise fees and pricing for the most up to date pricing and fee information.

This publication is provided for general information purposes and does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from Wise Payments Limited or its subsidiaries and its affiliates, and it is not intended as a substitute for obtaining advice from a financial advisor or any other professional.

We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether expressed or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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