OrbitRemit money transfer review: Fees, rates and transfer times

Wise
02.08.18
7 minute read

If you need to send money abroad, you might well be a little bewildered about how many options you face. While most banks do provide this service, they tend not to offer a particularly great deal, frequently charging high fees, offering bad exchange rates, and sometimes taking their time about making the transfer, too. But the number of alternative transfer providers can also be overwhelming.

OrbitRemit is one of those alternative options. Set up in 2008³, OrbitRemit specializes in money transfers out of three countries: Australia, New Zealand, and the UK¹. From those countries, you can send money to several dozen others, including the US, countries in the Single European Payments Area, and various Asian countries².

This article will explain how OrbitRemit can help you with your transfer, but OrbitRemit isn’t your only option. Another option is Wise, which you can use to send money to or from dozens of different countries, and always offers you the best exchange rate you can get - the mid-market rate. But more on that later. Here’s the info you’re after on OrbitRemit.


A quick comparison between OrbitRemit and Wise. Read on after that for the full information.

ServiceOrbitRemitWise
FeesAUD 4 (or AUD 0 to India) / NZD 4 (or NZD 6 to the Philippines) / GBP 2 ⁴From AUD to NZD the fee is: 0.5% of the AUD amount + $1.00
Exchange ratethe exchange rate determined by OrbitRemit”⁵The mid-market exchange rate
Supported currenciesTransfers from: AUD, NZD and GBPTransfers to 19 currencies²Transfers to 48 currenciesTransfers from 22 currenciesMore information on the supported currencies FAQ page

Banks and money transfer providers often give you a bad exchange rate to make extra profits.

Wise is different. Its smart new technology skips hefty international transfer fees by connecting local bank accounts all around the world. Which means you can save up to 8x by using Wise rather than your bank when you send your money abroad.

Check out how to make your first transfer with Wise. And give it a try.

Oh, and while you’re at it, check out Wise’s free borderless multi-currency account. Where you can manage and send dozens of currencies all from the same account.

Now, back to what you came here to read.


What are the fees for an international money transfer with OrbitRemit?

Fees with OrbitRemit are relatively straightforward: you’ll be charged a flat fee for your transfer that isn’t dependent on the amount you send. For transfers from Australia, in most cases that fee is AUD 4.

Here are the fees from each of OrbitRemit’s 3 countries⁴. They’re correct at the time of writing - 20 July 2018 - but might change in the future.

Send money fromOrbitRemit fee
AustraliaAUD 4 (or AUD 0 to India)
New ZealandNZD 4 (or NZD 6 to the Philippines)
UK GBP 2

What are the currencies that OrbitRemit supports?

With OrbitRemit you can make your payment using the currencies of the three countries from which you can transfer money:

  • Australian dollars
  • New Zealand dollars
  • British pounds

Your recipient will receive the money in the currency of the country they’re in.

To find out how much your money is really worth in the destination currency, you should check a currency converter online - one like XE, Google or Wise. Why, you ask? Good question. Read on...

What is the OrbitRemit exchange rate?

You might think that the exchange rate between two currencies is relatively predictable, likely to be more or less the same whatever provider you use. After all, the differences tend to look tiny, running off into multiple decimal places. But when you’re dealing with hundreds or thousands of dollars or pounds, those decimal places make a huge difference.

So you should always check the exchange rate you’re being offered against the mid-market rate, which is the one the banks use between themselves, and the one you’ll find on online currency converters. You might be surprised at the difference between that rate and the one you’re actually being offered.

Although they don’t state it very clearly on their website, OrbitRemit gives a bit of background information about how the exchange rate they’ll use in their terms and conditions⁵:

OrbitRemit and its Service Providers usually make money when you pay for a Transaction in one currency, and the Transaction is paid out in another, based on the exchange rate determined by OrbitRemit and specified on the website.

What this means for you? Your money most likely won’t be converted with the mid-market exchange rate, but with a rate that is a little bit worse. This way they make extra money on your payment. So that low fixed fee, all of a sudden isn’t so low anymore

That’s a shame, because the mid-market rate is the only one that’s really fair to use - it’s an average of all the buy and sell rates for that currency exchange, at that time. Exchange rates change all the time, for any number of reasons, but by using the mid-market rate where possible, at least you’re assured a small amount of certainty in a volatile market.

How long can a transfer with OrbitRemit take?

The time the transfer takes varies depending on where it’s going. For some destination countries, it could be there 1 working day later, and for others it could be 1-3 or 2-3 days later².

The timing countdown always starts when OrbitRemit receives your money² - which isn’t necessarily the moment you request the transfer. Still, it could well be faster than a transfer using your bank: most banks use the SWIFT network, which can be time-consuming - and costly.

Cash pickup is currently only available in the Philippines and Vietnam⁶.

How does OrbitRemit work?

OrbitRemit is an online service, so the key thing to do is create an online account through their website. After you’ve done that, you’ll be able to request your payment through your account.

What kind of transfers can you make?

Unlike some transfer providers, OrbitRemit primarily offers one simple service rather than lots of similar-but-slightly-different ones, so there aren’t lots of different transfer options to talk you through. However, they do mention 3 special types of payments that might come in handy:

  • Making work and income payments to New Zealand. If you need to pay the New Zealand Ministry of Social Development, OrbitRemit has a special setup for that⁷.
  • Making payments to the New Zealand Inland Revenue Department (IRD). OrbitRemit is also set up with the IRD in New Zealand, which could be handy if you have financial commitments to honour there⁸.
  • Making payments to the New Zealand Ministry of Justice. Similarly, if you have anything you need to pay to the Ministry of Justice in New Zealand, OrbitRemit offers a particular service for that too⁹.

Does the recipient have to sign up with OrbitRemit?

That shouldn’t be necessary, as the funds go straight to the recipient’s bank account (or, in the case of a cash pickup, are collected in person)¹⁰.

Are there any limits to the amount you can transfer?

Limits vary by country. At the time of writing, there’s no maximum transfer limit when sending to many countries, but for some - Singapore, for example, or India - there is. That maximum limit might vary depending on whether it’s going to a personal or a business account¹¹.

Is the service available to anyone?

you'll need to confirm your identity when signing up for a personal account, and from Australia that involves a passport or driver’s license. For AUD transfers from Australia, they don’t need to verify your address, although if you want to use a different currency you might have to go through that process too.¹²

Beyond that, though, it’s open to everyone, and there are both personal and business account options.

How can you contact OrbitRemit?

  • You can always check their online support centre, which may have answers to your questions.
  • From Australia you can give them a call on +61 3 5294 0380.
  • Or email info@orbitremit.com⁵.

In conclusion, OrbitRemit offers a good solution for getting money from Australia to a variety of other countries. It’s a fuss-free service and could be just what you’re after.

It’s not the only provider to offer this, though. One benefit of Wise is that, as well as offering a greater variety of transfer routes both into and out of Australia, you can get yourself a borderless multi-currency account. This lets you hold money in more than 40 currencies, and even gives you virtual account details in Australian and US dollars, British pounds and euros - meaning that you can pay and get paid like a local in any of those currencies. There’s no monthly fee at all, or even a setup fee: just one low conversion fee, always stated upfront.

Take a look at the borderless account’s coverage, and see if it might be right for you.

Good luck in making your international transfer.

Sources:
1.https://support.orbitremit.com/hc/en-us/articles/360005827454-What-countries-can-I-make-transfers-from- (August 2, 2018)
2.https://support.orbitremit.com/hc/en-us/articles/360005825334-What-countries-can-I-make-transfers-to- (August 2, 2018)
3.https://www.facebook.com/OrbitRemit/photos/a.497120823657283.1073741825.122029327833103/967397199962974/?type=1&theater (August 2, 2018)
4.https://www.orbitremit.com/pricing (August 2, 2018)
5.https://www.orbitremit.com/terms (August 2, 2018)
6.https://support.orbitremit.com/hc/en-us/sections/360001262433-Paying-a-Person-Cash-Collection (August 2, 2018)
7.https://www.orbitremit.com/msd (August 2, 2018)
8.https://www.orbitremit.com/ird (August 2, 2018)
9.https://www.orbitremit.com/moj (August 2, 2018)
10.https://support.orbitremit.com/hc/en-us/articles/360003279933--Funds-Paid- (August 2, 2018)
11.https://support.orbitremit.com/hc/en-us/articles/360005903873-Is-there-a-maximum-amount-I-can-transfer-or-my-recipient-can-receive- (August 2, 2018)


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.

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