Receiving money from overseas with Westpac: Fees revealed

Roberto Efflandrin

If you’re expecting an international bank transfer, then you’ll want to know how it'll all work and how fees and charges might affect the amount of Australian Dollars that'll land in your account. Both upfront fees, and some potential hidden costs, can make a big difference to the amount you end up with.

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In this guide, we'll break down in simple terms, all you need to know about receiving an international money transfer with Westpac. Let's jump right in.

Fees for receiving an international transfer with Westpac Bank

Terms and conditions can change without notice, so it’s well worth double checking the details for your own account type — but to get you started, here’s an overview of the charges you’re likely to face:

Service requiredWestpac Fee¹
Credit of an international transfer to a Westpac account$12
Payment of an international transfer by bank cheque or cash$22
Credit of an international transfer to an account held at another Australian financial institution in AUD$24
Any foreign currency disbursement$50
Other fees and chargesIf your bank transfer is sent using the SWIFT system, intermediary banks might deduct their own fees². This can mean you receive less than you might expect. More on that later.

SWIFT transfers fee structure

Whenever money is sent internationally, there are fees to pay. The amount you’ll receive in your hand, as beneficiary of an international payment, depends a lot on how the fees are structured.

When the international transfer is being sent, the sender will be asked who should pay the costs associated. There are typically 3 options — commonly known as OUR, SHA and BEN.

Here’s what they mean:

Transfer fee codeLiability for costs
OURThe sender pays all transfer charges
SHACharges for the transfer are shared between the sender and the recipient. This is the most common option
BENThe recipient pays all transfer charges

To avoid any nasty surprises, it’s smart to agree with the sender, which of these options will be used for your international transfer.

Here’s what Westpac say about it:²

There may be overseas bank fees deducted from the payment, unless otherwise organised.

If you’re worried about the potential hidden costs in making an international transfer with your regular bank, it’s worth comparing the costs with alternative providers such as Wise.

Westpac international transfer exchange rate

To better understand how the margin on the exchange rate affects how much money you get, let's say a friend of yours from the UK sends 500 GBP to you in 2 ways:

  1. Directly to your Westpac Bank account and
  2. through Wise to your Westpac Bank account

This example only considers the effect of the rate on the amount you get, not the extra fees.

Exchanging 500 GBP to AUD — Wise vs Westpac Bank

Rates* Wise Westpac Bank³
Exchange rate 1 GBP → 1.86074 1 GBP → 1.78699 AUD
Recipient gets 930.37 AUD 893.50 AUD

*Rates as seen on 30 December 2021

💰 Did you catch that? With Wise, the recipient will get 36.87 AUD more, even without considering any fees. Just off the exchange rate alone.

Meet Wise

To know whether or not the exchange rate used for your transfer is fair, you need to know a little about the mid-market rate. This is the exchange rate that’s used when banks trade between themselves, on the global currency markets — and it’s the only real exchange rate.

Unfortunately, though, banks usually won’t offer customers the fair exchange rate. Wise is the way to go if you want to make big savings.

How long does it take to receive money from overseas?

How long it’ll take to get your international payment depends a lot on where it’s coming from. But one thing you can be sure of, is that a SWIFT payment — contrary to the name — is seldom all that speedy.

Unlike specialist providers who can skip the SWIFT system, and often make a payment move faster, with traditional banks, you can expect it to take at least 3-5 business days to see your cash, and possibly much longer from some countries.

What Westpac account details should I give to the sender?

The last thing you want is for your international payment to be delayed because the sender has insufficient, or wrong, details. To receive an international transfer with Westpac you'll need to give the sender the following:²

  • Your Westpac bank account name and number
  • The correct BSB (bank state branch number)
  • The Westpac SWIFT code – WPACAU2S
  • Your full name and address as it appears on your bank account
  • Sometimes the sender will also need the address for you bank branch

Methods to receive an international transfer with Westpac?

With Westpac you can receive your international transfer directly into your Westpac account, or you can choose to have the amount paid to you in AUD cash or a cheque, in a foreign currency disbursement, or transferred on again to another bank in Australia.¹

Contact Westpac — More questions around your transfer?

You can reach out to Westpac for any additional support:⁴

  • Westpac domestic phone number: 132 032
  • Westpac international phone number: (+61 2) 9155 7700

Wise: a cheap and transparent alternative to Westpac

If you need to make or receive an international payment, Westpac might not be your best choice. Wise can transfer money from another country directly into your Westpac Bank account at the mid-market exchange rate with no mark-ups, intermediary fees or other surprise charges. There’s just a small, fair, transfer fee shown upfront to the sender.

Even better, with a Multi-currency account from Wise you can get local virtual account details in Australian and US Dollars, Euros, Pounds Sterling and many more.

If someone from these regions needs to send money to you, they can make a simple, local bank transaction and avoid any international transfer fees. There’s no monthly fee for a Multi-currency account, and you can withdraw your money whenever you want.

Open your Wise account in minutes 🚀

However you decide to move your money across borders, knowing all your options is the first step toward choosing what’s best for your needs — and your wallet. Good luck!

  1. Westpac Terms and conditions fees page 49
  2. Westpac receive foreign currency page
  3. Westpac currency converter
  4. Westpac contact us page
    Sources checked on 30 December 2021

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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