Sending money overseas: Transferring funds to friends or family

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Look for a good currency exchange rate and check the fees when sending money overseas. A small difference can mean more money gets to your family or friend.

Types of overseas money transfers

MONEY TRANSFER COMPANY

A money transfer company is usually the cheapest way to get money to someone overseas. The company can either move the money to the other person’s bank account, or arrange for the person to collect the money in cash at a local branch or agent.

You can transfer money:

  • online, and pay using your credit card
  • in person at a branch or agent, and pay using cash or EFTPOS

The transfer is usually faster if you do it in person than online, but you’ll pay higher fees.

You can transfer money online or in person with Western Union through Australia Post. See International money transfer with Western Union on the Australia Post website.

BANK TRANSFERS

You can transfer money by moving money from your bank account directly into an overseas bank account. This is called a money transfer, a telegraphic transfer (TT), or a wire or SWIFT transfer.

Banks can be a more expensive option. The ACCC found the big four banks are consistently more expensive than other suppliers for foreign cash and international money transfers. The exchange rate is generally less competitive. A bank transfer can also take up to five business days to go through.

INTERNATIONAL MONEY ORDER

An international money order is when the bank gives you an internationally guaranteed cheque. This also called an international bank draft.

You then post the cheque to the other person, and they cash or deposit it at their bank.

This is more secure than sending a personal cheque, but it’s slower and more expensive than an online transfer.

Keep your receipts and transfer documents. Check the time limit for claiming a refund, in case the other person doesn’t receive or claim the funds.

Compare exchange rates for money transfers

It’s worth shopping around for a good currency exchange rate. There are significant price differences amongst companies. You can save a lot of money, especially if you transfer a large amount or often.

Compare the rates and types of transfers on these independent sites:

Compare these features:

Currency exchange rate

  • the value of your currency versus the currency of the country you are transferring money to (for example, how many Australian dollars it takes to buy 1 euro)
  • whether the advertised rate is the rate that will be applied to your transaction

Exchange rate guarantee

  • whether the exchange rate is set (for a period of time) or might change

Transfer fees and commission

  • the type of conversion fee (a flat rate or a percentage, or both)
  • the fees for the receiver
  • the ‘margin’ fee to convert your currency

Payment method

  • online via credit card, or cash or EFTPOS

Transfer time

  • how long it takes for the recipient to get the money (it could be instant, or take a few minutes, or take up to five business days)

Transfer amount

  • the minimum (or maximum) transfer amount

Receive method

  • how the recipient gets the money — for example:
    • picked up as cash
    • deposited into their bank account
    • delivered as cash
    • transferred to an online wallet linked to their phone number

If something goes wrong

You and the recipient should both contact the money transfer company if there’s a problem with the transfer.

If you’re not satisfied with their response, you can complain to the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA).

SCAMS

If you send money to someone and that person turns out to be a scammer, it’s almost impossible to get your money back. Be very careful who you send your money to. Visit the Scamwatch website for more information.

Wealthness Pty Ltd ABN 13 231 248 112  [t/a Better Financial Planning Australia]  is a Corporate Authorised Representative of Infocus Securities Australia Pty Ltd ABN 47 097 797 049 AFSL No. 236523. It is important to be aware that Better Financial Planning Australia is not authorised by Infocus to provide advice relating to credit services or property advice. Infocus is not responsible for any advice outside of the scope of this authorisation and should you wish to act on any of this general information, please first seek professional financial advice.

Wealthness Pty Ltd t/as Better Financial Planning Australia will endeavour to update the website as needed. However, information can change without notice and Wealthness Pty Ltd t/as Better Financial Planning Australia does not guarantee the accuracy of information on the website, including information provided by third parties, at any time.

This information is of a general nature only and neither represents nor is intended to be specific advice on any particular matter. Infocus Securities Australia Pty Ltd strongly suggests that no person should act specifically on the basis of the information contained herein but should seek appropriate professional advice based upon their own personal circumstances. Although we consider the sources for this material reliable, no warranty is given and no liability is accepted for any statement or opinion or for any error or omission.

Wealthness Pty Ltd t/as Better Financial Planning Australia does not give any warranty as to the accuracy, reliability or completeness of information which is contained in this website. Except insofar as any liability under statute cannot be excluded, Wealthness Pty Ltd t/as Better Financial Planning Australia and its employees do not accept any liability for any error or omission on this website or for any resulting loss or damage suffered by the recipient or any other person.

Wealthness Pty Ltd (ACN 613 313 250) [t/a Better Financial Planning Australia] Corporate Authorised Representative of Infocus Securities Australia Pty Ltd ABN 47 097 797 049 AFSL Licence No. 236523.

Source: ASIC MoneySmart

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