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.
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:
- SendMoneyPacific – For money sent from Australia to the Pacific Islands.
- SaverAsia – For money sent from Australia to countries in Asia.
- Remittance Prices Worldwide – The World Bank’s website for other international transfers.
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
- online via credit card, or cash or EFTPOS
- 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)
- the minimum (or maximum) transfer amount
- 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).
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.
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Source: ASIC MoneySmart