📖 How to Save Money On Transfers from Australia
Australians are becoming increasingly aware of the fact Australian banks are expensive when it comes sending money abroad.
Luckily for them, Australia is home to a large selection of specialised international money transfer services, and Australians can enjoy some of the best options in the world to send money overseas.
On Money Transfer Comparison, we list, review and compare the best international money transfer services in Australia.
We search for providers who
- Can onboard Australian customers in Australia
- Can onboard Aussies abroad
- Support the most most common currency pairings in Australia
- Have no fixed rates or very low rates compared to banks
- Have superior exchange rates compared to banks
- Are deemed safe and appropriately regulated
Compare Banks and Money Transfer Services
On an independent research we have conducted about bank transfer fees we found out that bank fees for international transfers in Australia are poor.
The below table represents testing we have done for 50,000 AUD to various currencies and what it’ll cost you with bank vs average margin with a provider:
|Bank||Currency||Indicative Bank Rate Today for 50,000||Indicative Rate With Provider for Same Amount||Saving|
|ANZ Bank||AUDUSD||31,093.8260 USD||32,182.7905 USD||A$1680|
|AUDEUR||29,334.8192 EUR||30,378.0118 EUR||A$1705|
|AUDGBP||25,430.9620 GBP||26,261.3823 GBP||A$1570|
|Commbank||AUDUSD||31,009.5608 USD||32,182.7905 USD||A$1810|
|AUDEUR||29,267.5165 EUR||30,378.0118 EUR||A$1815|
|AUDGBP||25,245.8364 GBP||26,261.3823 GBP||A$1920|
|Macquarie Bank (OFX)||AUDUSD||31,929.9951 USD||32,182.7905 USD||A$390|
|AUDEUR||30,114.9192 EUR||30,378.0118 EUR||A$430|
|AUDGBP||26,097.4140 GBP||26,261.3823 GBP||A$310|
|NAB||AUDUSD||31,576.7299 USD||32,182.7905 USD||A$935|
|AUDEUR||29,805.9384 EUR||30,378.0118 EUR||A$935|
|AUDGBP||25,769.4773 GBP||26,261.3823 GBP||A$930|
|Westpac||AUDUSD||31,097.0669 USD||32,182.7905 USD||A$1675|
|AUDEUR||29,414.3588 EUR||30,378.0118 EUR||A$1575|
|AUDGBP||25,430.9620 GBP||26,261.3823 GBP||A$1570|
The ‘big five banks’ – ANZ, CommonBank, Macquarie, NAB and Westpac – are easily the largest financial institutions in Australia and, despite a growing fintech scene, still continue to process the overwhelming majority of international transfers.
We cover all five of these banks and their respective international money transfer fees here.
Interestingly, Macquarie Bank, which has less of a retail presence than the other four, opts to use the specialist foreign exchange company OFX to provide their retail FX services.
In comparison to other countries, such as international money transfers from UK or from Canada, international money transfers from Australia are expensive with an average cost of c3.5% of the transfer amount in total transaction fees (wire fee and currency markup).
The actual cost will depend on the destination country, where less used currencies are likely to incur higher fees than common currencies (like the GBP or USD).
The methodology we used for the above is to apply the bank margins advertised on the bank’s websites on Sept 18, 2023 and use 0.7% margin as a fixed rate across all currencies for providers (this varies but this seems like a good “generalist number” that represents the margins on large money transfers from Australia).
International Transfer Fees
Not only the money transfer rates offered by Australian banks are worse than those offered by money transfer services, they also charge fixed fees as per the below.
The top 3 money transfer companies we have selected charge no fees.
|Bank||Transaction Fees / Wire Fees is sent in AUD||… if sent in Foreign Currency|
|ANZ Bank||$18 / $32 in-branch||<$10,000 $9, >$10,000 $0|
|Commonbank||$22 / $30 in-branch||$6 / $30 in-branch|
|Macquarie Bank (OFX)||$15 below $10,000, >$10,000 no fees||<$10,000 $15, >$10,000 $0|
|NAB||$30 / $30 in-branch||$10 / $30 in-branch|
|Westpac||$20 / $32 in-branch||$10 / $32 in-branch|
How to Use a Money Transfer Service
It’s vital to understand to understand how Australian non-bank money transfer providers work, and what the process entails.
It it really takes is finding a company you want to try.
Leaving your details.
Getting instant access to the online trading system (or perhaps get a call if you have a large sum inquiry).
Understand exactly how much you will pay and what will be received in foreign currency.
If you are OK with the rate and happy to go through you can book the trade on the phone, email or through the online system.
You will then fund an account domestically in AUD (or in other currencies if you are sending to Australia from overseas).
This joint account will be a joint account owned by your provider but on your name so that money can’t be used for anything besides a transfer.
Once the transfer has been funded, the foreign currency transfer will reach its destination (within normally 24h).
Top 5 Money Transfer Services in Australia
- Best Website - Friendly and Transparent
- Easy to Sign Up and Trade, Excellent On-Boarding Team
- Competitive Exchange Rates for Both Small and Large Transfers
- Very Friendly and Professional Dealers
- Australian Company with Australian Headquarters
- Australian Specialists with Local Offices
- 98% Client Satisfaction
- Dedicated Dealer for Transfers above A$5,000
- Corporate FX Specialists
- Very Quick On-Boarding Process
- Great Exchange Rates!
- Great FX Margins for Businesses
- Authorised by 6 Global Regulators
- Asian Currency Specialists
- Excellent Multi-Currency Offering for Online Sellers
- Operating for 15+ Years
- Owned by Ant Financial, a Global Payments Giant
- Courteous Staff
- Largest Selection of Currencies
- Does not Accept USA-Based Clients
- Innovative - Using Ripple Network for Payments
- Solid Customer Reviews (although not many)
- Strong Entrepreneurs with Banking Background
Updated for: September 2023 – Best rated for international money transfers from Australia and into Australia. Favouring companies with local Australian offices. Only for transfers involving foreign currency. Transfer amount limits vary by company. Cash pickups not supported.
Which Australian bank is best for international transfers?
Based on our research, the Macquarie Bank online service (using OFX as a provider for this service) is best for sending money overseas. Of the banks, it has the best rates, but these are still subpar compared to the rates offered by dedicated money transfer services.
Are the best international money transfer services any cheaper?
In fact our research to determine which is the cheapest international money transfer method has shown that universally and globally, banks are among the most expensive ways to transfer money internationally. We believe that the best way to transfer money from Australia would be through an dedicated, highly-reviewed, and ultimately recommended international money transfer service.
How much cheaper are dedicated service providers compared to banks?
The best international money transfer services have foreign exchange rate margins of anywhere between 0.1% to 1.5% and a fee-free transfer policy (so 0.1%-1.5% is the total cost of transfer). On average, you’ll save a minimum of 50% and in some instances you can save up to 95% of the transfer costs.
For example, if you are transferring $100,000 from Australia to USA, you’ll pay anywhere from $100 to $1,500 using a dedicated service, whereas banks can charge more than twice that (CommBank may cost $4,239).
Can I use a debit card to transfer money from Australia?
Different providers accept different payment methods but in virtually all cases, you’ll be able to fund your transfer via a debit card, including all of the best international money transfer services listed on this page. It’s a near-instant settlement method which means the payment provider will be able to begin processing your international transfer as soon as the card network has verified you have the funds in your account to make the transfer. Alongside a local bank transfer, we recommend it as one of the best settlement methods for fast international transfers.
However, we recommend against using a credit card to fund your transfer. The payment provider will levy high fees and your credit card company will view the transaction as a cash transfer, meaning you can expect to pay at least 2-3% in additional fees. I
Will I have a peace of mind using a money transfer service?
In addition to providing a cheaper alternative when you move money to an overseas bank account, you get additional peace of mind when conducting a large money transfer overseas through the best international money transfer companies. The advantage that some foreign exchange companies have is that they offer a dedicated currency dealer who will help you initiate the transfer, decide on the right timing to do it, suggest means of hedging your currency exposure (like Forward Contracts), and follow up on a transfer once it has been sent. An especially useful service for those transferring large sums internationally.
Will a money transfer service provide me with financial advice?
Money transfer services are not regulated to provide any direct financial advice. Specialist service providers can instruct you as a customer on things like their chief economist’s currency predictions (i.e. for example whether they believe that the AUD/USD will get stronger or weaker over time), and/or suggest functions which are readily available for customers such as rate alerts or hedging tools and they can even connect you with a financial advisory firm but they are forbidden from providing any financial advice.
You’ll make your own call as to what you do with your money but by understanding from a currency expert the recent trends that have impacted your currency pair, what events may impact whether it strengthens or weakens in the future and the FX tools you can use to manage this, you’ll be in a much more informed position to make a call on what you want to do.
Do money transfer companies have a credit licence?
Money transfer companies in Australia do not have a credit licence. The best and most reputable money transfer services are regulated as a remittance or digital currency exchange provider for the provision of international payment and currency exchange services.
How many different currencies can I exchange with a money transfer service?
Money transfer services offer a varying selection of currencies, but all of them, as a rule of thumb, support all of the major currencies that Australians are primarily looking to convert. This includes but is not limited to AUD, NZD, USD, GBP, EUR, CHF, SGD, HKD, JPY, and CAD.
Who is Money Transfer Comparison Australia?
Money Transfer Comparison, established in 2014, is a website that has the most in-depth reviews of money transfer companies globally. To date, we have reviewed more than 80 different providers. Our focus at Money Transfer Comparison is safety and security – we don’t only compare foreign exchange rates, but instead take an in-depth look at the advantages and disadvantages of a number of different factors of a money transfer service, so customers can decide on a safe, fast and fair provider. Read more about us here.
We have been featured in the following publications:
What are the most popular destinations for sending money from Australia abroad ?
According to our reader analysis, overseas money transfers from UK to Australia are the most common use-case scenario, alongside transferring money from Australia to UK. This is closely followed by money transfers between Australia-USA and Australia-NZ. The best-rated providers in our Australia rankings are able to cover these corridors, as well as all major regions and currencies.
Of the 80+ money transfer companies we have reviewed, 22 are able to serve Australian customers. Below are our choices for the best international money transfer services in Australia for individuals and businesses (sole traders, small businesses and corporations alike).
With our selection of best money transfer companies in Australia, you can
- Transfer money from an Australian bank account to a bank account abroad with great exchange rates and no hidden fees.
- Transfer money internationally from your bank account in Australia to a self-owned bank account abroad.
- Send money overseas for regular payments.
- Transfer money internationally from Australia to NZ, USA, UK, Singapore, Hong Kong, Spain, Italy, Germany or almost anywhere in the world with the exception of countries which are blacklisted.
- Transfer money from USA, UK, Singapore, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Spain, Italy, Germany or almost anywhere to your bank account in Australia, getting the same margins as you do for outbound international money transfers.
- Receive money from overseas to Australian bank account.
- Get assistance on the right timing to make an AUD exchange.
Are international money transfers cheaper for large sum transfers?
In general, the more money you convert, the lower the FX spread is applied by the foreign exchange company. This is how the majority of currency specialists operate. A small number of online-only providers apply a fixed FX spread no matter how much you send.
Large transfers are not necessarily ‘cheaper’ than smaller transfers as the FX spread is calculated as a variable fee, i.e. it’s calculated as a percentage of the total transfer amount.
For example, a 0.5% FX spread on a $50,000 transfer would cost $250, whilst a 1% FX spread on a $10,000 transfer would cost $100. A smaller percentage fee on the larger transfer but, naturally, you’ll pay more in AUD for higher-value AUD transfers.
Business payments from Australia internationally
Traditionally, international money transfer services in Australia were more focused on SME clients and prior to 2010 most of them did not accept individual clients at all. Nowadays, all the best international money transfer service providers in Australia are happy to accept individuals and businesses – with the exception of B2B only provider WorldFirst – and each company has different minimum transfer limits (except CurrencyFair and Wise who have no minimum transfer limits, true for December 2022).
With the above being said, Australian SME clients (with ABN) are still an important focus for money transfer companies. They are normally repeating and loyal customers who make a lot of transactions. There’s also a very large pool of customers, relative to the population’s size. Australia is known for its 4 million small businesses but for foreign exchange companies in Australia, the biggest kicker is this – 68% of all Australian online businesses sell internationally. A small online seller in Australia which is selling merchandise for a modest amount of $50,000 AUD abroad, and additionally pays international suppliers an amount of $50,000 AUD each year, can pay anywhere from 2.5% to 5% in international transfer bank fees with Australian banks like ANZ, Westpac, CBA, NAB or Bendigo. This is where international money transfer services are really able to shine and not only offer tremendous savings (WorldFirst fees range between 0.15% and 0.5% in comparison) but also add value through sophisticated international payment solutions. Forward Contracts and other forms of currency hedging will be recommended through one-on-one guidance by currency experts.
You could say, in essence, that those who will save most using a non-bank global money transfers provider, are those transferring large sums of money abroad or receiving large sums of money from abroad – into Australia, or from Australia.
How to compare which are the best money transfer companies in Australia?
⭐ Our Review and Comparison Guidelines Explained ⭐
We have compared more than 80 companies of which 22 are able to onboard Australian customers as per November 2022.
|Parameter||What we look for|
|Quick and easy sign up process, readily available staff located in Australia – courteous and understanding, or in simple words a money transfer service ready to go above and beyond for its clients.|
|Reputable company with long trading history (including specifically in Australia)|
|No money transfer fees and better-than-bank i.e. competitive exchange rate for Australian dollar|
|Online money transfer website and mobile app (fully functional for tracking trades and conducting new trades)|
|Many currencies handled including exotic currencies, global offices outside of Australia, regulated by several regulators, and constantly expanding into new territories.|
|While the majority of money transfer companies are happy to engage in AUD money transfers and on-board clients from Australia, only a small subset of them actually have local Australian offices. We have selected the most localised towards the Australia market.|
Money Transfer Companies in Australia: The Complete List
|Company||Name on Registry||ASIC Number|
|#1||TorFX||TOR FX PTY LIMITED||246838|
|#2||WorldFirst||World First Pty Ltd||331945|
|#4||Wise||Wise Australia Pty Ltd||513764|
|#5||CurrencyFair||CurrencyFair Australia Pty Ltd||402709|
|#6||XE Money Transfer||HIFX Australia PTY Ltd||240917|
|#7||Azimo||AZIMO PTY. LTD||Could not find on register.|
|#8||Send||SendFX Pty Ltd||509635|
|#9||WorldRemit||WORLDREMIT PTY LTD.||Could not find on register. Potentially uses UK license.|
|#10||Remitly||REMITLY AUSTRALIA, PTY LTD||Could not find on register. Potentially uses UK license.|
|#11||Airwallex||Airwallex Pty Ltd||487221|
|#12||Instarem||NIUM PTY Limited||464627|
|#13||SingX||SingX Australia Pty Ltd||508309|
|#14||Paysend||PAYSEND PLC||Could not find on register. Potentially uses UK license.|
|#15||Travelex International Money Transfer||Travelex Limited||222444|
|#16||AFEX||Associated Foreign Exchange Australia Pty Limited||305246|
|#18||Transfermate||Transfermate Pty Ltd||514851|
|#19||Payoneer||PAYONEER AUSTRALIA PTY LTD||504803|
|#20||Revolut||Revolut Payments Australia Pty Ltd||517589|
|#21||Western Union||Western Union Financial Services (Australia) Pty. Ltd.||404092|
|#22||Moneygram||MoneyGram Payment Systems, Inc.||Could not find on register. Potentially uses US license.|
|#23||Compass Global Markets||COMPASS GLOBAL HOLDINGS PTY LIMITED||426810|
|#24||FlashFX||Flash Partners Pty Ltd||480834|
Additional Information on how we evaluate money transfer companies and decide on the top 10 money transfer companies in Australia can be found in our FAQ. Transfer money from Australia to UK or transfer money from Australia to USA – and this following guide will help you!
What’s the difference between a great money transfer company in Australia and a bad money transfer service?
Superb Money Transfer Service Experience
Lousy Money Transfer Service Experience
Money Transfer Companies in Australia – The History and The Now
Australia was a little slow to wake up to it, the US are still way behind on it and the UK has led the charge on it. What are we talking about? Specialised international money transfer companies of course. Bringing a breadth of new payment options with little to no fees and considerably better currency exchange rates. There are now more money transfer companies in Australia than ever before, joining the original innovator OFX (previously OzForex).
Gone are the days in which companies like Western Union or Moneygram dominated this space – it’s now time for a new era with companies like the Canadian XE Money Transfers, European Wise (TransferWise), or American WorldRemit, which are are the forefront of wire transfers.
Australian Foreign Exchange Companies – Where Did it Start?
Whilst we might say Australia has been behind the curve, OFX was actually founded in 1998 as one of the first dedicated international money transfer companies (also named fx companies, especially by businesses) to ever exist. Today, it has had over one million customers and traded over $150 billion AUD for its clients. So why has it proved so popular and, like many other Australian FX companies, still remained a relative unknown in Australia?
It’s difficult to pinpoint exactly why, but when we consider the UK had at least 10 dedicated money transfer companies launching in the 1990’s and 2000’s and they still only had around 5% of the whole UK international money transfer market at the time then we can probably see why OFX might not have been a household name. The rest of the UK market belonged to 4 big banks (read about the current state of affairs in the UK banks join the money money transfer race). Sound familiar? That’s because it’s been much the same story in Australia.
Are We Seeing a Shift To More Money Transfer Companies in Australia and Why?
So what’s changed and why has the mentality shifted away from banks and towards international money transfer companies in Australia? Part of it has to be that people have come around to the idea of managing their finances online or even through their mobile. Just as we use mobile banking these days we know there are a number of new innovative solutions challenging the big banks that provide us with more functionality at a reduced cost. It may feel longer but let’s not forget the first iPhone was only announced in 2007 and things have only moved faster the more time progresses.
There are a number of other reasons to use an Australian FX company as well of course. Looking at the infographic above, based on rates taken 29 January 2020, customers will receive more in their destination currency when using OFX vs both ANZ and Commonwealth Bank. In fact, when using an Australian bank, your currency exchange spread can be as much as 5% worse than the current interbank rate (the rate at which banks trade currencies with each other).
So let’s say you were making an international money transfer from Australia to UK of $1000 that would be $50 taken in the margin by the bank.
International payment fees in Australia are also likely to be between $10-$30 with an Australian bank whilst most Australian FX companies will charge no payment fees. We won’t touch on the availability of payment and hedging solutions with money transfer companies in Australia compared to banks, as we cover this in our other resources. But suffice to say forward contracts, batch payments, regular transfers, swaps and limit orders will not be available with your bank and are so with dedicated Australian FX companies. Helping you achieve your desired exchange rate which can have a huge impact on the amount you receive.
Nowadays there are a whole host of other providers to have launched as money transfer companies in Australia. UK headquartered WorldFirst were the first international company to launch in Sydney in 2009 and they clearly detail their pricing matrix online (perhaps the cheapest of all Australian FX companies) which is dependent on the annual AUD volumes you are trading, whether as an individual or business. UK based TorFX then launched in 2013 and has been a mainstay ever since.
To read more, view this Commonwealth Bank of Australia international payments review demonstrating 4.3% exchange rate margin on AUD to GBP transfers.
Why Australia is the World’s #2 International Money Transfer Hub?
Only second to the UK’s currency transfer brokers, Australia is a massive international hub for international money transfer companies. This is particularly impressive considering Australia’s population being a mere 25m people, which is under 0.33% of the global population. So what makes Down Under so attractive in the eyes of money transfer services specialising in international transfers? The reason is multi-faceted.
- Australians are considered more financially savvy than most of their international counterparts of the same age, and hence are more likely to sidestep the bank and be happy to put in the “effort” of signing up with non-bank providers to save money.
- There are more than 300,000 Australian who reside abroad and need to transfer money periodically from their Australian bank account to USA / UK / Hong Kong/ New Zealand or wherever they currently reside (or the other way around, transfer money to relatives, friends, and business associates in Australia).
- There are more than 1 million Britons who reside in Australia… and Brits are the ones who run the (money transfer) world. That means transferring money from UK to Australia, and from Australia to UK, is one of the busiest corridors.
- The Australia-UK free trade deal makes it easier for businesses to trade internationally and regulated money transfer companies see the opportunity to onboard Australians.
i.e. clients who transfer money from UK to Australia, as well as those transferring money from Australia to UK, are very much the ordinary customers for the companies we recommend to provide the best international money transfer in Australia. The onboarding process is easy for both Brits and Aussies alike.
Too many options to transfer money abroad from Australia?
View additional researches by Money Transfer Comparison Australia below:
Paying Tax Debt from Abroad?
One of the main use cases for Australians abroad looking to make payments to Australia is to pay the ATO. All Australian residents must report and pay for income generated outside of Australia. OFX has a unique offering in this regard covered here – paying the ATO from overseas.
Investing in Australian Property from Abroad
The Australian government has implemented regulations for foreign investment in the country’s property market through the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB). Foreign investors must receive permission from the FIRB to purchase property in Australia. Generally, these investors can buy new dwellings or vacant land, while established dwellings are restricted. These regulations aim to benefit the Australian economy and citizens by promoting job creation in the construction industry and ensuring property ownership opportunities for residents. It is recommended that foreign investors consult property investment experts in Australia to navigate the compliance regulations and tax implications of owning property in the country.
Hence, overseas investments in Australian property are lesser than in other countries, but in spite of that the Australia is the recipient of many money transfers from abroad.
Understanding the Financial Claims Scheme (FCS) and Money Transfer Companies
The Financial Claims Scheme covers banking institutions incorporated in Australia which are authorised by the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA). These include; Australian banks, subsidiary divisions of foreign banks, building societies and credit unions. This means the Financial Claims Scheme does not apply in respect of your account with a money transfer company.
A legitimate Australian money transfer provider will hold an Australian Financial Services Licence and be regulated by the Australian Securities Investments Commission. They will work with major Australian banks to provide their service and should have a strong balance sheet. They do not lend money and their business model is generally considered to be low-risk (they match the exact same trade a client makes with their bank but normally at a lower rate than if the client had gone to the bank directly). Just be aware money is not protected under the FCS so it’s best to choose a reputable provider with a strong financial performance.
Final Words about Money Transfer Services in Australia
Whether as an individual or business, there is a significant selection of reputable money transfer services to choose from in Australia. The best international money transfer companies demonstrate excellent customer reviews, incorporate the highest safety protocols and enable you to transfer money internationally for cheap to and from Australia. When considering a non-bank money transfer service always consider these four golden rules in your selection criteria:
- Regulated company (perhaps the best combination to be regulated domestically in Australia by ASIC as well as another prominent regulator such as the FCA in UK).
- Has local offices, representatives and account management in Australia.
- Has been in the overseas money transfer industry for a long time and there are thousands of customer testimonials you can read about them online (on an OBJECTIVE third party site and not on their own website).
- Offering both dedicated dealers to help with larger trades and currency hedging strategies, as well as a friendly online system and mobile app to make payments online should you wish.
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