There are many ways to send money overseas from Australia. But with all the different options available it can be overwhelming trying to decide which one is best for you. It's important to realise that the service you choose can have a big impact on your transfer experience, particularly when it comes to price. Taking the time to consider the essential factors of speed, support, cost and security can help you make an informed decision about which service to use.
What matters most to you in a currency transfer?
This critical first question is the starting point from which you should begin your search for the 'best' exchange service. For example, if you require cash pick-up or same-day transfer times then the ideal service is one that can deliver on these needs. Here's what to consider when evaluating different money transfer companies:
If price is the most important factor for your international money transfer, then you will need to compare the total cost to decide which company provides the best value. The total cost of an international money transfer comes down to 2 things:
1. Transfer Fees
Every Australian bank and nearly all money transfer companies will charge you a transaction fee to send money internationally. These fees can range between $10 and $32. Some companies charge you a percentage-based fee, so if you are transferring larger amounts this can be significantly more than $32.
At FlashFX we don't charge any transaction fees, that's right - zero! Want to learn more on how to avoid foreign exchange fees? Read our guide here.
2. Exchange Rate Margin
There is no "standard" exchange rate. Every bank or money transfer company will offer you a different exchange rate based on the currencies and amount you want to exchange. Some will be worse than others. Read our guide to ensure you are getting the best exchange rate for your next transfer.
Processing times vary greatly across different transfer providers. Things that can impact how quickly your money arrives can include: the currency exchange provider you use, the currency you are looking to transfer to and how much you are sending.
Do you want the option to speak to a real human with questions about your money transfer? Not all services offer reliable customer support when you need it. Check out each company's website to find out what is available.
How important is it to you that your money is safe? Believe it or not, not all money transfer companies are the same when it comes to protecting your money. Using a provider who is licensed and regulated in all jurisdictions is one way to check whether your money will be secure. Knowing the risks of making international payments in advance is another way to keep yourself protected.
So now that we know the key factors to consider when looking at different money transfer companies the next step is knowing what is actually out there! Thanks to technology there are now countless businesses that can facilitate cross-border payments.
Here we go through the various money transfer options and discuss the pros and cons of each.
What are my options?
Bank account transfers
A bank-to-bank transfers allows you to send foreign currency to another bank account overseas. In comparison to other money transfer companies, banks can be very expensive. They tend to charge high transaction fees as well as adding a high margin onto the exchange rate. Fees can range anywhere between $5 and $35 depending on the bank, and the exchange rate mark-ups can add up to 5.0% on top of your total transfer amount. Importantly, banks are not always explicit about the fees and rates they charge, making it difficult to know what your total cost of transfer is. Customer service is next to non-existent here, so don't 'bank' on anyone being readily available to answer your questions. Transfer times take days and there is generally no way to track funds. On the plus-side, using your bank to transfer money is convenient.
Online money transfer companies
These are specialist foreign exchange companies who facilitate bank-to-bank transfers, minus the bank. Non-bank services will require you to open an account with them online and verify your identity. Generally speaking, these companies will be the most cost-effective option. That's because they charge lower transfer fees and offer more competitive exchange rates. Transfer times are faster, too, with delivery of major currencies happening within a day or two. Be aware that some services have a minimum send amount so if you are looking for smaller transfers this might not work for you. Customer service at these operations tends to be superior, with dedicated staff on-hand via phone or chat to answer your questions.
Cash transfers (through a money transfer company)
These companies transfer your money overseas from Australia using cash or EFTPOS. Western Union or MoneyGram are two of the most well-known cash transfer businesses. The benefits are that your money can be collected in-person and the transfer times are usually pretty quick, possibly even same-day (for a price). The cost of operating a physical storefront means that overheads are high, which is passed on to you in the form of high transfer fees and poor exchange rates. Less-thorough personal verification processes mean that this is a less secure option than other companies.
If the person you are sending money to has a Paypal account, then sending money overseas this way could work for you. While the transfer fees are almost nil the conversion rates you get are not competitive. The total cost of a cross-border payment with Paypal is at least 2.8% of the total transfer amount, at best. Generally speaking, users will pay much more than this. In the worst cases these charges are as high as 10.0%.
Peer-to-Peer Transfers (P2P)
Instead of wiring money overseas through a bank, companies that facilitate these types of transfers match people buying currency in once country with people who are selling it in another country. This service is advantageous for getting a great exchange rate but be sure to read the terms and conditions. If your transaction cannot find a match, you could be subject to much higher fees and worse rates than advertised.
How to choose?
People prioritise different things when it comes to deciding on which international money service provider to use. Some might prefer speedy transfer times, others could favour cost savings or reliable customer support.
Generally speaking, online money transfer companies will score the highest across the categories of speed, cost, security and support. With lower transfer fees and more competitive exchange rates they are more affordable option compared the others.
FlashFX is an online money transfer company that wants to make it easy and fair for Australians to send money overseas. With bank-beating exchange rates, speedy transfer times, top-notch security and reliable customer support we tick all the boxes when it comes to sending money overseas.