Australia is the wealthiest nation in the Southern Hemisphere. With a GDP of 1.9 trillion AUD, no other country comes close. It generates much of this wealth from its considerable resource base. With China buying its iron ore at a steady rate, Australia had not experienced a recession in over 30 years (before COVID).
So, with no shortage of economic activity, heaps of money moves to/from Australia annually. Every quarter, tens of billions of dollars changes hands. However, in doing so, many market participants spend more in fees than necessary.
The reason is simple – banks charge fees and exchange rate margins that are far too high.
Here’s what you can expect to pay at Australia’s top institutions:
|Bank||International Wire Transfer Fee|
|Commonwealth Bank of Australia||6-30 AUD|
|Westpac Bank||10-32 AUD|
|ANZ Australia||0-32 AUD|
|National Australia Bank||10-30 AUD|
Most people send small amounts abroad. Whether they’re sending cash to their families or paying an overseas mortgage, these fees add up. However, bank customers are often unaware of cheaper online alternatives.
Online money transfer companies in Australia aren’t just cheaper, they’re battle-tested. Every day, untold millions of people use these services to move cash around the world. With low/no fees and slim exchange rate margins, they blow legacy financial institutions out of the water.
Our Top Money Transfer Companies for Australia Transfers
Recently, we did extensive research on the best money transfer Australia. Based on that research, here are the top three online money transfer companies in Australia:
Money Transfer Providers – Your Low-Cost Alternative to the Banks
Despite the advantages of online money transfer companies in Australia, many Australians cling to the Big 4. There are many reasons for this – convenience and fear of the unknown being the biggest. We can easily debunk the latter – government-run financial regulators ensure these firms keep client funds safe.
However, convenience can be hard to overcome. Inertia is a powerful force that convincers can only overcome with substantial evidence. So, we’ll show you how much money you’re losing by sticking to the banks.
Let’s assume you transfer money from Australia to USA regularly. Every month, you move 10,000 USD per month to colleagues in America. If you use the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, they’ll start by hitting you with a 12 AUD fee. At larger transfer amounts, this won’t hurt you. However, their fat margins will.
At the writing of this article, Commonwealth’s AUD/USD rate stood at 0.6854. Transfer fee included, you would need to convert 14,603 AUD to send 10,000 USD to America. However, compare Commonwealth’s rate with the AUD/USD interbank rate of 0.7232. If you could use that rate fee-free, you’d only need to change 13,828 AUD. That’s almost 1,000 AUD more, or a margin of more than 5.2%.
While you can’t move cash at the interbank rate, TorFX gets shockingly close. For starters, they don’t charge transfer fees. And second, their AUD/USD rate currently sits at 0.7200. According to these figures, you’d only need to convert 13,889 AUD to send 10,000 USD. That’s a savings of 700 AUD over Commonwealth Bank.
How can firms like TorFX do this? It’s simple – they don’t have to answer to shareholders. Moreover, they don’t have the same overhead obligations that established financial institutions have. For these reasons, they can do away with fees and charge an exchange rate close to interbank. As they move more money for clients, their profits scale exponentially.
In other words, you pay less, and money transfer companies in Australia thrive. Everyone wins!
Why People Transfer Money From Australia
Australia is a highly internationalised place. Every day, Aussies buy real estate in Bali, move to countries like the UK for work, and send capital to family abroad.
However, these transactions often differ from each other. What works on one transfer provider might not make sense on another. As such, it helps to know the strengths and weaknesses of different transfer companies in Australia. In this section, we’ll recommend the best provider for various cash transfer scenarios.
- Best money transfer companies UK
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Buying Overseas Property
Australia is not a cheap place to buy a house. Sure – wealthy people overseas can purchase homes by sending large money transfers to Australia, but most people aren’t like that. As a result, virtually the entire east coast is out of reach for many buyers. And now, even Adelaide and Tasmania are slipping away.
So, instead of investing in Australia, many choose to invest in markets like the USA, New Zealand, Bali, or even Thailand (condos only). Doing this is harder than it looks. For starters, international real estate investors must follow local laws. Secondly, to avoid the risks of buying sight unseen, these buyers must spend heaps of time viewing potential properties.
However, when considering money transfer companies in Australia, make sure they offer the local currency. This shouldn’t be an issue when you transfer money from Australia to USA, but it might be in “exotic” countries like Indonesia. When evaluating any online transfer provider, take a scroll through their list of currencies. If they don’t offer IDR, for example, they won’t be able to help you in your Bali villa search.
Next, when researching any money transfer companies in Australia, check if they have a maximum transfer limit. If they do, this fact could cause problems in the future. It’s for this reason we don’t recommend Wise in our top three. Right now, this popular service has a maximum transfer limit of 1.5 million AUD. If you’re buying premium real estate in NZ or run a medium-sized business, this cap could cause problems.
Lastly, your transfer provider should offer hedging tools. The bigger your transaction is, the bigger the risks. As we’ve seen recently, international incidents can wreak havoc on currency rates. Fluctuations of more than 1% are no longer uncommon. If the market moves that that amount while your transfer is pending, you could lose thousands of dollars.
Forward contracts protect you against these shifts. This tool locks in a rate in advance, allowing you peace of mind. No matter what happens, you’ll only pay that price.
All three services that we recommend on this page offer forwards. So, which one should you use? In our opinion, we think OFX is best. In addition to hedging tools, they also offer personal account managers. These professionals keep a sharp eye on international markets – if they see trouble on the horizon, they’ll offer a solution that addresses the threat.
Solution – OFX
Making Mortgage Payments From Abroad
Do you already own properties abroad? In this case, your biggest money transfer issue is monthly mortgage payments. Unlike buying a property, though, sending these transfers via the banks is akin to a death by a thousand cuts.
Month by month, the outrageous fees and margins the banks charge add up. Thankfully, money transfer companies in Australia can save you thousands of AUD over the long term. These players do so not just via low/no fees and thinner margins, but via tools like forward contracts as well. Protected against currency movements, you can rest easy.
But, which of the money transfer companies in Australia are best? Earlier, we said that we liked OFX’s hedging tools and advisors. However, when it comes to exchange rate margins for smaller transfers, TorFX comes out on top.
TorFX boasts average exchange rate margins of 0.5%, while OFX says their margins average just under 1%.
On this measure, TorFX offers the best money transfer Australia.
Solution – TorFX
Recovering Overseas Profits
E-commerce has taken off over the past decade. So much so, that brick-and-mortar retailers are struggling to survive. Nonetheless, many Australian entrepreneurs have benefited from this shift in the marketplace.
In the course of running their businesses, however, they’ve run into a significant issue. When the time comes to send an international money transfer to Australia, platforms like Amazon often charge excessive conversion fees.
These rates can be as high as 3.5%. A brief example demonstrates how unfair this is. Let’s assume you earn an average of 20,000 AUD/month from your Amazon.com online store. Every month, Amazon applies its conversion fee of 3.5% to this amount. Every month, you give up 700 AUD to Jeff Bezos. Over a full year, that adds up to 8,400 AUD in lost revenue.
Fortunately, there is a way around this unfair tax. Many money transfer companies in Australia offer receiving accounts to online sellers. So, rather than get charged to convert currency on Amazon or eBay, you can move cash domestically. Often, this move comes without fees. Once you receive cash in these receiving accounts, you can then convert it at much fairer rates.
Of the top three money transfer companies in Australia, OFX is the only one that directly caters to online sellers. With receiving accounts around the world, you can move money domestically with OFX and save thousands in fees.
Solution – OFX
Sending Cash Gifts to Loved Ones
Australia has drawn people from all over the world. At the same time, Australians are also avid travellers and expats. Because of these two trends, this nation is a major market for remittances.
If you want to send excess cash to family abroad, you’ll want to avoid providers that charge high upfront fees. This fact excludes the banks, as well as legacy money transfer providers like Western Union. Don’t believe us? Let’s say you want to send 300 AUD to your uni-attending child in the UK. If you go through Westpac, you could pay more than 10% of your send amount upfront. In today’s competitive money transfer landscape, that’s unacceptable.
Solution – TorFX
Sending/Receiving Freelance Payments
More people than ever before are working for themselves. In doing so, they’ve traded their boss for clients the world over. However, this shift has created financial problems. Not only are these freelancers responsible for tax collection, but they also have to deal with currency conversion issues.
As you might expect, fees and margins charged by payment processors like PayPal are the top culprits. However, volatile Forex rates are another troublemaker, as price dives can shave hundreds of AUD off your monthly income.
To protect against these concerns, you shouldn’t just go with any of the money transfer companies in Australia – they should also offer hedging tools. In our opinion, OFX is best. If you’re receiving funds from clients, you can have them send their payment to your receiving account.
From there, you can change your money at a much better rate than what PayPal offers. That way, when you send an international money transfer to Australia, you’ll get more. Also, if you’ve grown to the point where you employ assistants, you’ll love OFX’s payment infrastructure. Within their back end, you can set up 500 transfers. Rather than pay your five employees in five separate transactions, you can do it all with one click.
Solution – OFX
B2B Money Transfers
Businesses send/receive hundreds of billions of AUD via international money transfer from Australia every year. However, not all of these enterprises operate on fat margins. For some, an unexpected gyration in currency rates could put them in a tough spot.
Hedging tools are a must to protect your business, especially these days. Firms that offer forward contracts offer this assurance, as the locked-in rate provides businesses with cost certainty. All money transfer companies in Australia recommended in this guide offer forward contracts.
However, firms like OFX go deeper. This money transfer provider also offers stop-losses and limit orders. Most important of all, they provide in-depth financial advice. This way, you can make large money transfers to Australia that will benefit your business while avoiding the damaging ones.
Toss in the reliable payment infrastructure that we spoke about in the last section, and it’s no contest.
Solution – OFX
State of International Money Transfer from Australia
As a colonised landmass, Australia has become a nation of immigrants. Furthermore, its status as an island country has long stoked wanderlust in Australians. For this reason, citizens are quite familiar with international money transfer from Australia.
Until recent decades, though, they paid dearly every time they moved cash abroad. Up until the late 1990s, the Big Four (Commonwealth Bank, Westpac, ANZ, and NAB) dominated money transfer in Australia. Apart from Western Union and Moneygram, there weren’t any non-bank alternatives.
Then, Matthew Gilmour came onto the scene. He was frustrated with how badly people and businesses were getting ripped off on large money transfers to Australia. Because of this, he founded OzForex in 1998. Starting as an information-only website, they soon validated the demand for an online alternative to the financial establishment.
In 2001, they launched their online money transfer tool. From that point on, other international cash transfer alternatives joined them. TorFX came online in the mid-2000s. Then, Wise Money Transfers opened the floodgates in 2010 by offering transfers at the “interbank rate”.
Today, consumers can choose from dozens money transfer companies in Australia. While many stubbornly cling to the banks, many others are learning how much they can save by going online. As online shopping continues to go mainstream, we expect online money transfer to do the same.
Other Money Transfer Options in Australia
We recommend using the three money transfer companies in Australia mentioned above. However, there are many other online options available. Below, we’ll list several popular money transfer companies in Australia that many Australians use to send cash internationally.
1872 was a landmark year. Back then, Western Union (WU) sent the first-ever money transfer over its telegraph wires. To this day, it’s the reason most people around the world call money transfers “wire transfers”.
Western Union no longer holds a monopoly on non-bank transfers, but they still hold a dominant market position. With an overwhelming network of field offices in over 200 countries, they are the world’s largest money mover by a wide margin.
That’s why, despite competition rising to unprecedented levels, they continue to charge excessive fees and margins. Because of this, we do not recommend using this service. If you need to send a remittance to unbanked recipients, there are better options (like WorldRemit).
Here’s how bad things can get when you send funds via Western Union. Let’s say you want to move 100 AUD to the Philippines. At the start, WU deducts 2.90 AUD, or 2.9% of the original amount. After that, they transact your funds at their AUD/PHP rate of 34.2027. At this moment, the AUD/PHP interbank rate is at 35.0254 – or 2.3% off WU’s rate.
We’ll be honest – Western Union has gotten better (on common currency pairings) in recent years. Still, these fees and margins are nowhere close to the savings you’ll realize using the best money transfer companies in Australia.
Back in the early 2000s, PayPal was the darling of the financial world. Working with the banks, they rolled out infrastructure that made large-scale online shopping and business feasible. Without them, the world we live in today wouldn’t be possible.
Nearly two decades later, though, they’ve become just another expensive gatekeeper. Unless you’re making domestic transfers, their transaction and funding fees can cost you dearly. For international money transfer to Australia, you pay a 5% fee that ranges from a minimum of $0.99 to a maximum of $5.99. Card transfers pay an additional uncapped 2.6% funding fee that they apply to the send amount.
And then there are the exchange rates they charge. Depending on market conditions, the prices they offer can differ from the interbank rate by 3% to 4%. If you’re an online seller that uses PayPal to repatriate funds, you’re better off using OFX. With their receiving accounts, you can avoid PayPal’s excessive fees and margins.
Wise (Formerly TransferWise)
Without a doubt, Wise.com is the 800-pound gorilla in the room right now. Started in 2010 by a pair of London-based Estonians, their interbank rate trades have made them the world’s second-largest money transfer provider.
But, how on Earth do they make money? By charging a nominal fee on transfers. Usually, it’s around 0.5% for most major currency pairings. This fee can get uncomfortably large as the size of the transfer increases. However, thanks to their interbank rate trades, they’re often the first or second-best option in many markets.
If that’s the case, then why haven’t we made them one of our top three recommendations? There are two main reasons – firstly, they have a maximum transfer cap. Many money transfer clients make large money transfers to Australia every month. For them, a 1.5 million AUD cap can eventually pose problems.
Secondly, Wise’s business tools aren’t as sophisticated as the ones possessed by their competition. For example, OFX doesn’t just offer forward contracts – they offer in-depth business advice.
One day, Wise may close this gap and offer the best money transfer in Australia. If they do, we’ll include them in our top three.
While many Australian individuals and businesses use OFX, Currencies Direct also has its fans. Like OFX, this London-based money transfer firm boasts competitive margins (0.7% to 1% off interbank). Like our top three, they also lack a maximum transfer limit.
So, why couldn’t Currencies Direct muscle their way onto the podium? Primarily, it’s due to their lack of accessibility on the low end. This company has a minimum send amount of 2,000 AUD. Because of this, they’ve pushed out remittance senders and many small businesses.
We realise they’ve done this for strategic reasons. By setting their minimum send amount this high, they can focus on serving their core customers better. But, as a result, they lack the universal appeal required to be a top-three selection.
Concluding Thoughts – Australia Money Transfers
Australia is one of the world’ most successful resource economies. As a result, money flows freely to/from this nation in massive amounts. As these flows have increased, though, businesses and individuals have lost more and more to the financial establishment.
However, there are now alternatives to the old guard. Firms like OFX and TorFX have ushered in the change that Australians have longed for. Whether you need to send from Australia or transfer money from USA to Australia, they have you covered.
In this report, we’ve highlighted firms that serve different segments of the population. By putting this information into action, we’re confident you’ll save thousands of dollars going forward.
Want to move to Australia and need more info ?
If you want to emigrate to Australia for work or simply to make a change in your life for the better, you will need a lot of info about how, when and where. For this exact purpose, we made a Top List of the Best Australian Expat Blogs. To have a look, you can simply click the image below:
If you are interested in buying a piece of real estate and enter the recent trend or maybe you are just an expat trying to survive a new chapter in your life, we hope that reading this article has informed you how to send money to Australia on the cheap. And if you have businesses abroad that need a constant influx of money, you now know how to quickly and cheaply send money from Australia in a matter of minutes.