Send and transfer money abroad


When transferring money between countries, there are many things to consider to avoid high fees and inflated exchange rates.

With international travel back on the cards, many Australians are planning their next adventure. There are several popular ways to send money abroad, including: wire transfer, Western Union, Paypal, and Peer to Peer transfer. You can also use the proven method of exchanging physical silver at a booth in Australia or at your destination.

However, there are many factors to consider including: exchange rate, fees, time required, security and propensity for scams, customer experience, etc. There’s only one right answer, so it’s worth comparing your options.

Need a place to store cash and earn interest? The table below shows savings accounts with some of the highest interest rates on the market.

Rates based on a savings balance of $10,000. Sorted by total interest rates. Check the providers’ websites for terms of bonus rates and applicable fees and charges. Rates correct as of June 1, 2022. See disclaimer.


While this may be the most obvious choice, transferring overseas through your nominated bank can often result in the highest fees. Transfer fees vary from bank to bank.

In addition, the exchange rate applied by your bank may be higher than the standard international exchange rate. On the other hand, you can contact most banks with questions or requests before transferring. Some banks also offer investigative services if your details are compromised during an international transfer.



Commonwealth Bank

$6.00 per transfer via CommBank or NetBank app and funds debited from an AUD account and converted to foreign currency.


ANZ will charge 3% of the value of any international transaction charged or credited to an ANZ account.


NAB will charge you a fee to process your international payment.

These fees are $10 per transaction when making your international money transfer through the service in a foreign currency and $30 per transaction when making your international money transfer through the service in Australian dollars.


  • $10 AUD for online banking payments in a foreign currency.

  • $20 AUD for online banking payments in Australian dollars.

  • $32 AUD for in-branch payment in any available currency.

  • $10 AUD for in-branch payment on Pacific Westpac accounts.

Western Union Money Transfer

Western Union allows you to send money from a participating Australian post office to other countries. Visit a participating post office with your Australian mobile phone number and one of the following valid forms of identification:

When you send, they’ll let you know the exchange rate and applicable fees for your money transfer in advance.

Confirm your recipient’s details, pay in cash or EFTPOS, and your recipient can then withdraw in cash or by bank transfer. You can also send money abroad via Western Union online by simply creating an account.

As of this writing, Western Union’s transaction fee is $5 per transfer for e-Transfers sent via Interac with Western Union, plus a 1% commission on the total amount per transfer.

Peer-to-peer transfer

You can send money overseas through online international transfer systems. These operate using national banks in the transfer countries.

P2P providers:

For example, if you send $1,000 to a family member in the United States, you transfer through a peer to peer transfer system such as Wise, who receives the money in their Australian bank account and then sends it to your relative the USD equivalent from their US account. Bank account. This allows Wise to offer competitive exchange rates because money never really changes currencies.

Transfer times vary depending on your payment method, but are typically 24 hours. Bank transfers incur the lowest fees, while credit or debit transfers will cost more. Wise will need a Swift or BIC code to send and receive money internationally.

A SWIFT code – sometimes also called a BIC number – is a standard format for Business Identification Codes (BIC). It is used to identify banks and financial institutions globally. It shows who and where they are – a kind of international bank code or identification.

These codes are used when transferring money between banks, in particular for international transfers or SEPA payments. Banks also use these codes to exchange messages with each other.


PayPal allows customers to make transfers to each other domestically and internationally. Paypal is a reliable transfer system, but it has fees.

Sending international personal transactions

PayPal balance or AU bank account


5.00% + 2.60% + fixed costs

Source: PayPal

And the change booths?

If you are planning to go abroad, you can also simply bring money to a money changer to exchange Australian money for another currency and take the money with you abroad.

Remember that these stores make money by charging a lower exchange rate than the spot rate, plus maybe a commission depending on the brand. It is, however, one of the few places where you can negotiate a better deal. If you’re going abroad, don’t wait until the last minute as the worst deals are usually at the airport, where travelers are forced to exchange money before leaving or entering a country.

Keep an eye on exchange rates and head to your local money changer with the option to leave that day without exchanging your money. Don’t be afraid to ask for a quote and take that offer to another vendor to see if it can be beaten.


Before sending money abroad, always do your best to check that the transfer system you are using is not a scam. Also, make sure you are aware of the risks of international transfers. Once you’ve sent money internationally, it’s very difficult to get it back if you send it to the wrong recipient.

If you plan to send a large sum of money abroad, try sending a test transaction of a few dollars first. Once they have received it, you can send the full amount. You may pay additional fees this way, but it could save you thousands of dollars if the test transaction didn’t work for some reason.

Factors to Consider When Sending Money Abroad

When comparing transfer options, the main factors to consider are:

1. Exchange rate

The exchange rate is the value of the AUD against a foreign currency. This will fluctuate as the value goes up and down. For example, $1 AUD is worth $0.73 USD at the time of writing. This is called the spot rate. Different banks and transfer facilitators will offer different exchange rates. Be sure to compare them when deciding who to transfer through.

2. Fees

Most international transfers will come with a service charge. Always read the terms and conditions of the institution you are transferring to avoid being hit with surprise fees. Some may be flat fees per transaction, while others will be based on the amount of money you send.

3. Limits

Most banks and online transfer facilitators will have minimum and maximum transfer limits. Check before transferring what these limits are.

Four times

Not all transfers will be instant. Some international transfers can take days to clear on both the account you are transferring from and the account as well.

5. Customer service

It is important to consider who you are transferring with and what contact and support they offer to customers. If you have any questions, not all transfers will have a customer service team you can contact.

6. Sending/receiving method

Different transactions will allow you to send and receive money in different ways. For example, Paypal is a digital transfer tied to an email or phone number, while a Western Union transfer will allow you to send money.

7. Identifying Information

Another aspect to consider is the information you need to facilitate the transaction. Paypal, for example, lets you send with just an email address, while online transfer portals like Wise will require more information.

Image by Nick Fewings via Unsplash


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