Sending money overseas
Sharing your wealth
If you have friends or family overseas, you may want to send
them money at some point, like for a wedding, a medical expense or
just to help with everyday expenses. Here are some tips to help you
pay less fees and avoid problems when you transfer money
Compare costs and exchange
A number of government-funded websites can help you to compare
companies that send money overseas.
- SendMoneyPacific - For money sent from
Australia to Fiji, Kiribati, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon
Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.
- SaverAsia - For money sent from Australia to
Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, the Philippines, and
- Remittance Prices
Worldwide - The World Bank's website for other international
Shop around for a good exchange rate
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.
Also find out if the exchange rate is guaranteed. Not all
companies guarantee the rate; but, if they do, you'll know exactly
how much money your recipient will get.
Compare the total price
Compare the retail exchange rate and any fees. Just because
a service is advertised as 'fee free' does not mean it will be the
Ways to transfer your money
There are a few different ways to send money from Australia to
Keep your receipts and the transfer documents safe. Note the
time limit for claiming a refund, in case your recipient doesn't
claim the funds.
Online money transfer company
Online transfer companies ask you set up an account online and
let you transmit your money yourself using the internet, or even a
mobile phone network. The company moves the money to your
recipient's bank account or arranges for them to collect the
This transfer method can be cheap and fast, but you need to be
comfortable making online transactions and know the bank account
details of your recipient.
Bank account transfers
Using your bank account, you can transfer money directly into an
overseas bank account. It is also called an international money
transfer, a telegraphic transfer (TT), or a wire or SWIFT
Some banks also have online money transfer services that allow
you to send money yourself to an overseas bank account.
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.
Common currencies, such as United States dollars (USD) or Great
British pounds (GBP), are often cheaper through other
Transfers through banks can take 2 to 5 days.
Cash transfer (through a money transfer company)
Money transfer companies let you transfer your money overseas
using cash or EFTPOS. You might approach a money transfer company
at their store front or use a third-party convenience store
counter. The person you send the money to will collect the cash at
the money transfer office in their country.
Some money transfer companies will also let you transfer money
using the internet, phone or a bank card once you've set up an
account with them. You will need to let the recipient know that
you've sent the money, and that they can pick it up from their
This kind of transfer is often very fast - it could take
just a few minutes - but can be expensive.
Australia Post also offers cash transfers which can be done at
all Australia Post offices that have the Bank@Post sign displayed.
To find out more see Australia Post overseas money transfer with
International Money Order
A safer method than sending a personal cheque overseas is to use
an international bank draft. You give your money to a bank in
return for an international guaranteed cheque. You post the cheque
to your family who then need to cash it at a local bank or deposit
it into their account.
While secure, this transfer method can cost more than others,
and posting it will be slower than an electronic transfer.
How to complain if you
have a problem
If the money has not been delivered, both you and the recipient
should speak to the company that is transferring the money. If it
still cannot be found, then you can complain to the Australian
Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA).
Money transfer scams
If you send money to someone and they turn out to be a scammer,
it will be almost impossible for you to get your money back. Be
very careful who you send your money to. Visit the SCAMwatch website for more.
Do your research before sending money overseas.
You could save yourself a lot of money and time.
Last updated: 08 Nov 2019