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International money transfer services

Beat the banks, find the best exchange rates and avoid fees when you send money abroad from Australia.

How we chose these platforms

The platforms shown above are promoted picks, which means they’ve been chosen from among the partners we work with and are based on factors that include special features or offers and the commission we receive. Keep in mind that our promoted picks may not always be the best fit for you – it’s important to compare for yourself and find a platform that works for you.

PROMOTED FOR SMALL TRANSFERS

XE

Transfer speed

1 day

Min. transfer

$1

Currencies covered

50+

Transfer fee

Varies

XE has fast transfers with no fees and a range of foreign currency tools. Its competitive exchange rates make it good value for smaller transfers. However, keep in mind you'll only be able to pay with a bank transfer and your recipient also has to have a bank account.

PROMOTED FOR LARGE TRANSFERS

CurrencyTransfer

Transfer speed

1 day

Min. transfer

$2,000

Currencies covered

30+

Transfer fee

$0

To help you select the best available exchange rates on the market, UK-based CurrencyTransfer operates an online marketplace that aggregates live foreign exchange rates from government-accredited money transfer specialists. Since it also displays the mid-market rate — the rate at which providers trade among each other — you'll know which service offers the better rate.

PROMOTED FOR EXPERT ADVICE

OFX

Transfer speed

1 day

Min. transfer

$2000

Currencies covered

60+

Transfer fee

No fee over $10,000

OFX has no maximum limit transfers, with competitive exchange rates for 45+ currencies. There's a variety of products that can be tailored to your needs, whether you're sending money to family, selling on an e-marketplace or transferring money for your business. If you sign up through Finder, you'll get discounted exchange rates for your first and ongoing transfers.

PROMOTED FOR BUSINESS TRANSFERS

Dunbridge

Transfer speed

Same day

Min. transfer

$10

Currencies covered

20+

Transfer fee

$0

Powered by Currencycloud, Dunbridge Financial offers diverse transfer options to more than 120 countries. It can help your business with anything from simple transfers to risk management.

PROMOTED FOR CASH TRANSFERS

Remitly

Transfer speed

1-2 days

Min. transfer

$0

Currencies covered

80+

Transfer fee

Varies

Remitly has quick, affordable transfers around the world, with both express and economy options. It lets you send to cash pickup locations. Special offers like free transfers and better exchange rates are available for new customers.
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Every service we compare has been assessed and reviewed by our editorial team.

What is an international money transfer?

An international money transfer is what happens when you send money to someone overseas. You provide funds and your recipient’s details to a bank or an independent transfer provider, which then exchanges the money into your desired currency and sends it to your recipient. You can send money over the phone, in person, through a mobile app or online.

You also have options when it comes to paying, depending on what the service you choose offers:
  • Cash
  • Credit or debit card
  • Bank transfer
And you have options for how your recipient receives the transfer:
  • Bank account
  • Mobile wallet
  • Cash pick-up
  • Door delivery

Learn more about money transfers for:

How to transfer money internationally

There are two main ways to send money out of Canada: a specialist money transfer service or your bank. Both banks and transfer services offer online transfers, with some offering in-branch transfers or the ability to send money over your phone via an app or calling an agent.

We’ll go through the steps each method takes if you were sending online.

Through a money transfer specialist

The following steps give a good example of a typical transfer using a money transfer company.

  1. Register online with the transfer service of your choice.
  2. Input transaction details, including the amount you want to transfer.
  3. Get approved by the transfer company. You may need to scan or email a copy of your ID for the first transaction.
  4. Transfer funds through your bank using the account details from your transfer company.
  5. Get your money. Your transfer service will deposit your funds in your destination account.
  • For you if
    You want a more competitive exchange rate and lower fees than a bank transfer.
  • Not for you if
    You want the familiarity and convenience of a known bank and don’t have time to be verified.

Through your bank

If you choose to use a bank to carry out your transfer, the process is a little different.

  1. Navigate to the international money transfers section of your account.
  2. You’ll usually need to know the address of the receiving bank, the account details of the receiving account, the account name and often the receiving bank’s SWIFT code (an international bank identification system).
  3. It’s a good idea to check with your bank about exchange rates.
  4. You can use this method to send an international money order online to your home bank account or to a third party.
  • For you if
    You want the convenience of sending money directly from your existing bank account immediately.
  • Not for you if
    You want fewer fees and a better exchange rate.

Tips for saving on your international transfer

While there’s no best way to transfer funds overseas, there are a few things you can do to make it cheaper.

  • Know your transfer currency’s mid-market rate. This rate is the midpoint between worldwide supply and demand for that currency – and the rate banks and transfer services use when they trade among themselves. Use it as a baseline to compare against the rates you’re being offered. The company that’s closest is offering you the best rate.
  • Send more money per transfer. Many services discount the fees or waive them altogether when you send larger amounts.
  • Use forward contracts and limit orders if sending money regularly. A forward contract allows you to lock in a favourable exchange rate for future transfers. This means you’ll avoid unpredictable movements in exchange rates. A limit order allows you to wait until a favourable exchange rate is found, and then lock it in for your transfer.

What should you watch out for?

Keep an eye out for the following when you send money overseas:

  • Hidden fees. No transfer is truly free. If a service is advertising “fee-free transfers”, there’s probably a larger margin added to the exchange rate. Compare the rate you get quoted against the mid-market rate (which you can find on Google) to see if you’re getting a good deal.
  • Fake rates. If you see a great exchange rate advertised on a provider’s website, make sure the rate you see is the rate you will actually receive. Some companies advertise the mid-market exchange rate, which is the rate at which banks purchase foreign exchange, rather than the rate they actually offer their customers.
  • Failing to do your research. If you want to save some money, compare several transfer providers before choosing one to sell your transaction. Shop around for a company that offers reliable and affordable transfers, instead of just diving in head-first.
  • Scams. Scams cost Canadians $98 million in 2019. With this number increasing each year, it’s important to keep an eye out for the most common scams. In general, it’s best to only send money to someone you know personally.
  • Taxes and regulation. Each country regulates money transfers differently. Make sure you’ve read up on if your recipient needs to pay taxes on the money they’re being sent. In Australia, for example, money transfers over $10,000 get automatically reported to Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC). But other countries, like India or the US, have stricter regulations.

Other frequently asked questions

Sending to a specific country? Learn more

More guides on Finder

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