Buying a boat from overseas using a money transfer

Keep your overseas boat purchase a bargain by choosing the cheapest money transfer service

There are many bargains to be had overseas, especially when it comes to boats.

To purchase anything overseas you’ll need to convert your funds from Australian dollars to your target currency, and one of the easiest and cheapest ways of doing this is using an international money transfer in order to complete the transaction.

However, even if you’re saving money by buying the boat from overseas cheaply, the value of this could be greatly reduced if you use an expensive method of paying for your purchase. With this in mind, it makes good financial sense to consider using a dedicated money transfer service as opposed to your bank. Money transfer services typically offer better exchange rates and lower fees than banks, allowing you to save as much money as possible.

Compare money transfer services for buying a boat overseas

You can compare and use a money transfer service in the table below. Using the table headings you can sort through products, and if you want to read more about a particular product, can click ‘More’. If you’re ready to open an account, click ‘Go to Site’ to be securely taken to the product website.

Rates last updated November 24th, 2017
Name Product Min. Transfer Amount Transfer Speed Services Online Transfer Fee Rate Amount Received Description
TorFX International Money Transfers
AUD 200
1 day
Online, Phone, Agent
TorFX guarantee to beat any competitor's exchange rate for a transaction. Conditions apply.
Send money overseas in 45 currencies.
Exclusive: OFX (Ozforex) International Money Transfers
AUD 250
1 day
Online, Phone, Agent
Exclusive offer: Discounted exchange rates for your first and ongoing transactions. $0 transfer fee.
A higher exchange rate applies to non-finder customers. Send money in 45 currencies.
Exclusive: World First International Money Transfers
AUD 2,000
1 day
Online, Phone
Exclusive offer: $0 transfer fee and discounted exchange rates for your first trade only.
A higher exchange rate applies to non-finder customers. Send money in more than 130 currencies.
FC Exchange International Money Transfers
AUD 3,000
1 day
Online, Phone, Bank Account to Bank Account
FC Exchange can save you money with its Best Exchange Rate Guarantee. Conditions apply.
No transfer fee when transferring more than £10,000 or equivalent. Send money in 43 currencies.
HiFX International Money Transfers
AUD 50
2 days
Online, Phone, Agent
Make your first transfer for free
Send money in more than 40 currencies.
XE International Money Transfers
1 day
Online, Phone, Bank Account to Bank Account
Send money in more than 60 currencies. Fee-free international money transfers with a global brand.
The ‘Rate’ and ‘Amount Received’ displayed are indicative rates that have been supplied by each brand or gathered by Finder.

Exchange rates are volatile and change often. As a result, the exchange rate listed on Finder may vary to the actual exchange rate quoted for the brand. Please confirm the actual exchange rate and mention “Finder” before you commit to a brand.

Compare up to 4 providers

The benefits of a money transfer service when buying a boat overseas

Traditionally, people had to go through their bank if they wanted to send money overseas. However, this isn’t always a cost-effective way of doing things as banks typically offer poor exchange rates and eat big chunks out of your transfer sum with hidden fees.

In recent years, specialist money transfer companies have arrived on the scene and made it much easier to send money overseas. These services offer better exchange rates than the big banks, allowing you to get the most of your money. They also offer lower fees than banks, with some companies even waiving their transfer fee altogether when you send more than a certain minimum amount.

Finally, online money transfer services typically offer faster transfers than Australian banks, with funds regularly able to arrive at your chosen destination within 24 hours. To get a better idea of the benefits of using a money transfer service when buying a boat overseas, examine the case study below.

Barry buys a boat

Barry has found his dream yacht for sale in Miami in the United States, so he plans to buy it using an international money transfer of $50,000. Barry wants to save as much money as possible on the purchase, so he compares the services of his ‘big four’ bank and a specialist money transfer provider. As you’ll see from the table below, Barry will get much better value by using a money transfer service.

Money transfer service‘Big Four’ bank
Amount transferred$50,000$50,000
Exchange rateUSD$0.84USD$0.80
Transfer fee$4$25
Processing time1-2 business days2-5 business days
Final amount$41,996.64$39,980

What providers allow me to send money overseas?

It’s possible to perform an international money transfer through your bank, with all major Australian banks offering this service. However, as the case study above shows, you can often save quite a lot of money by using the services of a money transfer provider.

These companies specialise in sending money overseas and can offer better exchange rates, lower fees and faster processing times than banks. Some of the companies that offer this service are CurrencyFair, Currency Online, HiFX, OFX, TorFX, TransferWise and WorldRemit, and you can compare them above.

What features should I compare when looking to send money overseas?

When you’re looking to send money overseas to buy a boat, you’ll need to compare the following features of competing money transfer companies.

  • Exchange rates. As shown in the case study above, a higher exchange rate can make a big difference to the amount of funds that make it to your recipient. Look for the best exchange rate you can find, but remember that the fees a company charges can also affect your transaction.
  • Fees. The lower the fee the better, so compare the charges you will incur for sending money overseas. Some providers will not charge any fee at all when you transfer more than a certain amount.
  • Scheduled payments. If you need to make regular payments, does your provider allow you to schedule these in advance? Is there any extra fee attached for this kind of transfer?
  • Limit orders. A limit order is where you specify an exchange rate you are willing to accept for a transaction, and the transaction will then be completed when that rate becomes available. This allows you to save money and take advantage of changing rates, so check for a company that offers this feature.
  • Forward contracts. Forward contracts allow you to lock in an exchange rate now for a transaction that will be completed in the future. Check to see whether providers offer this feature.
  • Customer service. Consider each company’s customer service record and evidence of customer satisfaction. What methods of support are offered and during what hours?
  • Available currencies. Certain companies will allow you to transfer funds in a wider range of currencies than others.

Things to consider when buying a boat from overseas

While you can often save money by purchasing a boat from overseas, there are certain traps and pitfalls you need to be wary of. To start with, you’ll need to be able to get an accurate understanding of the condition and age of the boat. Trying to do so online can be very risky, so you’ll typically be better off checking it out in person or hiring a local broker to give it the once-over. This will help ensure you do not fall victim to criminals or questionable operators.

Next, you’ll need to assess your boat’s dimensions, as well as consider any parts that can be removed to reduce its dimensions. Once you know your boat’s size, you can approach a specialist boat importing company for a quote. However, be warned that your import may end up costing more than predicted because it’s often difficult to estimate the cost of quarantine. Making sure your vessel is as clean as possible can reduce the risk of incurring extra quarantine charges.

Importing a boat from overseas

A general rate of duty of 5% applies to yachts based on their customs value (their customs value is typically the price paid). There is also a 10% GST calculated plus transport and insurance costs that you’ll need to consider.

Situations where the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service may use another method of valuation include:

  • When the yacht was constructed by the owner
  • When the yacht has gone through extensive modification
  • The buyer and seller are related parties and had a relationship that affect the sales price
  • The original purchase price can’t be determined through regular means

Frequently asked questions about using a money transfer for a boat purchase

Using a dedicated money transfer service can help you save a lot of money when buying a boat from overseas. Use ’s comparison resources to help find the provider that offers the best deal for you.

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