Expats Transfer Guide: Competitive International Money Transfers Without Fees

Moved to Canada? Learn how to send money back home.

If you have moved to Canada and want to send money overseas you have to take into account exchange rates and fees.

Fortunately, there are ways to pay zero fees and get better exchange rates. To make your dollars go further, find a money transfer service that will match competitor’s exchange rates and offer zero fees.

Send money home using a transfer service. Browse some options below.

Rates last updated November 19th, 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
USD 0
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.

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Can’t find what you’re looking for? Have a TorFX currency expert contact you for free

After you’ve submitted your details, a TorFX consultant will contact you via the phone number you’ve provide for a free consultation. You will typically receive a response within one business day.

TorFX are international money transfer specialists and have an office based in Surfer’s Paradise Queensland and have the AFS Licence number 246838. We will not collect your personal information unless it’s necessary to provide the information, advice or service you’ve requested and, where possible, you’ll be able to use our services anonymously.

If you have never transferred money before or have a large amount of money to transfer (like paying back an overseas home loan or receiving an inheritance), you may feel more comfortable speaking to a person instead.

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Save money on your personal or business international money transfer today. Fill in the form and you’ll be contacted by a foreign exchange expert to have an obligation-free discussion about your options. Our foreign exchange experts offer a best rate guarantee, are ASIC authorised and never charge transfer fees.

They can help you with all your needs including:

  • Buying property abroad
  • Emigrating
  • Regular overseas payments
  • Risk management
  • Forecasting

Should I use a bank or an international money transfer company?

International money transfer services generate their profits by making many currency exchanges at small margins and fees. Their exchange rates are usually 1-2% less than midmarket rates, which means they make about that much on currency changed. They cover their costs and create an income by offering great deals to attract a lot of users. To stay profitable, these companies usually have minimum amounts that can be sent per transaction.

Banks make their profits from overseas currency transfers by charging fees and exchange rates at big margins, which means you get worse exchange rates. Bank exchange rates are usually 2-4% less than midmarket rates, meaning they make about that much on currency changed plus all of their fees. Their income depends on making as much money per transaction as possible. Since they charge so many fees, banks do not have minimum amounts per transaction. If you send smaller amounts of money overseas, the money may be entirely lost on paying fees.

This is how international currency transfer services are able to offer much better value for money.

If you want to make international money transfers then you may want to consider avoiding banks. In many cases, using banks for international transfers limits your options for sending and collecting money, receiving the money in a timely manner and you must pay whatever rates and fees they demand.

Dedicated currency transfer services offer different options, which means you can compare companies to find which is best for you. You can then transfer money overseas with no fees, great rates and collection options that work for your recipient, whether it’s cash, cheque or a direct transfer to their bank account.

BankMoney transfer service
  • Higher fees
  • Lower fees
  • Worse exchange rates
  • Usually need an account with the same bank
  • Better exchange rates
  • Price matching
  • Slower transfers
  • Fast transfers
  • Only send to select countries
  • Can be used by anyone and sent almost anywhere

Bank fees are high

Bank fees mean you might spend hundreds of dollars on just one transaction. The fees might actually be more than the amount of money you are sending.

  • Fees for sending: They will typically charge you a flat $13-55 fee. This varies greatly depending on the bank you are with. Some banks offer much cheaper flat rates fees than others.
  • Fees for changing currency: Not only are the conversion rates poor, they may charge another flat fee for converting the currency which can be around $15-30.
  • Fees for processing: If the money is being sent to a different banking company, they may charge additional processing fees which are generally $10-30.
  • Fees for receiving: The person you are sending the money to may have to pay another fee to pick it up. This is typically more if they are in a different country and using a different currency and can be around $25. They may also have to pay the separate fees of whichever bank they are using.
  • Extra fees if you want to pay the receiving fees: If you, the sender, want to pay for the recipient’s bank fees then you can, but this incurs a “correspondent fee” of somewhere around $25 or more. This will vary between banks.
  • Fees for tracing the transfer: If you want to find out how much longer the transfer will take or if it did not arrive and you want to find out what happened to it then the bank will look into it if you pay another $25. Some banks do not charge for this as they may provide you with a tracking number so you can monitor the transfer yourself.
  • Fees for amending the transfer: Need to change some details of the transfer? You may have to pay another $25 fee.
  • Cancellation fees: If you have realised the fees are too high and want to cancel the transfer then you can. This may incur another $25 fee depending on the bank.

Currency transfer service fees are small

International money transfer services have small fees or sometimes none at all.

  • No fees at all: Many providers will charge you zero fees.
  • Set fees: Some providers require you to pay a flat $5-20 in fees per transfer. Depending on the service, fees can be higher or lower if you are sending more money.

Any other fees?

If the money has to be transferred through different banks on the way to its destination, then each bank might take a cut. This is beyond the control of international money transfer services, however they will not charge you an extra correspondent fee for this.

How do I set up regular overseas payments?

It is very easy to set up regular money transfers, such as sending money every week or bi-weekly. This is often one of the first things people do when they move to Canada and secure a new job and wish to send money back home to relatives. Many currency transfer services let you do this online, over the phone or in person.

  • Banks may charge administration fees for setting up regular payments
  • Banks apply high flat costs to each transaction
  • Banks will usually charge extra for amending payment schedules
  • Banks offer poor exchange rates on each transaction
  • Most international money transfer providers will set up regular payments without any fees
  • Many money transfer companies will not apply any flat fees to transactions
  • Money transfer companies will typically let you adjust payment schedules free of charge
  • International currency transfers have good exchange rates for every transaction

If you want to set up regularly scheduled overseas payments then resist using a bank. Currency transfer services are simply better when sending money overseas.

Fees for receiving money into your bank account

  • Banks will charge you fees just for receiving money internationally
  • International currency transfer services have no fees for receiving money

If you are in Canada and receiving money from someone overseas, then your Canadian bank will charge a flat fee. This is typically between $10-20 each time for collecting the money plus flat currency exchange fees. The poor international currency exchange rates offered by banks, compared to transfer services, also means more of your money is lost along the way. Bank transfers can generally only be paid into your account with fees automatically deducted.

However, when you receive money with an international currency transfer service the money can be deposited directly into your bank account without any extra fees deducted and with better exchange rates. Some international service providers will let you collect the money as cash or a cheque in addition to direct deposit.

Whenever possible, ask your relatives or friends to use an international currency transfer service instead of a bank so you do not have to pay any fees.

How to compare international money transfer services

By comparing a few simple things, you can find the money transfer service that is right for your needs.

Find a provider that is right for you by making sure they accommodate your minimum transfer amount, required transfer speed and other necessary services that you require. After that, compare their rates and fees against the amount you are sending to find out which is more cost-effective for you.

Finding the right money transfer company can be simple and easy.

What to look forWhat it isWith banksWith money transfer services
RatesForeign currency exchange rates. This makes a big difference in larger transactionsBad rates, typically 2-4% less than midmarket valueGood rates, typically only 1-2% less than midmarket value
FeesFlat costs you must pay when sending moneyBig fees for sending, receiving and exchanging moneyZero fees or a small fee for sending money
Minimum transfer amountsThe smallest amount of money you can send in one goNo minimum, but fees cost more than small transfersVaries greatly. Can be nonexistent, a few dollars, a few hundred dollars or thousands
Transfer speedHow long it takes to send and receive moneyFrom 2-5 business daysTypically 1 or 2 days, including weekends. Can be same day service sometimes
Services availableHow you can make transfersOnline, over the phone or in person and moreUsually online or over the phone, but in person with some providers

Jen’s money transfer plans

Jen has just moved to Canada and has found a new job. Her new income is more than enough to pay her modest bills and living expenses, so she wants to set up a regular transfer of money back home to America to help pay for her father’s growing medical needs. Her plan is to transfer $1,000 every month which will be converted into American dollars.

Jen’s first thought was to go to her bank. She looked at their options and fees and realized it would take a big chunk out of the money she sent each month. Looking around for other options, she soon discovered a typical international money transfer service. To compare both side by side, she created this table:

Sending $1,000 per month

Note: Exchange rates and fees will differ depending on specific banks and money transfer services used.

The bankMoney transfer service
Exchange RatesUS$0.75 per CADUS$0.80 per CAD
Fees$15 per transactionZero fees
How much money arrives back home each monthUS$735US$800.10
How much arrives in a yearUS$8,820US$9,601.20

Using a money transfer service instead of the bank means that over the course of a year Jen can send an additional US$781.20 home to her father, a difference of almost $1,000. This $1,000 saving is an entire month’s worth of money that Jen could send to help her father. Jen compared all of the banks and money transfer services that she could find and found similar differences across the board. Her mind was made up and she resolved never to use banks for international currency transfers as long as there is a single good money transfer service available.

How to do an international currency transfer

For seamless international money transfers, follow these steps:

  • Know the details of the bank account you want to send the money to. This might be your own bank account outside of Canada or the account of someone you are paying. To transfer money to an account, you must know the recipient’s SWIFT/BIC code, which indicates the country and location of the receiving bank, as well as the BSB and account number, which specify the individual bank account. You can find SWIFT/BIC codes online or by contacting the bank and you can get the BSB and account number from whoever you are sending the money to.
  • Compare the international currency transfer options. Companies may have different exchange rates, different minimum transfer amounts and possibly some fees. To compare effectively, you should know the currencies to be converted, the amount of money you are sending and how quickly it needs to arrive. Rule out the options that are too slow, do not exchange the currencies you need or have other issues with your destination or amount and then compare the remaining options by price.
  • Contact your chosen international money transfer service. You will generally need to open an account with them. Once you have, all you need to do is give them the SWIFT/BIC codes, BSB and account number of the recipient and they can transfer the money quickly and efficiently without any problems. Their fees are usually minimal and they will tell you if there are any additional costs.
  • You can now send money overseas without losing huge chunks of it to bad exchange rates or sizeable fees. Do it online or over the phone, set up automatic transfers and make use of any discounts available. You are now good to go!

Q&A

Yes. Many large money transfer services use the same electronic security systems as banks. There is no risk when using a reputable and well-known money transfer service.

Banks will typically give you a timeframe of anywhere from two to five business days. Money transfer services will typically tell you exactly how long it will take, generally either one or two days or even provide same day service for an extra cost, depending on the company. They often provide tracking or ID numbers so you always know where your money is.

It depends on where you want to send the money, how much you are sending and the situation. Larger amounts of money mean it is worth paying a fee for a better rate, while smaller amounts mean it is best to go with zero fees and a less competitive exchange rate. If you need the money transferred quickly, a fast provider is preferable. Certain currencies or locations might be better with certain companies than others. Compare options to find the best money transfer service for your needs.

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