The secret of paying overseas bills from anywhere – and in a way that won’t break the bank.
Given that the world continues to shrink owing to technological advancements, dealing with international bills is becoming more and more common. Individuals on the move find themselves having to make international payments for rent, utility bills, and loans; and businesses have to deal with paying staff and suppliers.
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With over 17 years of foreign exchange expertise and over $100 billion transferred, OFX can help with all your currency exchange needs, including:
- Buying property abroad
- Regular overseas payments
- Risk management
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Paying overseas bills
You have a few options when it comes to paying bills overseas. One is for you to find out if your existing bank offers international bill-payment services, and your other option is to register with an online bill payment facility provider. In either case, bear in mind that all international money transfers, bill payments included, depend on exchange rates between any two given currencies.
How does receiving money work?
When it comes to receiving money from overseas, international transfer providers give you multiple options from which to choose. You can collect cash from a designated location, receive funds on a prepaid card, funds can transfer directly into your bank account, and certain providers also offer mobile wallet deposits.
Bear in mind that sending and receiving money internationally depends on exchange rates that are subject to change on a daily basis. In addition, service providers tend to charge a fee for such transactions, and they normally deduct this from the transferred amount.
What are some of the overseas bills that I might need to pay?
- Small amounts. Small amounts bills mainly comprise of your utility and household bills from overseas suppliers. You may want to consider using your debit card or credit card to pay these.
- Paying suppliers. Paying international suppliers requires that you pay attention to fluctuations in exchange rates, because these payments may be substantial. While you can use your credit card to make small and irregular payments, when it comes to making regular payments you may want to consider asking your bank if it offers alternatives that allow you to make international transfers at more competitive exchange rates. In addition, larger payments tend to attract better exchange rates, so consider making lump sum payments.
- Paying staff. Paying international staff can be a complex process. Businesses that pay multiple staff members may want to consider using the services of a payroll manager, because aspects like superannuation payments, leaves, payroll tax, and local laws require addressing.
What are some of the ways I can pay my international bills?
Paying any international bill requires you to know if the amount remains the same each month or changes.
- Fixed regular payments. When it comes to making payments that don’t vary from one month to the next, like your rent or mortgage, you may want to select the fixed regular payment option because this will lock in the exchange rate. What this does, in effect, is protect you from market fluctuations.
- Non-fixed payments. Certain payments like utility bills change from one month to the next, and this is where non-fixed payments enter the picture. With these payments you cannot benefit through fixed exchange rates, because these take prevailing exchange rates into account.
How to compare providers
- Fees. The fees you have to pay to make international bill payments can vary significantly from one service provider to the next, remember to check these against their exchange rates.
- Accessibility. What kind of accessibility does the service provider provide? Can you make online payments and payments over the phone, or do you have to visit a physical location?
- Exchange rates. The exchange rate you find printed in newspapers each day is never the exchange rate you receive. In fact, exchange rates offered by most businesses that offer international money transfer options vary slightly, and can make noticeable differences when transferring large sums of money.
- Reputation. Paying attention to the reputation of any such business is crucial because it involves dealing with money. Know that this realm is not devoid of unscrupulous elements, and it is always better to err on the side of caution.
Pros and cons
- Pay bills from anywhere. You could be paying bills from anywhere in the world, and as long as you have an internet connection, you can pay bills on the move. If you set these payments up in advance you won’t have anything to worry about, internet connectivity included.
- Say goodbye to late charges. Just about every provider who sends you a bill charges a late charge if your payment does not make it in on time. Automatic bill payments process before due dates, and you don’t have to worry about late charges.
- Avoid exchange rate fluctuations. If you have to make fixed payments each month, looking for a provider who locks in the exchange rate protects you from unfavourable changes.
- Fees. Paying international bills, in most instances, require you to pay fees, and while fees tend to vary from provider to provider, they’re almost inevitable.
Frequently asked questions
Why does exchange rate between providers vary?
Business that offer international bill payments alternatives, in addition to charging fees, also make money by offering lower than existing market rates. This is why some businesses offer better rates than others.
What details do I need to make international bill payments?
The name of the service provider you wish to pay, your account number with the provider in question, and the amount you wish to pay.
Do such payments come with minimum and maximum limits?
This essentially depends on provider you choose to deal with, because certain providers have such limitations in place.