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Receiving money from overseas

Everything you need to know about receiving money from abroad.



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There may be times in your life when you will be receiving money from overseas. Be it from friends or family, or maybe you are an expat living abroad. With the right tools at your disposal, you can find the best deal and have quick access to your funds when you receive a money transfer from overseas.

What is the best way to receive money from overseas?

The best way to receive money from overseas depends on your specific situation. For many, receiving the money to their bank through an international wire transfer is the most convenient – even if it can be expensive. However, you will find it is often cheaper to use a money transfer service instead. These types of companies specialise in sending money overseas, and offer lower fees and stronger exchange rates than banks.

We’ve listed the best ways to receive money from overseas – going from cheapest to most expensive:

  1. International money transfer service. Specialised money transfer companies are one of the cheapest options when it comes to receiving money from abroad. Use our comparison table to find a money transfer company that suits your needs before you receive your transfer.
  2. Money order. Sometimes called a bank draft, an international money order is an inexpensive but slow way to receive money from overseas.
  3. Mobile wallet. Having money delivered to a mobile wallet isn’t a popular option, but it is convenient if it’s available.
  4. Cash delivery. Consider having your money sent to a local money transfer agent location as a cash pickup. Some services will even deliver it straight to your home.
  5. International wire transfer. International wire transfers through a bank often get charged fees on both ends of the transaction, so tend to work out as an expensive option.

Compare international money transfer companies to receive money from abroad

As typically one of the cheapest options when it comes to receiving money from abroad, you can save yourself more money by comparing money transfer services.

Our table below lets you compare services you can use to send money abroad. Compare fees, exchange rates and discounts from different money transfer services, and when you have made your choice, click Go to site.
Name Product Offer Filter Values Fastest Transfer Speed Fees (Pay by Bank Transfer)
Wise (TransferWise)
24 hours
From 0.43%
Wise uses the mid-market rate and transparent fees to help you send money in 45+ currencies.
Xe Money Transfers
Within minutes
Xe has fast transfers with low fees and a range of foreign currency tools.
Within minutes
From $0
Use code HELLO to get $20 off on first two transfers on a min transfer of $250. Valid until November 30, 2023.
Instarem offers zero transfer fees on all transfers.
Within minutes
From $0
Send money in CAD to Africa on this blockchain and P2P powered provider.
Finder Award
Within minutes
From $0
Special offers like free transfers and better exchange rates available for new customers.
Remitly has quick, affordable transfers around the world, with both express and economy options.
Finder Award
Within minutes
From $4.99
For a limited time, get $0 fees on your first money transfer from Canada. Conditions apply.
MoneyGram has fast cash pick-up transfers to more than 350,000 agent locations worldwide.
Xe Money Transfers
Within minutes
Xe has fast transfers with low fees and a range of foreign currency tools.
Finder Award
24 hours
Exclusive offer: Discounted exchange rates for your first and ongoing transactions. $0 transfer fee.
OFX has no maximum limit transfers, with competitive exchange rates for 50+ currencies.

How does receiving money from overseas work?

The process may differ depending on the service provider used to send the funds. With some money transfer services, you need to request the transaction reference number from the sender and present the number along with your identification documents. You may also be required to fill out a receive form to access your funds.

With online transfers, the funds are deposited into your account, after which you can withdraw them. You can also receive funds through a prepaid card or mobile wallet.

Bank information needed to receive money

Keep in mind, in order to receive money from overseas, you’ll need to provide specific bank details, including:

  • Bank account number
  • BIC/Swift Code — you can this from your bank
  • Routing number
  • Full name
  • Street address

Do I need to pay fees if I’m receiving money from overseas?

While most fees are incurred by the sender, your bank may charge a fee for processing and depositing the money you have received from overseas.

It is also worth keeping in mind you could be required to pay intermediary fees. Intermediary banks act as the ‘middleman’ through which money passes when transferring between two financial institutions. As a result they take a small fee from the funds being transferred. This is separate to the fees charged by banks or money transfer services.

How do exchange rates and margins affect the amount I receive?

The amount you receive in the end may be less than expected if the sender doesn’t pay the currency exchange rate at the beginning of the transaction.

Most banks and money transfer providers will quote an exchange rate that’s higher than the mid-market rate, otherwise known as the midpoint between the buy and sell prices. This markup is also known as a margin, which is how these companies make profit.

The exchange rate margin is often the reason why there is a difference between the amount that is sent and the amount that is received. Small differences can put a big dent in the end amount, especially when receiving larger amounts of money.

What type of money transfer should I use to receive money?

Money transfers come in many varieties, all of which can be used to receive money from overseas. Here are some of your options:

  • Online transfer. You can use online payment services to transfer and receive funds. The funds are converted into the recipient’s currency.
  • Money transfer. Money transfer companies that offer cash pickup are an easy way to receive money. Just double check that there’s an agent location near you before agreeing to receive a cash transfer.
  • Prepaid card. You can access your funds through an ATM when using a prepaid card to receive money.
  • Mobile wallet. Receive and send funds directly from your smartphone when using a mobile wallet.

Frequently asked questions

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20 Responses

    Default Gravatar
    LeonieAugust 10, 2016

    Hi I am currently working in California for 3months my pay will go into a western union acct can someone in Australia open an acct for me? And can I then transfer it to a.n.z. or commonwealth acct? As I don’t want to fly home with a bit of cash

      ShirleyAugust 11, 2016Finder

      Hi Leonie,

      Thanks for your question.

      You can set it up so someone in Australia can pick up the cash for you at a Western Union kiosk and then they can deposit it into your bank for you.

      Alternatively, you may want to consider an international money transfer service and have the funds directly deposited into your bank account here in Australia, this eliminates the need for someone to pick up the cash.

      I hope this has helped.

    Default Gravatar
    smngrffthJune 14, 2016

    Hi. Do you have a physical office in Thailand ?

      ShirleyJune 14, 2016Finder

      Hi smngrffth,

      Thanks for your question.

      Since is an Australian third party comparison service, we don’t have any offices in Thailand.

      Western Union has a number of kiosks available in Thailand.

    Default Gravatar
    michaelMay 20, 2016

    Hi i am moving back to melbourne, and i will have a large sum of money transfering back to australia(over a mil AUD). so i dont trust these small transfer bank. So which is the best rate for bank? st george, westpac, commonwealth, or anz? thanks.

      ShirleyMay 25, 2016Finder

      Hi Michael,

      Thanks for your question.

      Please note that the international money transfer services that we list are regulated in Australia by ASIC under the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Terrorism Financing Act 2006 and is regulated by the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre ‘AUSTRAC’.

      The exchange rates will depend on the currency you’re transferring from, so we’re unable to tell you immediately which bank is “best”. Please compare St.George rates here, and CBA rates here and ANZ rates.

    Default Gravatar
    ColinMarch 28, 2016

    In order to receive funds from my U.S. e-trade account into australia, e-trade in the US can only transfer funds to a bank account that is in my name. The issue with this is that aussie banks offer poor exchange rates when receiving these funds.

    How can I receive funds from e-trade at more competitive exchange rates?


    Default Gravatar
    TheresaFebruary 15, 2016

    An American friend is about to send me some money. She will send US dollars, can I receive it in US dollars as we are about to go overseas and will need US dollars.

      ShirleyFebruary 16, 2016Finder

      Hi Theresa,

      Thanks for your question.

      If your American friend sends money to your Australian bank account, the funds will automatically exchange to AUD as your bank account can only hold AUD.

      You may want to consider a multi-currency account – or asking your friend to hold the money in USD cash.

      Hope this helps.

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