Want to Get an Excellent Exchange Rate? Here Are Cheap Ways to Send Money Overseas

send-money-overseasPay fewer fees, get a great rate and avoid common scams when sending money overseas.

Whether conducting business internationally or sending money to relatives in another country, many Canadians are finding much cheaper and more efficient ways to send money overseas than the average bank offers.

The secret to saving extra cash is to use a range of dedicated money transfer services and products which offer much lower fees, better exchange rates and more options than regular bank services offer.

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
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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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

Beware of the traps and pitfalls

With many hidden fees, delays on sending funds and charges from banks at both ends, you can end up spending a lot more money and time than you originally anticipated. Furthermore, you must also consider if there is a margin on exchange rates, which will also increase the amount of money you are spending.

When exchanging money or sending it overseas, you have probably noticed that the exchange rate you see reported in the news, which is known as the wholesale or mid-market rate, is never the same rate you get when you make a transaction. Service providers make their profit on the margin added to the mid-market rate. This margin can differ significantly between service providers, so this is why it is important to compare products and services available to you to find the best overseas money transfer solution. Take into account the destination of your transfer, the amount you are sending, and the services available to you to help you decide which is best suited for your specific transfer.

How can you transfer money overseas?

International money transfers let you send money quickly and securely to countries across the globe using different currencies. Service providers offer several different ways you can transfer money overseas including:

Online money transfer companies

Online transfer companies offer some of the quickest and cheapest ways to transfer funds overseas. You must be comfortable making financial transactions over the internet since you set up an online account to send your money electronically.

Examples of online money transfer companies include OFX, World First and TorFX, among a few others as the industry continues to grow. Once you have created an account with a specific company, they transfer your funds to your recipient’s account.

Some providers have a minimum transfer amount (around $500 – $2,500), while other companies have no minimum. Companies may also charge transfer fees and transaction charges when the money is deposited at the other end.

Canadians typically save around $65 every time they use a dedicated transfer service to send money overseas instead of using a bank.

Send money overseas

Case study: OFX

As an example, say you want to transfer money overseas using OFX. You will need to send at least $250, but OFX will charge wholesale foreign exchange rates and a smaller margin, as low as 0.3%, compared to the average bank rate of 4%.

OFX charge their fees in the currency you are selling in and will waive the fee completely if you transfer over a certain amount. If you are transferring less than $10,000, the fee is $15. The online money transfer market is growing all of the time and becoming increasingly competitive, so if you choose this option to send money overseas, shop around for the best possible deal.

Electronic funds transfer

You can transfer money to an overseas bank account straight from your own bank account. This method is also known as an international money transfer, a telegraphic transfer (TT), or a wire or SWIFT transfer. While this option is convenient and secure, it does have downfalls.

It may take several days for the money to go through and there are a number of fees to consider. Your bank and the bank at the receiving end of the transaction may charge sending and receiving fees, while the exchange rate offered can have a huge effect on how much the transaction ends up costing you. The Royal Bank of Canada transfers money to almost every country worldwide and allows you to send many different currencies, but you have to pay a $13.50 fee for the transfer. Although you do not have to pay to receive funds into your RBC account, your recipient may have to pay extra to receive the funds on their end. The bank only allow you to send a maximum of $2,500 and exchange rates vary, so shop around for a good deal. Many other popular banks in Canada offer similar deals including BMO, TD, Scotiabank, and CIBC.

Cash transfer

Money transfer companies can send your money abroad using cash or EFTPOS (electronic funds transfer at point of sale). These companies have a storefront or third-party convenience store counter and allow your recipient to collect the funds from the money transfer office in their country. While this cash transfer option is usually extremely quick, it can be expensive.

Companies such as Western Union, Xpress Money and MoneyGram offer this service. Once you have set up an account, you may be able to transfer money online, over the phone or using a bank card, however this will depend on the company. MoneyGram have a partnership with Canada Post and many counters can be found in grocery stores, post offices, and shops across the country. This gives you access to agents who can help you send and receive money from around the globe.

MoneyGram has more than 320,000 agent locations worldwide and the fees involved in transferring money overseas can vary depending on a range of factors including how much money you are sending and where you are sending it. As an example, MoneyGram’s cost estimator calculates that transferring $1000 from Canada to Australia will incur a fee of $50.

International money order

Safer than sending a personal cheque overseas, an international money order (IMO) is when you give your money to a bank or post office and get an international guaranteed cheque. Think of it as the international equivalent of a bank cheque.

Once you have posted the cheque to the recipient, they can cash it in at their local bank and deposit the money into their own account. While this transfer method is secure, posting a cheque will take longer than an electronic transaction and can cost more money. You will have to pay to purchase the IMO and there may be transaction costs when the money is deposited into the overseas account.

What’s the cheapest way to send money overseas?

Take advantage of offers such as ‘first transfer free’

With plenty of competition in the market, money transfer companies go to many lengths to gain your trust and your business. Many companies will offer deals such as ‘get your first money transfer for free when signing up’. You should be aware of any rules that may apply like standard fees applying thereafter for transactions that fall below their fee minimums. For example, WorldRemit offer zero fees on your first money transfer. Transfers thereafter cost $3.99 to send money to Australia as an example.

Lock in a forward exchange contract

If you do not have enough funds available but want to secure a certain exchange rate now, you can enter into a forward contract. This ensures that you get the lowest rate and have the ability to purchase or sell your currency now, at the prevailing rate.

Settlement for the transaction happens on a pre-determined date in the future, up to X months in advance depending on the conditions of the contract. Typically you will be asked to provide a deposit, usually a certain percentage to be held as security to finalize the transaction. Once the contract is implemented, you will be required to send the remaining balance on the date specified in your forward exchange contract.

A forward exchange contract is similar to an ‘agree now, pay later’ situation where you can lock in an exchange rate even if you do not have the money available. If rates go down, then you will not be affected, but you may lose the deposit that you put in depending on the conditions of your contract. However, if rates improve and go beyond what you locked yourself in for, you may not be able to change your contract.

Use a service that is fit for the amount you are sending

A lot of transfer companies will waive their fees if you transfer over a certain amount of money. If you are transferring large amounts, around $10,000 or more, it may be best to use a transfer company. For smaller amounts of money in the hundreds, you may want to use a bank transfer or similar service, such as PayPal.


Are free international money transfers real?

It is unrealistic to expect completely free international money transfers. While international money transfer companies are cheaper than the banks, they still take a small margin or charge small fees to make profits. International money transfer companies make much less profit than the bank, making them the better option to use when sending money overseas.

International money transfer companies usually charge a margin on top of the market rate and may charge fees for transfers. Fees are generally only charged when small amounts of money are sent overseas.

To get a truly free transfer, you will need to send large amounts of money overseas, usually over $10,000. This is because international money transfers actually save money when you transfer big amounts due to economies of scale.

How do I send money from my bank?

Please note that the process of sending money overseas using a bank is different for every provider. The example below shows just one of the ways you can initiate a transfer from your bank. Ensure you have registered for internet banking, log into your account and choose the ‘international money transfer’ option.
Screenshot 2015-03-06 13.18.28

Select the country you would like to send funds to. You will also need to know your recipients SWIFT/BIC code, account number and account name.
Screenshot 2015-03-06 13.18.53 In most cases, you will also need to provide the recipients residential address and phone number. Choose which of your accounts you would like the funds to be withdrawn from.
Screenshot 2015-03-06 13.19.01 Here is another version of what it could look like on your screen (RBC).

Wait, I still need more help!


Choosing the best option to send money overseas can be difficult at first, but if you do your research, compare and shop around, you can transfer your funds quickly and efficiently while saving money along the way.

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20 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    mattJuly 26, 2016

    hi which is the best, cheapest and safest exchange company to send approx $15k to spain, from my AUD bank account, to a bank account over there? Looking for best ex rate too obviously.
    thanks,
    matt

    • Default Gravatar
      July 27, 2016

      Hi Matt,

      Thank you for your question. Please note that finder.com is a comparison website – we don’t represent any service providers we feature on our site and we only give a generalised advice.

      Usually, transferring money from your bank account is an expensive way of sending money overseas. In the table above you can compare different money transfer service providers. Using our comparison tool above, I’ve put your figures and based on the results, the options that you may want to consider are:

      FC Exchange International Money Transfers – offer the best* exchange rate of your money which can be received in one business day with no fees on a particular transfer

      Moneycorp and World First – both offer competitive rates too and without fees. World First takes 2 business days before the funds can be received while Moneycorp processes the transfer on the same day.

      You would know if the service providers are safe and legit if they are registered and with ABN.

      Hope this helps.

      Cheers,
      May

  2. Default Gravatar
    sharonJune 11, 2016

    Wanting to send money to friend in Lagos Nigeria

    • Default Gravatar
      June 16, 2016

      Hi Sharon,

      Thanks for your comment.

      If you want to send money to Nigeria, you can compare money transfer companies that can help you on this page.

      I hope this helps.

      Cheers,
      Anndy

  3. Default Gravatar
    BWardMay 28, 2016

    What is the cheapest way to transfer money from my Australian bank account (Australian dollars) into my US bank account (US dollars, with Wells Fargo bank)?

    • Staff
      ShirleyMay 30, 2016Staff

      Hi BWard Powers,

      Thanks for your question.

      This will depend on how much you intend to send, but our comparison tables show that World First, TorFX and OFX are worth looking at.

      Hope this helps.

  4. Default Gravatar
    AnnetteApril 7, 2016

    I need to send US$1,162 and later two instalments of US$581each, at different times. The recipient prefers not to use electronic transfer. How do I avoid high fees on sending these instalments and the hidden costs at the other end that will affect the transferred amount, and the recipient won’t receive the amount promised from me because of those hidden fees? Would you be able to help me please? Apparently my bank is not accepted in USA.

    • Staff
      ShirleyApril 7, 2016Staff

      Hi Annette,

      Thanks for your question.

      Since your recipient prefers to use electronic transfer it narrows down your options a lot. You may want to compare international money transfer services that allow cash pick up.

      These services typically won’t charge you recipient fees and have relatively competitive exchange rates.

      Usually international bank-to-bank transfers charge heft fees and exchange rates.

  5. Default Gravatar
    lindaMarch 29, 2016

    Hi I want to send $4,000 aud to my fiance who is working on a contract in Nigeria. I’m having a lot of trouble doing this and its urgent. Is there any way you can help me please? I can send it but before it gets received, its knocked back

  6. Default Gravatar
    PaulOctober 24, 2015

    Hi,

    Am from Melbourne, I need to send US$100 from Australia to company called NANO67 in the UK, if i send through PAYZA how much do they charge? i have already asked this matter from them but they did not reply to me yet, do you trust Payza? how reliable they’re? they said there going to reply to me in 24Hrs when i open my account with Payza

    • Staff
      ShirleyOctober 26, 2015Staff

      Hi Paul,

      Thanks for your question.

      Please see this page for Payza fees and charges. finder.com is not in a position to comment on a service’s reliability – our regulatory body, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission is in a much better position to do this.

      Cheers,
      Shirley

  7. Default Gravatar
    CurrencySeptember 16, 2015

    I understand that finder.com is a comparison site and assume that quoted conversions are based on actual customer prices. Is this correct as I have setup an account from the list and the quoted exchange does not reflect that on your site?

    • Staff
      ShirleySeptember 16, 2015Staff

      Hi Currency,

      Thanks for your question.

      The quoted conversions are generated from figures that are provided to us by the international company services. In some cases there are discrepancies due to the volatile nature of exchange rates and your transfer amount.

      Cheers,
      Shirley

  8. Default Gravatar
    ChristineMarch 3, 2015

    Would like to send a large amount of money ($500,000) to Poland – If I was to transfer $10,000 every week into a Bank account in Poland – Does the person I am sending the money have to pay tax on each deposit and how much?

    • Staff
      ShirleyMarch 4, 2015Staff

      Hi Christine,

      Thanks for your question.

      Please note that finder.com is an Australian comparison site and can only provide general advice regarding products issued in Australia. Please have your recipient ask his or her bank if they would need to pay tax on the money sent on each deposit and how much, as this will depend on the tax regulations of Poland.

      Cheers,
      Shirley

  9. Default Gravatar
    BrendonJanuary 15, 2015

    Any idea how much most Canadian banks such as CIBC or Western union would charge if I were to go in and send all of my 44,000 Canadian dollars to a Chinese bank account? I read someone had to pay 174$ plus 27$ transfer fee to get 150$ to the US!!!

    • Staff
      ShirleyJanuary 15, 2015Staff

      Hi Brendon,

      Thanks for your question.

      Outgoing wire payments for amounts in between $10,000 – $50,000 is $50 per payment.

      On their website it states “outgoing wire fees will be charged in Canadian currency. For wires from foreign currency accounts (including U.S. accounts), the equivalent fee will be charged in the same currency as the account using an exchange rate set by CIBC on a date determined by CIBC.”

      For more information, please get in touch with CIBC directly.

      Cheers,
      Shirley

  10. Default Gravatar
    AlanAugust 8, 2014

    after using torfx and paying all transaction fees
    in UK, my bank cibc charged me 15 percent on 200.00 dollars, that was sent in canadian dollars.
    why.

    • Staff
      ShirleyAugust 8, 2014Staff

      Hi Alan,

      Thanks for your question. finder.com is a comparison service, we allow you to compare factual information on a range of financial products.

      For any further information relating to specific account enquiries and issues, please speak to your TorFX consultant directly.

      All the best,
      Shirley