If you’re looking for an easy and affordable way to pay overseas bills, compare the features, exchange rates and transfer options offered by specialist international money transfer companies.
While sending money overseas was a complex and expensive procedure not all that long ago, it’s simpler and cheaper now than ever before. Specialist online money transfer companies offer fast and affordable transactions, making it as easy as possible to send money overseas to pay the rent, utilities and a variety of other bills.
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Why would I need to pay an overseas bill?
In our increasingly inter-connected modern world, individuals and businesses need to move money across international borders for any number of reasons. Some of the reasons you may need to use an international money transfer to pay an overseas bill include:
- Paying off an overseas home loan
- Paying rent on an overseas property
- Helping a family member keep up to date with their bill payments
- Paying school or university fees for a child who is studying overseas
- Covering medical expenses incurred overseas by yourself or a loved one
- Paying staff members who work abroad
- Managing payments to a business’s suppliers
How does paying your overseas bill work?
Paying overseas bills is actually quite easy to do. The first step is to choose the provider that will handle your transfer. This could be your bank, a specialist online transfer company, or a provider that offers cash transfers. As a general rule, specialist transfer companies offer better exchange rates and lower transfer fees than the banks, which means a better deal for you.
Once you’ve chosen a provider you can enter all the details of your bill payment:
- How much money do you need to pay?
- What currency will you be sending?
- Where does the money need to be sent?
You will then receive a quote that details the exchange rate and fee that will apply to your transaction. If you’re happy with the deal you’re getting, you can pay for your transfer and then use the provider’s tracking service to monitor the progress of your funds.Back to top
Tim is a retiree who lives on the outskirts of Auckland, but his son Jake is spending a few years living and working in Australia. Jake’s rent is a week overdue and he’s a little strapped for cash, so he asks his dad to send him the $400 he needs to cover the bill as quickly as possible.
In order to send the funds as quickly as possible, Tim jumps online and visits Western Union’s online bill payment service. He opts for a cash transfer that can be completed within minutes, accepts the $15 transfer fee and pays for the transaction using his credit card. Fifteen minutes later, Jake walks into a Western Union location in Sydney and picks up $400 cash, which he then delivers straight to his landlord.
What are the types of overseas bills?
There are two types of overseas bills you can pay using an international money transfer service:
- Fixed regular payments. These are payments that will remain the same from one month to the next, such as rent or mortgage repayments. If you need to make regular payments, look for a transfer company that allows you to set up a recurring payment plan. Not only can you save time by setting up a transfer schedule in advance, but you can also take advantage of an attractive exchange rate now by locking it in for a future transaction.
- Non-fixed payments. These payment amounts vary from one month to the next, so you won’t be able to lock in an exchange rate ahead of time. Instead, you’ll need to lodge a transfer request whenever your bill arrives and use the prevailing exchange rate at the time.
How do I compare international money transfer services when paying bills?
- Exchange rates. The better the exchange rate you get, the less you will need to spend to pay the bill amount.
- Transfer fees. Compare the fees each company will charge every time you send a transfer.
- Transfer options. Some companies only offer one-off payments, while others allow you to use limit orders and forward contracts to get the exchange rate you want.
- Transfer time. Check how long each service takes to process a transaction from start to finish.
- Transfer methods. Check to see the methods available for placing a transfer: online, over the phone and/or by visiting a branch. Some providers also offer transfers via dedicated mobile apps.
- Customer service. Make sure that prompt and helpful customer service will be available if you ever need assistance with a bill payment.
What are the pros and cons to using an international money transfer?
- Better exchange rates. International money transfer services provide better exchange rates than banks when you need to pay an overseas bill.
- Lower fees. Specialist transfer companies typically charge lower transfer fees than banks, while many will also waive their fees when you transfer a large amount.
- Convenient. Specialist transfer companies offer the speed and convenience of online transactions.
- Fluctuating exchange rates. Changes to market exchange rates can affect the affordability of your transfer.
Things to avoid about international money transfers
The main problem to avoid when sending an international money transfer is failing to shop around for a better deal. Even doing a quick comparison of the exchange rates and fees of two money transfer providers can save you a significant amount of money, so make sure you look for the best deal.
The other common mistake to avoid is failing to review the full details of a transaction. Make sure you’re aware of the exchange rate, transfer fee and total transaction cost before you part with your money.
The questions you’ve asked
How long do transfers take?
This depends on the provider you select, but processing times range from a few minutes to several working days.
Where can I send money to if I want to pay an overseas bill?
Each transfer provider will have a list of countries they offer transfers to and the currencies they support.
Why are money transfer services cheaper than my bank?
Specialist transfer companies trade large volumes of foreign currency so can afford to offer you a better exchange rate (and accept a lower margin) on money transfers.