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Our tips for sending money overseas

Identify the pitfalls to avoid when you’re planning to send money abroad.

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Times have changed, and you have more options than ever available to you when you want to send money internationally. And more money transfer services means having more details to sift through.

Your transfer’s total cost is one important factor, but only the tip of the iceberg in getting the lowest price. Benefit from our 14+ years of money transfer experience with these key tips.

Send money internationally with these tips in mind

While your ideal option depends on how much you send, how you pay for the transfer and where you send funds to, some industry-wide key tips include:

  • Use a comparison table. Review the prices of many different services at once to help you understand what fees exist and how to best avoid them.
  • Plan ahead. It’s best to plan your money transfer as far in advance as possible, but if you need to make an emergency transfer, read on to find the best deal.
  • Don’t bet on your bank. Banks are great for domestic money management, but once you get into international transfers, banks tend to offer worse exchange rates and higher fees.
  • Skip the bank altogether. When you want to send or receive money using cash, fees can add up, but we’ve put together some tips to avoid high costs whenever possible.

Online money transfer specialists profit on your transfers in two ways: transaction fees and exchange rates. When comparing providers, look for low fees and exchange rates closest to the mid-market rate at the time of your transfer.

Can I use my bank to send money abroad?

Most banks allow you to send money internationally, but high fees and poor exchange rates are good reasons to look elsewhere.

Let’s crunch the numbers: Sending $1,000 to Australia

To put this into perspective, let’s see what a transfer with each of these options looks like. This table is current as of 6 January, 2021.

Bank transferCash transferMoney transfer service
Fee$25$3.99$0
Exchange rate1 NZD = 0.899 AUD1 NZD = 0.930 AUD1 NZD = 0.934 AUD
Transfer speed2-5 daysWithin minutesSame day
Amount received874 AUD926 AUD934 AUD
Overall
  • Slowest and most expensive
  • Fastest
  • Best value

The bank option is the slowest and transfers the least amount of money to your recipient. If you go with the specialist money transfer service, your recipient ends up with AUD$60 more than they would from the bank. However, if speed is what’s most important, the cash transfer can’t be beaten for nearly instant transfers.

Compare ways to send money internationally

Enter the amount you want to send, select your preferred destination and click Calculate to see how much your transfer could cost.

Min. Transfer Amount Transfer Speed Online Transfer Fee Rate Amount Received Description CTA Details
USD 60 1 day NZD 0.00 0.725 USD
3,626
Skrill offers easy transfers to many popular destinations, but keep an eye out for added fees. Go to site Show details
NZD 250 1 day NZD 0.00 0.721 USD
3,603
Send guarantees to match any competitor’s exchange rate. T&Cs apply.
Send has fee-free transfers in 30+ currencies to over 200 countries.
Go to site Show details
NZD 0 Same day NZD 0.00 0.724 USD
3,621
XE has fast transfers with competitive rates and a range of foreign currency tools. Go to site Show details
NZD 2,000 2 days NZD 10.00 0.721 USD
3,596
Exclusive offer: Discounted exchange rates for all Finder customers.
WorldFirst sends 60+ currencies at competitive rates. If you find a better eligible quote, WorldFirst will beat it.
Go to site Show details
NZD 250 1 day NZD 0.00 0.721 USD
3,603
TorFX guarantee to beat any competitor's exchange rate for a transaction. Conditions apply.
TorFX sends money overseas in 30+ currencies, with competitive rates for transfer amounts over $2,000.
Go to site Show details
NZD 1 Within an hour NZD 3.99 0.725 USD
3,622
Use promo code 3FREE to send your first 3 transfers with no fee. Conditions apply.
WorldRemit sends money to 110+ countries for bank-to-bank deposits, cash pick-ups or mobile top-ups.
Go to site Show details
NZD 1 1 - 2 days NZD 40.00 0.728 USD
3,610
Wise uses the mid-market rate and transparent fees to help you send money in 45+ currencies. Go to site Show details
NZD 5 1 - 2 days EUR 3.00 0.723 USD
3,617
Special offer: Zero fees on your first 10 transfers.
CurrencyFair has bank-beating exchange rates and fast transfer times on 15+ popular currencies.
Go to site Show details

Compare up to 4 providers

Disclaimer: Exchange rates change often. Confirm the total cost with the provider before transferring money.

How can I save money when I send money internationally?

Fees vary widely depending on the provider you choose for the transfer. Overall, money transfer providers make money on your transfer in two ways: by marking up the exchange rate and by charging you a transfer fee.

  • Compare exchange rates. Use your currency’s mid-market rate as a baseline to compare against the rates you’re offered. Focus on providers that offer the closest rates.
  • Send more money per transfer. Many providers discount transfer fees or waive them altogether when you send larger amounts.
  • Look for hidden fees. Avoid surprises by reading the fine print for fees that could apply to your transfer, including charges your recipient will need to pay.
  • Sniff out special offers. Keep an eye on promotions that offer, for example, no fees on your first transfer. While ideal for limited transfer needs, you could also end up with a new preferred service.
  • Shop around. The best way to save is by comparing rates, fees and transfer speeds from each provider, closely looking at their benefits and drawbacks.

What’s the best way to send money internationally?

Because nearly everyone’s sending circumstances are different, the best way to send money internationally varies. Overall, using a digital money transfer provider to complete your transfer is one of the cheapest ways to send money because the company you’re sending through has fewer overhead costs.

Can I send money internationally without a bank account?

Yes. Even though most methods used to send money abroad require that you either have access to a bank account, a debit card, a credit card or cash, you have options.

Send money without a bank account

  1. Money transfer paid in cash
  2. Credit card payment to an online transfer agency
  3. Send funds through a mobile wallet
  4. Purchase a money order and mail it

Receive money without a bank account

  1. Transfer funds to a money transfer physical branch for cash pick-up
  2. Spend a prepaid debit card received by mail
  3. Directly to a mobile wallet
  4. Cash a money order received by mail

Bottom line

It doesn’t have to be expensive to send money overseas, and fees differ depending on what country you send to. Countries where online money transfers are more common tend to have lower fees, while other countries may be more expensive. If possible, plan in advance to secure the best rates for your transfer.

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2 Responses

    Default Gravatar
    KarlMay 13, 2018

    How can I send money back in Philippines without Nz Driver’s licence?

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JoshuaMay 14, 2018Staff

      Hi Karl,

      Thanks for getting in touch with finder. I hope all is well for you. :)

      I understand that presenting an NZ Driver’s license is one of the requirements for some of money transfer service companies. However, if this isn’t available, you can use other valid government-issued IDs such as passport or firearms license.

      Alternatively, you may look for companies that don’t require you to present an ID when sending money, though this is a requirement for anyone who will claim the money for verification purposes.

      I hope this helps. Should you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to reach us out again.

      Have a wonderful day!

      Cheers,
      Joshua

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