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Internationally Best Way To Transfer Money To Australia With Less Fees

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Internationally Best Way To Transfer Money To Australia With Less Fees

Costs of Sending Money Internationally

Just as there’s no such thing as a free lunch, there’s also no such thing as a free international money transfer. No matter which method you use, how much you send, or to whom, you’ll lose a little money in the process, whether it’s from sneaky bank fees or a crummy exchange rate.

Here’s what to watch for and how to keep the most money in your – and your recipient’s – pocket.


When you send money across borders, the financial institution you use will most likely charge you a wire transfer fee. It may be a fixed amount or a percentage of the amount you’re sending, and it can be as little as a few dollars to as much as $50 for a single transfer.

Another thing to keep in mind is that some banks or wire transfer companies charge different fees depending on the currency you’re sending. If you’re sending dollars from the United States to another country that uses U.S. dollars, then you may not incur as much of a fee as you would if the bank had to change the currency format. Some banks, on the other hand, will charge you less in fees if there’s a currency conversion involved. If you have a choice over which currency to use, ask the bank if using one currency over the other will get you a better rate or cost less in fees.

Some banks charge you different fees based on how you initiate the transfer. For example, if you request and process the transfer over the phone, that may cost more than setting it up online.

Finally, if you need to expedite an international money transfer, that will likely also incur an extra fee.

Prepaid Debit Cards

If you’re using a prepaid debit card instead of a bank to send money, that comes with its own fees. Not all cards charge fees, and not all cards charge the same kinds of fees, but there are several common ones to watch for.

Does the card require a monthly fee, whether or not you or the recipient use it? Is there a withdrawal fee if the recipient uses the card to get cash from an ATM? Is there a reloading fee for adding more money to the card?

These types of prepaid cards charge so many different fees that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has a page explaining all the different kinds of fees to look out for. Check it out to educate yourself before choosing to send money internationally via prepaid debit card.

Exchange Rate

Another way that banks and money transfer companies make money is by giving customers a poor exchange rate. An exchange rate is how much one currency is worth compared to another. Set by the Foreign Exchange Market, or Forex, this continually changing rate tells you how expensive it is to buy, sell, and exchange currencies at any point in time.

Many banks profit from customers sending money abroad by giving them a worse exchange rate than they would get on the open market. The banks then keep the difference in amounts as a way to recoup their costs.

For example, let’s say you want to send $20 to someone in Mexico, where they will receive it in pesos. Let’s also say the current public exchange rate is 19.18 pesos for $1 U.S., so your recipient should receive 383.69 pesos.

However, instead of taking your $20 U.S. and giving the recipient 383.69 pesos, the bank rounds the exchange rate down to 18 pesos for $1 U.S., so the recipient only receives 360 pesos. The bank then keeps the 23.69-peso difference as a way to make money on the transaction. Many banks and money transfer services that advertise themselves as “no-fee” make their money in this way instead. Always read the fine print carefully and do some arithmetic before you choose a service just because they claim they don’t charge a fee.

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