International Money Transfer – a complete guide from two travellers who have been ripped off far too many times!
As we have travelled all over the world in the past years, we have learnt a thing or two about an international money transfer.
Unfortunately, we discovered the hard way, by paying a fortune for fees, charges, hidden charges, receiving fees, and every fee imaginable.
But fear no more as this international money transfer guide is going to help you not get overcharged when sending money abroad.
A quick Google on “International Money Transfer Companies” brings up so many results, with plenty of ads.
But which one to choose and what do I need to know about international money transfer?
That’s precisely what we are going to cover in this article on international money transfer.
Scenario 1: You have moved to another country on a holiday visa and you need to send money from bank account A to bank account B
Ah! This is our speciality not only did both of us lose about $300+ when we first went to Australia, but so many other people do as well!
*Update we have recently moved to Canada and you can read all about how to send money to and from Canada here.
What do you mean, “so many people do as well?!”
We both got to Australia on a working holiday from Ireland.
We had about €3000 each and had just opened Australian bank accounts.
It was so easy we just logged into our online banking added a beneficiary, hit exchange and had the money in a few days. It was great….
Or was it…
Later that month we were talking to one of our friends who had been in Australia for about six months on a WHV and he said
Hahaha you just transferred it directly! Haven’t you heard about CurrencyFair or a money transfer company!?
Steve and Sabina were both speechless here.
Nobody had told us about CurrencyFair or any money transfer companies at this stage.
So obviously we were like
Emm what do you mean? Sure we got great exchange rates and like only paid €40 or something to send it
Okay okay… we’re not going to open a whole dialogue here but we had no clue that this was even an option or who CurrencyFair was.
Now CurrencyFair is not the only international money transfer company out there, and there is a lot of additional ones.
Our personal international money transfer recommendations are:
International Money Transfer Deals For You:
Okay, we wouldn’t be very good travel bloggers if we didn’t give something back.
So we have managed two great deals with CurrencyFair and OzForex.
CurrencyFair (who we use all the time) – You get your first 10 trades for FREE (normally AU$4) using this link.
OzForex – They are part of the OzForex group and with this link, you get FREE transfers for life over $1000.
Transferwise – Another excellent choice and we use them quite a lot too.
HiFx – You probably have heard of XE currency? Well, they acquired HiFx and are popular amongst expats.
TorFX – TorFX has been providing bank-beating foreign exchange and international payments for over ten years.
Scenario 2: Your chilling in Bali (or any holiday destination, outside of Europe) for a few weeks and you think “Oh I’ll just take money out of the ATM.”
We spent an epic three months in Bali; it was unreal! If you are visiting Bali, we have our top 6 Bali destinations listed here.
Okay back to it!
Yea so we were having a great time, popped down to the ATM whenever we needed Rupiah (Indonesian currency) and withdrew money from our Australian or Irish bank accounts.
A few weeks later we checked our online banking and were shocked to discover AU$12.50 withdrawal charges on our Australian account and €6.32 on our Irish account each transaction!!!
Soo we had probably been to the ATM 5 or 6 times just casually taking out $100 or €100 and we didn’t even think about international money transfer charges.
Yup, so in a matter of weeks we had racked up easily $100+ and €50+ just by going to the ATM!!
We did, of course, know there would be some charges on ATM withdrawals but had no idea it would be so much.
The same goes if you have an Australian bank account and you are visiting Europe. We feel your pain!
So there are essentially two things you can do:
- Take out €2000/$4000 for your entire holiday before you go
- Recommended: Use a money transfer service such as Western Union or obtain a Revolut card
We don’t recommend taking a bunch of cash with you as this can lead to a whole host of problems, but we certainly recommend bringing some cash.
Wherever you are in the world, there will probably be a Western Union or a retailer that can accept payment. Not only that but charges are much lower than just going to the ATM.
Sure it is a hassle to drive/walk and set everything up but trust us it will totally be worth it!
Important facts you need to know about doing an international money transfer:
- It is very straightforward to set up your account with these money transfer companies.
- Just like with a bank they need things like photo ID, proof of address, bank statements and just your standard identification documents.
- It’s worth it – Trust us, we have wasted 100’s of $’s and €’s just because of convenience. it is just as convenient if not easier once you set everything up.
- The money transfer companies we mentioned above do direct money transfers and peer to peer money transfer.
If you are confused by how it works then just watch this video:
- It’s not free – There still is charges on sending money abroad with an international money transfer company. The fees vary from $5 – $10 up depending if you are doing a priority trade (~24 hours) or a standard trade (~2-3 days).
What about Paypal or direct international bank transfers?
Yes we can see a few of you saying “Em Hello we use Paypal and we pay nothing“ or “Nah bank transfer are the best, my bank gives me free transfers.”
Yes, both are good points.
Let’s start with Paypal – Okay we agree, for like 50-100$ transfers you can’t go wrong they are the king for receiving payments via email, etc.
But when you look into going above that amount and exchanging the currency then things get a bit hazy.
Now we will try not get too technical here but PayPal takes % of base rate on the ‘Interbank Exchange Rate’ and advice that ‘Customers may use these rates as a reference’.
These rates aren’t guaranteed and start at around 2.5% of the exchange rate. See here. Meaning for larger amounts over $100, we would advise you to use a money transfer service.
Now to the bank transfers.
Please don’t use a bank for international money transfer.
We have yet to come across any bank that even compares close to the rates we have got with CurrencyFair.
Additionally, because you are sending it from for example Australia to Ireland then you might like we had to pay a “receiving fee” where the bank charges you to receive an international transfer.
Yes, they get you every way they can.
We also advise you to read this guide by CurrencyFair it covers other banks like RBS, Permanent TSB, Ulster Bank, HSBC and many more.
The bottom line on international money transfer
The main reason we decided to write this piece on international money transfer guide is to give at least an insight into the money transfer world out there.
There will be some scenarios where you have to withdraw money out of the ATM, or you will have to do an urgent money transfer, and that’s okay.
For those of you who already use another money transfer service (there is a LOT of them) be sure to comment on what service you use and why below.
We love the feedback.
Cheers to some extra money in your pocket and a successful international money transfer! Don’t forget to press any of the share buttons below to help others
Lastly, here is our international money transfer recommendations:
We are affiliated with these companies but only because we have used or been personally recommended by other travellers.
This means that we get a small commission from you signing up. This is at no additional cost to you.
What money international money transfer company do you use? Comment below