Need to make an international payment for your business? Mozo’s time-saving comparison tool lets you compare today’s exchange rates and fees from foreign exchange specialists and banks providing business IMT services in Australia.
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If you’re an Australian business owner who needs to pay overseas suppliers on a regular basis or make a one off international purchase for equipment or stock, you’ll want to make sure you get a decent exchange rate and an efficient transfer of your funds.
Foreign exchange (FX) specialists typically offer the lowest exchange rates and fees, and for business purposes, can offer specialised advice to help your company manage its foreign exchange needs.
However, if you’re after speed and convenience, using your business bank account to directly transfer funds over could be a good option. Just remember, banks are often more expensive than foreign exchange specialists, as they come with poor exchange rates and higher fees, so you’ll likely receive less cash for the same amount of dollars transferred.
Ultimately, it pays to have a good system in place when sending money overseas for your business. Just by picking the right foreign exchange option for you, you could potentially save time and money on your transfer.
That’s why you need to understand all the ins and outs of international money transfers so that you can choose an IMT provider with confidence. The money experts at Mozo have pulled together all the info you'll need here in one place.
Key factors to consider when choosing an international money transfer provider for your business
Just as you have plenty of choice when it comes to your day-to-day business banking, you’ll also have options when transferring money overseas to another business, such as a supplier or contractor. As mentioned above, you can use a bank or you can opt for an online FX specialist. Here are some of the things you should factor in when shopping around:
Generally speaking, the higher the exchange rate, the more money you’ll receive from your Australian dollars. For larger money transfers, a small difference in the exchange rate could potentially save your business hundreds of dollars, so it pays to compare quotes online rather than just stick with your existing bank.
Besides the exchange rate, fees also contribute to the final transfer price. Some IMT services will charge a flat fee for business transfers, while others will charge a fee based on a percentage of the transfer amount. Many may even waive their transfer fee if you send above a certain amount, although it’s important to note that even if the provider themselves don’t directly charge a fee, third-party fees could still apply. Fine print about those additional costs and charges can be found in the provider’s product disclosure statement (PDS), which should be available on their website.
Most banks and IMT providers will offer business transfers for major currencies and many offer services to more exotic destinations as well. But don’t assume that because Bank A has a great rate for USD, it means that it will have the best rate for JPY. Be sure to compare rates and providers based on your choice of currency so that you get the most competitive rate for the currency you need to transfer to.
If you’re converting your Australian dollars into another standard major currency, it usually takes between 1-3 business days for the international money transfer to process and reach your recipient’s bank account. Be sure to factor this in when timing any overseas payments, so you can minimise delays when paying your suppliers or freelancers.
Some IMT providers will have minimum and maximum transfer limits, depending on the type of business payment you’re making. For instance, they may restrict how much you can send over 24 hours, a week, or a month.
It’s also important to note how you or your recipient will receive any money transferred. The standard method is electronic funds transfer, although some services also give recipients the option to pick up cash from a bank branch or remittance centre.
Customer service & reputation
Besides price, look for a provider that offers quality assistance to its customers. Reputable IMT services will generally equip you with a personal account manager or a customer service team who can guide you through the money transfer process, answering any queries and addressing any concerns you may have. In addition, make sure that your IMT provider is registered with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), as this means they’re properly regulated and that you have an official body - the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) - to turn to, should something go wrong and you end up in a dispute.
How can I make sure I’m getting the cheapest international money transfer?
Running a business is expensive, and you want to make sure you’re maximising your profits by cutting out unnecessary costs wherever possible.
Fees on international money transfers can vary from $0 to $32 per transaction, and if you’re making multiple transfers a month, your costs could really add up. Not to mention, the difference between foreign exchange rates offered by banks and IMT specialists can vary substantially, so keeping an eye out to see where the lowest rate is could save your business a pretty penny.
There is nothing stopping you from setting up a business account with multiple IMT specialists so that you have the option to choose which provider has the best exchange rates at the time you need to make your business money transfer. But don’t leave this to the last minute. While the account set up process is generally very easy with online IMT providers, you will still need to allow time to link up your business bank account and get your business details and Australian Business Number (ABN) verified.
What is the best money transfer company for businesses?
The Mozo Experts Choice Awards for International Money Transfers is a great place to find your answer. Every year, Mozo’s money experts run these awards to help Australian consumers and businesses discover the best value IMT providers in the market.
As part of the awards, our expert judges pour hours into assessing a wide range of money transfer providers, including both banks and non-bank foreign exchange specialists, in order to determine which ones offer the most competitive exchange rates and fees around.
Bank or foreign exchange specialist, which will be better for my business?
The short answer is: it depends. For instance, if you’re only going to be transferring small amounts or if you need to send money overseas urgently, you may find that your existing bank offers you convenience.
But if you prioritise getting the biggest bang for your buck, typically the most cost-effective solution for overseas business transfers is using a FX specialist, especially if you are dealing with large amounts of money or frequent overseas payments. They often have lower fees and more competitive exchange rates than the banks. In fact, all of the winners of our long-standing Mozo Experts Choice Awards for best value International Money Transfer are FX specialists like WorldFirst, SendFX and InstaReM. You can also use our comparison tool above to see for yourself the differences in cost between providers for transferring the same amount of money.
Another benefit of using a FX specialist is that many come with handy IMT features, including:
Forward contracts: This feature allows you to fix a current exchange rate for a future transfer. That means you won’t miss out on a great deal even if you aren’t sending money overseas right now. Depending on the provider, you could potentially lock in a rate, three months up to two years in advance. Remember there’s always a risk of rates becoming even more favourable later on, so be sure to go with a deal you’re happy with.
Limit orders: This option lets you nominate an exchange rate that you’d prefer for your transfer. Your provider will then monitor the currency market for you and perform the transaction only once your desired rate has been hit. Just bear in mind that once the rate has been triggered, it’s legally binding so you’ll have to commit to your transfer.
Rate alerts: Like limit orders, rate alerts are a tool to help you make money transfers at your desired rate. The difference is, instead of your provider automatically sending money for you once that rate has been hit, you’ll receive a notification via email or SMS to complete the transaction. Usually, you won’t even need to register with an FX specialist to subscribe to their rate alerts, although you may not have access to certain features if you don’t sign up.
How do business international money transfers work?
If this is your first time making an international money transfer as a business, chances are you may have trouble wading through all the jargon and figuring out how the whole IMT process works. While the specifics will vary from provider to provider, you can generally expect the following few steps when transferring funds with a FX specialist:
Step 1: Open an account with your IMT provider.
This is usually quite straightforward, as most providers have an online application process. Many FX specialists promise this step should only take minutes. You’ll just need to fill in a few details to verify your identity, and your provider may contact you to help you complete the set-up. To ensure your experience is as seamless as possible, have your business identification documents ready before signing up.
Step 2: Book your deal online or via the provider’s app.
The next step is entering the details of your actual transfer. This includes sharing information such as how much you want to transfer, to which country/currency you’re making the transfer, and when you want your money transferred.
Your provider will then quote you on that trade. Once you’re happy with the exchange rate and fees associated with the transfer, you can confirm and lock in the deal.
After that, you’ll need to enter your sender and recipient details including:
Full name and address
Business bank account details or IBAN (International Bank Account Number)
The bank’s full name and address
The bank’s BIC/SWIFT code - their unique identification code, which can be found on their website
Step 3: Transfer funds to your provider.
Once you’ve sent the agreed amount to your provider, they will then transfer it electronically to your recipient. The time it takes for the funds to enter your supplier or contractor’s bank account will depend on the currency, but it should take 1-3 days for major currencies like the USD, GBP and EUR.
Step 4: Set up regular payments.
If you’re expecting to make monthly or quarterly payments to your supplier or overseas employees, then it could be worth signing up to a recurring transfer plan. Speak with your personal account manager or customer service team to get a quote for the plan, and make sure you’re aware of all the fees and exchange rate fluctuations that could affect your transfer price each time. For more information, head over to our guide on making regular business payments overseas.
Katherine O’Chee is Mozo’s international money transfer and forex expert and business banking writer. She keeps Mozo’s readers on top of the latest news and writes in-depth features to inform and help Australians make smarter financial decisions. Her work has been published in major media outlets including Sydney Morning Herald, SBS News and Bangkok Post. She has a Bachelor of Arts (Media and Communications) from the University of Sydney. She is also ASIC RG146 (Tier 2) certified for general advice.
More FAQs about business international money transfers
All of the online foreign exchange providers that we list on Mozo are authorised by ASIC here in Australia, which means they’re properly regulated and should something go wrong, you have a locally-based formal complaints body (AFCA) to help you resolve any issues. Most also operate globally and have transferred many millions of dollars safely for some of the world’s biggest businesses as well as individuals.
A spot rate is the rate that you will get ‘on the spot’ at the time of making your enquiry. The rates that we publish on our site are the ‘spot rates’ for each provider. Some foreign exchange specialists will also have additional services where they will let you lock in an exchange rate for some time in the future. This is called a forward contract, and this feature can help you to take advantage of favourable rates while protecting your money from currency fluctuations or volatility down the track.
We update the exchange rates on an hourly basis but foreign exchange rates do fluctuate, so the rate you see on site may be slightly different to the ‘live’ price you are given by the international money transfer provider at the exact time of your business transfer.
Yes, prior to being able to make an overseas business transfer you will need to have an account set up with the bank or international money transfer provider. This is usually a straightforward process of completing an online application form and verifying business details and your ABN.
Generally speaking, your provider shouldn’t have any problem converting your funds into a major currency (including USD, GBP and EUR), but with less common currencies, you’ll need to double check with the provider first. Either get in touch with your FX specialist or look on their website for a full list of their currency offerings.
To make life easier, our comparison table above also shows which providers on our site can help you make your desired overseas transfer. Simply scroll up and enter details including how much you want to move, which currency you’re currently holding, and which currency you wish to send your funds in. Then press the green ‘go’ button to view a range of exchange rates available for your transaction today.
For major currencies, it will usually take 1-3 days for your funds to arrive in your recipient’s bank account, while some FX specialists like OFX and TorFX may even offer same-day transfers for common currencies like USD and GBP. However, if you’re sending money to more exotic countries or in less frequently traded currencies, it may take a few days longer for your transaction to process. Either way, it’s a good idea to confirm the timing with your provider before making your transfer.
Yes, there are a few you’ll need to be aware of. They include:
Amendment fee: You’ll likely be hit with this fee if you want to make a change to your transfer details after pressing ‘confirm’.
Cancellation fee: If you suddenly need to cancel your IMT, watch out for this fee. Also beware that any cancellations you make are seen as requests. In other words, it’s not guaranteed that your transfer will actually get cancelled, and even if the cancellation fails (maybe due to your receiving bank’s policies), you’ll still be penalised.
Receiving bank fees: When a provider says that third-party fees may apply, this is usually what they mean. Your recipient’s bank could charge these fees for processing your money transfer, and there’s not a whole lot you can do to avoid them.
A key difference emerges during registration. If you’re sending money overseas for personal purposes, whether it’s paying for tuition fees or gifting cash to family, you’ll need to sign up as a private client. But if your money transfers are business-related, you should open an account as a corporate client instead. This gives your provider a clearer understanding of how to best tailor their services to you, as consumers and businesses will have different IMT needs and currency risk portfolios.
For instance, it’s far more likely for a business to have regular international payments that they’re obligated to make on time. That means even if exchange rates are poor at the time of transfer, they may have no choice but to hop onto that rate, unless they’ve thought ahead and fixed a better deal in advance via a forward contract. Meanwhile individuals and households who aren’t in a rush to transfer money can simply wait for a more favourable rate to arise before making their move.
If you still want to read up on information regarding some of the options for your business, prior to making a choice, head over to our business transfer guides section. The Mozo Moneyvators have written detailed guides on all aspects of transferring money overseas for small and big businesses.