Mozo guides

How to send money overseas

Planning to send money overseas from Australia and curious about how it all works? From choosing the right transfer service to understanding fees and limits, we've got you covered. Here's a quick guide to get you started on everything you need to know about international money transfers.

Step 1. Choose an IMT service: find the best way to transfer money overseas

When sending money internationally, you're typically choosing between three main routes: specialist International Money Transfer (IMT) providers, traditional bank transfers, and digital payment platforms like PayPal. Each has its unique benefits and considerations.

  • Specialist IMT providers. Specialist IMT Providers focus on offering competitive rates and lower fees for international transfers.
  • Bank transfer. Bank Transfers involve using your banking institution to send money abroad, offering convenience and reliability.
  • PayPal. PayPal stands out for its widespread acceptance and the ability to send money to people rather than just bank accounts.

Detailed Comparison

To help you navigate these options, let's compare each option side-by-side:

Exchange Rates
Transfer Fees
Service Availability
Specialist IMT provider
Typically more favourable, making your money go further.
Many offer fee-free transactions; watch out for third-party fees.
Mainly online with some offering phone support.
Competitive exchange rates. Low or no transfer fees.
Primarily online, limiting in-person interaction. Requires setting up a new account.
Bank transfer
Less favourable, which can cost more.
Generally higher, especially for in-person transactions.
Both online and in-branch services for personal assistance.
Convenience of using an existing account. Option for in-person service.
Higher fees and less competitive rates.
Varies, often competitive but includes a fee for conversion - making the overall rate less favourable.
Fees depend on payment method, currency conversion, and destination.
Widely accessible online with a user-friendly interface.
Widely accepted and user-friendly. Enables sending to individuals directly.
Fees can be complex and vary by transaction. Currency conversion fees may apply.

Still not sure? Check out our IMT vs bank transfer guide for a full rundown of a number of different options.

Step 2. Nominate your recipient: details you’ll need to send money overseas

After your account is set up, the next step is to specify where you want your funds to go. Gathering the right details about your recipient is essential for a smooth transaction:

  • Full name and address. Ensure you have the recipient's full name as it appears on their bank account. If the account name is different, include both. Many IMT providers also require the recipient's address, so having this information is important.
  • Recipient’s bank details. You'll need the full name and address of the recipient’s bank. This helps accurately identify the destination bank for the funds. In some locations, an additional bank code might be needed, so verifying this information can help avoid delays.
  • Bank account number. Just like with a domestic transfer, the recipient's bank account number is necessary to direct the funds to the correct account overseas.
  • BIC/SWIFT code. The BIC or SWIFT code is a unique identifier that banks and transfer services use globally to recognise the recipient’s bank. Including this code ensures your money reaches the right bank without issues.

Making sure you've got all the right details will help your money land smoothly in your recipient's account overseas.

Step 3. Set up your transfer: choose how to transfer money overseas

After you've chosen your international money transfer service, got your account ready, and ensured you have all the right details for your recipient, it's time to get down to the business of actually sending your money internationally. There are a few ways to do this, and the best method for you depends on what you're looking for in a transfer. Here's a quick guide to three key features you might consider to snag the best deal:

  • Spot deal. Just like it sounds, a spot deal is all about now. You see an exchange rate you like, you lock it in, and you've got 24 hours to make your transfer happen. It’s straightforward and perfect for quick decisions.
  • Forward contract. This is a bit like having a financial crystal ball. If you spot an excellent rate now but don't need to transfer until later, you can lock in that rate for a future transfer, sometimes up to a year or even two in advance. It’s a great strategy if you’re planning ahead and want to avoid future rate fluctuations.
  • Limit order. For those who aren't in a hurry and want to wait for the best possible rate, a limit order is your friend. You set the rate you’re aiming for, and the transfer will only execute if the market hits that rate. It’s a smart move if you’re playing the long game for maximum value.

And there you have it! Once you’ve picked the right feature for your transfer and hit the send button, your money will start its journey to your recipient's bank account overseas.

How to transfer money to an overseas bank account all around the world

Whether you’re paying for your wedding reception in the Philippines or paying your German business suppliers, it’s a good idea to be familiar with international money transfer rules and quirks that apply to that country.We’ve got a stack of country specific information for just that reason. Take a look at the list below to read up on your IMT destination.

Receiving money from overseas: what you need to know

Receiving money from overseas can be pretty straightforward, yet there are some important details to keep in mind to ensure it all goes off without a hitch. Here’s what you need to be aware of:

  • Bank details. Make sure the sender has your correct bank details, including your account number, BIC/SWIFT code, and bank address. Any errors here can lead to delays or misdirected funds.
  • Exchange rates. The exchange rate plays a big role in how much you end up receiving. The service chosen by the sender and the timing of the transfer can both influence the rate you get.
  • Fees. Receiving money in your bank account usually comes with lower fees compared to sending money, but some banks do charge for international transfers. It’s a good idea to check with your bank for any applicable fees.
  • Tax implications. Large sums of money coming in from abroad might have tax implications. Consulting a tax professional can help you understand any tax responsibilities.
  • Transfer time. How long it takes for the money to reach you can vary — from a few hours to several days. This depends on the service used, both the sending and receiving countries, and the transfer method.
  • Limits. Be aware that some banks and transfer services set limits on how much money you can receive. Knowing these limits ahead of time can help you avoid any surprises.

Keeping these points in mind will help make receiving money from overseas a smooth experience.

Get started

Now that you know the steps to send money overseas, it’s time to get the ball rolling by comparing international money transfer options.

Get started by using our table below to compare competitive specialist offers for AUD/USD exchange rates. You can also customise the exchange rates shown below by entering in your transfer amount as well as sending and receiving currencies. 

Or head over to our overseas money transfer comparison table for even more specialist options.

I want to transfer
Today’s foreign exchange rates
Search promoted international money transfers below. Advertiser disclosure.
  • Excellent exchange rates, no transfer fees
  • 24/7 transfers online, over the phone or through the TorFX app
  • Personal account management and expert insights

$6,414 USD

  • $0.6414 USD

  • 1-2 days

  • $200 minimum

  • Send to 200+ countries and 100+ currencies globally
  • Dedicated Australia-based client services team with personal account management for transfers over $20,000
  • 48,000+ 5-star 'Excellent' ratings on TrustPilot

$6,401 USD

  • $0.6401 USD

  • 1-3 days

  • none

  • Transact online 24/7 with fast settlement & extremely competitive rates.
  • Quick and easy account setup, supports multiple payment methods including debit/credit card, bank transfers and wire transfers.

$6,401 USD

  • $0.6401 USD

  • Within minutes

  • $0 minimum

  • Competitive exchange rates and low fees to pay
  • Enjoy instant transfers between Revolut users
  • Go global and send to 100+ countries in 40+ currencies

$6,422 USD

  • $0.6422 USD

  • Immediate

  • none - AUD $2,000 per month limit on fee free transfers on the Standard subscription tier

FAQs about sending money overseas

How much does it cost to send money overseas from Australia?

When you transfer a large sum of money overseas from Australia, the main expense doesn't usually come from direct fees. Instead, it’s built into the exchange rate margin. This is the difference between the wholesale exchange rate and the rate offered to you. Depending on the service, this difference could vary, affecting anywhere from 1% to over 5% of the total amount you send.

For smaller or less frequent transfers, options like banks or PayPal might seem convenient, but they often include specific fees and offer less competitive exchange rates. 

So, whether you’re moving large amounts and focusing on getting the best exchange rate or managing smaller transfers where fixed fees are more evident, comparing rates and fees across different providers is key to finding the most cost-effective solution for transferring money internationally.

How long does it take to transfer money overseas?

How quickly money arrives when sent overseas really varies based on the transfer method and countries involved are key factors. Here are some ballpark estimates:

  • Specialist IMT providers. Specialist services like Wise and Western Union often deliver international transfers within 24 hours to many destinations, with some offering instant transfers for certain routes.
  • Bank transfers. Traditional bank wire transfers typically take 1-5 business days as banks can be sluggish across different banking systems and currencies.
  • Digital platforms. Digital platforms like PayPal facilitate near-instant transfers between accounts, though withdrawals to bank accounts add 1-3 business days.

Keep in mind that holidays, weekends, and after-hours transfers can create delays with any method.

Bottom line is that the quickest options are usually dedicated money transfer services and digital platforms over traditional bank transfers. But it’s always wise to check estimated delivery times for your specific transfer beforehand.

How much money can I transfer overseas from Australia?

There's no hard and fast rule for how much you can transfer overseas from Australia. The amount can vary quite a bit depending on the service you use and where exactly you're sending those dollars.

If you go through one of the big banks, they tend to have daily online transfer limits that cap you anywhere from a few thousand up to maybe $30,000 or $50,000. Trying to shift significantly more than that online usually requires some extra steps like visiting a branch in person.

Money transfer specialists such as Wise, OFX, WorldRemit and others are often more flexible with higher limits or sometimes no strict ceiling at all. That makes them a popular choice when you need to move a larger sum across borders.

You also have to factor in the regulations in both countries. Over here, anti-money laundering laws require reporting large transactions over a certain amount. And the country on the receiving end may enforce its own rules about maximum transfer sizes they'll accept from abroad.

Before initiating a hefty international transfer, it's worth checking in with your provider about any limits that could apply or extra hoops to jump through. If it's a really large sum we're talking about, you might even want to chat with their customer support team or a financial advisor to make sure you cross every T and dot every I.

Brad Buzzard
Brad Buzzard
Senior Money Writer

With RG146 in Generic Knowledge and Super, Brad excels in simplifying complex topics and analysing consumer insights. Featured in The Australian, Mumbrella and Asia Insurance Review, his work has influenced strategies for McDonald's, Unilever and more.

Afia Asha
Afia Asha
Junior Product Research Analyst