Send money to the USA

american flag in america

The World Bank received about 6.4 billion USD in personal international money transfers (IMT) in 2020.

There are many reasons why people might need to send money to the States, including:

  • Purchasing goods and services for your business
  • Paying wages or royalties
  • Paying school or university fees to support children living in the US
  • Cash gifts for friends or family living in the US
  • Emergency transfer of funds to a relative for medical reasons
  • Buying investment property in the US
  • Paying off your American student loans.

Keep in mind, this guide is about transferring money to the US and not for those wishing to travel there. If you’re planning a holiday to the US for personal or business reasons, head to the Mozo travel money section.

What are my IMT provider options?

If you’re wanting to send money to the US then you’ll have a few options, but there are really two main players: banks or specialist foreign exchange providers.

While sticking with your existing bank can seem like the easiest route, it pays to shop around for an alternative option. FX (foreign exchange) specialists generally offer customers more competitive fees and exchange rates than the banks, allowing you to get more US dollars for the same amount of Aussie dollars.

Banks

Sending money to the US with your Australian bank account can be a fast and convenient method for transferring funds, especially if you like the idea of using a provider you’re already familiar with.

Pros:

  • No need to create a separate IMT account
  • Brands you already use and trust
  • In-person transfers available

Cons:

  • More costly: lower exchange rates and higher transfer fees 
  • Limited operating hours: in-branch services only open during business hours

Foreign Exchange Specialist

Specialist FX or IMT providers are pretty good at offering competitive rates when it comes to exchanging currencies around the globe. Companies like SendFX, TorFX and OFX or the winners of the Mozo Expert Choice Awards all tend to offer better rates than your average bank.

Pros:

  • Cheaper than the banks
  • More flexible: you can transfer funds online 24/7

Cons:

  • In-person transfers generally unavailable
  • Minimum transfer amounts may apply ($50 up to $10,000 depending on the provider)

What to look for when comparing IMT providers

It may be a little overwhelming at first, especially when there’s many international money transfer providers out there. Using Mozo’s international money transfers comparison table will help but there are a few key features you need to keep in mind.

  • Exchange rates: This is the most important feature of any IMT transaction. The better the exchange rate when converting AUD to USD, the more money you’ll have at the end. So when comparing providers make sure to check what rates are being offered. 
  • Fees: Another feature you need to keep an eye on is exchange fees. The provider’s fee could change the amount of money you’ll get after a transfer to the US. Fees could be a percentage of the money sent or a flat rate. Banks tend to charge much higher fees than IMT specialists which are directly taken out from the amount you are sending. There are several IMT specialists who do not charge any fees when you transfer a certain amount of money.
  • Limits: All providers have different transfer limits, some can be as low as $0 and others have high minimum transfers. So you should choose one that suits you. If you’re planning to make frequent transfers check the number of transfer limits allowed in a particular time period (ie. per month).
  • Transfer speed: Generally, most IMT take between 1-3 days, although some providers may be able to speed up the process for a fee.
  • Online or in person: Specialist IMT providers generally operate online, so you won’t be able to do over the counter transfers. You could make a transfer over the phone, but if you’d rather do your transaction in person you’ll need to go through a traditional bank or maybe consider a standard wire.

How do I transfer money to the US

Transferring money to the US is a straightforward process no matter who the provider is. Typically you will need to know:

  • Full name and address of the recipient’s bank
  • Recipient's name, address and account name
  • Account number or International Bank Account Number (IBAN)
  • SWIFT/BIC code of your personal account you're transferring funds from
  • Amount you would like to send.

Is it safe to send money to the US?

To ensure your IMT is as safe as possible, it’s important that you look for a provider that’s regulated by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) and is a member of the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA). An easy way to check whether your provider is regulated by ASIC is to look for their AFSL (Australian Financial Service Licence) number which can be found on their website, usually in the  footer. All money transfer providers on the Mozo site are ASIC-regulated.

On your end, there are also a few steps you could take to strengthen the security of your online money transfers and avoid possible money scams. These include basic precautions like:

  • Installing the latest anti-virus software like McAfee
  • Downloading the latest updates for your PC or mobile
  • Using strong passwords (a mix of upper and lowercase letters, numbers and symbols)
  • Avoiding public Wi-Fi; when making transfers, opt to use your mobile data or home Wi-Fi instead, as those are more secure options.

Can I make a one-off transfer to the US?

Yup! Just remember, the amount you can send in one go will vary from provider to provider. For example, while the big banks typically allow their customers to transfer up to their ‘pay anyone’ limit, many IMT specialists offer more flexible transfer limits from $50-$10,000 all the way up to the millions. That makes IMT specialists a good option if you’re going to the US for exchange or work and plan to send a big portion of your savings over. But for a small $50 cash gift to your sister in New York, you’ll need to find a provider that accepts lower amounts.

What if I’m not happy with the current rate on offer?

Looking to send money to the US from Australia but not happy with the current rate being offered? One option is to set up a limit order which allows you to nominate your desired exchange rate. Your transfer will then only be processed once it hits that rate. Some providers also let you set up alerts for your ideal exchange rate.

Obviously this is an option that won’t appeal to anyone needing to transfer money quickly, but if you’ve got time on your side it could potentially save you a bundle - especially if you’re making a large transfer.

Ready to weigh up your exchange rate options for transfers from Aussie dollars to US dollars? Get started with the IMT specialist offers below, or head over to our international money transfers hub for even more deals.

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