CHOICE is working with our international consumers group (called, unsurprisingly, Consumers International) to investigate the costs and traps with international money transfer services. And, we need your help.
Recently started using WorldRemit to send money to friends overseas. Very happy with it so far in terms of speed, security and fees (much lower than Western Union). It is sent online (any time) to a mobile phone, agency or bank account.
For purchases from the US I use Paypal or credit card. Auction houses in the UK make it almost impossible to purchase using these methods. I use a foreign exchange company as the exchange rate is better than the banks or Paypal and the fee is lower. My issue is that UK banks often charge a receiving fee and I have no idea what that may be. It is silly to put through another FX transaction for such a small amount so I have to ring the company to give credit card details. The auction house already charges a premium of at least 20% in addition to the hammer price and I think any bank fees should come out of that premium as a legitimate business expense.
It pays to check on your bank’s website to see what they list as the current exchange rate and then compare It with the daily rate of other payment methods !
Living half of each year Australia/Europe I have been using banking systems until recently to access money in Europe. An international banking friend recently advised me of the excellent and far cheaper services of ‘TransferWise’. It relies on you having a normal bank account into which payments can be made. Exchange rates are better than those offered by banks and other agencies, fees low. I am saving considerable amounts using this service. Rather than trying to explain it all here I would recommend checking them on line and quote me if you wish.
I hadn’t heard of TransferWise till a couple of weeks ago. We needed to transfer some AUD to GBP and a relative recommended TransferWise. The information on their website was fairly clear. External reviews (articles in mainstream publications such as The Economist) seemed to give it a thumbs up.
My main concerns were:
Is it secure?
Is the rate better than going via bank or credit card?
Is it fairly simple to do?
How long does it take?
The website is well designed and usable. Establishing ID (uploading scans of your passport or driving licence) is a bit painful but probably could not be any easier and still secure.
Once you’re set up the overall process is:
Enter the To and From currencies and the amount.
Enter the To and From accounts (BSB and account number).
Select a transfer method.
There are two transfer methods.One uses your online banking to send the amount to TransferWise and takes a couple of days. The other uses something called POLI and takes only a few hours. Unfortunately ANZ appears to be the only Australian bank that doesn’t support POLI.
The feedback on each step of the process is very good.
I would use it again. As with many of these services (Airbnb, Uber, etc.) there’s a bonus for recommending it to family and friends: if they sign up they get their first transfer up to £500 for free; if three of them sign up I get £50.
Likewise. I haven’t used them for about 15 years. AUD cash can be changed almost anywhere (even in the most obscure rural towns in Asia/Americas/Europe).
We tend to take a mix of AUD cash, credit card and debit cards. The recent trip we only found out on our return that our credit card company charges interest at 22% calculated daily for cash advances. Wish I had known before we left (T&Cs not overly clear/obvious and only buried deep within the T&Cs and not anywhere else including the website) as it would have been cheaper for direct debit cash withdrawal.
Haven’t send cash overseas for a number of years but in the past have:
International Money Transfer (to Vietnam for local travel). Advantage is it is reliable and know the money is received (providing bank details of recipient is correct). Disadvantage is the cost (can be significant percentage of the total and time taken to complete transaction).
We have used Western Union (to US for a web purchase). High risk for web purchases but the retailer/seller came recommended and therefore trustworthy.
Credit Cards (Taiwan for travel) - easy when the provider has option for credit card.
AirBNB - this is possibly an unknown function for many but it can be used to send funds overseas to someone who is also registered for AirBNB. Advantage is simple to do and also rates are good (similar to credit card without additional fees). Used this in recent travels where AirBNB host provided additional services for us after our arrival (and requested by us). It can be done through the AirBNB dispute resolution centre.
AUD cash converted in local currency (inc China and parts of Europe) where cash economy still exists and local services when travelling are required. One needs to negotiate with the service provider to book and accept cash payment on arrival…most seem to accept this especially when confirmation of booking is given a week or so before hand.
I merged your topic into this older one that began with a Choice question. In addition to the answers of how some have done it Choice published the following
Depending on the amounts transferred one or another might be a better solution for you so pay attention to both fee structures as well as xrates on offer, One constant is our banks are usually the worst possible options from a financial viewpoint although may be convenient. Check how the services of interest operate, eg transferring money to them, locking in xrates, and whether they deposit into bank accounts on the far side or just other accounts on the same service where the recipient then has to ‘withdraw’ funds to their own accounts.
I had never needed to use a money transfer service: I did my research using suggestions in this thread. Then I opted for TransferWise (now named Wise) - did a single transfer in mid December last year.
It was very simple to use (also offers the option of recurring transfers), and was executed promptly; I thought the fee was fair.
I have just looked my account to extract details of the transaction, FYI.
December 18th, 2021
You set up your transfer
December 18th, 2021
We received your AUD
December 18th, 2021
We paid out your GBP
December 18th, 2021
Transfer successfully sent Keep in mind — It can take up to 2 working days for Benjamin E-------s’s bank to credit the account.
I have found an international money transfer service, RIAmoneytransfer.com, that offers a reasonable fee for sending money overseas to several countries.
RIA also has a chain of agents located in several areas. I have used one of their agents located in St. Marys, and the recipient was able to collect the money from her bank account in less than an hour.
Thank you ScottOKeefe
I used to send via WorldRemit, but somehow, their website developed a technical problem that they are not prepared to fix it.
I found RIAmoneytransfer, easy to use and with agents in many areas, that allow me to do my transactions free of problems.
Not sure if I can post this offering. I use Wise.com to transfer money overseas. Their transfer fees are very very low compared to the banks and their exchange rate is very close to dollar rate of the day. You can set up alerts to be sent to you when the exchange rate reaches a specified level. The time for the transfer to reach your recipient is also much quicker than using a bank. If you regularly send money overseas, then research their website to find our how they do a better job than the banks.