Transferring money internationally is an expensive and confusing process the first time you try but if you know where to look, I can help you transfer those Australian Dollars ($AUD) into US Dollars ($USD) in no time!
There are four major players when it comes to transferring money: OFX, Transferwise, PayPal, and your bank (or other financial institution). I’ll go through the pros and cons of each and compare the amounts of money that you can expect to receive for a $1,000AUD transfer right now (16 October 2018) as an example!
One thing to note first is that many comparison money sites will list a “Market rate” at the top and allow you to enter some numbers to see how much your money is worth. This is not (necessarily) indicative of how much money you will actually receive (when you take out fees, and adjust rates to a “customer rate” or similar).
The market rate for the purposes of this exercise is: $1000AUD in $USD is currently = $713.91USD
OFX (formerly OzForex)
$1000AUD in $USD with OFX is currently = $710.10USD (Your rate: 0.7101)
This rate is slightly better than the normal customer rate of 0.6999 of the awesome Caroline who can give you slightly better rates for being such an awesome America Josh reader! Just click here and fill in your details so Caroline can help you out!
The transfers are almost instantly in your bank account, and the fuss is minimal. There’s a quick check when you first sign up to confirm your identity but this is the case with any reputable resource.
$1000AUD in $USD with OFX is currently = $709.74USD (Your rate: 0.714 + Fee)
As you can see, it’s pretty damn close but SLIGHTLY less than those on a special OFX rate. As above, the transfers are almost instantly in your bank account. There’s again a quick signup process to confirm your identity. You can get your first transfer for free and help me out by using this referral link to sign up!
$1000AUD in $USD with OFX is currently = $688.48 (Your rate: 0.6884 + Possible Fees)
This one just really is way off the mark and while there is “no fee” if you transfer internally within PayPal, their rate is not helping you at all.
The most important thing to remember when transferring money internationally is this: Keep your eye on the ball. When companies promote “transparent fees” and “low fees”, “free transfers” and “fixed costs”, you’ve lost the ball. This is their way of distracting you!
The fees attached to transferring money are not normally where these institutions make their money. Instead, they make their money with the rate that they allow you to exchange cash at.
You’ll see in the screenshot below a comparison by Transferwise to the other leaders in the industry and most of the major Australian banks. This includes the rate, the possible fees, and the final transferred value of money.
CitiBank & HSBC
A lot of people will mention Citi and/or HSBC as a good way of transferring money because you can do it internally within their own special systems “without fees”. I would still really recommend against this as the rates are still not comparable to those of OFX and the money is just as instant.
The best thing you can do is compare, yourself! Create accounts in all of these services and check the rates just before you transfer, just make sure you are looking at the final amount you will actually receive, and not an advertised rate.
I know some of these dollar amounts might not seem like much but if you’re moving to the U.S. you will most likely be transferring more than $1,000AUD. The difference might be only $20 but in a $10,000 transfer, that’s $200 that you could have been spending on a rooftop or somewhere!
The other one I want to note is Xoom, PayPal’s international money transfer product separate to PayPal. As far as I can discern, this is only for moving money from the US to other countries, for which it’s not terrible but not all that competitive.