4 bank-beating options for making overseas business payments

person doing some business overseas payments on a computer

If you’re someone who makes regular international payments for business reasons, you’ll know that fluctuating foreign exchange rates and money transfer fees are an unavoidable aspect of doing global banking.  

But just because you can’t avoid these, it doesn’t mean your business should accept the first or easiest option in front of you. According to the ACCC enquiry back in 2019, Australians were paying some of the highest exchange rate mark-ups in the world and a review earlier this year by money transfer provider, Wise, showed that according to their analysis transparency around exchange rate mark-ups hasn’t improved.     

Typically, the exchange rate banks offer are not the same as those seen on Google or the nightly news. Those rates are known as the interbank rate  (also often referred to as the mid-market rate). Banks and International money transfer (IMT) providers will generally add their own margin to this rate.

When selecting a money transfer provider it is important to shop around based on the currency you want to transfer as IMT providers will each have different exchange rates and could be more competitive in one currency compared to another.  If you deal with suppliers in more than one currency, you might even have several IMT accounts set up so that you can switch between them when the exchange rate is more in your favour. 

Even if you are only going to be making a single overseas transfer to a supplier,  you can make big savings from comparing rates and providers. Here’s an example from WorldFirst to illustrate the difference between a typical bank rate versus an international money specialist:

Source: WorldFirst - A business owner's guide: saving money on international payments.
Source: WorldFirst - A business owner's guide: saving money on international payments.

In addition to competitive exchange rates, if you are going to be transacting regularly internationally you might want to take advantage of other features offered by IMT specialists such as forward contracts and limit orders. A forward contract allows you to lock in an exchange rate now to use at some time in the future and allows you to avoid the risks and uncertainties associated with exchange rate movements. A limit order lets you set the rate at which you want to exchange your money from one currency to another.

Here’s a look at some of the providers that offer business transfers. To compare today’s international money transfer rates for the amount you want to send, head over to our international business transfers page.

Bank beating overseas transfer options for businesses

WorldFirst
  • Transfers of AUD $10,000 or more are free
  • No minimum transfer amounts
  • Up to 24 months forward contracts available

Since 2004, WorldFirst has been offering international payments in more than 60 currencies to businesses around the world. There are no minimum transfer amounts and transfers above $10,000 are free. Payments between $2,000 and $9,999 have a $10 fee, and anything under $2,000 has a $20 transfer fee. WorldFirst states transfers may typically take between 24 - 48 hours, but if you are transferring USD to a country other than the US, the transfer may take four days to complete. WorldFirst users have access to spot contracts, forward contracts (up to 24 months), limit orders (called firm orders by WorldFirst), and automated regular payments. Opening an account is also free.

TorFX
  • No transfer fees
  • $200 transfer minimum
  • Forward contract lasts up to 24 months

TorFX has been offering bank beating rates for more than 15 years. It offers transfers of over 40 different currencies to more than 120 countries. TorFX has no fees on your international payments, but keep in mind that the minimum you can transfer is $200. And TorFX states their transfers can take between 24-48 hours. It offers features like forward contracts (up to 2 years in advance) and automated regular transfers to pay overseas staff or to make spot transfers. Opening an account is free and can be done online without any commitment of sending any transfers.

OFX
  • Transfers over $10,000 are transfer fee free
  • $250 transfer minimum
  • Forward contracts last up to 12 months

OFX (formerly known as OzForex) has been offering IMT information and services since 1998. It can transfer money to over 197 countries in 50 different currencies. Any transaction below $10,000 will have a $15 flat fee, but if you send more than $10,000, your transaction is transfer fee free. The minimum amount you can send with OFX is $250. OFX says most transactions should take 24-48 hours, and they also offer same day transactions for the USA and UK. OFX offers forward contract (up to 12 months), spot deals, automated regular payments, and limit order (minimum transfer amount is $30,000) services. Opening an account is free and can be done online. You don’t have to commit to sending money in order to open an account. However, you may be called or emailed to verify your identity and you can’t start using their services until this is complete.

SendX
  • No transfer fees
  • $250 transfer minimum
  • 40 currencies available for transfer

SendX began in 2019, and since then it has offered free transfer to more than 200 countries in 40 different currencies. There is a minimum transfer amount of $250, and SendX claims that transfers take less than 24 hours to be completed. Using their app, you can set up alerts to be notified when the market reaches your target exchange rate. If you need to make recurring payments overseas, SendX has a regular recurring payment service. Opening an account online is free and does not require you to start their services immediately.

* The exchange rates offered by each provider are indicative exchange rates that have either been supplied by each provider or gathered by Mozo. Exchange rates fluctuate constantly and as a consequence the exchange rates listed here may vary to the actual exchange rate you are quoted by a provider. Please ensure you confirm the actual exchange rate with the relevant provider prior to conducting any transaction. These exchange rates are updated every hour.

^See information about the Mozo Experts Choice International Money Transfer Awards

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