Sending money overseas with the Big Four: everything you need to know

Polly Fleeting

20 Oct 2020

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Need to send money overseas to loved ones? Or needing to set up regular international payments for your small business? You may already know that the big four banks all offer International Money Transfer services, but it’s not always as simple as walking into a branch.  

There are a few things to consider when sending money overseas, like conversion rates, fees, transfer limits or the speed of a transfer. It’s important that you have all the info you need so that you’re making the right and most financially savvy choice for you, and the most financially savvy.  

So to make things a little easier, here’s a breakdown of the four services offered by the country’s biggest banks: ANZ, Westpac, NAB and Commonwealth Bank. 

ANZ

ANZ offers a bunch of online, over the phone and in-branch international money transfer options. For ANZ customers it’s simple, they can send money overseas in over 99 countries, and access live exchange rates on offer around the clock all through ANZ Internet Banking. 


Transfer fees

$9 if sent in foreign currency from an AUD account via Phone or Internet Banking (fee waived for transfers over $10,000 AUD or equivalent)

$18 if sent in AUD from an AUD account via Internet Banking

$32 if sent in AUD from an AUD account or sent from a foreign currency account via Phone

$7 for payments to Cook Islands, Fiji, French Polynesia, Guam, Kiribati, New Caledonia, Papau New Guinea, Somoa, Solomon Islands, Timor Leste, Tonga and Vanuatu (fee waived for transfers over the equivalent of $10,000 AUD sent in a foreign currency from an AUD account; also waived if your transfer is under the equivalent of $10,000 AUD for Internet Banking)

Bear in mind that the bank you are sending money to overseas may charge you an additional fee on top of what ANZ charges called the correspondent bank fee. However ANZ will cover this fee for certain transfers sent in a foreign currency, including: 

- USD to all countries

- GBP to United Kingdom

- NZD to New Zealand

- INR to India

- EUR to all countries

Maximum transfer amount

If you use Internet Banking to send money overseas, ANZ will allow you to transfer up to your pay anyone limit on your account. In order to access higher payment limits you may need to download the ANZ Shield app, which is available to use 24/7.

Speed of transfer

Usually 2-4 business days, but it can take a little longer for less frequent traded currencies.

How do I send money overseas with ANZ? 

You need to be an ANZ customer to use the ANZ International Money Transfer. If you are using Internet Banking to send money overseas you can use either an ANZ transaction account or credit card, but if you decide to make the transfer over the phone you can only use an ANZ transaction account. If you do not have an account already, you can set one up online or in-branch, just remember you’ll need to provide identification so have your driver’s licence or passport handy. 

Here’s the info you’ll need on hand for when you want to make an international money transfer with ANZ: 

- Full name, address and account number for the person you want to send the money to

- International Bank Account Number (IBAN) for payments to Europe and selected other countries, or Routing Number of payments to the US

- Currency and amount that you want to send

- Full name, address or SWIFT/BIC (Bank Identifier Code) or Branch Number of the receiver’s bank

Westpac 

Westpac customers can transfer funds overseas in three different ways, The first option is send money internationally via Westpac Online Banking, the second is to opt for Westpac Mobile Banking, and the third is to request an overseas telegraphic transfer through your local Westpac branch.


Transfer fees

$10 for International payments in a foreign currency via Westpac Live Online Banking 

$20 sending Australian Dollars via Westpac Live Online Banking 

$32 in-branch transfer in any available currency 

$10 in-branch transfer to Pacific Westpac Accounts 

Just remember, that international banks may charge additional fees on top of the ones outlined by Westpac. Ensure you find out all the information you need about these fees so that you aren’t stuck sending your recipient the wrong amount, as in some cases the fees are deducted from the sent amount. 

Maximum transfer amount

If you opt to send money overseas using Westpac Live Online Banking, the amount you are able to transfer depends on what your daily limit withdrawal is. 

Speed of transfer 

Usually 1-3 business days, but it may take slightly longer for less frequently traded currencies. 

How do I send money overseas with Westpac?

You need to have an active Westpac bank account that is registered for Online Banking and the Westpac Protect SMS Code. 

So here’s all the info you’ll need to gather together if you’re planning to send money overseas with Westpac: 

- Personal Identification

- Details of the recipient, such as their name, address, the name of their bank, branch address and their account number

- The amount you wish to send

- The currency you wish to send

- In some cases you will be asked to confirm the reason for the payment

NAB 

Transferring money overseas with NAB is as simple as logging into your internet banking or NAB app; no need to set up a separate IMT account. As long as you're a NAB customer, you can make a one-off transfer or even set up regular payments. With NAB, you can send money with over 40 different currencies to over 230 countries. Just remember to register for "Pay anyone" and SMS security before making your money transfer with NAB.


Transfer fees 

$10 transfers made in a foreign currency via NAB Internet Banking 

$30 transfers made in AUD via NAB Internet Banking 

$30 over the counter transfers made in AUD or foreign currencies 

No need to stress about any additional fees when you send money overseas with NAB, as in most cases the bank will absorb the fees that receiving institutions may charge. However there may be instances where overseas banks will directly deduct their fees from the money you sent instead.

Maximum transfer

For online banking you can send money overseas with NAB up to your pay anyone limit. The default amount is $5,000 but if you register for SMS security you can transfer up to $40,000. If you aren't registered for SMS security, you can also apply for a higher limit of up to $20,000 by visiting your local NAB branch.

Speed of transfer 

Usually 1-3 business days, but you may need to leave more time for less frequently traded currencies. Also note that there are cut off times for processing which may affect the speed of your transfer. 

How do I send money overseas with NAB?

In order to make an international money transfer through NAB, you must have an active NAB transaction account. If you don’t have an account already, you can simply apply for one online. 

Here’s what you’ll need to make International Money Transfers with NAB: 

- Activated NAB Internet Banking or the NAB app downloaded on your phone

- Full name, address and account number for the person you want to send the money to (not a post office address)

- Currency and amount that you want to send

- The IBAN or bank account number

- A SWIFT code or BIC (this identifies their bank) or the full bank address

- Any other information they have like sort codes or routing codes

Commonwealth Bank 

Commonwealth Bank offers an International Money Transfer service to its customers, operating in over 30 currencies to 200 countries. Transfers can be made in the palm of your hand through NetBank and the CommBank app, or you can head to your nearest branch and the staff will help you there.


Transfer fees 

$6 funds sent in a foreign currency via NetBank or CommBank app (less than or equal to AUD $1,000 equivalent) 

$12 funds sent in a foreign currency via NetBank or CommBank app (more than AUD $1,000 equivalent) 

$22 fund sent in AUD via NetBank or CommBank app 

$6 funds sent from a Foreign Currency Account 

$30 in-branch transfer 

$25 cancellation, amendment or investigation fee 

When considering the transfer fees charged by Commonwealth Bank, just remember that overseas bank may add further costs. Even if you cancel, amend or investigate your transfer, if the international institution has charged you already, Commonwealth Bank won’t cover it. 

Maximum transfer amount

The maximum international transfer amount with CommBank is subject to whatever your daily NetBank withdrawal limit is. 

Speed of transfer

Usually 3 business days, but may take longer depending on the recipient's country and bank.

There are also cut-off times on the weekend and during public/bank holidays, which may mean your transfer won’t be processed until the following business day.

How do I send money overseas with Commonwealth Bank? 

There are a few things you need to have ready to go before you send money overseas with Commonwealth Bank. You need to have a Commonwealth Bank account, and if you wish to transfer online, you need to set up NetBank with your customer number. 

Here’s a checklist of everything you’ll need so your money gets to where it needs to go: 

- SWIFT/BIC (bank identification code), full name and address of the bank that you're transferring to

- Recipient's full name, address and account name

- Account number or IBAN

- Amount and currency you are sending

Alternatively, you can also send money overseas using your recipient's mobile number. If you opt for this method, your recipient will be able to collect the funds via the 'Commbank International Payment Collection' webpage - all they'll need to do is enter the collection code, their mobile number, and their banking and personal details, then tap 'Collect Payment' (CommBank will also ask them to verify some details via SMS).

Is sending money overseas with the Big Four good value? 

If you’re after convenience, and you already bank with one of the big four, using the IMT services provided to you via online banking is the simplest option. But on the question of value, you may want to shop around a little. 

There are plenty of options when it comes to IMT providers, many with more competitive rates and fewer fees than bigger banks. While you will have to set up an account with them, the process is generally quite easy, and at the end of the day could save you money every time you send money overseas. 

But if you are stuck on where to start your search, check out which providers came out on top for this year’s 2020 Mozo Experts Choice Awards. 

Need some more help finding the right IMT provider? Scroll down below for a few options, or jump over to our IMT comparison table for an even broader selection of providers and exchange rates.

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