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From comparing banks with foreign exchange specialists to considering fees, rates and limits, below we detail everything you need to know about sending money to America!
Transferring money overseas has never been easier. As long as you have a bank account on the receiving end of the transaction to accept it, you’re halfway there. The harder part is settling on the right foreign exchange provider. Should you choose a well-known Australian bank for the trust factor? Or will you use a lesser known Foreign Exchange (FX) specialist to nab a killer exchange rate? Below is a breakdown of the providers that offer international money transfers to the US:
Choosing a bank to transfer your Aussie dollars into USD has its pros and cons. While it can be comforting to pick a home grown foreign exchange provider you’ve banked with your whole life, exchange rates are generally less competitive and banks are known to apply higher margins. The burden on you is reflected in the form of greater fees and weaker exchange rates. On the plus side, you may prefer dealing with a big bank for the peace of mind or customer service experience. But if finding the best USD exchange rate is your priority, then continue reading to learn about FX specialists...
Foreign exchange specialists
FX specialists may be new kids on the block in the foreign exchange world, but boy do they offer competitive rates when it comes to transferring AUD to USD! These currency transfer experts are known to offer the best USD exchange rates and generally apply lower margins than banks. Keep in mind, many foreign exchange specialists run their services entirely online, so rather than discussing your options with a bank teller, you’ll need to feel comfortable transacting via the web.
Peer-to-peer FX specialists
When comparing FX specialists as a potential customer, you might notice providers offering transfers from AUD to USD using the peer-to-peer method. This foreign exchange type involves customers exchanging currencies directly with each other through an online trading platform or marketplace. The peer-to-peer provider will generate profit by charging you a small fee, however this will generally be much less than what you’d be charged by the banks for the same service. While using peer-to-peer can be cheaper, expect to wait a few hours or days for your currency order to find its US dollar match.
Step 1: Set up an account
Once you’ve found the best USD exchange rate offered by one of the providers from the table on this page, you’ll need to select the “go to site” blue icon and register your details on the IMT provider site of your choice. Unless you choose a bank for your USD transfer, you’ll likely conduct the transaction online or over the phone rather than in person at a branch. Depending on the FX provider you choose, setting up an account can take a few minutes to several days. You’ll need to prove you are who you say you are by providing ID documents such as a passport and driver’s licence. You’ll also need to provide your bank account details so you’re prepared to lock in the best USD exchange rate when you see it!
Step 2: Place your foreign exchange order
Remember, it’s a big deal transferring money to the USA, especially if there are plenty of zeros involved! That’s why placing your foreign exchange USD order should involve:
- You triple checking the beneficiary bank details as most providers cannot retrieve funds if they have been sent to the wrong account.
- Verbally approving the transfer with an FX specialist after you place the order online or via an app (with some providers).
- Your full disclosure of the transfer purpose to comply with money laundering and terrorism laws.
- You electing to pay more for a speedier delivery of the funds.
Step 3: Check the fees charged by the receiving bank
Some US banks and financial services will charge extra for accepting international transfers, so it’s best to check this out before placing your order. Unfortunately as most FX providers will tell you, fees charged by the receiving bank in the US is outside of their control. The same applies if you are transferring money to an institution or person in the United States. Check with them before sending to ensure their bank won’t penalise you in fees or take a percentage of the transfer amount for processing the funds.
Exchange rate discrepancies are well worth looking out for. Just a fraction of difference between two rates can dramatically change your USD outcome, especially when it involves large sums of money. For instance, at the time of writing, a $10,000 IMT transfer from AUD to USD using FX specialist TorFX will give you $7,216. By comparison, one big bank we looked at would only offer you $6,820 USD, which is $396 USD less due to the lower exchange rate.
Just like exchange rates, fees between IMT providers are varied too. Some depend on how much you’re exchanging, and whether the currency is difficult to obtain (such as “exotic” currencies). Lucky for you, USD is a popular currency and costs are generally minimal. It’s still best to compare especially for smaller transfers so the fee you pay is worth the amount you’re sending.
Foreign exchange transfer times are a little different to your everyday online bank transfer, as they generally only operate when the FX market is open. This means no transfers on weekends or, if using a provider based overseas, transacting in a different time zone.
Some people prefer visiting a branch and dealing with customer service reps for foreign exchange transactions rather than clicking away behind a screen. If this sounds like you, choose a provider with physical offices or customer service lines. Some will even assign you an account manager to help with each transfer, who can give you general advice on things like exchange rates and market conditions.
- Forward contract: If you’re buying property or shares in the United States and see a competitive exchange rate, some IMT providers allow you to lock the rate in to transfer later. This is called a “forward contract”. Many IMT specialists offer a variety of contract features like this, so be sure to check them out on their sites for further details.
- Express transfers: Need your money to arrive in a US bank account sooner than two or three days? Some IMT providers have express transfer services for an additional cost.
- Split currencies: For more complex transfers like exchanging and transferring multiple currencies to the US, consider the advice of an account manager via an IMT specialist provider offering this service.
- Keep an eye on exchange rates: Exchange rates really matter when you’re looking to transfer a lot of money. Be ready to pounce and you’ll be better off financially.
- Bundle up transfers to minimise fees: Multiple foreign exchange transfers can add up in transaction fees. As well as watching rates, bundle up your transfers and transfer less often for better USD results.
- Ensure your money is safe: Beware of exchange rates that look too good to be true on the web, as it could be a scam. Instead ensure you're transferring with a provider that is licensed and regulated through ASIC. Here at Mozo, we only compare licensed IMT foreign exchange providers, so scroll to the top of the page to kick off your comparison.