Small transfers case study - Anna sends a present home to Germany

Anna is from Germany, but she’s been living and working in Melbourne for the last 12 months. It’s her little brother’s birthday very soon, and she has saved up $200 to send back to him in Germany as a present.

She wants him to get as many Euros from her present as possible, so she starts shopping around for the best way to transfer a small amount of money overseas.

What are the traps in making small international transfers?

Anna has read a guide on sending money to Germany, and so she knows that making small international transfers can be tricky.

The first problem she comes across is the fees - percentage based fees are not so bad, because she is sending such a small amount, but flat fees can quickly cut down her transfer amount if she isn’t careful. For example, a $40 fee out of her AU$200 is 1/5th of her money gone already.

The other issue Anna has is that a number of banks she looks at have a minimum transfer amount between $500 and $1000 - which is far too high for the amount she wants to send her brother.

What are her other options?

Anna thinks an IMT is the right choice, but she decides to look at her other options first, just in case there is a way to get around the fees and minimum transfer amount.

She does some research into alternatives to international money transfers. Here’s what she finds:

International cheque

This is a good option because Anna can send a cheque for any amount she wants. But there are a few issues, including:

  • Anna will wind up paying some pretty hefty bank fees for the international draft
  • She’s a little worried about the cheque getting lost or delayed in the mail.


Anna can transfer a small amount easily through her Paypal account, which would be a good option, as Paypal’s fees are percentage based.

The only problem is, her brother doesn’t have a Paypal account, and she doesn’t want him to have to make one.

After looking at her options, Anna decides an international money transfer is the way to go. The next step is finding the best IMT deal.

What should she look for?

Now that she’s settled on an IMT, Anna needs to find the best offer. Some of the most important things she needs to look at are:

Fee free transfers

IMT fees can stack up quickly if you aren’t careful, and because Anna is only sending a small amount overseas, she’ll have to make sure that the fees won’t wind up knocking out half her money before she even sends it.

An international money transfer provider which charges no or low fees will be her best bet.

A good exchange rate

The better the exchange rate, the more Euros Anna’s brother will get as a present. Every little bit counts, especially because the Euro is usually stronger than the Aussie dollar, so Anna needs to hunt around for the best exchange rate on offer.

A low minimum transfer

One of the biggest hurdles for Anna is that she is transferring a small amount and many providers have minimum limits as high as $500, or even $1000. She’ll most likely have to find a provider with no minimum transfer limit.

A quick transfer speed

An overseas money transfer can take between 1 and 5 days, depending on which provider Anna chooses. She’ll have to make sure that she leaves plenty of time for the money to reach her brother before his birthday.

Choosing an IMT provider

Anna has a few options for her international money transfer, so she draws up a table to see which providers tick all the boxes:

Fees?Exchange rate?Transfer limit?Transfer speed?
Her regular Aussie bankHigh feesExchange rates are not greatMany have minimum transfer limits too high ($500)Usually 2-5 days
A specialised IMT providerLower feesBetter exchange ratesA fair few of these still have limits too high ($250)Usually 1-2 days
A peer-to-peer transferLow feesGood exchange ratesNo transfer limit!Usually 1-2 days

Anna goes with the peer-to-peer lender, because it offers a good deal on fees and exchange rate and will transfer a small amount.

What if there’s no peer match for her money exchange?

Even though Anna is happy with her decision to make the transfer with a peer-to-peer provider, she’s now wondering what happens if there is no one who needs to exchange the same amount of Euros for Aussie dollars.

She talks to her chosen peer-to-peer provider and they assure her not to worry. Even if there is no match for her transfer, the provider will purchase the additional currency anyway and complete the transfer for her.

What details will she need to do the IMT?

Now that she’s ready to go ahead with her International Money Transfer, Anna just needs to make sure she has all the correct details, so the money gets to her brother without any hassles. She’ll need to provide:

  • Her personal details - including name, address, email address, date of birth, country of birth and phone number.
  • Her Aussie bank details - including BSB and account number for the bank account that the money will come out of.
  • Her brother’s details - including his name, address, and country of residence, plus his bank account number, bank name, address and SWIFT/BIC code.

Anna will need to set up her account with the peer to peer lender and then transfer her $200 into their account. From there, the lender will find a peer match for her money and then complete the transfer into her brother's account.

Anna makes the transfer 3 days before her brother’s birthday just to be safe, and he receives the money right on time!

Need to make a small international money transfer?

Do you have a small international money transfer to make? Check out our international money transfer hub to find the best rates and snag a great deal.