Mozo guides

IMT vs bank transfer - which is better for sending money overseas?

australian money rolled up

When it comes to sending money across the globe, you’ll generally have two main options: make the transfer with a bank or use an international money transfer specialist.

Can’t decide which one is the better option? Well, you’re in luck because in this guide we’ll run you through the major pros and cons of each.

Check them out below:

International money transfer specialist

Otherwise known as FX or IMT specialists, money transfer providers like SendFXTorFX and OFX or the winners of the Mozo Expert Choice Awards.

PROS:

  • More competitive exchange rates. What you’ll find with IMT specialists is they have a lower margin to your money transfer. Typically the rates they offer are better than banks.
  • Fee free transactions. Many FX specialists offer currency exchanges without a big fee. So not only will you generally receive a better exchange rate due to the lower margin applied, but will steer clear of hefty bank fees, which usually range between $20-$50 per transaction.

CONS:

  • No face to face service. You’ll have to be comfortable with organising your money transfer entirely online or over the phone, as generally speaking IMT specialists don’t provide face to face service.
  • Dealing with an unfamiliar provider: It can be a bit daunting transferring your Aussie dollars with an exchange provider you don’t know much about. But there are ways to get around this by ensuring the provider you’re transferring with is regulated by ASIC. All providers listed on the Mozo website are licensed providers.

Bank transfer

Alternatively, another option for exchanging your money, is doing it through an Australian bank you know and trust like CommBank, ANZ, NAB, Westpac or HSBC. 

PROS:

  • In branch customer service. If you’re new to the process of transferring money overseas, doing it through your bank could be a good option, as a bank manager can take you step by step through the entire process.
  • They are familiar. You’ve probably had a relationship with your bank for years, perhaps even decades, so you know that you can trust them with your money.

CONS:

  • Lower exchange rates. But this face to face contact can come at a price, as banks often apply higher margins on the interbank rate, resulting in lower exchange rates passed onto customers.
  • Higher fees. On top of lower exchange rates, you may also be hit with a big exchange fee that banks often charge whether you transfer online or in person. By comparison, many IMT specialists offer fee free currency conversion transactions if you make large transactions.

What are my other options for sending money abroad?

Before you pick an IMT specialist or bank for your transfer, we should mention there are a few other options available, which include:

Peer to peer transfers

Peer to peer (P2P) platforms use a method called “member matching” to make the process of sending money overseas more affordable. How it works is they match you with a person in the country you’re looking to send money to that is transferring a similar amount and only charge a small fee for providing you with the service. When your money is converted it’s done so with the “real” exchange rate (or close to it) also known as the mid-market rate, so the savings made could be considerable.

PayPal

If you have a PayPal account for things like shopping online, you could also use it for sending money abroad. The process is pretty similar to going through an IMT specialist or bank, but rather than providing the recipient’s bank account details you’ll need to supply their email or mobile number which is linked to a PayPal account. If they don’t have one, PayPal will send them instructions to open an account. If you do decide to send money through this option, make sure you compare the fees with the other options mentioned above.

Foreign cheque (also known as an international bank draft)

You might have thought foreign cheques were a thing of the past, but in fact they are still an option offered by quite a few of the major banks in Australia. They work in the same way as a regular cheque but a foreign currency of your choice is drawn down, rather than Aussie dollars. This option might be your match if you want to have tangible evidence of your money transfer to send to a loved one back home or perhaps you’re a traveller who would like to carry a foreign cheque as a backup when overseas. Keep in mind, you’ll be charged a fee by your bank for issuing the cheque and the receiving bank may also charge the recipient a fee for cashing it.

Making the final decision

As you can see there are many different ways you can exchange your Aussie bills to an international currency. The bottom line is that there’s no one size fits all approach, as what will work for you may not be the best option for someone else.

For instance, exchanging money through a bank may be the ideal option for a person who has never done a money transfer before, as they’ll be guided through the entire process with a bank manager in branch. But, on the other hand, someone who regularly sends money abroad and is familiar with the IMT process may be better off going for a FX specialist as they generally offer more competitive exchange rates and lower fees - or none at all!

No matter which option you decide to go for, make sure you compare IMT deals by using an online calculator. Mozo’s International Money Transfer comparison table, pulls a range of money transfer offers from everyone from the big banks to the smaller online specialists, to help make choosing an international money provider a breeze.

I want to transfer
to
Today’s foreign exchange rates
  • Excellent exchange rates, no transfer fees
  • 24/7 transfers online, over the phone or through the TorFX app
  • Personal account management and expert insights

$6,760 USD

  • IN PERSON
    n/a
    BY PHONE
    $0
    ONLINE
    $0
  • $0.6760 USD

  • 1-2 days

  • $200 minimum

  • Send to 200+ countries and 100+ currencies globally
  • Dedicated Australia-based client services team with personal account management for transfers over $20,000
  • 48,000+ 5-star 'Excellent' ratings on TrustPilot

$6,747 USD

  • IN PERSON
    n/a
    BY PHONE
    $0
    ONLINE
    $0
  • $0.6747 USD

  • 1-3 days

  • none

  • Fee Free transfers
  • Talk to a human, 24/7. Sharp Rates and Fast and Secure transfers.
  • Australian owned, ASX listed and Official Foreign Exchange Provider of the NHL

$6,713 USD

  • IN PERSON
    n/a
    BY PHONE
    $0
    ONLINE
    $0
  • $0.6713 USD

  • 1-2 days

  • $250 minimum
    $500 monthly minimum for regular transfers

  • Fee free for selected countries on the first transfer
  • Transfer in minutes, 24/7 Live support
  • Wide range of options - Cards, Bank transfer, Wire, Cash pickup and E-wallet

$6,737 USD

  • IN PERSON
    n/a
    BY PHONE
    $0
    ONLINE
    $0
  • $0.6737 USD

  • Within minutes

  • $0 minimum

Mozo Editorial
Mozo Editorial

Mozo’s team of experienced journalists and money experts provide news, insights, practical guides and expert analysis to help you master your personal finances. We follow editorial guidelines that focus on accuracy, reliability and timeliness; helping you make informed financial decisions with confidence and the most of your hard-earned money.