Paying bills overseas
There was a time when paying an overseas bill required a lot of paperwork, paying exorbitant bank and foreign exchange fees and lots of your time. These days needing to make an international payment can be as simple as logging onto your smart phone and in a few clicks you’ve transferred money across the globe.
Whether you need to make a one off bill payment or a recurring bill payment each month, it’s important to know that you’ve got a range of international money transfer options at your disposal. Depending on the bill amount and currency, you have the choice of paying by credit card, PayPal, international money transfer or a standard bank wire transfer.
The most cost effective choice for bill payments over $200 is to use a international money transfer (IMT) service. Some of the most popular bills that people pay using an overseas money transfer service include:
- Mortgage payments
- University and school fees
- Staff wages
- Supplier invoices
- Utility bills
- Holiday rental deposit and accommodation charges
Credit card payments vs IMT
While credit cards are easy and accepted by a large majority of overseas suppliers, international credit card payments generally attract a foreign exchange fee which is usually around 3.5% of the transaction amount. The exchange rate charged for the transaction will also be at the discretion of your bank at the time and day of the transfer.
If you are after a credit card to use for international bill payments, please visit our travel credit card section as we list cards that are most likely to have lower foreign exchange fees or check out our Experts Choice Travel Card Winners.
An international money transfer or IMT can be done via online banking with a bank or you can opt to use a foreign exchange specialist to transfer funds to pay an overseas bill. Most foreign exchange providers have an online platform allowing you to transfer funds in a range of currencies to a foreign bank account. Some international money transfer providers will have minimum transfer amounts so if you are making an overseas bill payment which is less than $200 you might be better off using your credit card or PayPal. But for larger bills, an IMT will be cheaper.
How do you compare overseas transfer providers?
The good news is that here at Mozo, we’ve made comparing your international money transfer options a breeze with our handy IMT comparison tool. We compare all major providers from online specialists to the big 4 banks. Simply plug in your currency and transfer amounts and we’ll instantly crunch the numbers to show you how much you’ll get for your transfer.
While the exchange rate is likely to play a large role in your decision which provider to use, it shouldn’t be the only factor. There are four t’s of international money transfers to also take into account:
- Transfer speed. If you need to make a bill payment on a specific date then you don’t want the risk of the funds not arriving on time and ending up with a late payment fee. The speed of transfer can be anything from a same-day transfer to up to 6 business days depending on the currency and country. Most online transfers to major currencies usually complete within 2-4 business days.
- Transfer fees. Some banks will charge you a percentage fee of the transfer amount and others will have a fixed fee so no matter how much or how little you are transferring you will pay the same amount. If you are making a large bill payment, there are some IMT providers that don’t charge for transfers over $10,000.
- Transfer minimums/maximums. Specialist IMT providers generally have minimum transfers of around $200 whereas banks will only allow you to make international bill payments up to your daily internet banking limits. If you are making regular bill payments you’ll want to factor this into your choice of provider.
- Trust. It’s your money so you’ll want to know that you can trust the company to transfer the funds quickly and securely to your nominated payee. All providers that Mozo lists on our website are regulated by ASIC and most provider online platforms use SSL encryption to ensure secure transactions.
What information will you need to pay a bill overseas?
In order to make an overseas bill payment you’ll need to know the following:
1. Full name, address and account number for the person or business you want to send the money to
2. What currency and amount needed to be paid
3. Name, branch number and address or SWIFT BIC (Bank Identifier Code) of the receiver’s bank - IBAN (for payments to Europe and the UK)