Studying abroad this year? Save with a specialist IMT provider

Thursday 15 February 2018

Article by Ben Tosi

Many university students across Australia are lapping up the final weeks of a well-earned summer break with midweek trips to the beach or lazy days binging Netflix. Meanwhile, others are hard at work, saving their precious pennies for what is going to be a glorious semester abroad later this year - but how can their budgets benefit with an international money transfer?

Student in front of Budenstag building, Berlin.

Studying abroad has become an increasingly attractive option for Aussies over recent years.

According to the Australian Government’s Department of Education and Training, the number of university students heading overseas for a semester have increased year-on-year from 18,374 in 2010 to over 38,000 in 2015.

Aside from experiencing new cultures and exposing yourself to new cities, taking a semester overseas also gives Aussie students a slight advantage when joining the workforce.

Actually, the Australian Government’s 2016 Graduate Outcome Survey revealed that 74% of undergraduate students who spent time studying abroad jumped into the workforce within four months of graduation, compared to 70% who hadn’t.

RELATED: Too stubborn to save: Aussies overpaying to transfer money abroad this Christmas

The international money transfer (IMT) misconception

Despite all the benefits, living abroad - particularly as a cash-strapped student - can be a pricey endeavour, so you’ll be wanting to make the most of every cent overseas which might mean opening a foreign bank account and using an international money transfer.

While this is a popular option for international students, many believe their standard bank will allow them to transfer their Aussie dollars into their chosen currency, free of charge and at a competitive exchange rate - but that isn’t the case.

In fact, in December Mozo reported that one million Aussies believe their banks offer international money transfers as a free service when in reality, many banks charge an upfront fee alongside marked up exchange rates.

Securing a specialist IMT provider

So, what is the answer for Aussie students taking their studies abroad? A specialist IMT provider, of course.

These providers often waive the upfront fee, charge far more competitive exchange rates than the big banks and usually clear your money quicker too - meaning you can make the most of your money and get access to it faster.

Using Mozo’s IMT comparison tool, we found that an Aussie student spending a semester in the US (our most popular studying destination) and transferring $10,000 AUD through Mozo Experts Choice winner, TorFX would get $7,902USD within 1-2 days, without any additional fee.

Meanwhile, the same student using the least competitive exchange rate in our database on offer from a big four bank would get just $7,494USD within 2-5 days including a fee of up to $30 for making the transaction in person or online - resulting in savings of $408.

RELATED: Big banks are still ripping off international money transfer customers with exchange rate markups says Transferwise

“This goes to show how important it is for young Aussies to do their research and shop around when transferring money overseas,” said Mozo Director, Kirsty Lamont.

“If you’re heading abroad for a semester you’ll want to make your money stretch, so finding the best possible exchange rate and a transfer service with low or no fees is really important.”

If you’ve got a semester abroad planned, check out Mozo’s travel money hub where you can find a host of guides and tips to make sure you’re making the most of a student budget.

*All figures, including exchange rate calculations correct at the time of writing.

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