Best Australian Banks for International Transfers

Australian Top Four

Australia is dominated by the Big Four banks, holding more than 90% of the market’s share.
The biggest Australian banks all, of course, support international payments, and specifically online money transfers through their online system or app.
It is also estimated by industry experts that the largest Australian banks still hold the lion’s share of the market when it comes to international payments, in spite of extreme pricing compared to the non-bank alternatives in Australia (money transfer companies).
To begin understanding which is the best Australian banks for international transfers, let’s understand the sheer size of those Big Four:

BankTotal Assets (2023)Supports International PaymentsSupports Online Transfers Abroad
Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CommBank)$1.12 trillion
Westpac Banking Corporation (WBC)$1.04 trillion
National Australia Bank (NAB)$964.84 billion
Australian & New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ)$724.88 billion

The costs of transferring money with a bank

It must be stated that the costs of transferring money internationally to a bank account abroad, using your bank, is going to be expensive.
Even if you were to pick the top Australian bank with the cheapest fees and best exchange rates for transfers, you would fall way behind the leading money transfer companies in Australia.
Let’s proceed by displaying the relevant data when it comes the costs of international payments with Australia’s most popular banks:

BankFees – Sent in AUDFees – Sent in Foreign CurrencyExchange Rate Markup (AUDUSD)Exchange Rate Markup (AUDEUR)Exchange Rate Markup (AUDGBP)
ANZ Bank$18 / $32 in-branch<$10,000 $9, >$10,000 $04.06%4.11%3.84%
Commonbank$22 / $30 in-branch$6 / $30 in-branch4.32%4.43%4.54%
NAB$30 / $30 in-branch$10 / $30 in-branch2.57%2.57%2.56%
Westpac$20 / $32 in-branch$10 / $32 in-branch3.95%3.85%3.84%

If we look into these numbers we are looking at outrageous fees on an average size transfer of $10,000-$20,000. As much as ~$850 on a 20k transfer, and as “cheap” as just ~$300 on such a transfer.
In comparison, an online money transfer of $20,000 can cost less than $100.

The best bank for international transfers

Based on fees and exchange rate markups for international payments, Macquarie Bank (via OFX as its service provider) offers the lowest FX markups, making it the best for currency exchange rates.
Both NZ and Macquarie/OFX waive transfer fees for amounts over $10,000 AUD, which is beneficial for large transfers, and for smaller transfers under $10,000 AUD, ANZ has a lower fee ($9) compared to its peers.
NAB has a middle ground in terms of exchange rate markups.
CommBank tends to have the highest costs due to its fees and exchange rate markups.
Hence, our conclusion is that Macquarie Bank (via OFX) is generally the best for international payments, but its costs are still incredibly higher than those of non-bank providers in Australia.

Comparing Australia’s banks with leading providers

As we have displayed the approximated costs of a transfer with a bank, we would like to show you a real time comparison of costs between various international money transfer services.
By conducting a quick search you can understand how much cheaper those services are than banks:

0AUD->NZD
£
  • Fee & exchange rate
    Fee: 0
    Exchange rate: 0
    This company uses individualised quotes that depend on many factors. To receive a quote specific to your requirements, you will need to sign up with the company and ask for it. The rate displayed is representative of what you can receive, but it is not guaranteed.
    0.05% below the mid-market rate
    You RECEIVE
    0
    0
  • Fee & exchange rate
    Fee: 0
    Exchange rate: 0
    This company uses individualised quotes that depend on many factors. To receive a quote specific to your requirements, you will need to sign up with the company and ask for it. The rate displayed is representative of what you can receive, but it is not guaranteed.
    0.05% below the mid-market rate
    You RECEIVE
    0
    0
  • Fee & exchange rate
    Fee: 0
    Exchange rate: 0
    This company uses individualised quotes that depend on many factors. To receive a quote specific to your requirements, you will need to sign up with the company and ask for it. The rate displayed is representative of what you can receive, but it is not guaranteed.
    4.12% below the mid-market rate
    You RECEIVE
    0
    0
  • Fee & exchange rate
    Fee: 0
    Exchange rate: 0
    This company uses individualised quotes that depend on many factors. To receive a quote specific to your requirements, you will need to sign up with the company and ask for it. The rate displayed is representative of what you can receive, but it is not guaranteed.
    1.66% below the mid-market rate
    You RECEIVE
    0
    0
  • Fee & exchange rate
    Fee: 0
    Exchange rate: 0
    This company uses individualised quotes that depend on many factors. To receive a quote specific to your requirements, you will need to sign up with the company and ask for it. The rate displayed is representative of what you can receive, but it is not guaranteed.
    2.97% below the mid-market rate
    You RECEIVE
    0
    0

So why still use a bank to send money internationally?

Using a bank in Australia for international payments offers several advantages:
Your money is insured up to $250,000 AUD by the Australian Government’s Financial Claims Scheme (it is not insured when using a non-bank).
Banks are more strictly regulated than non-banks, ensuring safer transactions.
Access to a wide range of financial services beyond just transfers (no need to sign up to a money transfer service specifically).
Established reputation and reliability that a non-bank can’t copy… Fintech wasn’t around when those banks were set up.

Bank international payment reviews

Below you can find a deep dive we have made into Australia’s top banks to further explain their pros and cons.
We look at each of Australian’s leading banks fees, exchange rates and international transfer capabilities.
We also briefly touch their history and credibility and overview of all banking services.

CommBank

A Top Four Australian Bank.

Commonwealth Bank International Transfers Review

WestPac

A Top Four Australian Bank.
WestPac International Transfers Review

ANZ

A Top Four Australian Bank.

ANZ International Transfers Review

NAB

A Top Four Australian Bank.

NABInternational Transfers Review