Online Money Transfers Through Digital Providers

Online international money transfers.
20 years ago, who would have thought people would move substantial amounts using a digital method?
Also, who would have thought that by sending money online, a customer would be able to save 50, 60, or even 80% compared to the bank.
Who would have thought that there will be such disparity between some online providers?

View the current rates for online transfers

0 AUD -> NZD
£
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    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
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  • 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
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  • 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
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  • 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
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Last updated: 18/05/2024

How to choose a digital platform for international payments

Australians have a huge range of providers to choose from that facilitate international money transfers.

People have grown more comfortable managing their finances online and this mentality shift has moved customers away from traditional banks, toward more innovative and cost effective solutions. But with so many providers offering ‘bank-beating rates’ and ‘market leading digital platforms’, finding the right provider for you can be a daunting task for some.

We’re here to help.

This article examines the key features of online money transfer providers, giving you the knowledge to confidently navigate yourself toward the best provider for your individual needs. We’ll also highlight how much you stand to save by choosing one of our recommended providers over one of Australia’s ‘big five’ banks.

How do online money transfer websites and app work?

An online money transfer service i, put simply, it is any provider offering an online service to collect funds from the sender and facilitate a transfer to a designated beneficiary. This includes both domestic and international transfers.

In this article, we’re focused on international transfers involving a currency exchange. Due to the various fees and complexities associated with international transfers, there is a much greater variance in how different providers perform and rank in this domain.

Online money transfer services, some of which at least, offer the fastest and cheapest way to send money overseas from Australia.

How much can I save?

Trust us when we say, A LOT!

Later in the article, we’ll take a more detailed look at the various fees and costs involved in overseas transfers. For now, this example provides an indication of the savings to be had.

AUD to GBP cost saving example

 ANZ BankWise
Amount sent10,000 AUD10,000 AUD
Transfer fees9.00 AUD48.31 AUD
Exchange rate markup3.62%0%
Total deductions370.52 AUD48.31 AUD
Amount received5,028.20 GBP5,201.45 GBP

Wise offers some of the most competitive rates on the market and is a great choice for small-medium sized online money transfers. It’s worth noting that some of the ‘big five’ banks offer poorer exchange rates than ANZ.

So, just by being a little savvy and doing a bit of research, you’d stand to save at least $320 AUD on a $10,000 AUD transfer. A huge saving.

How to transfer money abroad online? 

Do not be deterred by the idea of having to sign up with a new provider. With the majority of leading providers this is a quick and easy process. So much so that for many customers, we recommend registering with a few of their top choices, so they can get a feel for which company is the right fit.

The majority of companies will require you to complete an ID verification check, often referred to as a ‘know your customer’ (KYC) check. This normally takes no more than a couple of hours and is a fundamental part of keeping online money transfers a safe and well regulated space.

Once your registration has been approved, you’ll have access to your online trading platform. From here, you can initiate a transfer by providing the beneficiary’s details and confirming the amount you wish to send. You’ll then be offered an exchange rate, as well as details of any additional fees.

Once you’re happy, you can confirm your transfer and as soon as you’ve added your funds, your provider will get to work with transferring your funds.

It’s that simple.

What are hybrid providers and are they a better alternative?

There’s a long list of money transfer companies that either specialise or are best suited for large transfers, providing customers with access to a dedicated account manager. They allow customers to complete transfers over the phone, by email or in branch. Some of these providers also have an online platform, offering customers the choice to complete their own transfers.

Which raises the question ‘should you consider a hybrid provider in your search for the best online international money service?
Well, we certainly think you should.

For some of the market-leading hybrid providers, their online platforms are anything but an afterthought. If you choose a hybrid provider that’s doing things the right way, you get the best of both worlds.

A slick and seamless online platform at your fingertips, with the ability to pick up the phone at any point to your own personal currency expert. Money transfer services are not regulated to provide direct financial advice. But they can offer guidance and currency forecasts, as well as suggest hedging tools or other products that can be beneficial for your international transfer.

And as if you needed another reason to consider a hybrid provider, you’ll even be able to negotiate your exchange rates as time goes on, based on the more money you exchange.

How to determine the best way to transfer money internationally online? 

There is no ‘one size fits all’ equivalent for money transfer providers. But that doesn’t mean we can’t offer a helping hand to assist you in finding the best provider for your needs.

We’ve used the below categories to highlight some of the key things to watch out for, as well as assessing how well some of the most popular providers stack up in these areas.

Sign up process

Signing up with the majority of leading money transfer providers is a fairly easy process. It’s certainly worth staying attentive throughout this process though, you only get one chance to make a first impression after all!

Finding it difficult to navigate through the sign up stage? Is the ID scanning software running into multiple errors? This might be a sign of more problems to come.

How much care and maintenance a provider puts into its onboarding process should tell you all you need to know about how well their online platform will operate.
If we said their website was their shop window that got you through the door, make sure you like what’s inside before you start parting with your cash.

Wise

We found signing up with Wise to be a fairly seamless process. When confirming your phone number, they provide the option of sending a code via whatsapp. This can be very useful for those who may be a resident of their home country but are temporarily outside the country and don’t have the ability to receive SMS communication. You have to take a photo of your chosen ID for verification processes, which is submitted for review by the onboarding team.

Everything seemingly worked as it should and our account was activated within a couple of hours.

PayPal

This was the quickest and easiest process of all, you simply have to confirm your mobile and email and you’re good to go!

Send

Registration with Send was near-instant. All it took was a quick snap of the passport and mobile upload and the account was swiftly approved. No heavy back and forth or requirement for address verification.

For some popular countries, fintechs like Send pay for advanced screening software to do a lot of these checks in the background.

TorFX

TorFX took a little longer, we had to receive a verification link by text (there was no option for WhatsApp) and were required to call the team in order to activate our account. Given that TorFX adds most value through its team of account managers and expert guidance it only makes sense they want to build a rapport with you.

Still though, this wasn’t a totally online journey.

Ease of Use

For online money transfers, you are doing most of the leg work yourself. So you need a platform that is easy to navigate, simple to use, and does a great job of clearly displaying all of the important information.

Wise

Transferring money online with Wise is a breeze.

Their smooth multi-page system does a great job of highlighting all the important information, with a minimal design to reduce any unnecessary noise. Wise will automatically recognise the beneficiary’s country based on the currency, and pre-format the recipient page so that you know exactly what information is required.

Send Payments

The interface with Send is slick and simple.

Initiating a transfer is just as, if not even more easy, than doing so with Wise. You simply input the amount you want to send online, agree to the transfer (where it becomes a legally binding contract), format the details of the person or business you’re paying and then choose how you want to settle your deal.

It’s easy to book trades with Send over the phone or online.

Send account overview
It’s easy to book trades with Send over the phone or online

TorFX

TorFX has a basic but fully functional online trading system. Initiating a transfer was still pretty easy.

One thing to watch out for is the online transfer limit of 25,000 GBP or AUD equivalent. Sending more than this and you need to do it by speaking to your account manager over the phone, which can actually be very beneficial for transfer of this amount (more on this later).

PayPal

PayPal can only facilitate international online money transfers if the recipient or merchant also has a PayPal account. But providing they do, the process couldn’t be simpler.

Simply enter their name, email, phone number, or username, then confirm your amount, and finally just click whether you’re sending to ‘friends and family’ or ‘for goods & services’

It’s that easy!

Send Payments

Get insights and read reviews on Send Payments for informed decisions.

Send Payments Reviews
PayPal

Discover what users say about PayPal for money transfers.

PayPal Reviews
TorFX

Explore reviews for TorFX and make your transfer with confidence.

TorFX Reviews

Fees and Exchange rates

There are typically two types of charges associated with overseas online money transfers:
FX markup – the percentage difference between the mid-market exchange rate and the rate offered by the providerTransfer fees – These are often fixed based on the transfer amount and currencies being traded, but are occasionally calculated as a variable fee

It’s ok, we get it.

Having the market’s slickest platform is great and all, but for a lot of you reading, it’s about the dollars, and how many of them you can keep in your pocket. You might have already narrowed your options down to a couple of great choices and simply want to make your final decision based on cost. After all, it was likely the bank’s high fees and poor exchange rate markups that brought you here in the first place!

Well, a good starting rule is that not all online money transfer services are cheaper than banks, but most are.

E-wallets

Take PayPal for example, the world’s leading and most popular digital wallet provider.

PayPal offers an extremely slick and convenient payment solution for Australians, but when it comes to international transfers, they’re one of the most expensive options available. For almost all overseas transfers where you’re sending money to another entity, whether that’s friends, family, or a merchant, PayPal will apply a 4% fx markup. You’ll also pay an additional $5.99 in transfer fees.

Remember our cost saving example earlier in this article?

Well, for the same $10,000 AUD to GBP transfer with PayPal, you’d pay $405.99 AUD in fx markups and fees. That’s even more expensive than some banks!

Here is a full table of e-Wallet fees from Australia for an international transfer:

ServiceTransfer FeeCurrency Conversion FeeWithdrawal FeeDeposit Fee
PayPal5% (min AUD 0.99, max AUD 5.99), 5% + 2.6% + fixed fee for card3% to 4% markupUp to 3%, 1% to card2.6% + fixed fee
SkrillUp to 2.99%3.99%1.75%, 1.99%, EUR 5.500.00%, 1.00%
ecoPayz0.00-10.00%, 2.90%, EUR 0.00 – EUR 3.503.99%EUR 2.90 – EUR 7.00, 1.00%, min EUR 5.90Varies
WebMoney0.8% (min 0.01 WM)Varies6%Varies

Online money transfer providers

On the other end of the scale you have a company like ‘Wise’, one of the cheapest online money transfer services, charging just over $48 AUD for the same transaction.

Wise operate a slightly different pricing structure, as they always offer exchanges at the mid-market rate, so the $48 AUD charge is a variable transfer fee that is unique to each transaction.

Hybrid providers

The leading hybrid providers also land somewhere on the cheaper end of the scale.

As of December 2023, Send Payments were applying a 1% fx markup for the same AUDGBP transfer, meaning you’d lose just $52.40 AUD in the markup. Send Payments charge no transfer fees, so the loss from the fx markup is all you’d be charged.

Generally speaking, this is a fair representation of how providers rank in regards to cost. For small to medium sized transfers, equivalent to $20,000 AUD or less, an online only provider like ‘Wise’ will most often offer the most competitive rates.

Hybrid providers are still very competitive with their costs but for the small additional cost, offer an enhanced service and access to a wider range of fx products. Many e-wallets like PayPal, do not typically offer a competitive solution for international transfers in terms of cost, regardless of the transfer amount.

Customer Service 

Given you’re planning to manage your own transfers with an online platform, customer service might not be the first thing that springs to mind when comparing providers.

But what happens when things don’t go exactly to plan?

Being able to easily raise queries and promptly resolve issues will be important to a lot of you reading, as a lot of international payments can be time sensitive.

Once again, PayPal stands out in this domain for the wrong reasons. A good proportion of their poor customer reviews relate to the difficulties of getting help from their customer service team.

Whilst Wise have a far better online reputation, their customer service being slow to respond is certainly a theme throughout many of their negative reviews.

This is where hybrid providers are really leaps ahead of the competition. Having your own personal account manager to provide updates on your transfer, or simply to answer any questions, is considered invaluable to many who make regular or high value transfers. Yes, you might have been able to complete your transfer at a slightly lower cost with a cheaper provider, but many are willing to pay for the higher level of service.

Xe, a solid provider, though not one of our top rated money transfer companies, is an interesting case nonetheless. They have a dedicated account team service reserved for those that trade more than $50,000 USD a year (or local currency equivalent). So whilst Xe’s offering is largely digital focused, they have that extra layer of enhanced service for those that are eligible.

A nice touch.

Safety

Concerns around safety are likely one of the biggest drivers for people defaulting to their bank for overseas online transfers.

We understand, everyone has heard of at least one money scam nightmare tale, so choosing a new provider may be a daunting task for some. Well, to put you at ease, we can say with confidence there is a huge range of bank alternatives that are all deemed very safe and are highly regulated.

In Australia, you’re looking for providers that are regulated by either ​​ASIC and AUSTRAC, or both. Many will also hold an Australian Financial Services Licence (AFSL). Do not be alarmed that money transfer companies in Australia do not have a credit licence, as they are a dedicated service, not a bank.

Keen to hear from customers themselves? Look up your provider on TrustPilot, where you can dive into the company’s verified reviews and hear first hand from real customers. A quick Google into the company’s security never hurts either!

Even tech giants like PayPal have experienced a data breach in the past. This extra bit of research into how the company has responded to any issues will help put your mind a little more at ease.

Generally speaking, if you’re working with a highly regulated company that has a good enough sample of positive, verified customer reviews, then you should feel confident trading with them.

Who offers the best service?

Ah if only it was that easy! You could have saved yourself the time and just scrolled down to our verdict.

As you might have guessed, the ‘best provider’ will be different for everyone, depending on their individual requirements. But we’ll do our best to help simplify the decision making process.

Transferring less than $20,000 AUD?

A streamlined online only provider such as ‘Wise’ is likely your best bet.
You’ll receive some of the best rates available and have access to a slick online platform. Just be patient getting hold of customer service should you run into any issues.

Transferring $20,000 AUD or more?

We’d recommend going with one of the leading hybrid providers like Send Payments or TorFX.
You’ll still receive fantastic rates and have access to a really slick online platform should you want to complete transfers yourself.

BUT

You’ll have a personal account manager you can contact for guidance. You’ll be able to negotiate better rates over time, and these can also be applied to your online account. Plus, you’ll have access to hedging tools and other products that might help you save even more on your international online money transfers.