Send Money from Australia to USA: How To Find the Best and Cheapest Deals

Sending money from Australia to the US is a very popular money transfer corridor.

In fact the AUD/USD is the fifth most traded currency pair, so much so, it has its own nickname, the ‘Aussie’.

How original!

Whatever the reason you’re looking to transfer money from Australia to the US, you’ve come to the right place for some expert guidance.

Different providers boast their own unique strengths and finding the one that best suits your needs is crucial.

Ultimately though, you’ll want a provider who has a track record of facilitating secure, swift, and cost-effective international money transfers.

To achieve this, we strongly discourage the use of traditional Australian banks for overseas transfers.

Banks impose high fixed fees, big exchange rate markups, and offer a limited product range.

Instead, this guide advocates choosing an online money transfer provider or currency broker.

All of our recommended providers consistently outperform Australian banks in terms of speed, cost and service.

What options are available to transfer money abroad from Australia to the USA?

Money transfers from AUD/USD trades represent roughly five percent of the entire fx market by volume.

This is driven by the nearly 99,000 Australians calling America home, and the sheer volume of commercial trade between the two countries. In 2022 alone, US exports to Australia totalled $52.1 billion.

So we know that sending money from Australia to the US is a common currency corridor, but how do you actually get your funds from point A to B?

High fees imposed by mainstream banks are driving Australians to explore cheaper alternatives, in an effort to find the cheapest way to send money from Australia to the USA.

There is certainly no shortage of providers. Let’s take a closer look at the various types of money transfer companies so you can then start to narrow down your options.

Australian banks: While providing convenience because you’re already registered, opting to transfer with a traditional bank often results in a sluggish and costly process.

The major Australian banks, known as the ‘big five,’ impose substantial fees and offer unfavourable exchange rates, anywhere from 2.5% to 4.5% above the mid-market rate.

Remittance companies: Services like Western Union offer swift transfer options enabling speedy cash collection for recipients.

However, even some of the more economical providers in this domain like Remitly, still fall short in cost-effectiveness when compared to our recommended money transfer services.

Therefore, choosing a remittance company is advisable only when there is a specific requirement for the beneficiary to receive cash.

PayPal and e-wallets: PayPal is a widely recognised digital payment service facilitating international transfers, but it is far from the most economical option.

If both you and the recipient have a Paypal account, it’s a very convenient choice, but be prepared to incur charges totalling 4-5% of the total transaction amount.

Online money transfer providers: We recommend selecting a specialised provider for a number of reasons.

The majority of these companies levy lower fees and offer more favourable exchange rates than banks and other alternatives.

The true cost of using a competitive online money transfer service normally equates to no more than 2% of the transfer total.

Currency brokers excel in transferring large amounts from Australia to the USA.

You’ll benefit from working with an experienced, dedicated account manager, who will guide you through the process and explore additional services to enhance the value of your transfer.

What is the cheapest way

There are several expenses associated with transferring money to the US, and understanding these costs is crucial in determining the best method.

Transfer fees: Banks typically impose a fixed transfer fee, dependent on the total send amount and transfer method (in-branch, online, or over the phone). 

The ‘big five’ banks in Australia charge anywhere from $9 to $32 AUD for in-branch or over-the-phone transfers. 

Some have recently waived fees for in-app transfers in an effort to be more competitive with online money transfer providers. 

Currency brokers tend to charge no payment fees at all.

Certain specialist companies like ‘Wise’ apply a variable transfer fee based on the recipient’s country and the total funds being transferred.

Exchange rate markup: Most banks and money transfer providers add a margin on top of the mid-market AUD/USD exchange rate.

The mid-market rate is rarely advertised by providers, so the FX markup is a somewhat concealed cost, requiring customers to calculate it independently.

This is where Australian banks tack on an FX markup between 2.5% to 4.5%.

The providers recommended in this article present cost-effective alternatives, with markups totaling less than 2%. 

Most of the time they’re even cheaper.

Cost Saving Example

ANZ BankWise
Amount sent10,000 AUD10,000 AUD
Transfer fees$9 AUD$48.40 AUD
Exchange rate markup4.3%0%
Total deductions$439 AUD$48.40 AUD
Amount received$6,382.25 USD$6,643.19 USD

By opting for one of our recommended service providers, in this scenario, you stand to save $390 AUD on a $10,000 AUDUSD transfer – a wise choice indeed.

Believe it or not, some other major Australian banks offer less favourable exchange rates than ANZ, meaning you could end up saving more than $400 AUD on a 10K transfer! 

On board with the idea of using a bank alternative? Great! 

The cheapest way to transfer money from Australia to the USA will often come down to how much you’re looking to send. 

It’s not always that simple, but it acts as a great guide in the right direction.

For substantial transfers of $30,000 or more, we strongly advise choosing one of our recommended currency brokers. 

These specialists excel in handling large sums, providing attractive rates with no accompanying fees.

As highlighted earlier, their expert guidance throughout the process can assist you in timing your transfer to take advantage of favourable currency swings.

They also have hedging tools like forward contracts to secure a rate for a set period in the future, providing security and potentially saving you even more. 

For smaller transfers of less than $30,000, an online-only money transfer provider is likely the most cost-effective choice. 

While you’ll need to manage the transfer independently, in return you’ll be securing the best possible exchange rates for smaller value transfers.

You’ll also steer clear of the hefty fees imposed by banks and other expensive alternatives like Paypal.

Fastest way 

If both you and your beneficiary are registered with the same e-wallet provider, a company like PayPal offers instant transfers. 

However, keep in mind that you won’t have immediate support on standby should you encounter any complications, like a merchant claiming not to have received your funds.

It’s one of many reasons why for larger or high-priority transfers, we recommend opting for a currency broker. 

Time zones permitting, you can typically finalise your transfer on the same day. 

Your account manager can also provide real-time tracking of your transfer at any time.

If we’re solely looking at speed, if both you and your recipient use the same online money transfer app, this is likely the quickest route. 

A transfer between ‘Wise’ accounts is essentially instant.

Other providers may offer express services to transfer funds to the US, but this will often come with a considerable cost attached. 

How do I know my money is safe? 

We get it.

The security of your money is of utmost importance.

Sadly though, most people often gravitate towards Australia’s expensive ‘big five’ banks, unaware that there are safe, credible and regulated alternatives.

Be assured that our recommendations only extend to providers that adhere to stringent regulations in Australia, possess an AFS licence, and boast extensive experience in transferring money to America.

They’ve garnered tens of thousands of positive TrustPilot reviews, a testament to their reliability in the industry.

These certified reviews serve as a valuable resource for delving deeper into each company, offering firsthand accounts from many satisfied customers, many of whom provide great detail of their experiences.

4 step process to transfer money to the USA

Compare your options and choose your provider 

With a better understanding of the available choices, you can now create a shortlist of providers tailored to your specific requirements.

From there, decide which one offers the most comprehensive package for your transfer needs to send money to the USA.

Keep in mind that certain providers impose minimum or maximum transfer limits.

It’s crucial to check these limits before proceeding to the next step, as that may eliminate certain options.

Register a new account with your provider

To complete the necessary verification check, often referred to as ‘Know Your Customer,’ you’ll need to have a form of identification readily available.

This step is typically a swift and straightforward process with most modern non-bank providers.

Format the details of your bank transfer

Incorrectly formatting your details can lead to delays or, worse, result in your funds being sent to the wrong account.

Take time to accurately record your recipient’s name, contact information, and bank details.

This includes the beneficiary’s account number, the bank’s address, and its SWIFT code.

US SWIFT codes consist of 11 characters and identify the recipient’s country, city, bank, and branch.

If the SWIFT code you’ve found only has 8 digits, it refers to the bank’s primary office.

Confirm your transfer total to settle your deal

All that’s left to do is confirm the total amount of AUD you wish to convert to USD or, alternatively, the amount of USD you want to arrive with your beneficiary.

Once your exchange rate is secured, proceed to lock in the trade, establishing a legal contract with your provider to fulfil your AUD-USD transfer.

Your provider will supply the necessary payment details so you can easily fund your transfer.

How to minimise costs for your international money transfer (AUD to USD)

Choosing the best suited provider for your unique needs is arguably your biggest decision in helping to minimise costs.

Got your shortlist of providers ready? Reach out for comparative quotes to get a clear and transparent view on the true cost of your transfer, as well as a feel for the company’s service.

But that’s not all you can do to help minimise costs.

To secure the best AUD-USD exchange rate, ask yourself ‘is now a good time to send money to America?’

Historically, AUD and USD have displayed significant levels of volatility against each other, so paying close attention to the current state of affairs can help you get the most out of your transfer.

In the past 5 years the AUD-USD rate has been as high as 0.7976 and as low as 0.5740.

That’s a 28% swing!

In 2023 alone, the rate dropped by 12% between February and October.

For bigger transactions, making a poorly timed trade can end up costing you way more than trading with a provider offering a high exchange rate markup.

That’s why currency brokers often come out on top as the smart choice for sending money from Australia to the US.

These folks don’t just facilitate transfers; they provide knowledge about past trends and outside factors, such as political unrest, that might mess with your AUD to USD transfer.

As we’ve already highlighted, securing your trade during a favourable currency swing can lead to some serious savings.

Currency brokers also offer hedging services like forward contracts. You can use these to lock in an exchange rate you’re happy with, for a set period of time up to 2 years in the future.

For folks on a tight budget that are eyeing a move to join over 99,000 Aussies in calling the US home, hedging tools can be a game changer.

Hedging services from currency brokers can help you keep property purchases and overseas mortgages on track, steering clear of the wild ride of AUD-USD currency swings.

Our Verdict 

You should have arrived at this summary with a clearer idea of how to navigate the money transfer provider space.

You’re now ready to choose a provider for sending your money from Australia to the US.

Only you will know which is the best company for you, based on your answers to the questions raised throughout this article.

Just know that if you’re sticking with a traditional bank, you’re almost certainly missing out.

Online transfer providers and currency brokers offer the safest, easiest and most cost effective ways to send your money to the US.