Whatever the reason for your international money transfer, be it financing your international mortgage or buying that dream classic car, here are a few simple tricks to help you save when sending money abroad.
1. Look beyond your bank. While it may seem like the simplest option to transfer money with your bank, it could cost you big time. Many banks charge high fees to send or receive international money transfers (often around $30), and many people assume that’s the end of the story. It’s not. Banks usually build in a 5% margin onto the market exchange rate for the day. 5% may not sound that bad, but on a $10,000 transfer, that’s $500 on top of the $20-$30 fee you’ve already paid. It really adds up.
To keep more of your hard earned cash, use a specialist money transfer provider. Companies like OFX help customers save up to 75% on those hefty margins and they usually charge low to no fees.*
2. Lock it in. Exchange rates fluctuate by the second, so if you’re not able to watch the currency markets, you could get shocked if your currency suddenly tanks before your transfer. When looking for a money transfer provider, choose one that bases their price on live exchange rates and make sure the rate you’re quoted is the rate you’ll actually receive.
Many peer-to-peer services publish a price that looks really enticing, but by the time your transfer goes through, the exchange rate could’ve shifted by up to 2.9%. That could be $290 dollars on a $10,000 transfer.
Look for a company that locks in your rate when you book a deal, e.g. a product called Forward Contracts. If you’ve got a future event coming up like a property investment deal, Forward Contracts let you lock in an rate today and keep that rate for up to 12 months, so you know what your money will be worth even if you don’t want to send it yet. Forward Contracts help to keep cash flow predictable.
3. Stay alert. Money moves fast and with today’s busy lifestyles, it can be hard to keep up. Fortunately, it’s easy to sign up for notifications that message you when your currency pair is on the move. Some specialist money transfer providers also offer Limit Orders—a contract that automatically transfers your money but only when your currency pair hits a desired rate. These types of products are ideal for people who have flexible dates for sending their money. So if you’ve got the payment for a destination wedding coming up in the next year, you can use a Limit Order to try to save by booking a transfer that only executes if the rate reaches a desirable target. If the target rate isn’t achieved, you pay nothing and can transfer the funds as normal.
4. Spread it out. If you need to transfer larger amounts like $100,000 or more, you could benefit from making a series of smaller transfers, eg five transfers of $20,000. This non-binding strategy may allow you to profit from favourable fluctuations and can help mitigate your exposure to sudden market shifts. Do be aware that this strategy may also incur more bank transaction fees for you and your recipient.
*Average savings based on published rates of ANZ, Westpac, NAB and CBA on a single transfer of AUD$10,000 to USD between 21.2.17 and 2.3.17. Transaction costs excluded. Quoted savings are not indicative of future savings.
OzForex Limited trading as “OFX”. ABN 65 092 375 703; AFSL 226 484. This information has been prepared without taking into account the investment objectives, financial situation and particular needs of any particular person. OFX and its subsidiaries make no recommendations as to the merits of any financial product referred to in this document. Please read our Product Disclosure Statement and our Financial Services Guide. OFX is regulated in Australia by ASIC.