Transferring money Down Under
March 19, 2004 3:47 AM   Subscribe

International money transfers. I'd like to transfer some money, from the UK, to a family member in Australia. I'd like to do this as quickly and cheaply as possible. Preferably online. Any suggestions? (More inside)

I've already looked at Western Union (phone only), Travelex (in person only) and Paypal (5 day wait at the other end).
posted by MintSauce to Work & Money (10 answers total)
I doubt that you can do this on-line (check with your bank's on-line services, to be sure). I often send money overseas, except out of Australia and have found that the cheapest and most reliable method is via Telegraphic Transfer, arranged by our bank. Usually takes 2-3 days to be in the recipient's account.
posted by dg at 4:08 AM on March 19, 2004

Check iKOBO. I've used their services without problems, possibly not the cheapest though but you may want to keep this for future reference.
posted by azul at 5:11 AM on March 19, 2004

If you're going to send money regularly then open a Flex account at the Nationwide & Fed Ex the card to the address in Oz.
This is an internet banking account & the card can be used at ATMs wordwide.

Western Union are reliable & instant, but charge around 10% commission. Not good.
posted by the cuban at 5:32 AM on March 19, 2004

I've heard good things about XE's XEtrade service for international wire transfers, and it's totally online. These guys have been on the net FOREVER so I'd trust them. I've heard drafting a check can take time, but the wire transfers are fast.
posted by zsazsa at 6:30 AM on March 19, 2004

what dg said. Bank-to-bank is usally fastest and cheapest.
You need
Bank International Code/ SWIFT number (no more than 11 characters)


IBAN - International Bank Account Number (22 characters)

For the account to which you are sending.
posted by Goofyy at 8:14 AM on March 19, 2004

I second iKobo
posted by banished at 11:26 AM on March 19, 2004

I once looked into transferring money internationally -- it's faster to send the paper (though I think it is against FedEx's and DHL's regulations). Just FedEx it (insure it up to the value) and forget it. Takes 2 days.
posted by zpousman at 4:55 PM on March 19, 2004

Actually, dg, you *can* do Telegraphic Transfers online (from some banks, anyway). I pay my student loans in the US via my ANZ account in Oz this way. It costs about $20 in fees though, so I try to send larger amounts (pay a couple months at a time) to minimize them.

Other than that, the easiest way is definitely to have a bank card that works in international ATMs. That's how I was able to access my saved UK funds down here. My only problem was putting more money back into the UK account once I'd migrated. (I ended up going with TT for that.)

I've also received cash via PayPal a couple times, which does have its advantages. You can set it up to transfer the money straight into your Australian account. If you can wait the five days, this is the cheapest and easiest option.
posted by web-goddess at 7:10 PM on March 19, 2004

Just a trap for young players if you go the TT route - Australian banks do not have IBANs and no amount of complaining by the bank you are sending from will make them have one. We have come across this with people sending us money a few times.
posted by dg at 11:14 PM on March 19, 2004

If you go down the TT route, make sure you understand all the charges. Sometimes there will be commissions on the currency conversion, and the receiving bank may tack on their own charges before they credit the money to the recipient's account. The receiving bank may also hold onto the money for a couple of days before crediting it to the recipient's account (US banks do this to me a lot).

Watch out for currency conversion. The commissions and delays may be different if you wire GBP and have the receiving bank convert to AUD; or if you have your bank convert to AUD before sending. Ask about how they determine the currency conversion rate. A lot of the Western Union-style wire transfer services will give you abusive currency conversion rates, whereas with interbank transfers you tend to get better rates.
posted by fuzz at 3:14 AM on March 20, 2004

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