How to Exchange Money in Australian Dollars and Not Get Ripped off with Massive Hidden Fees

Send money to Australia

There are lots of ways to transfer money to and from Australian dollars.

  • Withdraw from an ATM in Australia using a debit card in another currency
  • Use a credit card to pay for something in Australia
  • Use a money transfer service such as Western Union
  • Exchange cash at the airport
  • Exchange cash at another money transfer agency
  • Transfer money using a bank
  • PayPal
  • Bitcoin?

So let’s start with the banks. How much do banks charge when transferring money? Let’s find out.

How much do Australian banks charge when transferring $1000?

This is for transfers between US and Aussie dollars. Sending to or receiving from the US.

Transfers between US and Aussie

Note regarding this table: These incredibly high rip-off fees are actually the LOWEST fees the bank charge for international transfers! If you exchange cash over the counter the fees are higher. If you transfer money to a less popular currency such as Thai Baht the fees are even higher still!

Unfortunately it’s not only the banks that charge hidden fees. Let’s find out more about these hidden fees…

Whatever method you use there are HIDDEN FEES

There are two types of fees, the declared fee, and the hidden fee which is a margin that they put on the exchange rate. There is the REAL exchange rate and there is the exchange rate that they give you. The difference is a hidden fee. ALMOST EVERY transfer method has hidden fees. And it’s difficult to find out what they are because they are not declared in most cases!

So if you wire money using your bank, there are hidden fees that your bank will charge or the recipient will be charged. If you use Western Union, there are hidden fees. If you exchange money at the airport where it says “No fees” there are DEFINITELY hidden fees, and in fact probably the largest hidden fees you can possibly pay are at the airport money exchange counter! If you withdraw money at an ATM there are also hidden fees.

Since banks don’t declare how much their hidden fees are, it’s really hard to calculate how much you are getting charged.

If you are using an Australian bank to exchange money then you’re in particularly bad shape because Australian banks like to charge large hidden fees for exchanging money.

Which transfer methods are ripping you off with large hidden fees?

So basically the answer is, if you’re using a bank you are going to get ripped off. If you use a credit card or debit card you will also get ripped off with large hidden fees. If you transfer money at the airport you will get the largest hidden fees possible. If you use PayPal there are also large hidden fees.

What about Bitcoin?

Everyone is talking about Bitcoin but unfortunately there are large exchange fees when trying to transfer from Australian dollars to Bitcoin or vice-versa using a Bitcoin exchange. So Bitcoin is also not a good option in Australia at least.

What if I’m going overseas (for example to Thailand, to the US or to Europe), what’s the best way to exchange money?

The lowest cost way is to send money using one of the money transfer services in the tables below in this article (such as TransferWise). However this means that you need to have a bank account in the receiving country. If this is not possible then the second best way is usually to exchange cash in the other country (not in Australia).

What if I sold my house in Australia and then I want to transfer the money to another country to buy a house in another country (or vice versa)?

In this case it’s a large amount of money and you need to know that you’re getting the best exchange rates. You will get screwed if you use the banks to do this. So the first step is to get a bank account in the receiving country. So if you’re moving from Australia to the US, get a bank account in the US. Then use one of the services mentioned in the article. If it’s a large amount of money you can probably negotiate a discount on their fees.

What if I want to pay a worker in another country such as the Philippines?

We actually have an article specifically on sending money to the Philippines here.

We also have articles about transferring money to: Kenya, Indonesia, Pakistan, Egypt, Mexico, India, Colombia, Romania, Macedonia, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Serbia, Poland and Ukraine

What transfer methods do we use at Time Doctor?

We have a remote team with people in 19 different countries around the world. The two transfer methods we use the most are:

  • TransferWise – is a new kind of financial company that you can use to transfer money internationally at a very low cost. Their system is based on local bank account transfers, which makes transfers abroad cheaper than what banks or other providers charge. They charge a small upfront fee between 0.5% and 2% for transactions, depending on the route.
  • Payoneer – very convenient for sending and receiving. They are also one of the few methods that works to receive money in almost every country and the receiver can get their money on a debit card and withdraw from an ATM. They also have an option for direct transfer to the receiver’s bank account. They also have a $50 bonus if you receive more than $100 through this method.

Tables comparing money transfer services including the cost of hidden fees

The good news are that there are now some FinTech companies that are popping up as alternatives to the banks. They give you a much lower cost alternative for transferring money into Australia. The tables below give you a comparison of these cheaper options.

Table 1: Sending $1000 from the US to Australia
Transfer methodFees to send $1000 USDHidden currency conversion costTotal feesTime for the transfer to arrive
OFX (previously USForex)*$0$7.5$7.51-2 days
TransferWise$10$0$101-2 days
WorldRemit*$4$8$121-3 days
Tranzfers$5$15$203-5 days
Xpress Money$13$7$203-5 days
1st Contact Forex$10$16$263-5 days
Ria Money Transfer (slow)$5$21$263-5 days
Paysera$4$30$341-3 days
Ria Money Transfer (fast)$15$21$36In Minutes
Xoom (slow)$5$32$371-3 days
Western Union (slow)$5$36$417-9 days
Zenbanx$5$49$542-3 days
Wire transfer$25-40$33-48$58-883-5 days
Skrill$4$58$623-5 days
MoneyGram (slow)$25$40$654-6 days
Western Union (fast)$40$36$763-5 days
Xoom (fast)$51$32$83In Minutes
Travelex$0$118$1183-5 days
MoneyGram (fast)$81$40$121In Minutes


  • For Paypal, the fee is zero if sending to a friend or relative and up to 4% if it’s a business transaction.
  • Minimum transfer of $500 for OFX (previously USForex).
Table 2: Sending £1000 from the UK to Australia
Transfer methodFees to send £1000 GBPHidden currency conversion costTotal feesTime for the transfer to arrive
TransferWise£7£0£71-2 days
Azimo£1£6£71-3 days
OFX*£0£7.5£7.51-2 days
Western Union£3£5£83-5 days
CurrencyFair*£4£6£102-4 days
WorldRemit£3£14£171-3 days
OrbitRemit£5£12£172-4 days
Tranzfers£7£14£211-3 days
FAIRFX£0£23£231-3 days
GlobalWebPay£5£21£261-3 days
Exchange4free£0£26£263-5 days
1st Contact Forex£2£26£281-3 days
Travelex£0£29£293-5 days
Easy Exchange£6£24£301-5 days
Xpress Money£20£10£303-5 days
First Remit£20£14£341-3 days
Paysera£2£34£361-3 days
Skrill£4£45£493-5 days
Small World FS£5£59£641-3 days
MoneyGram£41£40£81In Minutes


  • Minimum transfer of £500 for UKForex.
  • Five free transfers with CurrencyFair
Table 3: Sending $1000 from Canada to Australia
Transfer methodFees to send $1000 CADHidden currency conversion costTotal feesTime for the transfer to arrive
OFX*$0$7.5$7.51-2 days
CurrencyFair*$4$6$104-6 days
TransferWise$12$0$121-2 days
WorldRemit*$4$8$121-3 days
Paysera$5$22$271-3 days
Exchange4free$0$31$313-5 days
Tranzfers$15$16$313-5 days
Xpress Money$16$15$313-5 days
1st Contact Forex$10$23$331-3 days
Zenbanx$6$40$462-3 days
Skrill$4$48$523-5 days
Western Union (slow)$25$28$532-4 days
Western Union (fast)$40$28$68In Minutes
MoneyGram$50$39$89In Minutes
Travelex$0$114$1143-5 days


  • Minimum transfer of $500 for OFX.
  • Five free transfers with CurrencyFair
Table 4: Sending €1000 from Western Europe to Australia
Transfer methodFees to send €1000 EURHidden currency conversion costTotal feesTime for the transfer to arrive
TransferWise€7€0€71-2 days
OFX€0€7.5€7.51-2 days
CurrencyFair*€3€7€103-5 days
Azimo€3€12€151-3 days
Paysera€3€12€151-3 days
WorldRemit€4€11€151-3 days
Exchange4free€0€24€243-5 days
Tranzfers€10€14€243-5 days
1st Contact Forex€5€23€281-3 days
Western Union€0€30€303-5 days
First Remit€25€20€451-3 days
Xpress Money€40€9€493-5 days
Skrill€4€48€523-5 days
Travelex€0€53€533-5 days
Small World FS€0€70€703-5 days
MoneyGram€34€41€75In Minutes


  • Minimum transfer of €500 for OFX.
  • Five free transfers with CurrencyFair
Table 5: Sending $1000 from New Zealand to Australia
Transfer methodFees to send $1000 NZDHidden currency conversion costTotal feesTime for the transfer to arrive
TransferWise$7$0$71-2 days
OFX*$0$7.5$7.51-2 days
CurrencyFair*$5$5$103-5 days
WorldRemit$4$12$161-3 days
OrbitRemit$8$14$222-4 days
Travelex$0$24$243-5 days
Tranzfers$12$15$273-5 days
1st Contact Forex$5$23$281-3 days
Exchange4free$0$30$303-5 days
Paysera$5$41$461-3 days
Xpress Money$25$25$503-5 days
Western Union$25$27$52Minutes
Skrill$4$48$523-5 days


  • Minimum transfer of $500 for OFX.
  • Five free transfers with CurrencyFair

Table 6: Various options for sending money from Australia to other countries:

There are hundreds of options of countries where you can send the money to so we’ve simplified this table to a few of the lower cost options. We’ve stated the fees for sending to the US only. The fees are going to be different for other countries, but this gives you a general indication of their level of fees:

Table 6: Options for Sending Money from Australia to other countries
Transfer optionWhere can you transfer to?Fee to send $1k AUD to the US Time to arrive
TransferWiseWestern Europe, UK, India, Philippines, USA, UAE, Australia, Bulgaria, Brazil, Canada, Switzerland, Chile, Czech Republic, Denmark, Georgia, Hong Kong, Hungary, Indonesia, Morocco, Malaysia, Nigeria, Norway, New Zealand, Pakistan, Poland, Romania, Sweden, Singapore, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine$71-2 days
CurrencyFairUAE, Canada, Switzerland, Czech Republic, Denmark, Western Europe, UK, Hong Kong, Hungary, Israel, Norway, New Zealand, Poland, Sweden, Singapore, USA, South Africa$71-3 days
OFX (previously OzForex)UAE, Australia, Canada, Switzerland, Denmark, Western Europe, UK, Hong Kong, Japan, Mexico, Norway, New Zealand, Poland, Sweden, Singapore, Thailand, USA, South Africa, Brunei, China, Czech Republic, Fiji, Hungary, Indonesia, Israel, India, South Korea, Kuwait, Sri Lanka, Morocco, Madagascar, Malaysia, Oman, Peru, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Solomon Islands, Seychelles, Tonga, Turkey, Taiwan, Vietnam, Vanuatu, Samoa, West Africa, French Overseas Collectivities$7.5 – (OFX fees are a lot less expensive for larger transfers)Same day for the US; 1-2 days otherwise
MoneyGramAlmost every country$65In minutes
Western UnionAlmost every country$20In minutes


Ok so what’s the best way to transfer money from and to Australia, just tell me what it is!

If you’re able to send to a bank account in another country (for example you have a friend or relative there or you have a bank account in both countries, then these three currency transfer methods are good options: TransferWise, CurrencyFair and OFX (previously OzForex).

If you traveling on a holiday then usually bringing cash will give you the best exchange rate, however you need to be careful where you exchange money (the airport has very high hidden fees for example)

Whatever you do, avoid the banks! They have large hidden fees and the costs to exchange money are very high.

Try Time Doctor

Leave a reply

  • Scott Seward

    TransferMate is really good too, been using it for several years. Haven’t done a direct comparison to TransferWise though.
    UpVote Reply 0 Upvotes
  • Owen S

    Well done... excellent article. A friend has been using TrasferWise to get his Australian money to Thailand for some time. He's more than happy with the service and to be able to avoid using banks.
    UpVote Reply 0 Upvotes
  • Sweet M. Reyes

    We send money to the Philippines weekly thru LBC and the charge is $8. If we send the money before 1pm, Australian time, the money is in my bank in the Philippines within the same day. I have inquired with CommBank too about money transfers and their fee significantly decreased from $22; however, this would take about 10 business days. If there are other alternatives to send money with a lower fee, then maybe we can consider using another institution.
    UpVote Reply 0 Upvotes
  • Clive Brooks

    I have tried using Transferwise but my bank in Canada (RBC) "refuses" to transfer money to Transferwise even though it is a Canadian bank account and insists I use wire transfer so they can charge me. Is this illegal?
    UpVote Reply 0 Upvotes
  • Ian Gormlie

    I have a NAB traveler card with CAD 1500 I want to convert back to AUD. I notice OFX won't accept credit card (and I assume debit cards such as NAB Traveler card) payments otherwise that would be a great option to convert the CAD left over from my holiday back to AUD. If I use NAB fx then it seems I am getting a very poor exchange rate! Equivalent of a AUD60 fee! Any thoughts would be much appreciated.
    UpVote Reply 4 Upvotes
  • Kylie

    Dear Sir/MadamI'm am to be receiving a large inheratence that was left by my brother in Hong Kong it is now with a law firm in Hong Kong. The question I'm asking is that they will be transferring my funds straight to my bank in Australia as I only live here, but the amount is 31.5 million yes I know I'm very fortunate but every currency converter I use comes up with different amounts! Could you please let me no how much will I be receiving in my account once it's converted into AUS dollars and what will the banks take as soon as it hits my account?
    UpVote Reply 13 Upvotes
  • Momsey

    I am a African. I am form Liberia, Liberia is a country in west Africa. Can you send money from Solomon island to Liberia?
    UpVote Reply 3 Upvotes
  • Daniel Lyne

    Great article. Appreciate the info. I currently use iremit to transfer Australia to the Philipines for my employees, and I find this to be a really good service and is very quick on it's delivery and pretty reasonable on it's prices. Thanks again for the informative comparisons.
    UpVote Reply 0 Upvotes
  • Vicky

    I am using Transferwise to send money from US.I have successfully completed many transfers, And had no any problem so far. They also give fee free transfers. Also, transfers take few days of processing, generally 2 to 3 days overall.
    UpVote Reply 0 Upvotes
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