What’s the cheapest way to send money overseas? Four factors to consider

Australia By Cecilia Hendrix April 28, 2021

If you’re here, you’re likely looking for the cheapest way to send money overseas. The answer? …It isn’t black and white. That’s because there are several factors you should consider whenever you are sending money abroad, and ultimately, the cheapest option isn’t always the best option.

As you research different methods for sending international money transfers, the cost is just one factor you should consider, but it’s not the end-all-be-all. There are many instances where the “cheapest” way to send money overseas, isn’t so cheap once you are hit with hidden fees (and the emotional stress that comes with not knowing if your money is secure).

There are plenty of methods for money transfer, from sending funds through a traditional bank to using a money transfer service—many of which allow you to make account-to-account transfers and more. But not all methods are created equal. Look beyond the exchange rate and keep these four factors in mind as you research the cheapest way to transfer money abroad.

1. Consider the real cost of the money transfer

When considering your options for transferring money, it’s important to consider the costs, both literal and metaphorical. When we talk about literal costs, we mean the fees associated with making a money transfer. This includes the current exchange rate, as well as any fees associated with your bank, your receiver’s bank, or the company, product, or service you’re using to send money. Make sure you read the fine print to avoid hidden fees for you and your receiver.

It’s also important to consider the metaphorical costs of sending money, including the time and stress of ensuring the method you choose is secure. The right money transfer service will be able to provide transparent costs and security, so don’t compromise.

To avoid international money transfer mishaps, take the time to research the company, product, or service you’re thinking of using. Look at reviews from real customers, read the company’s history to understand how long they’ve been in business, and look for any partnerships they may have that prove their validity. You may find that the cheapest option isn’t the safest.

2. Consider the speed of the transfer

The cheapest way to send money overseas won’t always matter if it takes weeks or months for the money to arrive. When you’re comparing your options, make sure you have a clear understanding of how long it will take your money to reach your receiver.

International money transfers typically take between two to five business days. While this might not seem like a significant window of time, be mindful if you have a scenario where you need to get money to your receiver as soon as possible. If your loved one is relying on a money transfer to cover an emergency, spending a few extra dollars with an established company, product, or service may be worth it to know exactly when your money will get there.

3. Consider the transfer limits

Various factors affect how much you can transfer, including which country you’re sending money to and from, your money transfer history, and the method you choose to send the money.

Most reputable options for sending money overseas will limit your transfers to ensure they are following the guidelines and restrictions outlined by each country. The additional cost of ensuring you follow all necessary steps is worth it if your money gets to your receiver securely.

With Western Union specifically, transfer limits vary by country, but you can send up to 50,000 AUD to a bank account when you pay with POLi.

4. Consider the coverage

Consider the coverage offered by the bank, company, product, or service you’re vetting. A bank, for example, is typically a safe way to transfer money from country to country. However, if that bank doesn’t exist in the country that you’re sending money to, or can’t make transfers easily with other banks, things can become complicated.

Send money with Western Union

Cheaper doesn’t always mean better when it comes to money transfers. Confidence in the money transfer process, trusted exchange rates, transparent fee structures, and helpful customer service are all important to consider when selecting a method to send funds.

When you start transferring money, fill out the applicable fields to get an estimate before you complete your transaction.