International money transfers limits: how much can I send?

Australia By Cecilia Hendrix April 5, 2021

Transferring money internationally has limitations, so doing it correctly requires an understanding of the law. Every country, bank, and transfer method abide by a different set of rules, so sending money in China or South Africa can look very different than sending money in Canada or the United States.

The most important thing to remember when you send money overseas is that any amount over 10,000 AUD must be reported by either the sender or the recipient, usually within 10 days. This was established by the Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Counter-Terrorism Financing (CTF) Act to prevent illegal activity. You will also want to take fees and exchange rates into account, which are ever-changing. Keeping track of everything you send or receive is imperative. Let’s delve into the proper practice for an international money transfer and the limits that go along.

What do I need to complete an international money transfer?

Most banks and transfer services like Western Union will walk you through the necessary steps to complete an international money transfer, especially if it is a large amount. Check with your bank to verify what is required, but be sure to prepare the following documents for most international money transfers with a limit of 10,000 AUD or less:

  • An approved ID or passport
  • Proven address on official mail
  • The reason for the remittance
  • A Tax File Number (TFN) or Social Security Number (SSN)
  • Bank account authentication

When sums exceed the above amount, additional paperwork may be involved. You might be wondering, “Why is 10,000 AUD the maximum?” In the United States, this number was determined by the IRS to target terrorists attempting to launder money or commit a crime. With this cap in place, it is easier for governments such as The Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre, or AUSTRAC to uncover tax evaders or individuals trying to hide large deposits.

For business-related overseas transfers (monetary limits over 10,000 AUD), institutions will need to see:

  • Certificates that show the address and possibly even a date of birth for the recipient
  • The reason for making the transfer
  • Bank statements for your business’ monthly profits/income and payroll
  • Receipts (typically for real estate or purchases on provisions made abroad)
  • Origin of funds being used for the transfer

When it comes to international money transfers, limits and liability are laid out extensively. The terms are designed to keep you safe.

What is the best method for sending money internationally?

The avenues to make international transfers are numerous and often depend on personal preference, time frame, and price. The short answer is, the “best” way to send money internationally is subjective. Do you need the funds to arrive immediately or are you willing to sacrifice speed to save money on fees? Extra fees and exchange rates can drive bottom lines if you’re not careful, so to help you decide what works best, choose between a few main selections.

Banks have the upper hand when it comes to familiarity. Branches use middlemen like the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) to help get your international money transfer moving, limiting the final total that arrives to your recipient and subtracting costly markups. When you do the math, you’ll see roughly four separate fees:

  1. The outgoing cost
  2. The incoming cost paid by whoever expects the payment
  3. Fixed rates withdrawn by institutions within the SWIFT network
  4. Currency exchange rates

Banks adhere to their own set of rules for market/exchange rates and do not have to provide add-ons upfront. Often, this will benefit the bank and they can cater costs to increase profits.

When weighing your options, you might want to consider outside services like Western Union. Like your bank, Western Union can provide you an estimate for the cost of your international money transfer before you transfer funds. You just need to fill out our send money form online to get a free estimate. You can send money quickly online as well as with the app or in person.

Rules and regulations: sending money internationally from Australia

In Australia, international money transfer regulations are simple to follow. The market is in the top 20 for remittances worldwide and grew to over a billion this past year but demands remain far less complicated. Regardless, they should be followed appropriately to avoid penalty. As mentioned above, 10,000 AUD is an important number to remember. This is the threshold that determines if you’ll need to report your cash or digital transfer to the governing authorities. In this case, that would be AUSTRAC and it must be completed no more than 10 days after the international money transfer. If the limit has been met or surpassed, you’ll be asked to submit an International Funds Transfer or IFTI per KYC/AML regulations. You can complete this online or in hard copy form. Also, sums over 10,000 AUD brought into Australia are subject to taxes, so speak to an accountant before transporting large sums across borders.

How much money can I send internationally with Western Union?

Western Union’s overseas money transfer limits depend on several factors including where you are sending money to, how you are sending the money, and how your receiver will get the funds. If you are sending money from Australia online, the maximum daily transaction limit is 5,000 AUD, but your specific daily transaction limit will vary based on the service you choose and your transaction history. When you register your profile, you will be able to see your transaction limit.

Send money internationally with ease when you choose Western Union

If you need a fast and reliable way to send money internationally, Western Union lets you send and receive money in a way that’s convenient for you. Transfer funds now online, on the go with our mobile app, or stop in at one of over 525,000 agent locations* worldwide. Whether you need to support friends and family nearby or around the globe, Western Union is there for you.


*Network data as of March 2021.

Whether you need to support friends and family nearby or around the globe, Western Union is there for you.

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