You may be one of many Australian expats living in the UK, or similarly one of the high number of British expats living in Australia. If so, you should know by now that transferring money from Australia to UK can be a costly endeavour. For most people, their bank is the most trusted and easily available option for forex transfers. However, banks are actually the most costly option. You’ll generally pay more than $30 to send money from Australia to UK, and something like £20 the other way around. When you’re constantly moving money between the two countries, this adds up to a small fortune.
How to transfer money overseas without fees? Read on for a complete list of companies who charge absolutely $0 in payment fees and our recommendation for the cheapest way to transfer money from Australia to UK.
Many Australians are investing money in the UK. The relative strength of the pound makes the idea of a passive income especially appealing. Real estate is one of the most popular options. Despite the recent turmoil of the pandemic, real estate costs in the UK are increasing by the day and the average house in the UK now costs upwards of £300,000. An average house in a prime suburb of London will cost you more than £620,000. Usually, it’s worth it for the profit – around £3,000 every month. If you are wiring the proceeds from rental yield this could see you regularly transferring money from the UK to an Australian bank account. The foreign exchange companies we have listed can all assist customers with regular transfers, meaning they can automatically convert funds from AUD to GBP and automatically send money from Australia to UK. Depending on where you think the exchange rate will move you also have the option to fix the exchange rate with a forward contract – guaranteeing today’s exchange rate on future regular transfers and providing certainty around future margins on your rental yield.
You may also have to transfer money from an Australian to a UK bank account in order to pay for the property outright or when making mortgage repayments. Based on a £300,000 property, if you’re using a bank, you could end up spending more than £12,000 in exchange rate costs alone. This on top of any solicitor and property specific fees you’ll incur. If you use an independent money transfer company to transfer money from Australia to UK, the rates will be closer to 0.5%, equalling £3,200 in fees. For property purchases, an independent money transfer company is almost certainly going to be the cheapest way to transfer money from Australia to UK.
According to the latest census, there are 113,000 Australians living in the UK. A large proportion of these expats live in London. This is a significant drop from the 200,000 Australian expats estimated to be living in London alone just ten years ago. The reasons are mainly to do with economics. Ten years ago, the British economy was booming while the Australian economy struggled. Young Australians would go to work in London, earning pounds, for the opportunity to travel around Europe. But with the Australian economy and the AUD, much stronger now, working in the UK no longer has the same attraction. Australian tourists don’t need to apply for a UK Visa. Getting a work visa is not difficult for Australian citizens, even though the rules became more stringent in 2011. Make sure you apply in good time, and you shouldn’t face any problems.
Australia has long been a popular destination for British expats. Some of the reasons include the good weather, growing economy, and what used to be a cheaper cost of living. However, sources report that only 1 in 4 British expats choose to stay in Australia, many find it tough to adapt to the culture. And over the past few years, it has become harder to find jobs, and the cost of living has risen far and beyond that of the UK. Citizens of the UK do require a tourist visa. If you wish to work in Australia or stay on a more permanent basis, make sure to do extensive research with plenty of time to spare. Applying to live in Australia as a permanent resident will always be easier if you have a close relative who is a citizen.
The GBP is the fourth most traded currency in the world, while the AUD is the fifth most traded. The exchange rate from GBP to AUD, and from the AUD to GBP, has traditionally favoured the GBP, which has made the UK an attractive destination for young Australians wishing to make some quick money. However, over the past few years, with the Australian economy growing, the AUD has made net gains on the GBP. UK to AUD transfers will currently bag you around AUD 1.78 for GBP 1, significantly less than the AUD 2.19 that could have been achievable with GBP 1 in 2015. AUD to UK transfers are currently trading at roughly AUD 1 to GBP 0.58.
In our most recent analysis on the best international money transfer companies in Australia, we calculated that the average exchange rate possible through Australia’s five largest banks was 0.556 when sending money from Australia to UK/AUD to GBP. Significantly below the 0.58 interbank rate. A transfer through a specialist international money transfer company on the other hand could have achieved a rate of 0.577 – far closer to the 0.58 mid market rate. Indicating that the cheapest way to transfer money from Australia to UK is indeed a money transfer specialist and almost certainly not a bank. See the data in full below.
Approximately 113,000 Australian citizens now live in the UK, significantly less than just ten years ago. Expats, as well as buyers of UK real estate and other investors, will know that money transfer fees and exchange rates can be extremely costly. Banks charge exorbitant fees and offer exchange rates far worse than the mid-market rates. The fees charged by FX transfer firms when you transfer money from Australia to UK on the other hand, are minimal. They will also provide a rate which is much closer to the mid-market rate.
The GBP/AUD pairing is one of relative stability, with the GBP consistently stronger. However, the AUD has made gains on the GBP lately, with the Australian economy’s recent growth. Thus, if you’re looking to transfer AUD to GBP, it may be a good time to do so right now. Be cautious of volatility though, using a trusted FX company, can help you maximise the amount you exchange. A great exchange rate makes all the difference when sending money abroad.
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With a growing number of options to transfer money from Australia to UK, we conducted a rate comparison to see just how many British pounds you’d receive for making a $10,000 transfer. We see how Australian banks stack up vs an independent money transfer company.
BANK / FX FIRM
MONEY RECEIVED INCL. FEES
2-3 working days
2-3 working days
2-3 working days
2-3 working days
2-3 working days
2-3 working days
The above table was correct as of April 5, 2022, with spot GBPAUD at 1.72 and AUDGBP at 0.58.
Out of the banks, NAB offered the best conversion rate of 0.5589 when transferring money from an Australian to a UK bank account. This was a whole 100 pips better than the 0.5489 rate possible through Bendigo bank, who offered the worst rate out of any major Australian bank. Ultimately, all bank rates were someway off the 0.5771 rate which was possible when sending money from Australia to UK through an independent money transfer company.
This rate comparison indicates a dedicated money transfer service is definitely the cheapest way to transfer money from Australia to UK. Compared to the best bank NAB, customers would have still been £177 better off, and when compared to the worst bank Bendigo, customers would have been an even more significant £282 better off.
The best way to transfer money from Australia to UK, or certainly the safest way to transfer money from Australia to UK, is by working with an AUSTRAC registered and ASIC authorised payment provider.
If an Australian payment company facilitates only online spot transfers, the firm is required to be a registered remittance provider with AUSTRAC. This shows the firm takes their responsibilities seriously but AUSTRAC legislation relates primarily to preventing financial crime. If an Australian payment provider conducts forward transfers (i.e. transfers to settle beyond 2 business days) then they will also need to be authorised by ASIC as a foreign exchange provider, where more regulation exists for customer protection.
We recommend working with an AUSTRAC registered and ASIC authorised payment provider when transferring money from Australia to UK. All of the Australian providers recommended on this page are both registered with AUSTRAC and authorised by ASIC.
Just like money transfers from UK to Australia, there are no restrictions to transfer money from an Australian to a UK bank account.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is an independent organisation that is responsible for enforcing the UK Government’s financial services legislation. For payment providers, this legislation covers a wide range of areas to help prevent financial crime and protect customers.
We highly recommend using an FCA authorised money transfer company when you send money from UK to Australia (like all of those featured at the top of this page). This will ensure your money is kept safe and a smooth transaction ensues. Perhaps the most important piece of legislation that the FCA imposes is for companies with a money transfer or e-money licence to keep client funds in segregated accounts, away from their own company funds.
Money transfers from UK to Australia are very popular and there are absolutely no restrictions imposed for sending money to Australia from UK. Any paperwork needed to comply with the FCA is handled by the FX firms.
The best way to transfer money from Australia to UK or indeed the best way to transfer money from UK to Australia will depend on what it is you value the most. If it’s purely about convenience then your bank might be your best option. However, if you do opt for a bank, beware that this is most likely going to be the most expensive option too. Our rate comparison found that independent money transfer companies were the cheapest way to transfer money from Australia to UK. Helping clients to save hundreds, if not thousands of Australian dollars on larger transfers. If safety is an important factor, again a bank might be an option but by working with an AUSTRAC registered and ASIC authorised payment provider we think this is the best way to combine safety and value for money. What’s more, accounts can usually be opened in a matter of hours and as these firms focus solely on international payments, everything from their customer service to online platforms is completely oriented to handling international money transfers. Making them a more convenient option to transfer money from Australia to UK once an account has been set up.
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