Are you an Australian expat living in the USA? Or an American living in Australia? Perhaps your business operates in both countries. If so, you’ve probably found out the hard way how much it costs to transfer money to Australia from USA, or send money from Australia to USA.
Banks in both Australia and the US are notorious for charging some of the highest fees in the world, whilst simultaneously offering the worst foreign exchange rates. You might end up paying more than USD30 for a tiny sub $500 international money transfer from USA to Australia and AUD30 for a small money transfer from Australia to USA. It’s because of these sorts of fees that people are starting to duck their bank and instead opt for cheaper, independent international payment companies who specialise solely on the offering of international wires. These money transfer companies can transfer your money at the best exchange rates and the fees they charge are minimal.
So you may ask then, what’s the best way to transfer money from USA to Australia? Or, the best way to transfer money from an Australian to a USA bank account? Here, we detail some of the top-rated non-bank FX firms that can assist you today.
If you’re an Australian living in the US, then you’re not necessarily spending just on your day to day needs. There are great ways to make a passive income in American investments. Real estate is one of them. Real estate costs in the US have increased exponentially since the subprime meltdown in 2008. Investing in a prime location in Manhattan will cost you more than USD900,000. But that investment will turn in great profit. Rental fees in Manhattan should generate around USD4,000 every month. However, an investment of this size will require you to send regular transfers to the USA. And, if you’re still living in Australia, you’ll need to regularly transfer your profits back home.
Whether you’re paying a mortgage on a monthly basis or repatriating your rental yields, the international payment companies on this page all offer a payment solution known as ‘regular transfers’. When the same amount requires transferring at the same time each week or month, customers can set up regular transfers for the future. Meaning funds will be automatically converted from USD to AUD and the payment provider will automatically transfer money from a US to an Australian bank account on your desired payment dates (likewise funds can also be automatically converted from AUD to USD and the payment provider will automatically transfer money from an Australian to a US bank account). 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.
On a house purchase of $900,000, if you were to transfer money from Australia to US through your bank, you could end up paying around USD18,000 in fees! That cost could be incurred in one hit if you bought the property outright or incurred each month as you pay an overseas mortgage. Independent money transfer companies, on the other hand, are likely to be the cheapest way to transfer money to USA from Australia and will offer you an exchange rate markup of around 0.5% or less for a transfer this big, meaning you will spend only USD4,500 in fees.
Investing in property in the USA and paying “bank-level” exchange rates could end up costing more money than it’s earning.
There are approximately 160,000 Australians living in the US. A large percentage of these expats live in the Northeast region. Around 40,000 live in Los Angeles, with a further 20,000 living in New York. Many Australians move to the US for entrepreneurial opportunities. The startup community in the US is more extensive than that in Australia. However, over the past few years, Australia’s tech startup community has been blowing up, whilst America’s is slowing down. Part of what makes it possible for Australians to move to the US is that the cost of living is significantly lower. Australia is one of the most expensive countries in the world to live in. Furthermore, many Australians feel somewhat isolated from the global community. America is at the forefront of Western culture, making it an attractive destination. Although getting a US Visa for business travel or tourism should not present too many problems, getting a permanent residence or work visa is notoriously difficult. It can be a very lengthy process, and Australians planning to apply should ensure they do so as early as possible. Also, entering the US with a criminal record, no matter how minor, will present a problem even for short trips.
Conversely, many Americans are moving to Australia. While the cost of living is significantly higher, so is the minimum wage. However, if you work in a very senior role, you will probably earn more in the US (and pay much lower taxes). Welfare and public services, including public health, are far more freely available in Australia. While the US has been a hub for tech startups, Australia is fast becoming a popular startup destination. Getting a tourism or business visa in Australia is much easier than the converse. For those wishing to work in Australia on a more permanent basis, a range of options are provided. Applying to live in Australia as a permanent resident is far easier if you have a close relative who is a citizen.
The USD is the most traded currency in the world, while the AUD is the fifth most traded. The exchange rate from USD to AUD, and from the AUD to USD, has seen USD gain ground over AUD throughout the last 10 years. Having dropped to USD0.45 for 1 AUD in 2001, Aus to US dollars recovered to above USD0.96 in 2008. In 2010, the two currencies were equal for a few seconds and then recorded higher levels for AUD to USD for extended periods in 2011 (i.e. AUD 1 bought you more than USD 1). Nowadays, AUD 1 will get you roughly USD 0.71.
In our analysis conducted 27/04/22, we calculated that the average exchange rate possible through Australia’s five largest banks was 0.6865 when sending money from Australia to US. Someway below the 0.7141 interbank rate. A transfer through a specialist international money transfer company on the other hand could have achieved a rate of 0.7105 – far closer to the 0.7141 mid market rate. Indicating that the cheapest way to transfer money from Australia to US is indeed a money transfer specialist and almost certainly not a bank. See the data in full below.
Over 160,000 Australian citizens are living in the US. For these Australians, as well as those wishing to invest in American real estate, money transfer fees and exchange rates are significant. With banks charging exorbitant rates, expats stand to lose high amounts of money. FX transfer firms charge far lower fees, making it more affordable to live in comfort as an expat. This is the reason why companies like Moneycorp are the best way to send money to Australia from USA and most likely the cheapest way to send money from USA to Australia as well. *Important: Moneycorp doesn’t accept Australian clients.
Citizens of the USA are also moving to Australia, especially considering the boom of startup tech companies in the country. With relative stability in the AUD/USD pairing, there should be no problems in transferring from one country to another, and working or investing can be very lucrative. This is why using a company like OFX is the best way to send money from Australia to USA.
There are no restrictions for sending money from US to Australia. But every state has its own money transfer regulations and FX firms have to be verified in each individual state. This means that for example, Moneycorp can only offer foreign exchange services in states like Florida, New Mexico, Indiana, Wisconsin and South Carolina. On the other hand, Currencies Direct can serve 90% of USA residents because it’s registered in almost all US states. And OFX is one of the very few money transfer companies that can onboard clients from all states in the US.
Given the complex state regulation that exists, there are fewer dedicated money transfer companies to choose from. However, it doesn’t matter what reason you’re looking to transfer money from USA to Australia, there are always better and cheaper solutions than US banks when sending international money transfers. Forget about your local banks and start saving money when you send money abroad.
There are absolutely no restrictions on sending money from USA to Australia.
For secure transfers from Australia to US you’ll want to work with an AUSTRAC registered and ASIC authorised payment provider.
When an international payment company in Australia facilitates only spot transfers (transfers to settle within 2 business days) then the firm has a requirement to be registered as a remittance provider with AUSTRAC. This shows the firm takes their responsibilities seriously but AUSTRAC legislation relates primarily to preventing financial crime. When an Australian payment provider conducts forward transfers (i.e. transfers to settle beyond 2 business days) then they are also required to be authorised by ASIC as a foreign exchange provider. This ASIC authorisation provides more protection for customers.
We recommend working with an AUSTRAC registered and ASIC authorised payment provider when transferring money from Australia to US. All of the Australian providers listed on this page are both registered with AUSTRAC and authorised by ASIC.
One important point to note is that money is not covered under the Financial Claims Scheme. For this reason, you’ll want to ensure the payment provider is financially sound and there’s no risk of insolvency. Companies like OFX are very safe and power international money transfers for ING Direct and Macquarie.
Similar to money transfers from US to Australia, there are absolutely no restrictions to transfer money from an Australian to a US bank account.
Finding the best company to send money to the USA is an easy task with SendMoneyAustralia.com!.No need to scour the internet to find out how to send money to USA. Just choose your preference from the providers we have listed.
With a growing number of options to transfer money from Australia to US, we conducted a rate comparison to see just how many US dollars you’d receive for making a $10,000 transfer. See how the Australian banks stack up vs an independent money transfer service.
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 27, 2022, with spot USDAUD at 1.4003 and AUDUSD at 0.7141.
In terms of just the banks, ANZ was able to offer the most favourable exchange rate of 0.6939 when transferring money from an Australian to a US bank account. The worst bank rate was offered by Bendigo, in which you’d receive just USD $6,815. The rate offered by CBA wasn’t much better – netting customers just $6,824. Ultimately, all of the bank rates were a long way off the 0.7141 interbank rate. The rate of 0.7105 offered by a dedicated money transfer company for sending money from Australia to US was much better.
This rate comparison shows a dedicated money transfer service is definitely the cheapest way to transfer money from Australia to US. Compared to the best bank ANZ, customers would have still been $166 better off, and when compared to the worst bank Bendigo, customers would have been a staggering $290 better off.
The best way to transfer money from Australia to US or indeed the best way to transfer money from US to Australia is wholly dependent on what it is you, as the customer, values most. If convenience is your most important factor then you might think your bank is the best option. However, if you do opt for a bank, just know that this is most likely going to be the most expensive option too. Our AUDUSD rate comparison on a $10,000 wire found that independent money transfer companies were the cheapest way to transfer money from Australia to US. On a $10,000 transfer a saving of $290 USD was possible, on larger transfers you could save yourself thousands of dollars. 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. It’s also worth considering that in 99% of cases, accounts with money transfer specialists can be opened on the same day. And once this is done, we’re sure you’ll find these firms are the most convenient way to transfer money from Australia to US too. As these providers focus only on international payments, everything from their customer service to online platforms is completely oriented to handling international money transfers. International payments is what they do and sending money from Australia to US is their bread and butter.
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