Below is a simple guide to the best ways to send money from Australia to the USA – without paying high bank fees.
I’ll explain how it works, how long it takes, and compare the best services for AUD to USD.
Best Rates For Sending 50,000.00 AUD to USD
Best Rates For Sending 50.00 AUD to USD
1. Best Ways to Send Money from Australia to the USA
The best way to send money from Australia to the USA will depend on your specific needs.
But to make the decision easier for you, we’ve curated a list of services that can be used in different circumstances.
|Best for small amounts (Below $7000 USD/$9500 AUD)||Wise (Go to Wise Review)|
|Best for large amounts (Above $7000 USD/ $9500 AUD)||OFX (Go to OFX Review)|
|Best for small cash transfers (Below $7000 USD/$9500 AUD)||Western Union (Go to Western Union Review)|
As you may have noticed, we’ve recommended specialized money transfer companies based on the amount you are sending.
Here is the deal:
Most sites focus just on fees and the amount that is arriving.
While there are some great savings (up to 8x) to be made, there is something more important – the money not being frozen or held up in any way.
Regulations in Australia and the US mean that ANY service (including Banks) need to comply with a bunch of rules. More about these in a moment!
A few more factors you might like to consider:
- Customer service availability
Each service below has different strengths and weaknesses. We personally have been using the next two services regularly for years.
1.1 Small Bank Transfers Below $7000 USD/$9500 AUD
For smaller transfers to the USA, we recommend Wise (review) because they usually have one of the best rates for this category.
But even when they’re not the cheapest, we still like using them. Why? Because of their high level of transparency. Sometimes, other services might promise you better rates. But then, you get slapped with hidden fees when your funds reach its destination.
With Wise, you’ll have none of that. Through the Wise calculator here, you can instantly see the exact amount of USD that your receiver will get — no surprise fees!
What’s more, it also has some cool perks which set them apart from other similar services in this category.
They offer a multi-currency account that lets you hold and exchange between 50+ currencies. You also get international bank details in 10 major currencies (including AUD, USD, GBP, CAD, etc.) which lets you pay and get paid like a local in those currencies.
The multi-currency account comes with a MasterCard debit card which offers free ATM withdrawals (usually limited to $200 USD or equivalent) worldwide and is great for traveling as well as online shopping from international stores.
1.2 Large Bank Transfers Above $7000 USD/$9500 AUD
For your large AUD-USD transfers, you want to make sure that your service has the right infrastructure and passes banking regulations to ensure smooth transactions.
And our top pick, OFX (review), ticks these boxes.
Here are the key reasons why OFX is our number 1 pick in this category:
- It’s safe: OFX is regulated in Australia and the USA (by ASIC in Australia and FinCen in the USA)
- Competitive rates: Their fees go down as the amount increases
- Great customer service: You actually get to speak to a human to troubleshoot for your transfer (very reassuring when a large amount is on the line)
- Multi-currency accounts for businesses available
Also if do want to make a smaller transfer, you can use this link here to avoid the $15 fee that they sometimes charge on transactions (below $10,000).
1.3 Small Cash Transfers Below $7000 USD/$9500 AUD
We usually would not recommend cash transfers because they’re more expensive than the above choices. But sometimes, you have no choice because your recipient doesn’t have a US bank account.
In these cases, we’d go with Western Union (review), who have partnered with post offices in Australia (Cash to Cash) and have an online option (Bank to Cash). Western Union also offer a fast transfer guarantee for their Money In Minutes service (where your recipient can get cash within 10 minutes).
So why are cash transfers more expensive?
Usually, remitters let you fund your transfer with cash as well as having cash pick up. This means the agent fees (both at the sending and receiving end) are an additional cost (along with the exchange rate fees, the service fees, etc.).
2. Cheapest Ways to Send Money from Australia to the USA
2.1 Cheapest Way to Send Small Bank Transfers Below $7000 USD/approx $9500 AUD
If you’re looking for the cheapest way to send bank transfers from Australia to the USA, CurrencyFair (review) can be the best option.
This is because it has a unique peer-to-peer marketplace where you can select your own exchange rate and swap with other users who are making USD to AUD transfers.
If the swap is successful, you can lock in an exchange rate (sometimes) below the interbank rate.
2.2 Cheapest Way to Send Large Transfers Over $7000 USD/approx $9500 AUD
You may find potentially find cheaper options, but as explained in our section on large transfers there is more to transfers than just lowest costs (especially the larger ones).
For Australia to USA, we suggest XE (review) and OFX (review).
It is pretty hard to tell the difference between these two in many ways, but given OFX was started in Sydney and has a strong presence in the USA along with excellent 24/7 phone support we give the edge to OFX.
Also OFX typically charges a flat $15 fee for transfers below $10,000 but you can have this $15 fee waived by simply using this link to OFX here.
And XE don’t charge this fee regardless of the amount – see what is required to set up an account with XE.
3. Fees You Should Know About
Choosing a bank like Commonwealth, Westpac, ANZ, etc. may be the easiest way to transfer AUD-USD, but here’s the thing: bank fees can be relatively high and it is hard to figure out exactly what fees will be charged.
Here are some of the fees you should know about:
- Fixed fees
- Margin on the exchange rate (usually the largest cost in a transfer)
- Hidden fees (sending and receiving fees charged by your bank and the recipient’s bank in the US)
3.1 Fixed Fees
This is the service fee or convenience fee charged by a money transfer company, usually as a flat fee or a small percentage of the amount.
If you’ve ever seen ads along the lines of “fee-free transfers,” this is the fee some money transfer companies are talking about.
However, there are other fees to consider. The next, is often the largest.
3.2 Margin on the Exchange Rate
Banks and money transfer companies typically profit from your transfer by charging a margin on the exchange rate they offer (usually, this is higher than the interbank rate — which is the rate that banks and large financial institutions exchange currency).
Most Australian banks will typically charge a 2-4% margin on the exchange rate they offer, while money transfer companies like Wise and OFX usually keep it between 0.5% to 1.5% often with no other fees.
Also — keep in mind that the cheapest may not always mean a smooth transfer or great customer experience.
3.3 Hidden Fees (Sending and Receiving Fees)
You also need to be aware of hidden fees. We call them “hidden” because you usually only find out about them when you get your bank statement.
These fees usually come from:
- Sending fees: which can be charged for transferring money from your bank account to the money transfer company’s account. For example, banks like ANZ ($7 – $32), Commonwealth ($6), Westpac ($20), NAB etc. can charge anywhere between $6-$32 in sending fees.
- Receiving fees: The recipient’s bank in the USA often charge between $20 – $50 for receiving international transfers.
This is why we like services like Wise and OFX (jump up to see explanation) can eliminate these fees through local bank accounts in the USA and Australia.
4. Safest Ways to Send Money from Australia to the USA
The main services mentioned (Wise, XE, and OFX) are regulated in both countries and are subject to many safeguards. While this is no guarantee, it should help because there are safeguards in place.
Moreover, these companies conduct regular audits and use industry-leading technology like SSL certificates, two-factor authentication, etc. to keep your money and personal data safe.
5. How To Send Money from Australia to the USA
Get started with your AUD-USD transfer in just a few steps:
- Choose a recommended service from our list above (based on your specific needs for amount, payout method, or transfer speed) and create an account.
- Get your account verified with a government ID or other documents as specified by your chosen service. Note: Services that offer large transfers may ask you to share additional documentation for regulatory compliance as well as to keep your money safe.
- Set up the transfer
- Fund your transfer after making sure you’ve chosen the best available rates (don’t forget to double-check your recipient’s details).
- Track your transfer on the company’s app or on their web dashboard.
- Finds arrive.
6.1 Does My Recipient Have to Pay Taxes On the Money Received?
The IRS applies different rules to business and individuals.
For U.S. citizens and residents there is a gift tax but some of these are non-taxable (wiki).
In general though financial institutions like money transfer services and banks are obligated to report international transfers that exceed $10,000 USD. Therefore if you are transferring large sums you should seek individual tax advice.
6.2 I’m a US Resident in Australia — Can I Use Zelle to Transfer Money to Another Bank Account in the USA?
While Zelle is a great way to send money to friends and family in the USA when you’re physically located in the country, Zelle doesn’t work internationally.
6.3 Can I PayPal Money from Australia to the USA?
Yes, PayPal supports AUD-USD transfers. Although convenient, we don’t recommend transferring money internationally with PayPal for more than a few hundred dollars as the fees can be relatively high (albeit with some benefits). In addition to margin on the exchange rate (4%), you must also consider that there is a fix fee (5%) and additional fees if you use a card to fund the transaction.
Learn more about PayPal’s international transfer fees before you set up your transfer.
6.3 Can I Send Money from Australia to the USA for Free With Wise’s Multi-Currency Account?
While you can get international bank details in AUD when you sign up for Wise’s multi-currency account, the transfer will not be free. You’ll still need to pay a currency conversion fee when you convert these funds to USD. That said the fees are inexpensive and you can see these for yourself using the Wise calculator (opens new tab – click the “Multi-currency account” tab).
If you don’t need the other benefits of having a multi currency account, it may be better to simply use Wise to transfer your funds.