Transfering Money to Overseas - What's The Best Method with Regards to Fees and Conversion Rates?

I am needing to transfer a large amount of money (>$50,000) back to my uncle in Sweden (SEK). I was going to just use CommBank to do the transfer when I noticed that their conversion rate is very poor. I did a quick search of Western Union and noticed that they had a better conversion rate. I have never transferred overseas before and I thought I'd ask the OzBargain community for some advice.

Are there any catches to using Western Union? Is there another method someone can recommend that is better?

Thanks in advance.


Lizard Spock


  • OFX - SEK 312,390 vs CBA’s SEK 300,887 for AUD$50k

  • +21 votes

    I use Transferwise to send money. For the country I send funds to, it's the most cost effective when taking into account fees and currency conversion. If you have a look around the referrals page, I think you can get your first transaction's fee reduced too.

    For reference, AUD 50 000 will get you SEK 316 350 through Transferwise.

  • You should check Transferwise and Worldfirst. I've used them in different circumstances, and I can recommend both.
    You can transfer directly from your bank, but fees are usually ridiculous. There is no SEK on Worldfirst website, but a message "WorldFirst offers 130 currencies. If you can’t find the currency you need please contact us"

    WU receiver gets 315645.80SEK
    Transferwise receiver gets 316,352.38

    According to the respective websites, AUD 50k right now.

    • I've checked Worldfirst for you (logged in):

      Receiver gets SEK 315725.00 from AUD 50k.
      So, Transferwise still a bit better.

  • Another vote for Transferwise.

  • I think $50K is the minimum threshold where you can ask the bank for a better exchange rate. Might be worth asking them for that.

    (But I suspect the rates at other non-banks are probably better than the banks "better" rate.)

  • A word of caution when doing comparison FX rates over the weekend.
    The forex markets and closed and any online service is going to provide a conservative FX rate given they need to wear the FX risk until full global markets open on Monday morning

  • +1 for OFX and Transferwise.

    Just to note that even after getting the quotes from their websites, it is worth calling and asking them for a better rate. I do this with OFX and they have always shaved a little bit extra off their commission - well worth a few minutes on the phone.

  • +1 vote

    +1 for Transferwise. I compared with multiple companies and Transferwise always came out ahead. Also great to be able to hold foreign currency in different accounts so people can pay you in foreign currency also. A trick I found was that it locks an interest rate for at least a few minutes in the review screen. On turbulent trading days and for large amounts you can wait a few minutes and decide to go with the locked rate or a better rate if it has changed.

  • Another vote for transfer wise, my wife transfers money twice a month from Japan to Aus.

  • Thanks to all of you for for all the information so far. For those who have used Transfer Wise, do you know if I will be able to send $90,000 in one go? (I have increased my bank's transfer limit to $100,000).

  • Thanks again to everyone's contribution, and to those who sent private messages about their experiences with transfer wise.

  • Western Union looked cheaper than anything else few months ago. I don't transfer money overseas frequently but worth a look

  • With these services, I guess the recipient needs an account with them too, is that how it works?

  • TransferWise. I believe you can as can have a bank account in many countries.
    I think you can set up Swedish account in your own name and Transfer your money into that and then transfer directly from there to any other Swedish account,
    Or of course just get your uncles bank details and transfer. With a higher amount you get better rate.

    BANKS and WUnion won’t give you anywhere near as good a rate.
    Best of luck.

  • I've used TransferWise and Skrill. Get a referral code to open your account.

    For TransferWise with referral invitation, your 1st transfer fee would be waived.

    For Skrill with referral invitation, both of referral & referee get $40 to be used in the transfer, no transfer fee.

    I found both have competitive rates.

    PM if you need my referral link. :)

  • All rates are relatively poor. Look at transferring via PayPal. Less hassle and the other party can choose to keep in PP or transfer into their bank.

  • Transferwise and also check Western Union, sometimes Western Union rates are better than transferwise.

  • Check for a compare.
    I have used Transferwise, Torfx, Worldremit, Worldfirst, Currencyfair and Ozforex to transfer money between Europe and Australia, never had a problem.

  • +1 on Transferwise. I've been sending a few Ks from AUS to USA every few months for the past 2 years and it has always had the best overall rate for when I sent money (x checked OFX and a handful of others that weren't even close).

  • Does anyone know one that can be used in Japan?
    Tried transferwise but it didn’t work.

    • Never tried myself, but from the TransferWise app, I can see the JPY currency, so it should be available?

  • Transferwise

  • Also have a look at

    I had to move over 100k of English pounds to Australia recently and ofx were lower commission than Transferwise. I asked TW to match and they told me to use ofx

  • Transferwise

  • Done. I ended up using TransferWise. The pain in the butt was CommBank blocking me from transferring the money to TravelWise, and then stopping me from logging in until I called them (I guess in a way they are protecting me and themselves from large unauthorised transactions).
    Thanks again everyone.

    Thread Closed….

    • so it was that easy?

      my wife tried to send funds from japan to aus banks using transferwise but it would not work, we tried so many times but failed.

  • Thanks Lizard - I was looking for something similar to Norway and it seems TransferWise is the best option. Has anyone had any experience with the TransferWise borderless account? Would this be cheaper than just transferring directly?

    Also, I was looking to see if there are any international banks in both countries, as that might also be cheaper, but can't seem to find any…

  • Usually transferwise is the way to go, but I would recommend sending at least 100 AUD through the app Skrill which will give you $40 off using a promo code. That means you're gonna pay 60 to send 100 in a one time transfer, for a better rate than Commonwealth bank. If anyone is interested, just send me a msg.

  • Hi, just found yo post, pretty good details.

    Similarly I'm trying to send >AU $50K - to Cambodia (USD)
    (might close my other thread dk yet, may have better exposure here)

    [edited out]

    EDIT - um sorry on second thought it's easier to Edit on my original post ..
    so if you'd like to help me plz go above.

  • Many people in this thread have recommended Transferwise. I also use them regularly and recommend them. And a reminder that you can get your first transfer free if you sign up using a referral link. You can get a referral link by going to the Transferwise page on ozbargain and clicking on random under the referral links section.

  • TransferWise is now known as Wise.