Best Overseas Currency Wallet

My daughter is studying at university in Texas. She has a St George overseas currency wallet and has been transferring funds into it whilst the dollar is decent. In the past there has been no or minimal fee.

She messaged me this morning saying that it was transferring at 70c. Sure enough, I checked. Dollar is at 72.95 and it's transferring for me at 69.95. So they are now charging 3% for transfers.

Is there a better option without having to pay the fees? I have a coles mastercard that doesn't charge fees but she's worried about the dollar tanking and wants to put extra funds there now.

Comments

  • +2

    Use transferwise.

    • Won't she need a US bank account for that?

      I'll talk to her about this. It's been difficult to setup so far as she's not a US citizen and they are being a pain.

      • +3

        Wise (was known as Transferwise) actually gives you a virtual US bank account with Routing Number and account number. You do not need a US bank account to set it up, nor do you need to be a US citizen. It also gives you a virtual AU bank account with BSB and account number, so you can transfer money into it via EFT, and then transfer from AU to US bank account from within Wise (at better than retail bank rate).

        I've set up one for business so I can receive USD from clients and pay USD to suppliers (as it also gives you a mastercard debit card).

        Do note that you cannot keep too much money in the USD account (like > US$18,000) otherwise they will start charging holding fee.

        • Like the sound of this. The limit isn't an issue as she's a Uni student and has saved a lot - but that's prob 10k tops.

        • Hey mod, do you use the credit card from Wise? I use Payoneer to receive USD payment and to use their credit card for USD purchases. But I notice when I use the credit card option in eBay US or Amazon US, Payoneer account shows transaction 1% higher. They only way it doesn't happen if I use that card with PayPal on eBay US. Any similar case with Wise card?

          • @foxmulder: Sorry I've never used the Wise debit card at Amazon nor eBay. Only used it to pay for hosting & other subscription services.

  • +3

    I have used OFX and Wise and both provides currency conversion rate much better than the banks. Wise also acts as a virtual bank & give you a mastercard debit card. I have also heard good things about Airwallex which is an Australian company.

    • Does that mean I should get rid of my 28 degrees card and use Wise?

      • +1

        Depends.

        I got rid of my 28 degrees a few years ago but that was because Coles didn't charge currency conversion and gave points.

        The major benefit of Wise is that you can lock your currency in. So if you think the dollar is going to tank and you buy a lot in the US then by all means. Otherwise you're better off just using your 28 degrees IMO.

        • Thanks for that. Cheers.

      • +1

        Wise still have fees (even it's ultra low) when converting from one currency to the other.

  • +1

    I’ve used OFX many times and provides great rates, heaps better than st George.

  • Revolut provides good currency conversion rates. However, there is a monthly limit for the free version.

    • That looks similar to the St George acct. It's not really clear if they take a percentage when they change into the OS currency. Have you used this account?

      • +1

        I haven't purchased FX on this account, but I use it as my daily driver for the cash back.

    • I'm very sure they charge 2% more for currency conversion. They are really good for that 2% Cashback for $100 and less tap purchases

      • Thanks. With the change at St George she's now being stung 3% so not a lot different. I'll potentially just set her up with a 28 degrees credit card to avoid the currency conversion fees altogether.

  • Thanks everyone, really appreciate the help.

    I think I'll look at Wise and possibly OFX.

    • Also going to ring St George and ask when there was a change in their policy. When I go into convert currency today it says

      Exchange rate: AUD 1.00 = USD 0.6997
      Conversion fee:$0.00

      Yet they are clearly charging 3% as the Aus/US$ conversion rate is about 73c at the moment.

      I looked back at a transfer I made on 2 July and it was 74.63 which matches what I find in the historic rates for that day.

      Very frustrating as I wouldn't have setup this account for my daughter if they were hitting her 3% each time.

      • +1

        Just recently need to do $1500 overseas transfer and I have to really look into bank alternative. Many suggest banks transfer as they are safe and all, but that 2-3% spread is really a killer.

        I have done 3 Wise transfers so far with 2 need to be refunded as one have different sender name (me) and the other doesn't seller in USA (charge 4% cheaper for order thus why I use wise to save) seem to not receive Wise email, but they may be very uncomfortable entering their own bank details in Wise link. The third was last night I enter in seller bank details and it goes straight into their bank account even it was midnight - they confirm payment received. The two transactions refunded of the exact amount I transfered.

        Wise is a game changer.

      • St G are saying there has been no changes. I suspect we weren't getting stung with the 3% fee in the past due to a bug in their system.

        They've lodged a "customer feedback and complaint form" for me but nothing is likely to happen.

        50 mins on the phone I won't get back.

        So will start looking at the Wise option.

  • Texas is a very crypto-friendly state. You should ask your daughter to look into Tx in #Bitcoin using the Lightning network. It's "lightning" fast and free to use.

    She could ask the tech nerds at the University. It wouldn't be difficult to find someone that loves to show normies how this stuff works.

  • Try Citibank - I've been using their Citibank Plus everyday account for a few years and very satisfied.

    I hold AUD only, overseas withdrawals converted at rates very similar to what Google/Mastercard/Visa quotes (around 0.5% difference), plus there's no fees when you use Citibank ATMs overseas. Apparently they have multicurrency accounts too, but haven't tried that yet.

    Also, testing ING right now for the same reason, they refund ATM fees if you meet specific criteria, but not sure about their rates as I haven't had a chance to travel overseas due to pandemics…