Travel in and out of Australia all but ground to a halt in 2020 and for much of 2021. However, now it's looking like the 'post pandemic' era - spending is up, as is travel.

This has led to an uptick in remittances - foreign currency exchange, and sending money overseas.

The World Bank is predicting a 7.3% increase in remittances to low-and middle-income countries to reach $589 billion in 2021.

WorldRemit Asia-Pacific head of foreign exchange Edward Dovey says it's an important time to revisit where to get the best deals when sending money overseas or exchanging foreign currency.

"A good exchange rate is as close to the interbank rate as possible. You can find out what the current interbank rate is with a quick search online. And although you can't control the currency market, you can choose who you transfer or exchange your money with," Mr Dovey said.

For sending money overseas, Mr Dovey exchanged a few tips.

"Wire transfers can be slow - sometimes taking days to arrive with the recipient, and not all recipients want or can receive money in their bank account," he said.

"Online money transfer services ... tend to provide a quicker, more cost-effective way of transferring money overseas. A good online money transfer service will only make you pay a small fee and will offer a fair exchange rate, with any costs shown upfront."

And for travellers: "If you are planning on travelling ... you can avoid the low exchange rates provided by banks, airports, or currency exchange bureaus by using a money transfer service," Mr Dovey said.

"You can transfer money to your foreign bank account if you have one, or another popular option is to pick up cash from your money transfer service’s cash pickup agents while you're abroad."

Where's the money going?

World Bank data shows developing countries are big recipients of remittances. 

Remittances to South Asia, including India, Nepal and Pakistan, grew around 8% to $159 billion in 2021.

Pakistan in particular had a bumper year, with growth at 26% and levels reaching $33 billion in 2021.

The World Bank also revealed South Asia had the lowest remittance costs in the world, generally speaking.

The average cost of sending $200 to the region fell to 4.6% in 2021.

In contrast, Sub-Saharan Africa is the most expensive in which to send money, with fees averaging 8%.

Still, remittance to the area grew 6.2% to $45 billion in 2021. Nigeria was the largest recipient.


In the market for a personal loan? The table below features unsecured personal loans with some of the lowest interest rates on the market.


FixedUnsecuredN/AMore details
Loan amounts from $2k to $75k
  • No ongoing or early exit fees
  • 1-7 years loan terms. Pay monthly, fortnightly, or weekly
  • Get quick decision. Funds in 24 hrs if approved
Loan amounts from $2k to $75k

Low Rate Personal Loan Unsecured (Excellent Credit)

  • No ongoing or early exit fees
  • 1-7 years loan terms. Pay monthly, fortnightly, or weekly
  • Get quick decision. Funds in 24 hrs if approved
FixedUnsecuredN/AN/AMore details

Unsecured Personal Loan (Excellent Credit)

    VariableUnsecuredN/AN/AMore details

    Personal Loan

      Important Information and Comparison Rate Warning

      All products with a link to a product provider’s website have a commercial marketing relationship between us and these providers. These products may appear prominently and first within the search tables regardless of their attributes and may include products marked as promoted, featured or sponsored. The link to a product provider’s website will allow you to get more information or apply for the product. By de-selecting “Show online partners only” additional non-commercialised products may be displayed and re-sorted at the top of the table. For more information on how we’ve selected these “Sponsored”, “Featured” and “Promoted” products, the products we compare, how we make money, and other important information about our service, please click here.

      The comparison rates in this table are based on a loan of $30,000 and a term of 5 years unless indicated otherwise. The comparison rates are for unsecured personal loans only for the relevant amounts and terms. The comparison rates for car loans and secured personal loans are for secured loans unless indicated otherwise. WARNING: This comparison rate applies only to the example or examples given. Different amounts and terms will result in different comparison rates. Costs such as redraw fees or early repayment fees, and cost savings such as fee waivers, are not included in the comparison rate but may influence the cost of the loan. Comparison rates are not calculated for revolving credit products.

      Monthly repayment figures are estimates only, exclude fees and are based on the advertised rate for the term and for the loan amount entered. Actual repayments will depend on your individual circumstances and interest rate changes. Rates correct as of May 29, 2024. View disclaimer.

      Photo by John McArthur on Unsplash