How to receive money from overseas

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on June 01, 2022 Fact Checked
How to receive money from overseas

Whether you are short for cash in the final week of that Contiki, or working remotely while on holidays, there is plenty to consider when receiving money from overseas.

There are a few ways to receive money from overseas including bank transfers, peer to peer transfers such as Wise or CurrencyFair, Western Union, or Paypal.

There are numerous factors to consider, however, including: the exchange rate, fees, the time it takes, security, customer experience and more. There’s no black and white answer, so it’s helpful to look at your options.

Need somewhere to store cash and earn interest? The table below features savings accounts with some of the highest interest rates on the market.


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  • Take money out at any time without affecting your bonus rate.
  • Open up to 10 Save accounts and get bonus interest on all of them, including shared Save accounts.
  • Get bonus interest on a combined balance of up to $250K across all your Save accounts.

Save Account

  • Take money out at any time without affecting your bonus rate.
  • Open up to 10 Save accounts and get bonus interest on all of them, including shared Save accounts.
  • Get bonus interest on a combined balance of up to $250K across all your Save accounts.
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Savings Account (Amounts < $250k)

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    High Interest Savings Account (< $250k)

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      Online Saver ($1-$100k)

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        Reward Saver

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          BU Savings Account

            Rates based on a savings balance of $10,000. Sorted by total interest rates. Refer to providers' websites for bonus rate conditions and for any applicable fees and charges. Rates correct as of August 11, 2022. View disclaimer.

            Bank transfer

            You can receive money from overseas through one bank account to another. The sender will have to initiate the transfer from their bank account through online or mobile banking. As the receiver, you need to provide details including your name, account number, residential address, your bank’s name and a SWIFT or a Bank Identifier Code (BIC).

            A SWIFT code — sometimes also called a BIC number — is a standard format for Business Identifier Codes (BIC). It’s used to identify banks and financial institutions globally. It says who and where they are — a sort of international bank code or ID.

            These codes are used when transferring money between banks, in particular for international wire transfers or SEPA payments. Banks also use these codes to exchange messages between each other.

            These types of transfers can be costly as banks typically apply their own exchange fee on top of the rate applied to your exchange rate for international money transfers.

            Here are receiving fees associated with international transfers from the largest banks in Australia, with information correct at the time of writing.

            • NAB: NAB charges between $15 and $35 to receive money, depending on a few factors such as: Transfers via NAB to a non-NAB account in AUD; Foreign currency transferred via NAB unconverted to another bank; or Australian Dollars sent via NAB to an offshore account.

            • ANZ: ANZ will cover the correspondent bank fee for transfers sent in a foreign currency via ANZ Internet Banking and ANZ Phone Banking for the following currencies and countries: USD to all countries; GBP to United Kingdom; NZD to New Zealand; INR to India; and EUR to all countries.

            • Westpac: There is a $12 fee for International Payments deposited directly into your Westpac bank account.

            CBA is a bit more granular and consists of:




            For credit of a Commonwealth Bank Australian dollar (AUD) account (regardless of currency)

            Up to $11.00 per transfer

            For credit of a Commonwealth Bank Foreign Currency Account

            Up to $11.00 per transfer

            For credit of an AUD account at another bank

            Up to $25.00 per transfer

            For credit of a Foreign Currency Account at another bank

            Up to $35.00 per transfer

            Source: CBA

            Peer to peer receiving

            You can receive money from overseas directly into your bank account, using a peer to peer international money transfer facilitator like Wise or CurrencyFair. P2P transfer providers typically offer lower transaction fees and more competitive foreign exchange rates than banks.

            That’s because they utilise banks in the country of transfer, so when someone sends money from Australia to you in another country, they are sending you money from their local institution. This allows them to charge as close to international exchange rates as possible.

            You will need to provide your bank details so the sender can set up an account with the international money transfer facilitator and exchange the money into your desired currency. The provider will then transfer the money into your bank account.


            Paypal allows customers to transfer between each other domestically and internationally. PayPal is a reliable transfer system but does come with fees.

            These fees are usually charged to the sender through PayPal’s system. Both sender and receiver will need to be set up with a PayPal online account, and will need to provide information like phone number, email, and bank details.

            Paypal instructions:

            “Log in to your account. Enter your friend's email or mobile number and an amount to send. Choose the bank account or card to use, and send your money securely. They'll receive the money into their PayPal account or a link to sign up to access it.”

            Western Union

            Western Union allows you to send and receive money internationally online through the Western Union App or by withdrawing cash at participating locations.

            According to Western Union, you must bring a picture identification card to pick up money from an agent location. Depending on the country and the agent location where the receiver will pick up the money, the forms of acceptable ID may vary. In general, passports and national IDs are acceptable.

            Participating locations for receiving international transfers as cash can be found on the Western Union website.

            The bank information required to send a Direct to Bank Account money transfer varies by country. In general, the sender will need to know at least:

            • Your bank name.

            • Your bank code and bank account number.

            • The amount and country to which you wish to send.

            Factors to consider when receiving money from overseas

            When comparing transfer options, the main factors to consider are:

            • Exchange rate -The exchange rate is the value of the AUD compared to foreign currency. This will fluctuate as the value rises and falls. For example, $1 AUD is worth $0.73 USD at the time of writing. Be sure to compare these when deciding who to transfer through. When you receive money from overseas, it’s likely you won’t receive the exact same rate as the official international exchange rate. That’s because banks add a margin to what’s called the ‘spot rate’.

            • Fees - Most international transfers will come with a service fee. These will usually be charged to the sender, but always read the terms and conditions of the institution you transfer through to avoid being hit with a surprise fee as the receiver. Some may be a set fee per transaction, while others will be based on the amount of money you are receiving.

            • Intermediary fees - Most international money transfers are delivered through the SWIFT system. This is an international network of banks that process money transfers. Through the SWIFT system a payment could be re-routed from your sender’s bank through intermediary banks, meaning all of these could charge a fee. Often these fees are deducted from your receiving funds or can be paid by the sender in advance.

            • Limits - Most banks and online transfer facilitators will have minimum and maximum transfer limits. Check before you transfer what these limits are.

            • Time - Not all transfers will be instant. Some international transfers can take days to clear both in the account you transfer from and transfer to.

            • Customer service - It’s important to consider who you transfer with and what contact and support they offer customers. If you have questions, not all transfers will have a customer service team you can contact.

            • Send/receive method - Different transactions will allow you to send and receive money in different ways. For example, Paypal is a digital transfer connected to an email or phone number, while a Western Union transfer will allow you to receive the deposit as cash or online.

            • Identifier info - Another aspect to consider is what information you need to facilitate the transaction. Paypal for example allows you to send and receive money with just an email address, whilst online transfer portals like Wise will require more information.

            Image by Artiom Vallat via Unsplash

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            Aaron joined in 2021. He is a finance journalist with a keen interest in property, the share market, and improving financial literacy in young Australians.

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