This article was created in partnership with Western Union.
Given the continents’ close proximity, it’s no surprise that many people living in Australia have connections to someone living among the many diverse nations of Asia.
Whether you have friends living abroad or you’re one of a growing number who live, work or study in Australia, you may wish to financially support loved ones currently in Asia. Or, you may just be making a one-off payment to someone there.
Whatever the reason, there are three key things to keep in mind when searching for a reliable way to send money from Australia to Asia.
- Investigate your options
There are a few different ways to send money overseas. Bank account transfers are an option if you have the other person’s bank account details. Note, however, that the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission found the big four banks to be consistently more expensive for foreign cash and international money transfers and that the transfer can take anywhere from two to five days. Your bank may also be able to provide an international bank draft. Although easy, this method can also be costly and relatively slow.
With Western Union, you can set up a profile online to transfer money to someone in the Philippines, Pakistan, India or another country within Asia. The other person can receive the money in a bank account or collect it by visiting an agent location in person.
Although most banks and transfer companies provide money transfer options to many countries within Asia, make sure to check that they do indeed provide a service for your country. Also, ask about how your money will be tracked so you can better ensure delivery to the right people.
You should also consider practicalities. Does the person you’re sending money to have a bank account? Do they need cash immediately? Are they able to travel to an agent’s location? The answer to these questions will also help you work out which is the best to send money overseas.
- Be nice, but always think twice
It’s wonderful to give; however, it’s important that you don’t jeopardise your own financial security. Prepare a budget so you can be sure you have your living expenses and needs covered before you commit to sending money overseas.
If you’re sending money to someone you’ve only met online or in response to a family member’s pleas via social media, be aware of romance and other online scams. The Australian government’s Money Smart website warns that it will be “almost impossible for you to get your money back” if you send money to someone who turns out to be a scammer. You can find out more about scams at Western Union Fraud Awareness.
- Keep an eye on exchange rates and fees
The exchange rate determines how much your Australian dollars will be worth in another currency, and it can fluctuate from moment to moment. If you’re transferring large sums, even a small difference in the exchange rate can make a big difference to the value of the transfer.
Remember that, sometimes, a low exchange rate isn’t necessarily the best option. Other fees can affect the total cost of the transaction.
Fees for an online money transfer may be charged by the provider or agent, at both the sending and receiving end, and these can vary. These charges will generally depend on the amount you’re sending and the final destination for the money. Also, sending money from one bank account to another, rather than one physical location to another, could be cheaper.
Lastly, you should investigate whether the transaction will incur any taxes or government fees. When sending money to India, notes The Economic Times, the Indian government may apply a gift tax to transfers of more than 50,000 rupees where the transfer is to someone other than a blood relative and not for a wedding gift. If you’re a Filipino working in Australia, on the other hand, you may need to register with the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration to ensure you’re only taxed in the country in which you’re working.
Australia offers much to those who live within its sunny shores, including the work opportunities a highly developed market economy brings. These days, we live in an era of connection, making it easier than ever to keep in touch and support our loved ones from afar. Follow these tips, and you can feel confident about doing so easily and efficiently.