How to do an international bank transfer

Australia By Sharad Sonami May 24, 2022

Article summary

Making an international bank transfer from Australia can be a quick and convenient way to support your loved ones overseas.

Maybe you’re sending remittance back home to help pay the bills, or sending a gift to celebrate a special occasion. By learning how to transfer from one account to another, you can reach your loved ones wherever they are.

In this article, we’ll talk you through how to make an international money transfer direct to a bank account.


In this article


What is an international bank transfer?

An international bank transfer involves moving funds from your account in Australia to one held by your receiver in an overseas country or territory. You can arrange an international bank transfer through your bank or via a money transfer service.

The basic process requires you to access your own bank account, provide your receiver’s bank details (including an international bank code), check any limits and confirm the bank transfer. Your bank then sends the money through its network. International bank transfers often take a few days to reach the receiver.

When arranging an international bank transfer, there are important costs to consider:

  • Currency exchange rate – this depends on the destination and fluctuates regularly due to a wide range of factors. Check the AUD to receiving currency rate before you send.
  • Transfer fees – banks and money transfer services charge a fee to make an international bank transfer. Often it can be a set amount or percentage of your transfer total.


Can I do an international bank transfer online?

Yes, you can make an international bank transfer online with ease, whatever your reason for sending money overseas. The most convenient method for you can depend on your current financial situation, how much you want to send, and the destination.

There are several ways you can do an international bank transfer online:

  • Make an international bank transfer through your bank
  • Use a money transfer service (such as Western Union)
  • Send an international money order


What do you need for an international bank transfer?

Learn how to transfer money from one account to another overseas with this breakdown of everything you need.

You require:

  • A bank account in Australia
  • Funds to cover the international bank transfer and any fees
  • Your receiver’s bank details

To make an international bank transfer from Australia to another country, you need your receivers:

  • Full name
  • Home address and phone number
  • Account name
  • SWIFT (Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications) code or BIC (Bank Identifier Code) number
  • International Bank Account Number (IBAN)

The SWIFT or BIC identify the bank overseas, while an IBAN is linked to the specific bank account of your receiver. These are checked to ensure your international bank transfer goes to the correct account.


Advantages and disadvantages of international bank transfers

When you need to send money overseas you have a few options. Consider the following to help decide if an international bank transfer is right for you.

Advantages of international bank transfers

Making a bank transfer internationally can be quick and convenient to set up. You can arrange one online with the flexibility to move money around the world from virtually anywhere – whether you’re at home, work or on the move. It’s a reliable way to support loved ones in many countries overseas.

There’s also flexibility to shop around and find an international bank transfer method offering the most competitive exchange rates and transfer fees.

Disadvantages of international bank transfers

While international bank transfers offer many benefits to move money around the world, they can often take anywhere from one to five business days (sometimes longer) before the money is available for your receiver. If you need to send money for fast access, this might not be the right method.

Currency exchange rates are unavoidable however you send money overseas, but international bank transfers incur other fees. These vary depending on the method but increase the cost of your transfer total.

Alternatives to international bank transfers

To send money to a loved one abroad there are other options, including:

  • Cash transfers – sending money overseas for cash pickup can provide a quick receiving method, especially for those without a bank account.
  • Mobile wallets – move money straight to your loved one’s mobile wallet, depending on availability in their country, for convenience.
  • POLi – online POLi money transfers are quick, reliable, and often don’t involve transfer fees.


How to do an international bank transfer

With Western Union, you can do an international bank transfer either online or through our app. Follow these simple steps.

1. Register online for free

It’s fast and free to set up your Western Union profile – simply register, verify your details and log in.

2. Choose your destination

We operate in more than 200 countries and territories. Enter your receiver’s country and the amount you want to send.

3. Select a payment method

Next, choose how you want to pay. You can pay by credit1/debit card or POLi instant bank transfer. Make sure ‘Bank account’ is selected as the receiving method.

4. Tell us about your receiver

Enter your receiver’s details. These can include bank city, account number, address, phone number and more.

5. Confirm your international money transfer

Review all the information and confirm your payment.

6. Look out for a tracking number

We’ll then send you a unique tracking number (MTCN). This lets you track your money as it leaves Australia. Share it with your receiver – as they’ll need it to collect their funds.


FAQs and guides

How long does an international bank transfer take?

An international bank transfer can usually take anywhere between one and five days to arrive with your receiver. The amount you send, destination and receiving bank can all affect how long it takes. Arranging an international bank transfer online can be quick and simple.

How much does an international bank transfer cost?

The cost to make an international bank transfer varies depending on the amount you send, bank or money transfer service you use, and the currencies exchanged. Transfer fees to make an international bank transfer can be based on a percentage of the total or a set rate. Currency exchange rates vary at the time of sending and due to various external factors.

How do I avoid paying fees?

You can compare different banks to see which ones offer low or zero fees to make an international bank transfer. However, most require transfer fees. You can use an alternative such as making POLi payments or sending to a mobile wallet if no fees are involved.


Still got a question? Explore more FAQs about sending money to a bank account.

1 If you’re using a credit card, a card-issuer cash advance fee and associated interest charges may apply. To avoid these fees or for reduced fees, use a debit card or check other payment methods.