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Expats: Australian Remittances

In this helpful guide we share the details of what you need to know about sending and receiving money in Australia. This guide is designed to help you reduce the transfer time, avoid high fees and understand applicable taxes. We will also share the top money transfer options for expats sending money and the various benefits of using each provider.

Updated: 06/09/2022
Read time: 12 minutes
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Australian remittances

The population of Australia is estimated to be 25.9 million and the country’s total GDP is $1.5 trillion. Australia is known to have a developed market economy and ranks 13th on a global scale when sorted by nominal GDP. In fact, as a nation, Australia has maintained the record for longest consecutive years of growth – 26 – which was reached in 2017. 

The Australian Securities Exchange in Sydney has the 16th biggest stock exchange and provides high-interest derivatives. The economy of Australia is interlinked with that of Southeast Asia. China is their main import and export partner. 

The national currency is Australian dollar (AUD) and the current conversion rate is 1 AUD to 0.71 USD (as of 4th February 2022). In 2021, the value of AUD dropped slightly against USD, however, long-term the currency exchange between the two currencies is stable. 

How to set up a money transfer to Australia

To help those of our readers who are yet to send a money transfer to Australia, we will now run through how to set up a cross-border payment to this country. 

Ways to send and receive money to Australia

We understand those money transfer customers might be struggling to figure out the best method of sending and receiving money. There are many transfer providers and methods to choose from. However, it is now easier than ever before to send money to Australia in multiple currencies. Many money transfer companies allow you to convert from many currencies to AUS from the comfort of your online profile. 

Let us examine the top money transfer methods available in Australia:

  • Bank transfer: you can use specialist companies to send wire transfers to Australian banks. The time taken is about 2-7 business days and there is typically a fixed charge of around $20-50. SWIFT transfers are also possible if the recipient bank is part of the network. 
  • Cards: using debit or credit card you can send money to Australia. The main card companies are VISA and MasterCard. Card transfers tend to be instant and have their own security steps to enter for finalizing a transaction. Expect to pay a fee of 1.5-3% of the transfer amount. 
  • Cash pickup: some money transfer services offer cash pick up. The locations are limited, depending on what service you choose. The recipient needs to visit the cash pick up point and bring identification. There is a charge for the service, which is set by the pick up location. 
  • Balance transfers: this transfer type is typically fast and applies low charges. Some services might provide free balance transfers to Australia – for example, Wise. The biggest limitation of balance transfers is that you can only send them to other members of the same company. The recipient in Australia will need to open an account with the sender’s money transfer service. 
  • Home delivery: home delivery transfers are a good option if the recipient does not have a bank account and no time to visit a cash pick up location. Physical cash is delivered to the recipient’s home address. 

How to send money to Australia

In this section, we outline the various ways it is possible to send money to Australia. This will allow you to choose the best method for your requirements. Each method comes with pros and cons which we will discuss. 

  • Account top up: this method requires you to use a payment method like bank transfer or credit card to top up a digital account. Then you use the funds to transfer to the recipient using balance transfers. The speed of balance transfers and their low cost are the biggest positives. However, you need to ensure that your digital account is topped up with sufficient funds. 
  • Mobile app: most money transfer services provide a mobile app that allows you to send money to Australia. You will need to visit the App Store or Google Play marketplaces to find out what app is available and if it offers money transfer features. You will log in with the same password on the app but there might be additional security steps, which include face recognition, PIN and fingerprint. 
  • Phone call: some companies allow you to call the customer service department and ask for the transfer manually. You will need to provide your details for security reasons. This method is handy if an internet connection is not available but will take longer. 

What’s needed to send money to Australia?

To send money to Australia you need to gather the recipient details. The specific details required depend on the type of transfer you are making. For bank transfers, you need the recipient’s name, bank name, bank address, and account number. If you are sending a SWIFT transfer, then the SWIFT code will be required. 

When making a transfer to a home address or cash pick-up point, then you will need fewer details. For cash pick-up points you will need the recipient’s name and share the reference number with the recipient. When making home deliveries you will also need the home address of the recipient. 

Balance transfers are arguably the simplest way of sending money since you need a small number of details. For instance, Wise accounts can be set up so that only the email address is required to receive money. 

How to receive money in Australia

We understand that it might be difficult figuring out how to choose the best method for receiving money. This section outlines the various options so you can make an informed decision. 

  • Pick up location: recipients that do not have a bank account can collect cash from a pick up location. Typically, the money is available immediately after the sender has initiated the transfer. The recipient will need to bring identification and provide the transaction reference number. Additional details might be requested based on what money transfer service is used. 
  • Home delivery: having cash delivered directly to your home might be the most convenient way of receiving money. You will need to provide your address and have identification documents ready for when the delivery person arrives. 
  • Bank account: you can receive money in your Australian bank account, which might take 2-5 business days. You will need to provide your bank details to the sender. Note that most banks do not match the mid market rate, so you may lose some money during a currency conversion. Converting currencies with alternative services like Wise will save you money because their currency conversion rates are competitive. 
  • Money transfer service: you can register an account with a specialist money transfer service and receive funds straight into the account. Services like Xe and TorFX come with digital balances that enable you to receive money via a balance transfer. The advantages of this method are low fees and instant transfer speeds. 

What’s needed to receive money in Australia?

To receive money in Australia you need to provide specific details based on the transfer method. When accepting a bank transfer you will need to share your name, bank name, bank address and relevant account number. For example, if you are receiving a SWIFT transfer, then the SWIFT code will be required. 

Cash transfers require fewer details, but there is an emphasis on proving your identity. When visiting a cash pick-up point you will need to bring a photo ID and the transaction number. For home deliveries, you will need to provide the address and have identification documents ready for when the delivery person arrives. 

The Australian tax authorities require the recipient to declare transfers of over AUD$10,000 (6,987 USD). Note that some money transfer services will automatically declare transfers on your behalf and they might have a lower threshold value. 

The recipient needs to pay taxes based on the reason for the money transfer. When receiving funds for employment, business-related and inheritance, then taxes are applied. However, tax payment is not required if the transfer is a gift or the recipient is moving to Australia for the first time. 

Things to consider when sending money to Australia

We understand that there are many different reasons for sending money to Australia. For each reason, various considerations need to be made to save money, time and avoid legal problems. This section outlines the many reasons for sending money to Australia and what you need to know. 

Expats

There are many reasons to send money to Australia if you are an expat. Whether it is to buy a property or receive a pension from abroad. If you are interested in sending money to Australia here is what you need to know:

  • Tax: there is no need to pay money for expat gift transfers unless it is related to employment. Also, if the money sent is related to business activity then it is also taxable. How the money is to be used by the recipient may also lead to taxation. For instance, if the recipient plans to invest the money into real estate, then it is taxable. 
  • Amount: the expat must declare money received that is over AUD$10,000 (6,987 USD). Money transfer companies might automatically declare transfers on your behalf. This saves the recipient the hassle of doing it manually. 
  • Cost: to save money on fees the expat should choose a competitive money transfer company. The fee structure should match the amount sent. For instance, large transfers benefit from a fixed-fee structure. Also, transfer providers that match the mid market rate for currency conversions is ideal. 

Overseas wedding

The average wedding in Australia costs $36,000 so every monetary contribution by family or friends will be appreciated. Here is what you should consider when getting married abroad:

  • Speed: the wedding is on a deadline and money may be required immediately to pay for various elements of the occasion. For instance, booking a catering company early ensures it will be available for the wedding date. Consider money transfer methods where the speed is instant. Balance transfer with services like Wise is an example of a fast money transfer method. 
  • Tax: sending money for a wedding is a one-time gift transfer, which means no taxes will be applied. 
  • Rates: consider looking at the top money transfer companies to find the best rates. 

Buying real estate

Sending money to Australia to buy real estate can be expensive with bank transfers. The charges can be steep if you use currency exchange services because the mid-market rate is unlikely to be offered. Here is what you need to know about money transfers for buying real estate in Australia:

  • Tax: receiving money as a gift that is later to be used for investment in real estate is taxable. 
  • Moving to Australia: people moving to Australia for the first time can bring money with them without taxation. That money can then be used to buy real estate without additional taxes applied. 
  • Fees: money transfers for buying real estate will require large sums of money. to save money on fees look for a fixed rate fees structure instead of a percentage based one. 

Salary 

The internet allows Australian residents to work for companies abroad and receive funds as a form of payment. Here is what you should know about receiving money as a salary:

  • Tax: money received as a form of payment is taxable and must be declared. 
  • Transfer speed: if you wish to avoid delays in getting your wage, then you need to choose faster methods like balance transfers. 
  • Currency conversion: avoid paying poor currency conversion rates by choosing a competitive money transfer method. For example, Xe offers competitive FX rates that allow you to convert to AUD which matches the mid market rate. 

Business

There are many Australian business owners that receive money from abroad. This might be for international sales or services that are completed overseas. Here is what you need to know when receiving money from business income in Australia:

  • Tax: business income generated overseas needs to be shared with the Australian government and the relevant taxes paid. Hiring a tax account is a good idea to ensure the business remains legal. 
  • Cash flow: slow money transfers can create cash flow problems in a business. Therefore, consider choosing a money transfer company that provides fast transfers. 
  • Profit: business profit will be reduced if the fees are expensive when transferring money. Choose a fee structure and currency conversion service that is competitive. 

Pension

Australia is a beautiful country and therefore many people move there to retire. Here is what you need to know about receiving a pension in Australia:

  • Taxes: money received as a pension from overseas or superannuation requires payment of taxes. 
  • Residency status: taxes need to be paid in Australia if the recipient has residency status, which they receive after staying in the country for more than 183 of the year. 
  • Speed: to receive pension money on time choose balance transfers for immediate receipt of funds. 

Benefits of using money transfer services

Money transfer services offer significant advantages that are worth knowing when sending money to Australia. Paying attention to these benefits will also help you find the best money transfer service. 

  • Save money on fees: money transfer services are typically cheaper than using Australian banks. For instance, you can save money by opting for free balance transfers. Services like TorFx do not charge a transfer fee because they make a profit from a small mark up percentage. 
  • Faster transfer time: specialist money transfer companies provide several methods of sending money. Some of these offer instant speeds that allow the recipient to use the funds seconds later. 
  • Currency exchange: funds received in USD, GBP or EUR need to be converted to AUD before you can use money in Australia. Money transfer services that match the mid market rate allow you to get the best conversion rates. 
  • Payment options: most money transfer services offer various payment options, which means you have flexibility when sending money. You can then transfer the funds using various methods to suit your needs. 
  • Availability: many money transfer services include Australia in their worldwide coverage and there are many options to choose from

Frequently asked questions

What are the fastest ways of sending money to Australia?
How to reduce fees when sending money to Australia?
Can I send money to Australia with a mobile app?

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April Summers

April is a trained journalist and the Content Editor for MoneyTransfers.com. She has 10 years experience writing about a diverse range of subjects, from financial services to arts and entertainment. When she’s not writing about global remittances she can be found daydreaming about her next holiday abroad.

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