Anyone who remembers the heyday of international money orders will consider wire transfers a modern miracle. Not all that long ago, you had to go to the bank and purchase a money order in foreign currency to send funds to another country.
With the advent of the wire transfer, banks can transfer your funds electronically to another bank account in different currency. If the receiving bank account is in a foreign country, like Australia, the transfer is called an international wire transfer or a remittance transfer. You can wire money to Australia online or at your bank branch.
Preparing to Send a Remittance Transfer
You can send a remittance transfer to Australia without leaving the house, if you bank online and your bank is a member of the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications (SWIFT) that expedites international wire transfers. You can also head in to your bank branch and do it the longer way. Either way, you will need detailed information about the account in Australia to which you will be transferring the money.
Check the exchange rate for the Australian dollar before you begin. It changes frequently.
Sending a Wire Transfer to Australia
Log in to your online banking site and locate the tab for Wire Transfers. Click on "International Wire Transfers" or "Remittances" .
Set up your daily international payment limit to get started. This may be listed under "Security". If you can't find it, search your bank site for that term. Determine the maximum amount you may wish to send and set that for your limit.
Enter all of the information about the recipient and her bank and bank account that your online banking site requests for money transfers. This includes:
- The name and address of the bank to receive the money
- The name, address and bank account number of the person you are sending the money to
- The IBAN, or International Bank Account Number
- The SWIFT/BIC code
Enter the amount of money you want to send. Be sure you have sufficient funds in your own account to cover it. Specify the currency you wish it to arrive in. Even though you are sending funds to Australia, you can still specify a different currency than the Australian dollar, if you wish to do so.
Pay or authorize payment of the fee your bank charges to complete the transfer. This will be specified on the bank website. The receiving bank may also charge a fee.
It may seem as if a wire transfer occurs immediately, when you click the "transfer" button, but in fact it takes around 24 hours. That means that you have a little time to change your mind about the transfer and cancel or amend it.
Typical fees for wiring money to or receiving wire transfers from Australia as of August, 2015, range from about $20 to $32. Lower fees apply for online transactions. Generally you must pay your bank fees upfront.
Making an In-Branch Wire Transfer
If you decide to walk into your branch to arrange the wire transfer to Australia, take all of the information about the recipient and her bank account numbers with you. Ask the bank agent to transfer the money and he will fill out the forms for you.
Reporting Requirements for Australian Banks
Under Australia's Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act 2006, banks and other remittance businesses must report certain transactions to the government. These include international wire transfers.
Australia's laws require banks and other remittance businesses receiving an International Funds Transfer Instruction (IFTI) to send money out of Australia electronically has 10 days from the time it receives the instruction to report it to the Australian Reports and Analysis Center ("AUSTRAC"). A bank or business receiving an IFTI to send money into Australia is also obligated to report it in the same way.
If the amount sent is over $10,000, additional reporting requirements apply. The bank or business must provide more information about the transfer and the individuals involved on a form called a Threshold Transaction Report.
Likewise, if the money transfer activity makes the bank or business suspicious that money laundering or terrorism financing is going on, it must submit a Suspicious Matter Report setting out the details forming its suspicions. If terrorism financing is suspected, this must be reported within 24 hours. All other suspicious activity must be reported within three days.
Neither the sender nor the recipient of the transfer needs to report it to the government. However, if your transfers appear suspicious in the eyes of government agents, you may be investigated.
- Westpac: Sending and Receiving Money Overseas
- ANZ: International Money Transfer
- Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. "Can I Cancel a Money Transfer?" Accessed April 24, 2020.
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- Wells Fargo. "The Ins and Outs of Wire Transfers." Accessed April 24, 2020.
- American Express. "7 Answers About Wire Transfers Every CFO Should Know." Accessed April 24, 2020.
- Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). "International Business E-Mail Compromise Takedown." Accessed Feb. 6, 2020.
- Indiana University Office of Treasurer. "Banking." Accessed April 24, 2020.
- Western Union. "Frequently Asked Questions." Accessed April 24, 2020.
- Santander Bank. "What Is a Cashier's Check?" Accessed April 24, 2020.
- Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. "Helpful Tips for Using Mobile Payment Services and Avoiding Risky Mistakes." Accessed April 24, 2020.
Teo Spengler is an attorney, specializing in personal finance and business writing for the past 15 years. Her personal finance work has appeared in numerous online publications including Go Banking Rates, Legal Zoom, eHow Business, Livestrong, the Houston Chronicle, Navy Federal Credit Union, Pearson, Quicken.com, TurboTax.com, and numerous attorney websites. She holds a J.D. from U.C. Berkeley, as well as an M.A. in English and an M.F.A. in fiction.