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Your guide to international transfers

Sending money overseas can be an easy and safe process. And in some cases, it's even free.

International money transfers used to involve a lot of complicated paperwork, but not anymore. Now it’s as simple as selecting 'Move Money' when you're doing online banking.

Whether you’re sending money to a loved one or you’re paying for something outside Australia, there are a few things to consider. 

How to transfer money internationally from Australia

The method you choose will depend on your needs, how long the transfer will take, transfer limits, and any fees. It's worth shopping around to find a reputable International Money Transfer (IMT) provider and compare rates. 

International money transfer

Also known as a telegraphic transfer, this transfer uses an electronic network like SWIFT. Fees can vary, and the receiving bank or financial institution may also charge a fee. Money transfers can be made through an IMT service or the post office.

International bank transfer

Sending money through your bank can be quick, easy and safe. You can do this in a branch, online or through your mobile banking app. If you're sending money between your bank accounts or within your banking network, this service is often instant and free. 

What do I need to transfer money?

The requirements will depend on how you're transferring the money. However, there are a few essential things to ensure a smooth transfer process.

These include:

  • The recipient's full name, address and account details
  • The International Bank Account Number (IBAN) and Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) or Bank Identifier Code (BIC)
  • Proof of identification, such as a passport or driver's licence
  • Any forms provided by the bank, indicating the purpose of the transfer and the source of funds

Double-check all the details before you make the transfers. It can be difficult to recover your money if you send it to the wrong account.

How long do international bank transfers take?

On average, transfers take 1-5 business days. However, depending on the regulations and controls of the receiving country, the currency, and the transfer amount, it may take 5-7 days or longer. 

With HSBC, transfers via Global Money Transfers on the HSBC Australia Mobile Banking app generally take 1-2 business days. If you hold multiple global HSBC bank accounts, you can make instant, fee-free transfers between your accounts with HSBC Premier Global Transfers[@article-eligibility-hsbc-premier]. 

Are international bank transfers safe?

International money transfers are generally secure and reliable. All remittance service providers must be registered with AUSTRAC – Australia's anti-money laundering agency. The Australian Securities and Investments Commission regulates banks and financial institutions. Banks in turn employ advanced encryption methods to keep your online and mobile banking secure.

It pays to take the time to find the right international transfer service. That way, you can feel confident your money is secure and will arrive safely. The Australian government's moneysmart website is a good source of smart tips for sending money overseas. 

How much do international money transfers cost?

The cost of an international money transfer can vary significantly. You may get charged a fixed transfer fee or a percentage of the amount you’re transferring. The intermediary and receiving banks may also charge a handling fee.

In the end, an international money transfer can range from $0 to $50 per transaction, depending on the:

  • Transfer amount
    Some banks or financial institutions charge a flat fee, while others calculate fees based on a percentage of the transfer amount.
  • Destination country/region
    Certain countries have higher handling and receiving fees compared to others.
  • Exchange rates
    Exchange rates will likely differ between providers. This can make a difference to the amount converted, particularly for larger transfers. Choosing to convert into the receiving currency at the time of making the international transfer allows you to lock in the exchange rate and know the amount of foreign currency you're sending. Calculate currency conversions with real-time foreign exchange rates using the HSBC currency converter.
  • Bank or transfer service
    Different banks and money transfer services have varying fee structures. Some may offer lower fees but provide poorer exchange rates, and vice versa.

How to send money with HSBC

To make an international transfer, you'll need to open a bank account and register for online banking. You can then log in to your account or use the mobile app and follow the steps. In-person payments can also be made at an HSBC Australia branch. We offer competitive exchange rates and low fees for international transfers.

Global Transfers

Global Transfers is available exclusively to Premier customers for instant transfers between your global HSBC accounts, free of charge.

Global Money Transfers

Global Money Transfers is available to all customers for fast, easy and secure global transfers to third parties in over 50 currencies with a $0 HSBC transfer fee[@zero-hsbc-transfer-fee]. Transfers can be made to over 200 countries and regions with the HSBC Australia Mobile Banking app.

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