As we travel more, and increasingly tend to have friends and family all over the world, there’s no shortage of reasons why you might need to send or receive money from abroad. Whether you’re buying a second home overseas, being paid a salary by a business based outside of Australia, or just transferring some money to a friend abroad, it’s a smart idea to know a bit about how the process of international transfers (telegraphic transfers) with Citibank Australia works.
Transactions work differently, depending on where your money is going - whether you’re transferring to another bank, or just another Citibank account overseas. This means that costs, cut off times, and processing times may vary. You might also find that Citibank Australia isn’t dealing with your transfer alone - often there are several different banks involved in a single transaction. Unfortunately, that also means that there can be additional fees added by other banks along the way.
Do some research in advance so there are no surprises, with this handy guide to making an international transfer with Citibank Australia.
Citibank Australia recommends that customers make international money transfers online. However, you can also phone their customer support, or visit a branch if you’d rather talk to a member of staff face to face about your transaction.
(Source 13 October 2017)
To make your international money transfer, you’ll need some details about where your money is headed. The exact details vary depending on where you’re sending money, but you can expect to be asked for the following:
- The transfer amount and currency
- The full name, as written on the bank account, of the person you’re sending the money to
- The recipient’s personal address
- The name and address of the bank you’re sending money to
- The recipient’s account number used for receiving international payments. If you’re sending money to Europe, this will be their IBAN.
- A bank identifier code. This will be the SWIFT/BIC code for most international transfers, or may be a routing number if you’re transferring to the US.
What do I need or what should I give to the sender in order to receive an international bank transfer?
You’ll need to give the sender the following to receive an international money transfer with Citibank Australia:
- Your full name and address, and that of your bank
- Your bank account number
- Your bank's SWIFT/BIC code
You also need to talk to the sender about who’ll pay the charges associated with the transfer. Often the costs are deducted from the amount transferred, meaning that the recipient receives the transfer minus any fees. This can mean you get less than expected.
How long your transaction will take depends on where it’s headed. Most regular transfers get to their destination in 3-5 working days, but if you’re transferring from a Citibank Australia account to another Citibank account overseas in a participating country, you might find that the transfer happens instantly.
(Source 13 October 2017)
The bank doesn’t offer a way to speed up payments, so if you’re in a hurry be sure to set up the transfer ahead of time and during a weekday, to avoid any unpleasant surprises in the name of delays.
Citibank Australia’s rates vary depending on the specific circumstances of the transfer, and are set out below.
Before you start, it’s a good plan to understand the fees involved when making an international transfer. However, don’t forget that there may be additional charges applied by the recipient bank, or any intermediary banks who handle the transaction along the way.
|Citibank Australia International Transfers||Regular Fees|
|Incoming international transfer||A$0Recipient and/or intermediary bank(s) may levy additional charges|
|Citibank Global Transfers (incoming or outgoing)||A$0The overseas Citibank branch may still charge a transfer feeThe exchange rate includes a commission for the conversion service|
|Outgoing international transfer||A$25 Transfers to other Citibank accounts in certain countries may be freeForeign currency conversion charges also applyRecipient and/or intermediary bank(s) may levy additional charges|
|Additional fees may apply||See ‘Additional International Transfer Fees’ section below for more information|
Depending on the type of account you hold, you might find that there are different charges applied.
(Source 13 October 2017)
As well as any flat fees applied, the other important thing to understand is the exchange rate that’ll be used for your transfer. Citibank does note in the fine print that when they apply an exchange rate “this exchange rate includes a commission for the conversion service.” That’s normal for banks.
It is unlikely that your bank will choose the rate for your transaction. This is most commonly done by an intermediary bank or the recipient bank. As these middlemen don’t need to worry about pleasing their customers, they generally don’t offer a great deal. To make sure they make a profit, they normally mark up the exchange rate anywhere from 4-6% and pocket the difference. This means that the exchange rate offered may vary quite a bit from the real rate that you can find on Google.
Additional international transfer fees
You might also find you’re subject to charges that are not actually set by Citibank Australia. If your transfer is processed using the SWIFT network, there can be as many as 3 intermediary banks involved in the process. These banks, or the recipient bank might also add their own fees to the transaction. Unfortunately, Citibank Australia will often be unable to tell you exactly what other fees might be applied before you place your transaction as these are decided by the other banks involved.
|Citibank Australia International Transfers||Additional Fees|
|Recipient/sending bank and/or intermediary bank(s)||As noted previously, recipient and/or intermediary bank(s) may levy additional charges|
|Currency Conversion||As noted previously, foreign currency conversion charges (as well as a possible exchange rate markup from the rates you find on Google) may apply|
|Requesting status, trace request or funds transfer||A$20|
(Source 13 October 2017)
When it comes to international money transfers, traditional banks often don’t offer a very good deal. In fact, you could find that you’re much better off with a specialist service like TransferWise. TransferWise lets you carry out fast, secure international money transfers, using the real exchange rate and with only a small transparent transfer fee. And, because TransferWise uses smart new technology that connects local bank accounts all over the world, your money won’t be crossing borders. Which means those nasty fees levied by intermediary and recipient banks for international transfers disappear.
If you live or work abroad, or find that you need to make international transfers regularly, you will want your money to be as mobile as you are. A new TransferWise borderless account might just make your life much easier, and cut out some unnecessary fees too.
A borderless account is great because it allows you to manage and move your money around the world at the touch of a button. You can hold your money in different currencies and convert it when you need it, using the real exchange rate. And if you get paid in the EU, the UK, Australia, or the US but live elsewhere, a borderless account will let you get paid locally using local bank details - cutting out international transfers entirely. This means no intermediary banks, so no hidden fees, either.
See for yourself if you can get a better deal with TransferWise.
If you have specific questions about your transfer, there are several different ways you can talk to Citibank Australia or get more information online:
- Log in to online banking for frequently asked questions
- Go into a Citibank Australia branch to get help in person
- Give Citibank Australia a call - 13 24 84
Whether you’re making a one-off payment overseas, or have to make international money transfers regularly, you certainly don’t want to pay more than you have to. Because there are potential pitfalls and hidden fees, it’s worth doing your research in advance to choose the best service for your needs.