Commonwealth Bank international transfer: Fees, rates and transfer time

TransferWise content team
27.10.17
6 minute read

Sending money overseas seems like it should be a simple process, right? Not necessarily. Every bank has different processes and requirements, and knowing them is the easiest way to make sure your transfer goes as smoothly as possible. Read on to learn everything you need to know about making an international money transfer (often called an IMT) to or from Australia’s Commonwealth Bank.

How do you make an international bank transfer with Commonwealth Bank?

Commonwealth Bank offers a number of ways to transfer money internationally:

  • online
  • with their CommBank app
  • in person at a branch

Commonwealth Bank doesn’t offer international money transfers by phone.

Online

  • Gather the relevant information for the recipient bank (more on that below)
  • If you haven’t already set up a daily international transfer limit with Commonwealth Bank, you’ll want to make that your priority. First Log into NetBank, click “More,” select “Payment Limits,” and then follow the onscreen prompts.
  • Select “Transfers and BPAY,” then “International Money Transfers.” Follow the onscreen prompts.

On the CommBank App

  • Gather the relevant information for the recipient bank (more on that below)
  • If you haven’t already set up a daily international transfer limit with Commonwealth Bank, you’ll need to do that first. Log into the CommBank app, go to the top left menu and select “Settings,” then “Payment limits” and “International Money Transfer.” Follow the prompts.
  • Go to “Pay Someone.” Select “Overseas transfer” or click the + sign to add a new payment recipient. Follow the instructions onscreen to complete the transaction.

At a Commonwealth Bank branch

At a Commonwealth Bank branch, a teller will help you complete your transaction. Make sure you have all the information you need - more details on that later - and let the teller/cashier know what you need.

What do I need in order to make an international money transfer?

To make an international transfer with Commonwealth Bank, you’ll need:

  • BIC/SWIFT code of the recipient
  • IBAN or account number of the recipient
  • Recipient’s full name and account name if it’s different
  • Recipient’s home address
  • Recipient bank’s address

What do I need or what should I give to the sender in order to receive an international bank transfer?

To receive an international money transfer to Commonwealth Bank, you’ll need to give the sender:

  • Commonwealth Bank’s BIC/Swift code
  • Your BSB number
  • Your account number
  • Your account name
  • Your home address
  • You may need to agree with the sender about who will pay the fees associated with the transfer

You can log into NetBank to find this information, or visit a branch or call 13 2221.

How long does an international bank transfer with Commonwealth Bank take?

How long does it take normally to arrive to the destination account?

International money transfers take 2-5 days to process, but can take longer depending on the recipient’s country and bank. If the transfer is initiated on a weekend, bank holiday or after the currency cut-off time, processing will begin on the following business day.

(Source 1 Source 2 13 October 2017)

What are the different payment methods and how long do those take?

Payment for an international transfer occurs automatically from your bank account. As the sender, you can choose to pay any overseas bank fees, which will be added to the transfer amount. Otherwise, the fees for the transfer will be deducted from the amount the recipient receives.

Is there any way to make a faster transfer for an extra fee?

Commonwealth Bank doesn’t currently offer a faster transfer for an extra fee.

Does the amount of time it takes vary by destination?

Transfer times aren’t guaranteed, and some countries and recipient banks may take longer to process international transfers.

What are the fees?

Commonwealth Bank international transfer fees table

Commonwealth International Transfers Regular Fees
Incoming international transfer Up to A$11 to an AUD accountUp to A$11 to a foreign currency accountUp to A$25 to an AUD account at another bankUp to A$35 to a foreign currency account at another bank
Outgoing international transfer A$22 via NetBankA$22 via CommBank appA$30 at a bank branch
Additional fees may apply See ‘Paying for correspondent bank processing fees’ and ‘Additional Fees’ sections for more information

(Source 1 Source 2 13 October 2017)

Commonwealth Bank exchange rates

Sending or receiving money in a currency different than what’s used in your home bank account means that either the recipient bank or one of the intermediary banks will convert the currency at an exchange rate of its choice. That bank is likely to choose an exchange rate that’s poorer than the mid-market rate and keep a profit for itself. In general, that means the bank may take an average margin of 4-6% off of the exchange rate that you’ll find online on places like Google or with online currency converters.

What that means is that often the person receiving the transfer will receive an amount in his or her home currency that’s less than what the transferred amount is actually worth according to the rates you can find on Google, because of the exchange rate applied by one of the banks.

(Source 13 October 2017)

Paying for Commonwealth Bank correspondent bank processing fees

International transfers are nearly always sent via the SWIFT network. What that means is that once the money leaves Commonwealth bank, there may be up to 3 intermediary banks involved in addition to the recipient bank. And normally each of the banks takes a chunk out of the money you’re sending. As such, Commonwealth bank, if you make your transfer in person at a branch or via CommBiz, gives you the option to pay those intermediary and receiving bank fees in some instances.

If you want to do that, to make sure your recipient gets the amount you intended, here are the intermediary/correspondent bank(s) fees you’ll need to pay depending on the country and the currency you want to reach the destination bank account.

Country Currency Correspondent Bank Fee International Transfer Fee (in branch)
Belgium EUR A$33 A$30
Canada USD A$37 A$30
China USD A$37 A$30
Germany EUR A$33 A$30
Germany USD A$37 A$30
Hong Kong USD A$37 A$30
India USD A$37 A$30
Indonesia USD A$37 A$30
The Netherlands EUR A$33 A$30
The Netherlands USD A$37 A$30
New Zealand NZD A$17 A$30
New Zealand USD A$37 A$30
Philippines USD A$37 A$30
Russia USD A$37 A$30
South Africa USD A$37 A$30
Thailand USD A$37 A$30
United Arab Emirates (UAE) USD A$37 A$30
United Kingdom (UK) GBP A$17 A$30
United Kingdom (UK) EUR A$41 A$30
United Kingdom (UK) USD A$37 A$30
United States of America (USA) USD A$37 A$30
Vietnam USD A$37 A$30

(Source 13 October 2017)

Additional fees

As noted previously, on top of likely poor exchange rates given by an intermediary or recipient bank, there will very likely be additional fees deducted from your amount along the way. So double check once your money arrives at its destination.

Commonwealth International Transfers Additional Fees
Sending/recipient bank and/or intermediary bank(s) Commonwealth Bank notes, “overseas banks may deduct processing fees from the amount you transfer, which could result in the recipient receiving less than the amount you intend”
Tracing/investigating an international money transfer A$25 per investigation
Changing details on an international money transfer A$25 + overseas bank’s costs
Cancelling an international money transfer A$25 + overseas bank’s costs

(Source 1 Source 2 Source 3 13 October 2017)

A cheap and transparent alternative: TransferWise

An alternative to making international bank transfers is TransferWise, which allows you to send money at the exact mid-market rate - the same rate you find on Google. The fees are also spelled out upfront. Minimal, fair transfer fees of 0.5-2.5% depending on your destination country. There’s no international nor intermediary bank fees because TransferWise moves money by only using local bank transfers. So money never crosses borders.

TransferWise also offers borderless accounts, which allow account holders to send, receive and manage money in a number of different global currencies all at once. Borderless account holders will also have access to consumer debit cards by 2018.

Send money and see for yourself how easy it is at TransferWise.

Contact / Help - More questions around your transfer?

Commonwealth Bank’s customer support has quite a few options for contact. The phone and email will depend on your location, however. So check their site for details.

Sending money across international borders can be complicated and costly, but knowing the ins and outs means finding a way to send money at the lowest possible cost. Protect your money by educating yourself on the best ways to make international transfers, with Commonwealth Bank or through another avenue.

TransferWise is the smart, new way to send money abroad.

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