Sending money overseas can be a complicated process. Every bank has its own requirements and fees, so not knowing the process can end up costing you money you didn’t plan on paying. Knowing the requirements will make bank transfers a lot less complicated - and can save you money. Read on to learn everything you need to know about making an international money transfer - sometimes called a telegraphic transfer (TT) - to or from Australia’s St. George Bank.
St. George Bank offers a few ways to transfer money internationally:
- in person at a branch.
St. George Bank doesn’t offer international money transfers by phone.
- Gather the relevant information for the recipient bank (more on that below)
- Apply for access by completing the Internet Banking - Request to Authorise/Cancel Overseas Telegraphic Transfer Access form. You can submit the signed form via mail or fax, and within 2 working days, you should have access to the “Overseas Transfers” function on your internet banking.
- Go to the “Transfers, Payments & BPAY” menu and select “Overseas Transfers.” Follow the on-screen directions.
(Source 16 October 2017)
At a St George Bank branch, a teller or cashier will help you complete your transaction. Know ahead of time that this is what they refer to as staff-assisted. And it’s nearly always more expensive. Regardless, though, it may give you more peace of mind to go in person first. Just make sure you have all the information required - see below for more details - and let the teller/cashier know what you need.
To make an international transfer with St. George 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 St. George Bank, you’ll need to give the sender:
- St. George Bank’s BIC/Swift code
- Your routing number, if you’re receiving money from a US bank
- Your account number
- Your account name
- Your branch address
- You may need to agree with the sender about who will pay the fees associated with the transfer
You can log into internet banking to find this information, or visit a branch or call 13 33 30.
(Source 16 October 2017)
St. George notes that it could take up to 2 working days for your request to be processed, so keep that in mind. Payments that are confirmed before 5 p.m. AEST on weekdays will be processed the same day. However, depending on how many intermediary banks your money needs to travel through, processing times can vary, and St. George Bank does not guarantee arrival within any specific timeframe.
The money you’re sending will be withdrawn from your St. George Bank account, and the fees will also be debited from the amount sent.
St. George Bank doesn’t currently offer a faster transfer for an extra fee.
St. George Bank doesn’t guarantee transfer times for any destination. Processing times will vary.
|St. George Bank International Transfer||Regular Fees|
|Incoming international transfer|
|Outgoing international transfer|
|Additional fees may apply|
International money transfers can be tricky, especially when it comes to exchange rates. You could book St. George to convert your money for you, an intermediary bank may do the switch, or it could be the recipient bank that exchanges money from one currency to another. And all of them will use different exchange rates that you may or may not be able to access ahead of time.
St. George has a page with its current exchange rates, but in the print at the bottom notes that the rates they show may not be accurate, may vary depending on how much you’re sending, and, thus, that you’ll need to contact them to confirm.
Nowadays, many people use an online currency converter to check the current exchange rate so they can see how much their recipient will receive. However, if you compare that exchange rate with the actual exchange rate you receive in an international transaction, you may be surprised to find there’s a pretty big difference. Rarely a good one. That’s why the recipient of an international transfer is likely to receive less money than what you actually transferred.
Often, either the recipient bank or an intermediary bank - or the sending bank if you make arrangements - will convert your money at an exchange rate of its choice, on average 4-6% poorer than the the mid-market rate - which is the rate you see on Google. This allows the bank making the conversion to make a profit off the transfer.
Although exchange rate markups are rarely listed in the fees, St. George bank does state in their terms and conditions they charge a Foreign Currency Conversion fee of 3%. They say this fee will be charged when you convert foreign currency to Australian dollars. If and what they’ll charge you when you want to convert money the other way around is a bit unclear, but the cost could very well still be there. And someone pays it. And it’s not the banks.
With international transfers, often your bank isn’t able to send it directly from one country to another. In those cases, an intermediary bank - or 3 - are involved. And each of these banks normally take a chunk out of the money you’re sending. These fees can cost anywhere from A$20-$50 per intermediary bank.
|St George Bank International Transfers||Additional Fees|
|Sending/recipient bank and/or intermediary bank(s)|
|Cancellation and return of funds|
|Trace on a telegraphic transfer|
|Amendment to payment details|
One alternative to international bank transfers is TransferWise. TransferWise allows you to send money at the exact mid-market rate - the same rate you find on Google - with minimal, fair transfer fees of 0.35-2.5% spelled out upfront. With TransferWise, your money never actually crosses borders, so there’s no international or intermediary bank fees unlike normal transfers overseas.
TransferWise have now also introduced borderless accounts, which allow account holders to send, receive and manage money in multiple global currencies at once. Also, if you get paid in one country and live in another, borderless accounts may help. You can get local bank details in the US, the UK, the EU, and Australia so you can get paid like a local and avoid those international fees. And, by 2018, borderless account holders will have access to consumer debit cards as well.
Give TransferWise a try and see for yourself how easy it can be to send money internationally.
St. George Bank’s customer support offers multiple options for contact, but they’ll vary based on your location, so check their site for details.
Sending money overseas doesn’t have to be complicated or costly. Knowing all the options available for sending money will make the process quick, and protect your money.
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