UBank is an Australian direct bank that operates as a division of the National Australia Bank (NAB). It’s an online bank without brick and mortar branches. The key selling point for UBank — lower costs — also has a downside. Sending money abroad.
UBank’s capabilities, including international transfers, are limited. Use this guide to help you with international banking needs via UBank. However, you may quickly find that using an alternative like TransferWise could not only be a good option for your international transfer needs, but may be a necessity.
Read on to find out more.
A theoretical online bank transfer sending AU$1000 from Australia to a pound sterling bank account in the UK.
|Provider||Fee||Exchange Rate||Total Cost|
|UBank (Australia)||no outgoing international transfers¹||no outgoing international transfers¹||no outgoing international transfers¹|
|TransferWise||$5.97||The real exchange rate - the same one you find on Google||$5.97|
What you may notice quickly is that, surprisingly, UBank doesn’t offer the option to send money internationally. At all.
Which means you’ll need to find another provider or find a creative solution.
But don’t just shop around by looking at the fees. Because, often, the bulk of the cost comes from the exchange rate markup — on average a spread of an additional 4-6%. In addition, there are normally 1-3 intermediary and recipient banks who also charge fees.
Which means that sending money abroad through a bank can be way more costly than you realize.
To make sure you really know what you’re getting, before you commit, compare the exchange rate you’re being offered with an online currency converter to find out how much your international transfer is really costing you.
|Ubank international transfers||Regular fees|
|Incoming international transfer||
|Outgoing international transfer||
As you probably noticed from the table above, UBank doesn’t really do international transfers. But that doesn’t mean money from abroad can never make it to your bank account there. And, in that case, you’ll probably find more fees than you expected. UBank explains it like this:
Where a deposit is made to your USaver Ultra from an account held overseas and/or in a foreign currency, the other financial institution(s) involved in sending that payment may charge a fee. The person sending the payment may elect to have that fee deducted from the amount sent (in which case, you will receive less). If you have any queries about any such fees, you should contact the sender or the sender’s financial institution. This fee is not charged by UBank.³
That means if you receive money from abroad, you’ll still find correspondent banks levying fees in addition to likely offering you poor exchange rates. (More on exchange rates a little later.)
A better option, to save on those international fees anyway is to use a service like TransferWise. TransferWise has smart new technology that connects local bank accounts all over the world. So whether you’re sending money abroad or receiving it from overseas, you don’t actually need UBank to make the transfer to a foreign nation. With TransferWise, you can make a local transfer from UBank to TransferWise’s Australian bank account and the money will come out on the other side from TransferWise’s local bank account in the recipient country. It works the other way around, too.
Which means, if you’re a customer of UBank stuck without an international option, TransferWise could be your answer.
While UBank doesn’t allow customers to send money abroad directly from their UBank accounts, they do permit accounts to receive international transfers. In that case, when there is a currency other than Australian Dollars involved, there will be a currency conversion.
In those instances there will be a bank that will make the switch from one to another. And this, unfortunately, is where a bulk of the cost is silently passed on to a consumer. Banks are notorious for marking up a wholesale exchange rate anywhere from 4-6%. Which means you’re paying far more than you often realize.
UBank states it this way:
the amount will need to be converted into Australian dollars before it reaches your UBank account. The bank doing the conversion (which may be us, or another bank) will generally use its own exchange rate/s prevailing at the time of conversion³
Banks get to set their own exchange rates. Rarely do they use the real exchange rate - the one you find on Google. That’s where providers like TransferWise, who do give you the real mid-market rate, can likely save you a lot.
Because Ubank doesn’t have the option to pay overseas bank accounts, you’ll need to get a little creative. UBank only allows for fund transfers to other Australian financial institutions.
If you’re in a bind and still need to transfer your money overseas, you can still do send money abroad using UBank when you use an alternative transfer service like TransferWise. Sending money overseas with TransferWise is fairly quick and simple.
For yourself, to sign up and get started with TransferWise you’ll need:
- Your full name and address
- A valid email address
- Your date of birth and phone number
- You may also be asked to provide a valid government-issued ID and/or proof of address
- If you pay with a debit card, you’ll need your card details
- If you pay via bank transfer, you’ll be provided with TransferWise’s local Australian bank account details so you can make a local transfer
- If you pay via instant internet bank transfer, you’ll be asked to log in to your bank via POLi
For your recipient, the information you’ll need:
- The full name of your recipient as it appears on their bank account
- The name of their bank where their account is located
- The recipient’s local bank account details (the transfer will be arriving to them from inside their local country, so these details will vary from those of an international payment)
- Your recipient’s email address (TransferWise will inform them when your money is sent out)
- A payment reference to go on the transfer (optional)
- The amount and currency they want to receive (please note that TransferWise almost exclusively sends out money in the local currencies of respective countries)
In order to receive an international transfer of funds from overseas directly to your UBank account, also referred to as a telegraphic transfer you’ll need the following information:
- Ubank’s SWIFT code: NATAAU3303M³
- Your full name, address, and UBank account details
- UBank’s mailing address: PO Box 1466 North Sydney, NSW, 2059
- The amount of the transfer and the currency you’d like to receive the payment in
- A reference if you need one on the transfer
If you use a service like TransferWise, the only difference from what you would need from the above information is you would need your BSB code rather than an international SWIFT code because TransferWise transfers money locally within Australia.
- Ubank Local Contact Centre: 13 30 80
- UBank international phone number: +61 2 8756 0855
- UBank Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- UBank Skype: ubank.com.au
If you do decide to use TransferWise and run into any issues, you can get in touch via phone and email for help with international transfers.
- https://www.facebook.com/ubank/posts/10150748167564054 (9 March 2018)
- https://transferwise.com/ (9 March 2018)
- https://www.ubank.com.au/content/dam/ubank/documents/usaver-ultra-terms-conditions.pdf (9 March 2018)
- https://www.ubank.com.au/help#/?m=c&p=1&q=international%20transfer&id=24939 (9 March 2018)
|This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication. The information in this publication does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from TransferWise Limited or its affiliates. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.|