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As anyone with loved ones abroad can attest, spending Christmas away from family is difficult. But with travel bans and border closures still in place, that may be the reality for many Australians this year.

Still, there’s no need to click ‘cancel’ celebrations just yet. Besides navigating time zones to Skype, call your nan or sister on Christmas Day, if you are looking to give your loved ones something extra special this holiday season, cash is a gift option. popular.

Considering the convenience, speed and low cost international money transfers, it is not surprising that they have become an attractive avenue for migrants seeking to support – or in this case, pleasantly surprise – their families at home. In fact, in 2019, Australians sent $ 7.44 billion around the world according to the world Bank.

But before you send your first batch of money, it’s worth doing your research into things like how to choose the right provider for your transfer and the the biggest pitfalls you’ll want to avoid. To keep you in the know, we’ve answered some of the burning questions you might have about Christmas money transfers below.

How long does it take for my cash gifts to arrive?

While sending cash certainly takes a lot less time than physical packages, you would be wrong to assume that all international money transfers are an instant process. Between the creation of an account and the actual transfer period, you could wait 1 to 5 business days for your money to reach your loved ones in China or the UK.

The exact time will of course vary depending on the provider you choose, your payment method, and the country you’re sending the money to. Other factors, such as your supplier not meeting payment processing deadlines, can also cause slight delays. So, to play it safe, try sending your money before December 18th (five business days before Christmas Day).

Which countries can I send money to?

If you have family around the world Greece at Thailand, you might be wondering if your bank or money transfer service actually covers all the countries you hope to send cash gifts to.

The general rule is that if it is a popular destination like the United States or New Zealand, you won’t have much to worry about no matter which provider you’re transferring with. But for more exotic locations, it’s best to check the supplier’s website for a list of accepted currencies or countries beforehand.

Can I send the amount I want?

The short answer is, not always. Many IMT providers have minimum and maximum transfer limits, which can sometimes start at $ 2,000 and go up to millions. So while these limits may be fine for the few thousand dollars you send mom and dad for a new flat screen, you might run into trouble for the $ 50 you plan to give your little cousin for their new one. toy. In the latter case, you will need to look for a provider that allows smaller transfers.

What’s the best way to send money internationally? Should I stick to my bank?

It is undeniable that send money abroad with your bank is the easiest option – all you have to do is log in via Internet Banking to make these transfers. But this added convenience can come at a cost, with larger banks typically charging higher fees and lower exchange rates than forex specialists like TorFX, WorldFirst, and OFX.

Take it from the Mozo international money transfer calculator which shows that at the time of writing (November 16, 2020), sending AU $ 5,000 to your family in New Zealand with the TorFX exchange rate would net you around NZ $ 5,285. On the other hand, if you stick to the average exchange rate of the Big Four banks, your family might expect to receive NZ $ 5,116 instead, or NZ $ 169 less.

Ready to compare exchange rates? Scroll down for a list of competitive specialty offers for AUD / NZD transfers. You can also customize the table below by entering your transfer amount as well as sending and receiving currencies.

Keep in mind that exchange rates are constantly fluctuating, so even waiting an hour to lock in your transfer can result in a price difference.

How can I save on my money transfer?

In addition to shopping for the cheapest international money transfer offers, there are a few other wise steps you could take to help keep costs to a minimum:

  • Consolidate your transfers: If your uncles, aunts and cousins ​​all live in the same country, why not streamline things and combine your cash gifts into one transfer? It will take a little planning to ensure that a parent then distributes the correct amount to everyone else in your family. But the big advantage is that you will save a lot on transfer fees (which are usually charged per transaction).
  • Plan ahead: Although registering and approving an IMT account does not take more than a few business days, it is best to remove this step as soon as possible so that you are ready to make a transfer when exchange rates change. your favor. The good news is that many forex specialists also offer features to help you monitor and get a better rate. These included rate alerts (which allow you to set a target rate and receive an email or SMS notification when that rate is reached) and limit orders (similar to rate alerts, except that the supplier automatically make your transfer once this rate is reached, so you won’t be able to change your mind).

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