Currency rates are a lot like the weather – they can change frequently and often without notice. Individual banks and money exchanges also offer very different rates, so it’s worth remembering these tips when transferring money for tuition.
After all, smart money management means less stress, and more funds to enjoy yourself during your time in Australia!
1. Know your rates
There’s a lot of jargon in the banking industry that can make understanding rates a challenge. Let’s break it down:
● The interbank rate is the official rate you’ll see in the news
● Wholesale rates are the closest to the interbank rate, but they’re generally only available to large corporations
● Retail rates may have big margins added and banks often charge transfer fees in addition to these.
Shopping around for rates is important, and specialist foreign exchange (or forex) providers nearly always offer a much better deal than traditional banks at lower or no transfer fees. Look out for providers who can offer the same rates that are offered to large corporations. It may only seem to be a difference of a few percentage points when it comes to the margin, but when making big transactions, this can represent hundreds or even thousands of dollars in savings on transfers.
2. Make bulk payments
Paying for multiple payments in the one transaction will allow you to save on fees. It’s generally the case that currencies for individual payments also come with higher fees, so making a list of all the expenses you’ll need to cover during your study — tuition, accommodation, living costs and so on — and then making the transfer in one go will allow you to lock in a favourable foreign exchange rate and reduce transaction fees.
3. Learn about Australian payment options
Navigating the range of payment options in Australia can be complicated. There are so many acronyms to get your head around: BPAY, BSB and EFTPOS to name a few. You may have also been hearing about the upcoming New Payments Platform (NPP) which will introduce PayID and Osko to the market. Knowing about these developments can help you save money in the long run. Start now by learning these definitions and understanding the difference!
Mark Fletcher is the CEO and Co-Founder of Cohort Go; an ed-tech company that connects international students to payments at low foreign exchange rates. A qualified lawyer, Mark completed a Bachelor of Business and has also obtained a Graduate Diploma in Applied Finance and Investment. Prior to Cohort, Mark was responsible for managing all financial risks including foreign exchange, interest rate, liquidity and capital management at a large Australian bank. He has more than 15 years’ experience working for international investment banks, together with Australian regional banks. Mark has been CEO of Cohort Go since 2011.