Can You Use a Credit Card to Send Money Overseas?

Yes, you can send money overseas using a credit card. But it can be really expensive depending on how you do it. Learn how to make a credit card remittance, and find out about some cheaper alternative options.

Using a credit card to send money overseas

You can often do it through your bank, PayPal or Western Union. It’s best to avoid using a credit card to transfer money for several reasons:

  1. You will probably pay a higher interest rate as a “cash advance” from the day you make the transfer.
  2. You will pay more in fees.
  3. You probably won’t get a competitive exchange rate.

The Currency Shop says:

  • In most cases, you’re better off funding a transfer using your bank account, an electronic funds transfer, or a direct debit.
  • You’ll get a better deal, pay lower fees and get a more competitive exchange rate using a dedicated currency provider.

 

What we will cover

Most of us have credit cards, and they’re a convenient way to buy now and pay later. In some cases, credit cards can be used to transfer money internationally. It’s vital to understand the fees, charges and fine print so you don’t end up paying too much. In this article we’ll explore:

  • When should you use a credit card to transfer money overseas?
  • Emergency transfers – MoneyGram, Western Union and PayPal
  • Standard transfers – your bank
  • Best value transfers – dedicated currency providers
  • Understanding the fine print
  • The Currency Shop reviews different currency providers

So, when should you use a credit card to transfer money overseas?

It is possible to send money overseas with a credit card, but the fees and charges make it more expensive than most other methods.

When you might want to use a credit card

There are some situations where you might want to use a credit card to send money:

  • If you’re benefitting from a reward program like cashback or frequent flyer miles.
  • You need to send money in an emergency and don’t have another way of funding your transfer.

Drawbacks of using a credit card

The drawbacks of using a credit card to send money include:

  • Not all providers will accept a credit card as payment to fund your exchange.
  • The credit card company will often charge higher interest rates on cash advances from the day you send the money.
  • You will often pay other fees and charges if you send money using a credit card.

Can you pay off a credit card with an international bank account?

As a general rule - no. It's particularly hard to do this if the credit card you have isn't from the same bank as your international bank account.

Some good options to consider in these situations are the TransferWise debit card and the Revolut card.

Emergency transfers – MoneyGram, Western Union and PayPal

PayPal, Western Union and MoneyGram are best used only in an emergency. The fees and possibility of a “double conversion” (if you fund in a currency other than Australian dollars) mean that you won’t get a competitive return on your transfer.

  • MoneyGram accepts credit card or debit card payment online, and cash in person. A card issuer cash advance fee and associated interest charges may apply.
  • Western Union does accept international payments online via debit or credit card, at no additional penalty. They accept Visa and MasterCard. The maximum daily amount for an online transfer is $5,000AUD.
  • PayPal does let you fund an international transfer with a credit card, but you will pay for the privilege. They accept Visa, MasterCard and American Express, but charge a minimum of 3.9% of your transfer amount. Additionally, fees can be as high as 7.4% depending on the country you are sending to.

Standard transfers – your bank

As international payment providers, banks can be versatile but do have their weaknesses. They provide multiple ways to fund and send your payment, although you’ll pay for all of them no matter what method you choose. The fees are higher than alternative transfer providers and the rates are worse. As a result, the cost of this extra “convenience” doesn’t seem worth it.

You can use a credit card issued by your bank to make an online international money transfer, providing it is linked to your online banking. Banks also accept credit cards for payment through other forms of transfer including phone banking and in person at a branch.

Best value transfers – dedicated currency providers

You’ll get the best value on your exchange rates and the lowest fees by using a dedicated currency provider like OFX, HiFX or TorFX. It is worth checking which company you use to make sure they accept credit card before you sign up.

Compare money transfer exchange rates and fees

Paul Maplesden is a freelance writer specialising in business, finance and technology