Help and Frequently Asked Questions
If you have any questions on how to send money to the Pacific Islands, or the way that information is displayed on this site, you will find the answers in this section.
If for any reason you don't find the answer you require please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will try to provide the information.
These questions and answers apply specifically to Australia and New Zealand. Whilst they will generally apply to most of the Pacific countries there may be some local differences that you should take into account.
Explanation of terms on the compare costs sections
About the methodology used on this site
This site provides a comparison between different money transfer organisations that send money from Australia, New Zealand and the United States of America to eight Pacific countries. The methodology that has been used is consistent with that used by the World Bank in its site http://remittanceprices.worldbank.org. The World Bank Remittance Prices website contains price comparisons that cover 365 money transfer routes, or ‘Corridors’ as the pairing between money transfer routes are termed. A robust methodology was developed for the World Bank site which has become the de facto standard for remittance price comparison sites around the world.
Data is collected by researchers, posing as customers and contacting individual firms within each corridor. Researchers in a number of countries worldwide collected data for each corridor on the same day, in order to control for fluctuations in exchange rates and other changes in fee structures.
- Operator: data is collected for all the major service providers in each corridor, including both the primary Money Transfer Operator (MTO) and Banks active in the market. In some markets very few banks or MTOs operate. Companies surveyed within each market have been selected to cover the maximum remittance market share possible.
- Amounts: Two amounts have been surveyed per corridor: $200 and $500. These sums have been chosen to reflect what is believed to be the average amount transferred and the most frequently transferred amount.
- Transfer fees: This is the most visible cost and can differ significantly among different companies. This fee usually represents the charge the sender pays, and can vary depending on the amount sent. In some cases, there may be fees and taxes that are charged at the destination that have not been detected in this database.
- Exchange Rate Fee: An important portion of the remittance cost is the exchange rate spread, which is not quoted in the transfer fee. The majority of remittance transactions are paid in local currencies, and, thus, an exchange operation is required. Money transfer operators and banks usually charge a currency conversion fee - a margin they add to their costs of foreign exchange. This is harder to compare with other money transfer providers. In this database, where remittances are paid in US dollars, or where exchange rate information was not provided, this information may not be available. In these cases, the total costs might be higher than indicated in the database and an approximate (worst case) exchange rate has been substituted to emphasise this circumstance.
- Speed of transfer: The website covers a variety of transfer methods including cash-to-cash and account-to-account transfers. The speed of transfer is noted for each product based on the information supplied by the operators.
Explanation of the headings on each of the columns on the ‘compare costs’ tables.
The compare costs tables contain 9 columns. This section provides more information on information contained within each one.
- Operator - the name of the organisation in the sending country that will transfer your money. The type of operator (e.g. bank or MTO) is also listed
- Method of transfer - this describes how the money is ordered in the sending country. The Icon Legend below the comparison tables lists all of the featured method of transfers.
- Fee (AUD) - This represents the fee paid by the sender only. It does not include any money paid by the receiver.
- Total cost (AUD) - this represents the total amount, expressed in the sending currency, it will cost for the transaction. This includes the fee paid by the sender, any fees paid by receiver and the total cost of the foreign exchange in relation to the transaction. Note, there may be some other costs that are hidden and not covered in this survey, e.g. ATM costs, local delivery costs, etc.
Hover text over the total cost provides the sender with information on Exchange rate, Exchange rate margin and the date the data was collected for that operator.
- Total cost (%) - this represents the total amount (as a % of the send amount) the sender pays including fees and any foreign exchange cost.
- Location - this describes the place that you can go to or the method that you can use, in the sending country, to send your money. Where appropriate it describes whether the service is available nationwide or only in selected areas. It also advises if you can order the service on line.
- Amount received - represents the amount that will be received by the person receiving the money, in their own currency, after taking into account all known costs.
- Speed of transfer - shows the anticipated length of time between the sender giving the instructions and the money being available to be collected or credited to an account under normal circumstances. The times are given in the number of working days. The actual amount of time taken may vary depending on unforeseen circumstances. Times given on this website are subject to different time zones and the opening hours of the receiving location.
- Network coverage - shows the extent of the operator's network in the receive country, e.g. whether money can be received in urban only, rural only, nationwide, major cities or the main city in the receive country.
- Outlets - describes the places where the money can be collected or where it is delivered to, e.g. a bank account. Note, that if the chart says ‘Fijian bank account’ it is a requirement that the receiving customer already has a bank account before the money can be sent on that occasion.
Sending money to the Pacific
How can I send my money to the Pacific Islands?
There are many ways to send money from one country to another:
Cash – You can send cash from the sending country, by using one of many different money transfer organisations, and your family can pick up cash in the country that they are in.
Card-to-card – You can send your money by using a bank card and the person you’re sending to can collect the money in cash at an ATM or the money can be spent in stores where the card is accepted
An International Money Order (IMO) - Your bank will give you an international guaranteed cheque and your family can then cash the cheque at their bank or pay it into their bank account.
Bank to Bank Transfer – If you have a bank account you can transfer money from this to a bank account in another country. The method used is often called a SWIFT transfer – this is the name of a transfer system.
Online – Some money transfer companies let you transmit through the internet (online). You need to set up a special account and then the company will send the money to your friend’s bank account or make it available for the money to be collected as cash.
Mobile Phone and New Technology – sending money is an area that is developing all the time due to new technology. For example, Fiji is well established with mobile phone money transfers – where money is sent to a receiver who receives the funds via their mobile phone.
How much money can I send?
There is no legal limit to the amount of money that you can send. However, many businesses that transfer money do limit the amount that they can send for you. You are likely to be asked to provide some additional identification or to answer some questions by your money transfer company or bank if the amount you want to send is large.
What ID do I need to send money?
Identification requirements vary from company to company although it is common for identification to be requested for any amount over AUD/NZD/USD 1000. You will need to produce a current form of identification such as a passport or photo driving licence.
Do I have to be an Australian / New Zealander / American to send money?
No, anyone can send money but you must have proof of who you are.
What can I do if my money doesn’t arrive to my friends or family?
You should contact the company that you sent the money through and ask them to determine where it is. You should also make sure that the person you have sent the money to has contacted the organisation that should pay the money to them. If the money can still not be found, you should contact one of the organisations below.
For complaints in Australia contact the Australian Financial Complaints Authority on +1 800 931 678 or https://www.afca.org.au.
In New Zealand you can take your complaint to one of the dispute resolution schemes. All financial service providers must belong to a dispute resolution scheme. For more information go to:https://www.consumerprotection.govt.nz/report-or-resolve-a-problem/banking-finance-and-insurance/banking-finance-and-insurance/(Consumer Affairs).
United states of America
For complaints in the United States of America go to http://www.consumerfinance.gov/complaint/ (Consumer Financial Protection Bureau) when the money was transferred by a bank.
If the money wasn't transferred by a bank, contact your state banking agency. Some states have regulators that look into issues like these. Find yours online at www.csbs.org/about/what/pages/directory.aspx or call 311, and let them know what happened. Or, file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/FTC_Wizard.aspx?Lang=en. The FTC tracks nationwide trends using a database for state, local, and federal government agencies.
What is an exchange rate?
An exchange rate is a calculation used by the company transferring the money to convert the national currency into the currency that the person you are sending to collects the money in. Normally, when calculating the exchange rate an organisation adds a “margin” - often called a "currency conversion fee". This results in them making additional money from your transaction and is normal practice in the money transfer and banking industry. As this is often a hidden charge you are advised to compare the rates offered by different organisations.
Is it guaranteed?
You should ask your money transfer organisation if the exchange rate is guaranteed. If it is, it means that you will know the exact amount that the person you are sending money to will receive. Not all companies guarantee the exchange rate so you should check these to ensure that you get the best deal for you.
What documents/information does the person I’m sending to need in order to collect the money?
This will depend on the country you are sending to and the amount that you are sending them. You should always ask the money transfer company that you are using what the person collecting the money will need to bring with them. In many cases they need to bring an identity card, passport or photographic driving licence.
How long will it take for my money to arrive?
Different methods take different amounts of time. Always check with your provider. In general cash transfers and card transfers take between 10 minutes and 2 days and bank account transfers take 2 to 5 days.