Last week I spoke about how I was getting serious with my online business, and part of that has been finding ways to reduce my overall spending on silly things like fees and charges. Some of the biggest money wasters that I have found have come in the form of international currency transfers.

Because I live in Australia and we use the Australian Dollar (AUD) over here, but the world seems to work in US Dollars (USD) I am forever doing currency transfers between AUD and USD. You wouldn’t think it would cost that much to do a simple currency transfer, but each and every time I do it, I get slugged with a conversion fee and also some pretty terrible conversion rates (normally about 2 cents less than the actual rate).

Unfortunately banking in Australia is super uncompetitive and is more like a cartel than anything else, so even if you do shop around, you aren’t likely to find very many good options. So I have been forced to look online for a better solution.

There are a few good options online, some of the more common ones which allow you to leave your money in USD (which is what I would prefer) are Payoneer and World First. Both are online only, and they allow Australians to have a USD account with very competitive currency conversion rates.

When it comes to credit cards, I haven’t had as much luck, but it looks like there is a card called 28degrees which doesn’t charge you any fees to do a currency conversion, however, I can’t comment on what the transfer rate is like.

Another option I have been considering is forming a US company and getting myself a US bank account and US credit card, however, that would then mean I have to lodge a US tax return to the IRS, and to be honest, I just dont want to spend any more time doing tax, so i’m leaving that as a last resort.

From what I can tell, by making these small changes I can save myself a couple of hundred dollars every month, so it’s definitely worthwhile.

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