Some days we have genius ideas. This is where we tend to write them down.
Take note so you can feel as smart as us one day.
March 8, 2015
How did you send money overseas last time? Did you use a bank and pay more than $40 in transfer fees?
If you did, I’d bet that not only did you pay high fees, but you also got a poor exchange rate and the recipient probably had to wait two or three days before the money was available. How would you like to make that same transfer for just $5 or $10?
Compared with Europeans, Americans are quite a few steps behind regarding the best ways to transfer money abroad. While it has become commonplace for Europeans and Asians to use private foreign exchange firms for sending money overseas, most American’s are still going to their banks and paying higher transfer fees and exchange rates. Today we take a look at the four best ways to transfer money abroad that will save you time and money.
If you need to send a small amount of cash overseas, skip your local bank. Consider one of the private domestic and foreign exchange services for cheaper rates and better customer service. I’ve highlighted my top two picks for small money transfers below.
Most of us have heard about Western Union or used them at some point in time. While they don’t usually offer the cheapest rates, some of their main benefits are the speed at which you can transfer money overseas and their vast number of locations. Most often the recipient will be able to withdraw the money within minutes of you completing the transaction.
In addition to the speed at which you can send money overseas with Western Union, they offer some of the most versatile payment and pick up options. You can use their online site to send money and pay with your credit or debit card. A multitude of pick up options are available from local Western Union branches, foreign banks, and even a transfer to a mobile wallet on the receiver’s phone.
Xoom is a fantastic choice for sending small amounts of money overseas. They offer foreign money transfer options to 32 countries from Argentina to Vietnam and only charge $4.99 for international transfers under $1,000. You can initiate and track your money transfer from your mobile phone or tablet, plus it is usually available for withdrawal in one day or less.
You have the choice of doing a direct bank deposit or cash pick up from thousands of locations in each of the countries they serve. Xoom is one of your best options for cheap small money transfers to friends and family overseas.
When transferring large amounts of money overseas, it’s not just the fees you need to be concerned with, but the exchange rate too. Just a small difference in the exchange rate can equate to thousands of dollars saved on a foreign money transfer. Next time you are considering sending money overseas with your personal bank, take a look at the exchange rate they offer. You might be surprised to see a 3% to 4% difference on currently published rates.
Offering some of the best exchange rates around, World First is one of the most affordable ways to send large amounts of money internationally. They charge zero fees on any transfers over $10,000 and only $10 on smaller amounts. It takes about one day and you can send money from bank account to bank account using their phone or online methods.
World First also offers a unique feature where you can lock an exchange rate for future money transfers up to 3 years in advance. This way you can ensure you get a good rate even if you aren’t ready to transfer the money today. Start watching the market rates long in advance and lock your rate when you get a favorable exchange.
USForex is fully regulated in the U.S. and part of one of the largest foreign exchange firms in the world. Using their service to send money abroad, you’ll often save 2% – 3% on bank exchange rates and incur minimal fees. Any international money transfer of $5,000 is completely free too.
As a sign up bonus, USForex offers your first exchange for free regardless of the amount of money sent. They are great when you need to transfer money overseas for really large purchases like property or a vehicle. You can use their limit orders to designate an exchange rate you want and when the market hits that rate, your order will be triggered. This allows you to take advantage of exchange rate movements even if you are unavailable. It’s a good way to save thousands on large international transfers.