International Money Transfer News Weekly Update 7/13/2015

 

PayPal to Buy Xoom Digital Money Transfer Provider for $890 Million

As Paypal plans its separation from EBay, they have looked to muscle their way further into the global remittance market. Their most recent move is to buy Xoom Digital Money Transfer provider for roughly $900 million. They are paying a 21 percent premium over Xoom’s closing price of $20.70 last Wednesday. Xoom currently has 1.3 million customers across 37 countries and with the backing of Paypal, they should be able to expand into even more markets. Paypal expects the deal to slightly hurt its adjusted earnings per share for 2016, but they should bounce back in no time. Read more…

 

Ask an Expert: ‘Should I Buy Euros Now or in a Month?’

There has been a lot of speculation about Greece exiting the Eurozone and how that would affect the price of the Euro. There is a strong likelihood that is Greece left, the Euro would weaken across the board, at least in the short term. Expect uncertainty in the markets and stimulative actions by the ECB until things stabilize. More than likely we would see the Sterling and the Dollar rise against the Euro and it could be a good time to start planning your next money transfer into Euros. Read more…

 

Kenya Lifts Suspension of Somali Money Transfer Agencies

The Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) has lifted its April 7th suspension of 13 Somali money transfer services. In addition to suspending the money transfer services, the CBK froze the assets of dozens of individuals, travel companies and NGOs in an attempt to clamp down suspected sympathizers of al-Shabaab. When the suspensions were originally enacted, the Governor of the CBK said the closures would adversely affect Kenya’s Somali community. It is estimated that between $70 million and $100 million is currently transferred into Kenya every month through informal money remittance methods. One of the companies that was affected by the suspension which has been reinstated is Dahabshiil, Kenya which handles money transfer and banking services for the UN, the World Bank, Oxfam and Save the Children. Read more…

 

API-Based Money Mover Currency Cloud Taps Sapphire Ventures And Rakuten For $18M

There is no shortage of FinTech startups that help people transfer money across global borders. One might say they are popping up like weeds. The growth in the industry is being fueled by increased consumer demand. Currency Cloud, a startup that has built technology that powers the FinTech startups is doing some VC fund raising of their own.

Currency Cloud has landed an $18 million round of funding. Its main technology and product is called Payment Engine which is the essential engine behind well known money transfer services such as Azimo, TransferWise and XE.com. Currency Cloud currently processes $10 billion in payments between its clients. Read more…

 

Western Union Restarts Money Transfer Service in Greece

Western Union has restarted their money transfer service in Greece after suspending it at the end of June. Customers will now be able to receive overseas funds once again, but will still be restricted to the 60 Euro a day limit imposed by the Greek government. In addition to restoring their in-bound transfers, Western Union is also looking to expand its payout locations across Greece. Read more…

 

Euronet Ramps Up Money Transfer Division with XE Buyout

Euronet Worldwide recently purchased XE.com, one of the leaders in the digital foreign exchange information sector. XE has a solid ranking among the top 500 websites worldwide and is one of the top five business news websites. It generates nearly $10 billion in revenues annually and their recently launched mobile app has more than 35 million downloads. The company expects their revenue to more than double following the merger. The merger is another strategic move by Euronet to ramp up their money transfer division. They have recently made investments in Ria Digital and acquired HiFX in MAy of 2014. Read more…

 

Western Union Enhances Mobile Money Transfer Capabilities in Africa

Western Union has been focusing on growing its reach across Africa and they have launched a new mobile transfer service in Rwanda and the Ivory Coast. Customers in both countries can now receive a Western Union money transfer into their mobile wallet. They can also use the money to pay bills, initiate a person to person transfer, buy mobile airtime and many other services. In addition to the digital wallet transfers, Western Union now has 400 physical cash pick up locations across Rwanda and 1,350 across the Ivory Coast. Integrating their service with MTN, one of the leading Mobile Money subscribers in Africa, was a smart move by Western Union which will help them expand their reach to a large amount of new customers. Read more…

 

Xoom and TransferTo Create One-stop Shop for International Prepaid Mobile Top-up

Xoom, one of the leading digital money transfer firms, has announced a collaboration with TransferTo, a global hub for mobile money transmission and international airtime credits. Xoom customers will now be able to recharge international prepaid mobile phones in 22 countries from Mexico to the Philippines. U.S. based customers will be able to instantaneously send airtime credits to friends and family overseas. All it takes is a name and a mobile phone number. It is estimated that $10 billion is sent annually between cell phones and this move will allow Xoom to expand its remittance portfolio generating increased consumer loyalty. Read more…

 

Foreign Money Transfer Resources

XE – XE is one of the best sources for current market exchange rates. If you are wondering whether the exchange rate offered to you by your money transfer firm of choice is competitive, just head over to XE and pick the two currencies you are looking to exchange to see the rates.

 

Oanda – Oanda is a great resource which lets you track historical exchange rate date for up to 5 years. You can see graphs that show the changes in daily, weekly, or monthly groupings and find out the average exchange rate over a specific time period. It’s a great tool to help you time the market if you are planning on making a large foreign money transfer at some point in the future. Timing the marker right can a big difference in the amount transfer and the amount received.

 

Send Money Cheaper Blog – The Send Money Cheaper Blog is a comprehensive website that has everything from transfer guides and tips for getting the cheapest rate to breaking news in the FX industry. If you are new to the money transfer arena or just looking for a few tidbits to help you streamline the process, our blog has the answers you need.

 

Trust Pilot – Trust Pilot is a great place to read up on the money transfer provider you are considering. They have a section for money transfer servicer reviews and a section on currency exchange company reviews. Reading through some of their reviews can help you decide which servicer you want to use and help you get an idea of their customer service level.

 

Everbank – This blog is written by Chuck Butler, a global market expert who frequently appears on Market Watch, Bloomberg, CNN and other reputable financial analysis publications. It will help you stay informed of daily economic happenings around the world which can have a real impact on currency values. You can use their search function to find every article pertaining to your country of interest. This can help you gauge the market and decide if the time is right to invest in a country or transfer a large sum of money into a specific currency.

 

FX Week – FXWeek is one of the most helpful sites when planning on a large money transfer in the near future. They have an FX market analysis and FX market forecast section so you can time your transfer to the market and get the most bang for your buck. Their current news section is always up to date, plus they have an editorial section that gives a valuable insight into the FX markets inner workings.

 

Forex Live – Forex Live is another useful website that can help you plan your trades based on expected up or down swings in currency pairs. It is packed with tons of technical analysis market information and you can find charts that allow you to gauge currency trading trends. Their Forex Brokers section is perfect for those looking to find the best trading firm to open an account with. If you need real time currency quotes, their Live Quotes section is one the best resources as it updates every second. In addition to all of the great market information that Forex Live puts at your fingertips, they also publish Central Bank news so you can learn what the big financial players are planning and adjust your strategy accordingly.

 

Daily FX – Whether you are just looking to handle a few currency transfers or trying to break into FX trading, Daily FX has everything you need. Most of the information published on Daily FX can be found on some of the other sites we mentioned, except for the forum which has to be our favorite aspect of their site. In their forum, you can share and discuss trading strategies, get tips on a hot new buy, learn how to use the different trading platforms and even speak directly with market experts.

 

Bloomberg Currencies – Most people have heard of Bloomberg and anybody interested in financial markets and current economy happenings probably follows their news channel or checks their website periodically. Their currency section shows all of the major world currencies trading values in an easy to use format. You can choose from America’s currencies, Europe, Middle East and Africa currencies or Asia Pacific currencies to quickly sort through the most relevant quotes for your needs. They also have small graphs which illustrate the most recent two day trends.

 

Financial Times – The Financial Times is one of the world’s leading business news organizations and their website has a wealth of information on all things political, business, or financial related. Their most relevant section to those looking to transfer money overseas is the Currency Section. It provides essential news, data and analysis on current FX happenings and it’s updated multiple times a day to ensure the most up-to-date information.

 

The Economists – Another well known publication that is highly respected in the business world, The Economists has a foreign exchange section that has detailed news reports on current world happenings that affect currency values. It can be a good stop to do a little research on an economy whose currency you are considering transferring your money into. Our only qualm with The Economists’ foreign exchange section is that it’s not updated often enough, but the information they do publish is highly relevant.

 

The World Bank – Not so much a resource for currency values news or information, rather the World Bank website is useful for researching world remittance and migration trends. Using the World Bank site, you can see where migrant workers are immigrating to and follow the flow of money around the world. They also have survey data going back as far as 1960. Using their survey data, you can anticipate emerging global trends which will affect currency values in the near future helping to steer you in the right direction when planning your next transfer. With the information found on the World Bank site, you can avoid parking money in an economy that is expected to stall.

 

Pew Social Trends – The Pew Research Center compiles data and studies on just about every topic imaginable. They are a leading the way in non-biased factual based research that help shape the decision of small and large corporations around the globe. Their Global Remittance Map clearly illustrates where money is originating and where it is going. You can find out which country received the most foreign remittances in 2012. In addition to learning which country received the most, you can find out how much was sent out of or in to any country around the world.

Top Money Transfer F.A.Q.s

1. Why is it cheaper to send money with a money transfer firm than a bank?

Money transfer firms offer a better exchange rate and lower fees than banks for the same service. They make their money on the large volume of transactions they handle daily. Whereas a bank will generally charge between $20 and $45 for a single transfer, most FX firms charge around $5. Some even offer free transfers! Private money transfer firms are also willing to offer better exchange rates than banks and happy to make 1% as opposed to the 4% or 5% banks try and profit.

 

2. What is the cheapest way to send money between countries?

There is not cut and dry answer to this question. A number of variables come into play including the currencies being exchanged, the destination country and the amount sent. As a blanket statement, foreign exchange transfer services are usually your best option because they charge the lowest fees and give the best exchange rates. Your best bet is to use the Send Money Cheaper Comparison Tool to compare the rates offered by different providers.

 

3. How secure is sending money through a money transfer firm?

Security is of the utmost concern to most money transfer firms. Most comply with U.S. anti-money laundering laws and many are also registered with specific governing bodies in their country of incorporation. Your funds are kept completely segregated from business funds. Regulated companies are required to keep sufficient capital to safeguard customer transfers in case of any issues. That being said, there are a number of irreputable firms out there and if one of them goes bust, there is a chance you may not get your money back.

All of the companies recommended by Send Money Cheaper are regulated and reputable. If choosing other transfer servicers, do your research to make sure they are complying with all local and national laws. As with any online based service, any time you make include your bank account information there is a potential to be hacked, but these instances only happen in rare occasions and could just as easily happen to your bank.

 

4. What kind of information do I need to send money overseas using a money transfer service?

Sending money with a private foreign exchange firm is easy. In most cases, all you need is your personal information like name, contact information, country of residence, address, etc. You’ll also need some form of legal identification. This could be a passport, driver’s license, or military ID. If conducting the transaction completely online, you will need your bank account, credit card, or Paypal info as well.

For the recipient, you will need their name, phone number and country as a minimum. If you are having the money directly deposited into their bank, you will need their bank account info and the currency type in their account. For a cash pick up, you just need their full name as it appears on their official ID and phone number.

 

5. Where can I send money to?

Just about every country has some money transfer firm that services them with a few exceptions like Somalia or other war torn countries where there is a worry money could be sent for the purpose of funding terrorist activities. Using the Send Money Cheaper Comparison Tool, you can see which providers service the country you need to send money too and choose the lowest cost option.

 

6. How much money can I send at one time?

The sky is the limit. Money transfer firms specialize is sending small and large amounts. Whether you want to send $200 to help a struggling family member or want to transfer $400,000 to purchase a home or business overseas, foreign exchange firms can help.

 

7. Is it better to send lots of little amounts or a large amount at one time?

It depends on your needs. If you are sending money to a child studying overseas who isn’t great at budgeting, it might be better to send regular small money transfers. In general though, you will usually wind up paying less fees doing a fewer amount of large transfers as opposed to lots of little ones. When initiating large transfers over $10,000 you will often get a better exchange rate meaning more of your money arrives at its destination.

 

8. How long before the money is available to the recipient?

This depends on the fees you want to pay, the services you use, and which option you choose. You will generally have the choice of paying little or no fees and having the money available within three days, or you can choose to pay a little more and the money can be available nearly instantaneously.

 

9. Does the recipient have to pay any fees?

The recipient of the funds won’t have to pay any fees to pick up the money. All of the fees will be paid on your end and you can choose to have them deducted from the transfer amount or you can set the amount you want the recipient to receive and pay an additional amount to cover the fees.

 

10. In what currency will the recipient receive the funds?

With most money transfer firms, you can specify what type of currency you want the recipient to receive, but there are a few countries out there that will only allow transfers of their local currency to received or deposited into bank accounts. Check with their local laws or your money transfer firm of choice if you are unsure.

 

11. Can I send money to somebody who doesn’t have a bank account?

Yes. The recipient does not need a bank account for cash pick ups. All that will need is a valid government I.D. and special password that you choose when initiating the transfer. With these two things in hand, they can go to the specified pick up location and receive the funds.

 

12. What is FinCEN?

FinCen is the United States Department of Treaury’s financial crimes unit. They safeguard the financial system from money laundering by collecting, analyzing, and disseminating financial intelligence. They work with financial authorities around the globe to monitor money transfers between countries and ensure that your personal information and money is safe. In addition to keeping a close watch on the global money transfer industry, they also oversee securities and futures, casinos, the jewelry and precious metal industry and more.

 

13. If I am an importer, can I use a foreign money transfer firm to save money?

Yes. Once registered with one of our preferred providers like USForex you catalog all of your suppliers in your online beneficiary library. This will save you time during future transactions as you won’t have to input their information before every transfer. In addition to saving time, you’ll save quite a bit of money on each trade through lower fees and better exchange rates which can have a large affect on your bottom line.

 

14. If I am an exporter, can I use a foreign money transfer firm to save money?

As with importers, exporters can use a money transfer firm to save time and money by expediting the transfer service and getting better exchange rates with lower fees. You can use one of our preferred providers to automatically convert funds from overseas clients into your local currency. You can even provide your clients with your account details so they can make payments directly into your foreign exchange firm account which you can either have transferred immediately into your home country bank account or use to pay off your overseas suppliers. You can also lock in favorable rates ahead of time so when your client pays you, you are guaranteed a good exchange value for your money.

 

15. What are SWIFT codes, IBAN and ABA numbers?

SWIFT stands for the Society for the Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication. It is a secure messaging system that allows banks to communicate with each other for payment and currency transfer instructions. Each country has its own codes that allow them to identify bank branches so they know where money is coming from and where it should be going. In the US, we use ABA codes (also known as routing numbers), in Australia they use BSB codes, Europe uses IBAN numbers, etc. Each country has their own way of identifying bank branches and they all use the SWIFT system to communicate this information so your money winds up in the right place.

 

16. What is a forward contract and who can use them?

A forward contract is simply a way of locking in exchange rates before the money transfer ever takes place. Depending on the transfer firm you are using, you may be able to lock in an exchange rate up to two years in advance using a forward contract. It is a way of safeguarding against any sudden drops in currency values when you are anticipating a large transfer. Everybody from large corporations to individuals can use forward contracts and our preferred money transfer firms have customer service reps who can help guide you in setting up your forward contract. Though the transaction won’t take place until a future date, you may be asked to give some kind of deposit on the transfer amount to lock in your rates. To learn more about forward contracts, read this article.

 

17. What are limit orders and who can use them?

Limit orders allow you to set up a money transfer so that once the value of a currency hits a specified threshold, the transfer is automatically placed even if you are not online monitoring it. This allows you to enact a foreign currency transfer at a favorable rate no matter what time it happens, even if you are asleep. It’s a great way to take advantage of currency swings that may happen overnight while other markets around the world are trading.

Transferring Money to Buy Wine and Spirits from Overseas

Ahh wine. The nectar of the gods. Whether buying wine and spirits overseas for pure pleasure and indulgence purposes or as a means of investment, there a variety of issues that must be considered. The majority of international alcohol purchases are for fine wines and as such, we will keep that as the focus of this guide.

 

Investing or Drinking

The first decision that should be made before purchasing wine from overseas is if it will be for investment purposes or drinking. As you can imagine, it can be difficult to buy an exceptional bottle of wine and store it for years to resell without a creeping voice in the back of your head telling you to pop the cork and have a glass.

Investment wines are much harder to come by and available in much smaller groups that those suitable for drinking. Strangely enough, most investment wines will never be drunk, rather they will continue to be stored and resold for years to come.

There is a much broader range of choices and prices available when it comes to drinking wines purchased overseas. If you are buying international wines for drinking, it’s good to purchase a variety of grapes and years. After all, if you just wanted to drink the same wine you already know and love over and over again, you would just stick with the bottles you can buy at your local win shop. Expand your horizon by trying new wines. Who knows, you may just wind up with a new favorite.

 

Storing Fine Wines

For investment purposes, it is important to keep in mind that wine is almost never profitable as a short term flip. Don’t expect to buy a bottle of fine wine from overseas and turn around and sell it a month later. Because of this, it’s important to consider where and how the wine will be stored. Incorrectly storing a bottle of investment wine can reduce the value considerably or even make it unsellable. Investment wines must be kept in a bonded, temperature controlled environment. Be sure to include the cost of storage when factoring in its viability for investment.

 

Options for Fine Wine Investing

There are a number of ways to invest in fine wines from purchasing from actual bottles to investing in wine funds. Here are the three most common ways to invest in wine.

  1. Online wine trading – There are a number of platforms that allow individual to buy and sell fine wines for investment. CaveX and Wine Owners are two such sites worth checking out.
  2. Wine funds – If you are uncertain of your ability to correctly pick and store investment wines, consider investing in a wine fund. Companies like the Wine Investment Fund and the Elevation Wine Fund will help choose the wines for you and store them too.
  3. Wine merchants – Wine merchants sell bottles of wine directly to investors and charge a fee or percentage on the top. They will often offer recommendations as well, but one must be careful when taking their advice as most aren’t licensed financial advisors.

 

Wine Investing Tax Implications

As with any investment, tax implications must be considered. Depending upon the country you live and where the wine is stored, the tax implications can vary greatly. Check with your accountant and, if using a wine investment fund, the fund manager about the tax implications regarding investing in fine wines.

 

Purchasing International Wines

When purchasing investment or drinking wines from overseas, finding the right money transfer servicer is an opportunity to save on the total costs involved. Use our comparison tool or one of our preferred providers like US Forex to get the best rates and lowest fees on your international money transfer. Above all else, remember that wine investing is risky and you should seek professional advice before making your first purchase if you are just beginning your foray into fine wines.

Transferring Money to Buy Art Internationally

Art collecting is a doubly beneficial hobby. On one hand, you’ll have a beautiful piece of décor for your home and on the other hand, it can work out to be a great investment if you buy the right pieces. There aren’t many other options out there that you can use for years and then sell for more than you paid. Whether you are just starting your art collecting hobby or are already an old hand, there are always considerations that must be factored in before purchasing a new piece such as cost, shipping, and legal implications.

While we might like to believe that the more we pay for a piece of art, the greater its future value, but this isn’t always the case. Any experienced art collector will tell you it takes a lot of trial and error, knowledge, and a bit of luck to get the right piece for the right price.

Most art purchased from overseas will be through a professional dealer or auction house which will require you to send money internationally. With the high dollar amount involved in purchasing fine art, finding the right money transfer provider can make a huge difference in the final cost. A $10,000 painting might wind up costing over $12,000 after the cost of transferring money and shipping is factored in. Or, if you choose the right foreign exchange firm, that cost could be just $11,000 or lower.

Obviously there is a lot to think about before making the final purchase decision such as the artist, the particular piece, the cost, shipping logistics and more. Here’s some useful advice to help steer you in the right direction.

 

Consider Legal Implications

Legal implications generally come into play when purchasing antiques or items that could be deemed cultural property. Some antiques cannot be removed from their country of origin as they are considered cultural property. Unfortunately, it can be hard to identify exactly what is considered cultural property and what can be purchased legally. In broad terms, anything item that is of great importance to a cultural heritage.

If you purchase an item that is considered cultural property, it could be confiscated by customs and returned to its country of origin. If this happens, you won’t be reimbursed for your investment. This is why it’s so important to do your due diligence before purchasing any antique.

When researching your potential new artwork, inquire about a certificate of authenticity as well as its country of origin. If it has been previously transported from one country to another, ask to see documents proving that it was handled legally including relevant export and import papers. The more documentation a particular piece of art has the better, not just legally, but value wise as well.

 

Reputable Sellers

Avoid purchasing any art precious art from individual sellers. You are only asking for trouble. Your best bet is to work with internationally renowned auction houses such as Sotheby’s or Christie’s. You might wind up paying a bit more, but you’ll be able to rest easy that you are purchasing a piece that can legally be sold and transported. They will have done all the research regarding sale and legal implications of the item before listing it in their auction. Well known auction houses will also offer shipping assistance and ensure the item is packed safely to prevent damage during transport. As a last resort, you can also contact a lawyer that specializes in the purchase and sale of fine art in the even something goes amiss along the way.

 

Don’t Forget to Factor Incidental Costs

As we mentioned in the beginning, it’s not just the price of the artwork that needs to be considered, but the additional costs of shipping and transferring money. If you are purchasing the art as an investment, you’ll want to keep a diligent eye on the incidental fees that will be included. Sometimes this can mean the difference between profiting and losing on the transaction. Don’t forget there will be auction or broker fees paid out by you when you go to sell the item at a later date.

In addition to the costs of shipping and transferring money, there will often be tax implications as well. As with any item, importing it will be subject to taxes, duties, and customs fees. Factor in all of these extra costs before making your bid.

The process of buying and importing art may seem daunting at first, but with a bit of research and some experience, it will become an enjoyable aspect of your new hobby. You’ll find yourself culturally and hopefully financially enriched as a result.

 

Find the Right Money Transfer Service

Once you’ve found your new addition to your collection and done all the necessary research regarding prominence, shipping, and legal implications, it’s time to make your bid and pay for it. Use our comparison tool to find the best servicer for your needs and ensure you are getting the best rate on your money transfer needs.

Good luck and happy hunting!

Transferring Money for International Investments and Portfolio Diversification

Have you been considering making a sizable investment in a foreign country? Have you made a profitable investment overseas and looking to take some of the proceeds back to your home country? If so, we can offer a few tips to help you make the most out of your investment. On top of making the most from your money, we can also help you get it back home without losing a bunch of it to a bank or poor exchange fees during the transfer. Take advantage of one of the offers from our preferred money transfer providers like US Forex and World First and get the value you deserve from your profitable foreign investment.

 

Fund Share Portfolios

A fund share portfolio is basically a lower risk way to invest in the stock market, whether foreign or domestic. As any savvy investor will tell you, you never want all your eggs in one basket. Instead, it is important to diversify thereby lowering the risk by spreading your investments over a number of sources. This way, if one company tanks, you never lose too much as others could be experiencing a bull run offsetting any potential loss.

In the past, it was almost a rule that one would invest using fund managers. Lone investing was seen as too risky and almost a fool’s choice. With the addition of online trading platforms and market tracking products, more and more people are taking control of their financial fate and with stellar results to boot. Learning some basic investing strategies and using effective market trackers, it has become easier than ever to profit off the financial markets without having to pay out large commissions to fund managers.

If you are considering diversifying into overseas markets and creating your own financial portfolio, it’s always good to play the long game so you decrease your risk. Stocks often go up and down in the short run, but most good investments will go as long as you have the staying power to play the waiting game.

 

Bond Investing

Government bind investing is one of the oldest forms of investment. In fact, the first government bond was issued in the Netherlands in 1517. The US first started offering government bonds in 1935. A bind is a type of fixed-income security. When purchasing a bond, you are essentially lending money to the US government or a business in return for a small, but consistent interest rate. In essence, you have become a mini bank. Savings bonds come in a variety of values and timelines, but the basic concept stays the same. You receive interest on your bond for a set amount of years at which point, the bond matures and you are paid back your original amount plus the accrued interest. Some bonds even provide periodic cash flow payments.

Despite the low return, bonds are an attractive investment due to their low risk. It is very rare to lose money on a domestic bond investment unless the inflation rate outpaces the interest rate your bond offers. Foreign bonds, on the other hand, involve a bit more risk, but generally offer a higher interest rate and slightly more chance for profit. Some ways to lose money on foreign bond investments include exchange rate fluctuation, naturalization, and taxation. All in all, though bonds are one of the safest investments you can make.

 

Foreign Investments

If you have your domestic portfolio fully diversified, then it’s time to consider further diversification techniques and start looking for opportunities in foreign markets. There are a number of reasons it can be a good idea to invest in foreign markets including tax incentives, protection of assets, and higher confidentiality due to the existence of secrecy legislation. Having investments in foreign countries is the true embodiment of portfolio diversification. Once invested in multiple countries, your financial well-being is no longer tied to the performance of one economy. You can still making money even if the US economy is slumping because your investments in Chine or Europe are growing.

When looking to start diversifying into foreign investments, be sure to check with your accountant regarding tax and legal ramifications that must be taken into account. Offshore investing is perfectly legal, but you must make sure you follow all tax laws relating to taking profits or losses of foreign assets.

 

Transferring Money for Foreign Investments

No matter what type of foreign investment you choose, it will require the transfer and exchange of funds from one currency and location to another. This is where our preferred providers at US Forex can help. Their experienced currency specialists can help you find the lowest cost option for sending your money overseas for investment purposes or repatriating the profits. Set up an account and speak with one of their knowledgeable professionals today.

Transferring Money for Holidays and International Travel

Are you planning your next global adventure? Traveling internationally involves a game plan far more detailed than a weekend camping trip. Some overseas travel companies give you the option to purchase through them directly. If so, using one of our preferred money transfer providers like World First or US Forex can assist in making your travel payment quickly and easily. You’ll spend less on fees and exchange rates so you’ll have more money for fun adventures and tasty meals during your travels.

 

Cruises

As one of the fastest growing segments in the travel industry, cruises continue to be a popular option for traveling to sought-after destinations around the world, without sacrificing comfort. It’s a convenient and easy way to travel for the very young to the young at heart, all at an unbeatable value.

Cruise specialists may be a helpful option for those feeling overwhelmed by all of the vacation destinations and choices out there. They have already done the heavy lifting and researched number of locations through trips and cruise-line seminars. Better yet, agents often have access to special discounts and perks or at least know best where to find them. Travel agencies can be located anywhere in the world and, if booking through a company located in another country, you may have to transfer money to pay them in a foreign currency. With a guarantee of competitive exchange rates and low transfer fees, a foreign money transfer service is a great option to consider.

 

Vacation Rentals

Privately owned vacation rentals and other alternative lodgings pique the interest of travelers looking for a home away from home. Do your research through reputable sites like VRBO and HomeAway. They offer basic security features such as background and address checks, plus they certify hosts with a proven positive track record.

When it comes to these non-traditional accommodations, how you pay is just as important as how much. The choice between paying cash and using a secure online payment system could be the difference between a successful transaction and a vanishing expenditure. It can also be the difference between paying $1,400 for a week’s stay or $1,500 for the same week. Using private money transfer companies are a simple and reliable option for sending funds abroad and getting the best deal on your next vacation rental.

 

Private Jets

While chartering a private jet might not be the go to choice for many when planning a luxurious vacation, they are becoming increasingly more affordable; especially in cheaper destinations and developing countries. Chartering a private jet or small airplane gives you more freedom in choices of destinations and allows you to visit locales that don’t have commercial flights. As an added bonus, the security and customs process is usually quicker and easier significantly cutting down on travel time.

If you don’t know where to begin, a jet charter broker, acting much like a travel agent, can assist in matching your travel needs to your budget. Whether you’re traveling internationally for business or leisure, brokers can take care of every detail of your private charter experience. Making payments through an online payment system is an option that can provide peace of mind. You’ll get low fees, good exchange rates, and peace of mind knowing the transfer has been handled securely. Most of our preferred providers even offer the ability to track your international transfer on your mobile device so you always know where your money is.

 

Daily Spending Cash

After you have booked your lodgings and airline ticket, you are still going to need daily spending money while you are enjoying your luxurious vacation in an exotic destination. Travelers checks are an outdated method of bringing travel money and using your home ATM in a foreign country can get expensive quickly. Sure you could just withdraw a bunch of cash before you leave and exchange it at your home bank. Unfortunately, you’ll be getting a poor exchange rate and, even worse, you’ll feel vulnerable carrying thousands of dollars around with you while traveling in an unfamiliar country.

A better option is to set up an account with a foreign exchange firm and connecting it to your home bank account. This way you can log on to a computer no matter where you are and initiate an international money transfer in seconds and have your money available later that day. You’ll pay less than using your ATM card, get a better exchange rate than if you went to your local bank or a tourist money exchange office, and the peace of mind knowing that you’ll never have to carry large sums of money around making you vulnerable to theft.

Transferring Money for Destinations Weddings

Destination weddings are on the rise as most people no longer live where they grew up. It’s a trend that somewhat combines a traditional wedding with an elopement, making the occasion even more special and cutting back on all the fuss. Weddings mean money though. Fortunately, overseas payments are made simple and efficient with international money transfer firms like US Forex. Before running out and planning your destination wedding, consider these factors:

 

The Destination

A major draw to destination weddings is that couples can choose to tie the knot in places where a warm, sunny climate is the norm. You outdoor wedding won’t be limited to the months when it’s not freezing cold or rainy, giving your more date options for the special day. It also provides a fun opportunity to reunite family and friends in an amazing setting.

Most destination weddings take place at resorts that specialize in these types of events and often offer all-inclusive packages to make the wedding even more affordable. If you’re taking care of booking the travel and accommodation reservations for everybody, you can often get a group discount, so be sure to ask. Things to consider though are peak travel dates and length of time.

 

Catering

Once the venue is set, you’ll have to start planning a menu for the event. This can get a little tricky as you may not be able to sample any of the potential caterers because of the distance between your home and the wedding destination. If the event location doesn’t offer their own catering, ask them for recommendations. It’s smart to try and mix up local foods with some things that you and your guests will be more familiar with. This way there will be something for everyone and a lot of new flavors to try too.

 

Wedding Coordinator

Planning a wedding from afar can be a daunting task. Luckily, many resorts offer the complimentary services of their on-site wedding consultant who will help you coordinate all of the ceremony essentials. This is extremely convenient as it allows you to deal with one person for all monetary transactions and lets you transfer the whole sum at once so you aren’t hit with multiple international transfer fees. If you opt to get married in a non-resort location, consider hiring a coordinator who will know how to obtain a marriage license in that particular country to avoid any complications.

In addition to handling all of the ceremonial essentials, a great wedding coordinator will help you handle the catering, decorations and entertainment. It will take a huge burden off your shoulders if, by chance there are any problems, you only have to worry about dealing with one person.

Finding the right way to transfer money internationally for your destination wedding can equate to huge savings, so make sure to check our Comparison Tool to find the right servicer for your particular destination.

 

Honeymoon

Honeymoons can be another added expense for a bride and groom and sometimes budget makes the choices very limited. With a destination wedding, you’re already in a picturesque setting and can just extend your stay to relax after the nuptials. Plus, you have a great excuse to return there for your 5, 10, or 25-year anniversary.

If a destination wedding meets all of the items on your checklist, rest assured that there is an economical, dependable and convenient way to transfer money for all of your wedding expenses. Accounts with our preferred providers are easy to set up and stress-free, so take a leap and start planning your paradise wedding today!

Tips for Receiving an Inheritance or Gift from an Overseas Family Member

When a relative living overseas leaves an inheritance, there are a number of things that must be considered including tax implications, the best way to transfer the money, and legal issues. There is a lot of misinformation online about the tax liabilities and the claim process.

For example, many people believe that the inheritance isn’t subject to US tax laws because the relative lived and earned the money abroad, but this isn’t true. It’s not just money that is subject to US taxes, inheriting an overseas property must be reported as well. Unfortunately, as with everything tax related, it’s not so cut and dry. Everything from the gift/inheritance giver to the amount plays a factor in the tax and legal implications.

Luckily, we are here to help clear up a few misconceptions and guide you on the right way to claim your overseas inheritance or gift.

 

What Tax Rules Apply on Overseas Inheritances and Gifts?

If you are receiving a gift or inheritance from overseas family members over a $100,000 value, then it must be reported to the IRS using the 3250 form. This is only for inheritances of gifts from related parties, such as a mother and father. If you receive $90,000 from your mother and an additional $25,000 from a friend, then it won’t have to be reported. While the value exceeds $100,000, it doesn’t come from related parties and therefore isn’t subject to the same laws.

Gifts or Inheritances for Education and Medical Purposes

If you are receiving a gift or inheritance from an overseas family member for the purposes of qualified medical or educational fees, than it isn’t counted against the $100,000 threshold. This loophole only works if the payment is made directly to the relevant healthcare provider or school though.

US Estate Taxes

In addition to the traditional reporting of an overseas inheritance or gift, there is also something called the estate tax for exceptionally large inheritances of over $5.43 million as of 2015. The estate tax is asses on the value of the property and any other assets being transferred at the time of the relative’s death, not the value at the time of purchase. The calculated fair market value of the goods including cash, stocks, bonds, properties, trusts is known as the Gross Estate.

Once the fair market value has been calculated, there are certain deductions that can be included to bring down the value of the Taxable Estate, which is the value that the taxes are paid against. Some common deductions which may be included are mortgages, debts, estate administration and maintenance fees, and charitable donations.

The deductions don’t end there, to further reduce your tax liabilities you can factor in something known as the lifetime taxable gifts. This law says that you are able to receive up to $14,000 a year untaxed as a gift from a living or deceased relative. The IRS expects you to keep a running tally of the untaxed gifts you receive each year. To illustrate an example, if you are 40 years old and receive an inheritance of property and cash worth $5.5 million, you would be able to deduct an additional $560,000 from the Taxable estate bringing you below the $5.43 million threshold and negating your responsibility to pay an estate tax.

To learn more about the legal and tax ramifications of an estate tax, check out the IRS Estate Tax page.

 

Transferring Your Overseas Inheritance or Gift to Your Home Country

Once you have consulted an accountant to discuss the tax liabilities of your overseas inheritance, it is time to start looking at your options for repatriating the money back into your home country. While your first instinct might be to go to your local bank to handle the transfer, it might not be your best option. After you lose a large chunk of your inheritance to taxes, legal fees and accountant fees, do you really want to lose another 10% to a bank?

Your best bet is to compare some dedicated currency transfer and exchange firms. They are experienced at handling the transfer of large sums of money from one location and currency to another. In addition to their experience, they almost always offer better exchange rates and lower fees than traditional brick and mortar financial institutions. You can use our Comparison Tool to find out which is the best FX firm based on your money’s location and the transfer amount.

Regular Overseas Payments and Scheduled International Money Transfers

One of the most cost-effective and time-saving ways of paying bills abroad or sending small amounts of money overseas regularly is a scheduled overseas payment plan. They are designed for people who frequently need to transfer three and four figure amounts internationally. Regular overseas payment plans are useful for:

  • Subsidizing family members
  • Property maintenance and association fees
  • Monthly mortgage payments
  • Daily cost of living expenses
  • Transfers of savings or a pension
  • Salary transfers

A currency specialist can help you get the most competitive rates and plan ahead to lock in favorable rates if you expect a currency to drop in value. They can also help you find the cheapest options so you can save on transfer fees. Setting up scheduled recurring international payments helps ensure you don’t accidentally forget to make a payment on time and wind up with additional late fees. You might be surprised how much you can save over traditional bank fees using an international money transfer provider in just one year of regular payments.

 

Examples of the Most Common Regular International Payments

Mortgage payments

Ashley lives and works in the U.S. but has a vacation home in Barcelona, Spain. She took out a mortgage in Euros to purchase the property and needs to pay the monthly installments in Euro. She set up a regular international payment plan to ensure she never misses a payment, plus it helped her save money over other money transfer options. Now, the money is automatically deducted from her bank account on the day of her choice and transferred directly to the mortgage holder in Euros. There are no monthly fees and she receives a better exchange rate than she used to get from her bank.

Pension Transfers

John lives in France, but his pension is paid into his U.S. bank account in USD. He needs to get his pension into his French bank account and transfer it into Euros. He used to go to the bank every month and arrange a transfer and grudgingly accept high transfer fees and poor exchange rates. He decided to consult with a money transfer firm like Xoom to set up a regular overseas money transfer. He now has an account set up that automatically deducts the money from his U.S. bank account, exchanges it into Euros, and deposits it into his French bank account free of charge. He no longer has to waste time handling the transaction himself every month and no longer worries about running out of money if he forgets to initiate the transfer. Check out Retiring Overseas? Transfer your Pension with an FX Firm to Save Money to learn more about international pension transfers.

Regular international payment plans help you save money and give you one less thing to worry about each month. It’s simple. You pay less, get more, and do nothing. A bank will often give the tourist rate on any small money transfers which is comparable to what you might receive at an airport money changer, plus they will charge anywhere from $25 to $50 for the transfer whether it is $200 or $2000. On the other hand, an international money transfer firm will offer a commercial exchange rate and won’t charge you any fees.

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