Untitled design (1)

Buying a boat overseas using an international money transfer

We value our editorial independence, basing our comparison results, content and reviews on objective analysis without bias. But we may receive compensation when you click links on our site. Learn more about how we make money from our partners.

Buy your dream boat from overseas with a secure international money transfer.

Whether you love fishing, wakeboarding or just exploring the many great oceans and waterways around the country, you need the right boat to do it in. But from small runabouts to massive yachts, the right boat for you might only be available a long way from home.

Buying a boat from overseas can be the perfect way to track down a great bargain or get behind the wheel (or tiller) of your dream vessel. And thanks to a rise of money transfer specialists offering cheap international money transfers, buying a boat from outside the US is easier than ever before.

TransferWise International Money Transfers Business

Why we like: TransferWise

When you need to send money, benefit from competitive mid-market exchange rates and straightforward fees with TransferWise.

  • Transparent fees and very low exchange rates.
  • Next-day delivery to your loved ones or businesses.
  • Trusted the world over, with five-star ratings on Trustpilot.

    Compare money transfer services to purchase a boat overseas

    Use our interactive table to compare transfer fees, exchange rates and other details for sending your boat funds overseas with our money transfer partners.

    Min. Transfer Amount Transfer Speed Online Transfer Fee Rate Amount Received Description CTA Details
    USD 0 1 - 2 days USD 0.00 0.896 EUR 4,478 Offering no maximum and no minimum limit transfers with $0 fees. Go to site Show details
    USD 1 1 - 2 days USD 40.00 0.899 EUR
    Enjoy high maximum transfers into more than 20 currencies while saving up to 90% over local banks. Go to site Show details
    EUR 1,000 1 - 2 days USD 10.00 0.89 EUR 4,442 Use TransferMate to help you send money to almost any country around the world for a small fee. Go to site Show details
    USD 1 Within an hour USD 3.99 0.895 EUR 4,474 Use promo code 3FREE to send your first 3 transfers with no fee. Send to 110+ countries for bank-to-bank deposit, cash pickup or mobile top-up. Go to site Show details
    GBP 1,000 1 - 2 days USD 0.00 0.89 EUR 4,451 Exclusive: Minimum transfer of $1,000 for Finder readers (normally $5,000).
    For larger transfers, get no transaction fees and no maximum send limits.
    Go to site Show details
    USD 1,000 1 day USD 0.00 0.89 EUR 4,451 No-maximum limit transfers with competitive exchange rates for 100+ currencies. Go to site Show details
    USD 5,000 1 day USD 0.00 0.89 EUR 4,451 Venstar will support you through the entire process of your international transactions, from start to finish. Go to site Show details

    Compare up to 4 providers

    What are my transfer options when buying a boat overseas?

    • Bank transfers. Many major US banks will allow you to wire money to banks overseas. However, a downside is the frustratingly high fees and weaker exchange rates you’ll typically receive.
    • Online money transfer services. With providers like OFX and TransferWise, it’s simple and convenient to send money from the comfort of your home.
    • Providers with cash pickup. Companies like Western Union and MoneyGram offer the option of cash pickups from thousands of agent locations worldwide.
    • PayPal. Electronic payment giant PayPal allows you to send money overseas, but it’s not your cheapest option for large purchases.
    Back to top

    Using a money transfer service to buy a boat from overseas

    When you need to make any sort of payment — utilities bill, car payment or anything else — in most cases you do so through your local bank. But if you need to send money overseas to buy a boat, you have far better options than your bank to transfer your money.

    The exchange rates offered by banks for international transfers are among the weakest you’ll find on the market, with some banks charging transfer fees of $45 or more. The result of these expenses is that an international money transfer can end up costing a whole lot more than it should — and a boat purchase that was once a bargain can end up being far too expensive.

    This is where a money transfer specialist can help. Companies like OFX, WorldRemit and TransferWise can offer stronger exchange rates and lower fees than your typical bank. Sending money overseas is their expertise, helping you to enjoy bigger savings on rates and fees — crucial for big purchases like a boat.

    Case study: Belle's experience

    Belle profile photo
    Goes boating

    Belle found the boat of her dreams, but it’s in the South of France. She’s agreed on a price of 15,000 with a private seller. All that remains is for Belle to send the purchase price to the seller and take charge of her new vessel. Belle compares the exchange rates and transfer fees offered by her bank and a money transfer company.

    TransferWiseWells Fargo
    Exchange rate1.125 USD = 1 EUR1.1879 USD = 1 EUR
    Transfer fee$7$45
    Total cost$16,869$17863.5

    Belle discovers that she not only saves $38 in transfer fees by going with TransferWise but she can also save over $949 using the lower exchange rate at TransferWise.*

    *Exchange rate checked on 2/17/19.

    Back to top

    How to ship a boat to the US

    When planning to ship your boat from overseas, you have three main options:

    • Roll-on/roll-off method. The most common way to ship a boat internationally, the “RoRo” method ships your boat on a trailer for the duration of the trip. By lowering all booms, antennae and radar towers to reduce overall height, you can both save money and safely get your boat where it needs to go.
    • Lift-on/lift-off method. This is just what it sounds like: your boat is lifted and secured on the deck of a transporter by crane. It’s fast — with delivery in about 10 days — but not as cheap, given you’ll need to have a crane operator on hand at both locations.
    • Water to water method. For larger boats and yachts, a semi-submersible vessel can take your boat out of the water at its starting point and drop it back into the water at its destination.

    To avoid the hassle of dealing with the logistics of your shipment, consider hiring a freight forwarder or cargo specialist. These professionals charge you a fee to reserve space for your boat on a commercial ship, book transit and complete any necessary paperwork.

    If you’re shipping your boat with a transport company, ask for evidence that it is fully insured and licensed to conduct business in your country. Also, purchase insurance for the duration of the shipment. Your standard yacht policy will not cover your boat while it it’s on a cargo ship.

    What are my rights when buying a boat overseas?

    No matter how you choose to ship your boat home, you’ll want to protect yourself and your property against accidents or fraud. Before you hand over your money:

    • Ask for the title showing ownership from time of manufacturing to the present.
    • Ask for evidence of paid mooring fees, insurance and invoices for repairs.
    • Confirm whether you’ll need a separate insurance policy that covers your boat while in shipment.
    • Once you’ve settled on a price and made your purchase, make sure to get a bill of sale from your seller as evidence of the sale.
    Back to top

    How can I compare money transfer services?

    You’ll need to take the following issues into account when weighing the benefits and drawbacks of money transfer providers.

    • Exchange rates. Nearly all providers skew exchange rates for a profit. Compare the rate you’re offered to the mid-market rate — the rate banks and transfer services use when they trade among themselves — and look for the smallest margin between them.
    • Transfer fees. Find out whether the provider charges a flat fee or a percentage of your transfer. Because buying a boat will involve sending a larger amount, ask whether you qualify for a fee-free transfer.
    • Currencies. You’ll need to confirm that the company you choose offers transfers in the currency you desire.
    • Payment and delivery options. Some transfer companies allow you to pay with a credit card online, by phone or through an app. Others offer agent locations for cash payments and pickups. Also ask how your recipient can receive your funds: bank account, cash pickup, mobile wallet and more.
    • Flexible options. If you’re paying off your boat in installments, ask whether you can schedule payments ahead of time or protect your transfer against market fluctuations with a limit order or forward contract.
    • Transfer speeds. If it needs to be there fast, companies like Western Union and MoneyGram allow for quick cash pickups, often in minutes. If you have more time, you’ll get better rates and fees with an independent provider.
    • Customer support. Most companies offer customer service by Internet chat, phone, in person or by email. Make sure help will be available if you need it.

    Considerations when buying a boat from overseas

    • Does the boat meet US specifications? Make sure your boat is legal to use in the US. Will you need to make any modifications to ensure it meets all the relevant requirements — for example, modifying its electrical systems to meet US standards?
    • Does it come with a warranty? If the boat is new, ask if there are any conditions concerning servicing and country of operation. You don’t want to miss something in the fine print and accidentally void your warranty.
    • How will you receive it? Will you fly over and sail the boat to the US, or will it be sent on a cargo ship? Are there any customs or importation requirements you will need to meet?
    • Can you trust the seller? Buying anything sight unseen from an overseas seller is risky, so make sure you deal with someone you trust. Having someone on the ground in the country you’re purchasing from can provide extra peace of mind.
    • Are there extra costs to consider? Will you incur duty costs when importing the boat into the US? How much will it cost to store it monthly?

    Bottom line

    Buying a boat from overseas means there will be a few hoops to jump through before you can take the wheel, but if you do your research and find a transfer option with a competitive exchange rate, you can potentially save thousands on the cost of your new boat.

    Frequently asked questions

    Was this content helpful to you? No  Yes

    Ask an Expert

    You are about to post a question on finder.com:

    • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
    • finder.com is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
    • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
    • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked

    Finder.com provides guides and information on a range of products and services. Because our content is not financial advice, we suggest talking with a professional before you make any decision.

    By submitting your comment or question, you agree to our Privacy and Cookies Policy and Terms of Use.

    Questions and responses on finder.com are not provided, paid for or otherwise endorsed by any bank or brand. These banks and brands are not responsible for ensuring that comments are answered or accurate.
    Go to site