How to buy a car overseas with an international money transfer
Find out how to buy a car overseas by sending a safe and affordable international money transfer.
Compare money transfer providers to help you buy a car in another country
Using a money transfer service to buy a car from overseas
If you need to send funds abroad, the first option you might consider is transferring money through your bank. But even though banks can send international wire transfers in a huge range of currencies to destinations all around the world, sending money via your bank will cost you.
Poor exchange rates and high fees are the norm when sending overseas transfers through your bank, so you can save a lot of dough if you shop around to find a specialist money transfer service. These companies offer markedly better exchange rates than the banks and in most cases also impose lower transfer fees, which can all add up to a significant saving — especially when you’re transferring a large amount.
Online money transfer providers such as OFX, and XE both offer secure and reliable online transfers, combining convenience with affordability.
In other cases, you may want to transfer the funds overseas in cash, either directly to a private seller or perhaps to a trusted friend who will buy the car on your behalf. Companies like MoneyGram, Western Union and Ria can help in these circumstances, offering fast and simple money transfers to cash pickup locations around the world.
Case study: Finding the best deal
Vintage car enthusiast Don wants to buy a historic Mini Cooper from a seller in the United Kingdom. Having agreed on a sale price of USD $10,000 with the seller for the slightly damaged car, Don begins arrangements to transfer the necessary funds. But when he sees the poor exchange rate on offer from his bank, he decides to see if he can find a better deal from a specialist transfer service — he compares two services to see which one offers the better deal.
|Money transfer company 1||Money transfer company 2|
|Exchange rate||1 USD = 0.6493 GBP||1 USD = 0.637 GBP|
|Transfer method||Bank account transfer||Bank account transfer|
|Turnaround time||3 business days||4 business days|
|Amount received (in GBP)||£6,493||£6,370|
As this table shows, Don can send an extra £123 by using the first transfer service and also save USD $10 in transfer fees.
What are some issues to consider when buying a car from overseas?
- Make sure it meets US specifications. Check to ensure that the car you buy meets all the necessary requirements to be driven legally in the United States, including meeting any safety and emissions regulations.
- Warranty. Does the car come with a manufacturer’s warranty? If so, where can you get it serviced in the States without voiding your warranty?
- Shipping. Will you be taking care of the shipping arrangements or will this be taken care of by the dealer/seller? Remember to factor this expense into your purchase price calculations if needed.
- How affordable is the car to run? Buying a car only represents a portion of your overall cost, so don’t forget to consider how much a car costs to run and whether or not it will fit into your budget in the future.
How can I compare money transfer services?
Consider the following factors when weighing up the pros and cons of different money transfer services:
- Exchange rates. How high or low are the company’s exchange rates? If their rates are often better than their competitors’, do they also charge high fees?
- Fees. In most cases you’ll need to pay a transfer fee so it’s worth comparing amounts, but some companies scrap their fees when you send large transfers — for example $5,000 or greater.
- Available currencies. Consider the range of currencies that the transfer provider offers for transfers — does it offer transfers in the currency you want and to the destination you need?
- Flexible options. Depending on your circumstances, you may wish to look for a range of transfer options that can help you save time and money. For example, you might want to schedule several payments to buy a car in instalments over time, or you may wish to place a forward contract to protect yourself against fluctuating exchange rates.
- Processing times. How long will each provider take to deliver the funds you send to your beneficiary?
- Customer service. How will you be able to access customer assistance if you ever experience a problem with a transfer? Is there an online help centre as well as phone and email contact options?
- Pickup options. If you want to send cash and don’t need to send a large amount, there are companies available that offer transfers with cash pickups. Other providers specialise in online transfers from your bank account to your recipient’s overseas account.