buy-car-overseas

How to Buy a Car Overseas with an International Money Transfer

Information verified correct on December 3rd, 2016

Find out how to buy a car overseas by sending a safe and affordable international money transfer.

When you’re shopping around for a new or used car, sometimes you need to look a little further afield to find the best deal or that perfect set of wheels. Buying a car overseas to be shipped back to the States is actually not as complicated as you might think.

With the help of an international money transfer, you can safely and securely send funds overseas to complete your purchase. But regardless of whether you’re buying a vintage classic, a rare European marque, or even if you’ve just found a much cheaper sale price abroad, finding the most affordable way to pay for your new set of wheels is crucial.

Rates last updated December 3rd, 2016
Description Min. Transfer Amount Transfer Speed Services Online Transfer Fee Rate Amount Received
WorldRemit International Money Transfers
WorldRemit International Money Transfers
An online money transfer service with cash pickup, bank account to bank account and airtime transfers available. USD 1 Within an hour Online, Bank Account to Bank Account, Cash Transfer Go to site More
World First Foreign Exchange
World First Foreign Exchange
Transfer money into a range of currencies online and over the phone. USD 500 2 days Online, Phone Go to site More
Transferwise International Money Transfers
Transferwise International Money Transfers
Make online transfers in a range of currencies and enjoy high maximum transfer amounts. USD 1 1 day Online Go to site More
HiFX International Money Transfers
HiFX International Money Transfers
Transfer money between 20 currencies and enjoy scheduled regular transfers. No fee for transfers over US $5,000. USD 100 2 days Online, Phone, Agent Go to site More
Travelex International Money Transfers
Travelex International Money Transfers
Get your foreign currency delivered to your home or pick up at a store. USD 500 2 days Online Go to site More
Currencies Direct International Money Transfers
Currencies Direct International Money Transfers
$0 online transfer fee that you can access 24/7. USD 100 2 days Online, Phone Go to site More
USForex International Money Transfers
USForex International Money Transfers
Take advantage of competitive exchange rates and cheap transfer fees. USD 150 1 day Online, Phone, Agent, Bank Account to Bank Account, International Money Order Go to site More
MoneyGram International Money Transfers
MoneyGram International Money Transfers
Send money anywhere, from anywhere. USD 1 Same day Online, Phone, Agent Go to site More
TorFX International Money Transfers
TorFX International Money Transfers
TorFX guarantee to beat any competitor's exchange rate for a transaction. Conditions apply USD 100 1 day Online, Phone, Agent Go to site More
Western Union Money Transfers
Western Union Money Transfers
Send money online to friends and family around the world with Western Union. USD 1 Same day Online, Phone, Agent Go to site More

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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 Payza, USForex, World First, and WorldRemit all 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 1Money transfer company 2
Exchange rate1 USD = 0.6493 GBP1 USD = 0.637 GBP
Transfer fee$0$10
Transfer methodBank account transferBank account transfer
Turnaround time3 business days4 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.

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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?
  • How to place a transfer. Some companies are online-only, while others will allow you to place transfers over the phone or by visiting a transfer branch.
  • 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.
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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.

Frequently asked questions

Where can I compare money transfer providers?

finder.com features a selection of trusted and reputable international money transfer providers. Start comparing their features and benefits today.

Can I schedule a recurring payment?

Yes, some companies will allow you to schedule recurring payments in order to buy a car in instalments. However, keep in mind that you can typically access lower fees and better exchange rates if you send the money in one large transfer rather than several smaller ones.

Can I track an international money transfer?

Yes. Your money transfer company will give you a transaction number or receipt number which can be used to monitor the progress of your transaction.

What information will I need to provide to send a transfer?

As well as your name, contact details and proof of ID, you’ll also need to provide your recipient’s name and country of residence as well as all the details of your transfer. This includes the currency and amount you are sending and where you are transferring the funds to.

Are there countries where I am not allowed to transfer funds?

Yes, there are certain countries which the vast majority of providers will not allow you to send funds. These include Iran, Iraq, Syria, North Korea, Myanmar, Sierra Leone, and more.

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US International Money Transfers Offers

Learn about our information service
WorldRemit International Money Transfers

An online money transfer service with cash pickup, bank account to bank account and airtime transfers available.

USForex International Money Transfers

Take advantage of competitive exchange rates and cheap transfer fees.

World First Foreign Exchange

Transfer money into a range of currencies online and over the phone.

Transferwise International Money Transfers

Make online transfers in a range of currencies and enjoy high maximum transfer amounts.

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