While your local bank branch might be the most obvious option for sending money across borders, you can save on fees and take advantage of more competitive exchange rates with an online money transfer company.
Send money to the US with OFX
A higher exchange rate applies to non-finder customers. Send money in 45 currencies.
Exclusive offer: Discounted exchange rates for your first and ongoing transactions. $0 transfer fee.
A higher exchange rate applies to non-finder customers.
Sign up and send money with a digital money transfer specialist in four steps:
Sign up for a free account. Pick a provider and sign up for a free online account using your contact information, proof of ID and your preferred payment method.
Provide transfer details. Submit your recipient’s contact information and pick a delivery method. If you’re transferring to a bank, you’ll need your recipient’s US-based bank account details.
Confirm transfer details. Double-check your payment method, expected fees and destination.
Save your receipt. Record your receipt’s confirmation number to track the progress of your transfer to the US. Some money transfer providers send a text or email when your transfer is complete.
What’s the best way to send money to the United States?
Online money transfer providers typically offer the strongest exchange rates and lowest fees on money transfers to the US. Some offer transfers straight to US bank accounts, while others allow the money to be picked up in person in US dollars. Banks, PayPal and other options are available but come with high fees, weak rates and longer turnaround times.
Digital money transfer services
Companies like OFX and CurrencyTransfer specialize in foreign currencies, making them some of the most cost-effective transfers. Most offer transfers directly to your recipient’s US-based bank account, often in as little as a day or two.
Services like MoneyGram allow you to transfer cash for pickup at a local branch in the US — often in 15 minutes. While it’s a fast way to send money, you’ll pay for the convenience in weak exchange rates and high fees. If a cash pickup is necessary, look to digital services like WorldRemit or XE when possible.
US dollars are almost certainly carried by your bank, especially if you live in Europe, Canada or anywhere that often trades with the United States. Although your local bank can convert your currency into US dollars, beware of high fees and wide margins on the exchange rate compared to digital and other options.
Let’s crunch the numbers: Sending $2,000 to the US
Let’s say you need to send $2,000 from Canada to the US. Here’s what you might face as far as fees and exchange rates as of April 12, 2020. These figures are representative of real rates and fees offered by some transfer providers.
Digital money transfer service
$50 + additional correspondent bank fees
1 CAD = 0.7049 USD
1 CAD = 0.6983 USD
1 CAD = 0.6909 USD
Slowest and most expensive
In this case, the bank option ends up being both the slowest and gets the smallest amount of money to your recipient. If you go with the cash transfer service, your recipient ends up with USD 59 more than the bank offers and arrives within minutes.
How to get the most out of your money transfer to the USA
Weigh costs and fees against convenience, and learn how to compare money transfer providers that send to the US to meet your needs:
Exchange rates. The USD relationship with other currencies fluctuates daily, so using a service that allows you to lock-in exchange prices may help you save money down the line if exchange rates take a turn for the worse in the future.
Transfer fees. Transferring money overseas nearly always requires fees, but they might be hidden in the exchange rate. When sending large amounts, it may be cheaper to pay a flat fee to secure a stronger exchange rate.
Transfer limits. How much you can send varies by company, and different amounts can attract higher or lower fees. Shop around for the best deal on the number of US dollars you’re sending.
Turnaround. Transferring money through a local bank via wire transfer can take a business week or longer. If you need the funds delivered quickly, seek out a digital specialist that offers instant transfers to the United States.
Maximum limits. When exchange rates are favorable, sending more money can save you money in the future. If you plan to send large amounts of money to the US, be sure to pick a provider that won’t limit you.
Transfer methods. Whether you want money sent to a US-based bank account or picked up as cash at a local agent, narrow down a company that matches your preferred delivery method.
Emergency cash transfer to the US
When it’s more important to get your money to the US quickly, look for money transfer companies that support cash pickup in minutes. You can pay with a credit or debit card for fast pickup, but fees may be higher than other methods.
How to send money to the USA without a bank account
Cash transfer services can help you if you’re unbanked or marginally banked. If you don’t have a bank account, look for a local company that supports storefronts for cash payments. These services include agent locations in other countries that allow your recipient to pick up cash without a bank account.
Documents needed for sending to and receiving money in the US
To send money to the US from abroad, you’ll need government-issued ID and other documents, while documents needed to pick up money in the US may be different by company.
Documents to send money to the US
To send money from the abroad to the US, you’ll need documentation and details that include:
Identification. Most services require a driver’s license, passport or other government-issued ID. Some services allow you to send transfers without ID.
Payment method. Your service may accept credit or debit cards, cash, bank accounts or personal checks.
Recipient information. Submit your recipient’s name as it appears on their ID, along with their phone number, US bank account and routing number if sending to their bank.
Documents to receive money in the US
To pick up money in person, documentation can include:
Transfer number. The person sending you money can forward the transfer’s confirmation details — called a PIN, a MTCN, a reference number or a tracking number, depending on the company.
Government-issued ID. A US government-issued ID is almost always required to pick up cash, but you may be able to set a passphrase or security question if your recipient doesn’t have any valid ID.
Amount sent. You may need to know how much was sent, usually within 10% of the total.
Sender’s information. Take along your sender’s full name, the sending country and their address, if known.
What to watch out for
Money transfer recipients in the United States may be required to declare incoming transfers to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and pay taxes, depending on the amount received and the place of origin. Unfortunately there are a lot of variables in play, but recipients would be wise to report large money transfers to the IRS on their tax forms.
There are a variety of reasons you may be sending money to the US, from business-related payments to gifts for loved ones. If US recipients are extra vigilant about the reasons they’re receiving funds and ensure that they pay the appropriate taxes, they can be spared large fees and possibly even jail time.
Sending your hard-earned money to the US shouldn’t cost a fortune. Compare transfer companies that specialize in foreign for the strongest rates, lowest fees and flexible delivery. For transfers to other countries, rely on our country specific guides the next time you need to make a transfer.
Zak Killermann is a staff writer at Finder specializing in money transfers. He has ghostwritten hundreds of FinTech articles over the years and found his love for publication at St. Cloud State University. Zak has been traveling internationally for nearly half his life and — after getting burned once by an over-the-counter money exchange — vowed to never settle for anything short of the mid-market rate.
Review: Ria money transferWith 240,000+ locations in 130 countries, Ria is the third-largest provider of international money transfers in the world. It offers great exchange rates, minimal fees and fast, secure transactions when you need to send funds overseas.
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