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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.
Select your currency and transfer amount to compare the fees, rates and transfer times of different providers.
Sign up and send money with a digital money transfer specialist in four steps:
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.
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, compare MoneyGram 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 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||Cash transfer||Bank transfer|
|Fee||$4.99||$10||$50 + additional correspondent bank fees|
|Exchange rate||1 CAD = 0.7049 USD||1 CAD = 0.6983 USD||1 CAD = 0.6909 USD|
|Transfer speed||1-2 day||Minutes||2-5 days|
|Amount received||USD 1,406.28||USD 1,389.62||USD 1,347.26|
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.
Weigh costs and fees against convenience, and learn how to compare money transfer providers that send to the US to meet your needs:
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.
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.
Sending money within the US is easier to do than sending money from abroad. There are a number of different ways to send money online between people in the US including money transfers, cash transfer apps, bank apps and more.
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.
To send money from the abroad to the US, you’ll need documentation and details that include:
To pick up money in person, documentation can include:
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.
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