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Moving abroad can be complicated enough, but getting cash to your new overseas home or back to the US doesn’t need to be stressful. Fortunately there are ways to find low fees and get better exchange rates. Compare your options and consider these expert tips before transferring money home or internationally.
We update our data regularly, but information can change between updates. Confirm details with the provider you're interested in before making a decision.
If you want to make an international money transfer, then you may want to consider avoiding banks. In many cases, you can only use banks for transfers when you have an account with them, and you will end up paying whatever rates and fees they demand, wait for however long it might take, and have fewer options for sending and receiving.
Dedicated currency transfer services have more choices, so you can compare options to find the best, then transfer money overseas with no or low fees, great rates and collection options that work for the recipient, whether it’s cash, check or a direct transfer to their bank account.
|Bank||Money transfer service|
Bank fees mean you might spend hundreds of dollars on just one transaction. The fees might be more than the amount of money you are sending. Take a look at some of the fees you might incur depending on which bank you use:
International money transfer services have small fees.
If you need to make an emergency transfer that will arrive within minutes, this will incur a higher transfer fee.
Many transfer providers allow you to set up recurring money transfers, such as once a month. This is sometimes one of the first things people do when they move abroad and have found a new job. Many currency transfer providers let you do this online, over the phone or in person.
Send more money overseas with currency transfer services and find the provider that’s right for your needs by comparing a few simple things.
Find a provider that works for you by making sure they accommodate your minimum transfer amount, required transfer speed and transfer method. After that, compare their rates and fees against the amount you are sending to find out which is the most cost-effective.
Finding the right money transfer company can be as simple as that.
|What to look for||What it is||With banks||With money transfer providers|
exchange rates. This makes a big difference
in larger transactions.
|Poor rates, typically 2% to 4% less than mid-market value.||Good rates, typically only|
1% to 2% less than mid-market value.
|Fees||Flat costs you must pay when sending money.||Big fees for sending, receiving and|
|Typically a small fee for|
sending money, or no fee at all.
|Minimum transfer amount||The smallest amount you can send in one go.||Usually no minimum,|
but sometimes fees can cost more than small transfers.
|Varies widely. Can be|
nonexistent, a few dollars, a few hundred
dollars or thousands.
|Transfer speed||How long it takes to send and receive money.||From 2 to 5 business days||Typically 1 or 2 days,|
sometimes within minutes.
|Services available||How you can make transfers.||Online, over the phone or in person and more.||Usually online or over the phone, but in person with|
Jen had just moved to Australia with a new job lined up for her. Her new income was more than enough to pay her modest bills and living expenses, so she wanted to set up a regular transfer of money back home to America to pay for her father’s growing medical needs. Her plan was to transfer $1,000 every month, to be converted into US dollars.
Jen’s first thought was to go to her bank. She looked at their options, then looked at their fees and realized it would take a big bite out of the money she sent.
Searching for other options, she soon discovered an international money transfer service. To compare both side by side, she drew up this table.
|The bank||Money transfer provider|
|Exchange Rates||$0.72 USD per $1 AUD||$0.76 USD per $1 AUD|
|Fees||$40 AUD per transaction||$10 AUD per transaction|
|How much money arrives back|
home each month
|$680 USD||$750 USD|
When Jennifer saw that she would be able to send an extra $70 a month, her mind was made up. She decided to go with the money transfer provider.
For seamless international money transfers, follow these steps.
How safe are international money transfer services?
Many large money transfer services use the same electronic security systems as the banks. There’s no undue risk when using a reputable and well-known money transfer provider.
How long does it take to transfer money?
Banks will typically give a timeframe of anywhere from two to five business days. Money transfer services can be within minutes or one to two days depending on the provider and method you choose.
What is the best money transfer service?
It depends on where you want to send money, how much you are sending and the situation. Larger sums mean it’s worth paying a fee for a better rate, while smaller sums mean it’s not. If you need it transferred quickly, a fast provider is preferable, while certain currencies or locations might be better with certain companies than others. Compare your options to find the best money transfer service for your needs.
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