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How to send $1 million overseas

A competitive exchange rate can save you thousands.

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While your local bank branch may be the most obvious way to send money overseas, a secure money transfer company will offer a much better exchange rate — but whichever you choose, you may need to file with the IRS to avoid hefty fines.
OFX International Money Transfers

Our pick: OFX International Money Transfers

OFX offers flexible transfer options, 24/7 customer support and no maximum limit. Send a minimum of $1,000 per year.

  • $0 transfer fees. Send fee-free transfers to over 195 countries worldwide.
  • Transfers in 55 currencies. OFX supports major, minor and exotic currencies.
  • Flexible options. Choose from forward contracts to scheduled transfers for convenience and flexibility.

    Compare money transfer services now

    Tips for large transfers

    Before sending a large transfer overseas:

    • Check transfer limitsSome service providers will limit how much you can send daily or monthly, so choose a provider with a high limit or no limit when sending $1 million overseas.
    • NegotiateMany of the rates quoted by providers may be affected by the amount you’re sending and could be negotiable, especially with larger sums.
    • Research tax laws.Each country has their own set of tax laws, and you or your recipient may need to file taxes.
    • Research sanctions.If you’re sending money to a country with US-imposed sanctions, contact a professional to help you navigate the rules.

    Using a money transfer service

    Specialized money transfer companies are typically the cheapest and fastest option for secure overseas transfers. You can also track your money along each step of the transfer, with online and phone support available if you have any questions.

    Case study: Rochelle sends money to Japan

    Rochelle has always wanted to work in Tokyo, and now she’s saved enough to make the leap to full-time resident. She needs to transfer $1 million to her Japanese bank account for a down payment on a new apartment and living expenses.

    Money transfer service #1Money transfer service #2
    Exchange rate1 USD = 109.6473 JPY1 USD = 110.5906 JPY
    Transfer fee$0$0
    Processing time1 business day12 business days
    Amount received in JPY¥109,647,300 JPY¥110,590,600 JPY

    On this transfer, Rochelle can save ¥943,400 — more than $8,500 — by using CurrencyTransfer, though the transfer could take up to a day longer.

    Compare high limit transfer services

    Max. Transfer Amount Transfer Speed Online Transfer Fee Rate Amount Received Description CTA Details
    No limit 1 - 2 days USD 0.00 0.892 EUR 891,695 Offering no maximum and no minimum limit transfers with $0 fees. Go to site Show details
    No limit 1 - 2 days USD 0.00 0.893 EUR 892,771 Exclusive: Minimum transfer of $1,000 for Finder readers (normally $5,000).
    For larger transfers, get no transaction fees and no maximum send limits.
    Go to site Show details
    No limit 1 day USD 0.00 0.892 EUR 892,322 Venstar will support you through the entire process of your international transactions, from start to finish. Go to site Show details
    No limit 1 day USD 0.00 0.893 EUR 892,502 No-maximum limit transfers with competitive exchange rates for 100+ currencies. Go to site Show details

    Compare up to 4 providers

    Should I use my local bank?

    You can, but it might be pricey. On top of weaker exchange rates and higher fees, you’ll find that it typically takes longer for your bank to transfer money internationally. This could be a problem if your money needs to get to its destination by a certain time. Also, your bank may not be able to transfer money to every country.

    How important is the exchange rate?

    Given the amount of money you’re looking to send, a solid exchange rate is critical. Even minor variances in exchange rates can save — or cost — you thousands of dollars.

    For example, if Company A quotes you an exchange rate of 1 USD = 0.880 EUR and Company B quotes you a rate of 1 USD = 0.885 EUR, that half a cent difference adds up to $5,000 on a $1 million transfer.

    If you have time on your side, you may want to use a limit order. A limit order allows you to set a target exchange rate with a service or broker, which monitors the rates 24/7 to make sure you don’t miss it. Once exchange rates meet your target, the service or broker will contact you to complete the transfer.

    Money transfer fees

    Money transfer providers charge fees to increase profits and make up for the time they spend filling out reports for international transfers, such as currency transaction and Know Your Customer reports.

    Some fee-free transfer providers make up that money with less favorable exchange rates, which can cost you more when you’re sending a large transfer.

    When choosing a transfer provider, factor in both the exchange rate and any fees to get the best deal.

    Taxes on foreign accounts

    In addition to filing traditional income tax statements, US citizens with bank accounts offshore must complete a Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR) by April 15 of each year that an overseas account held $10,000 or more at any point in time. The rules stipulate this requirement even if the account has a lower balance by the year’s end.

    This means that if you transfer a large sum of money overseas, even if it is invested shortly after, it needs to be reported to the IRS. Penalties for not complying, whether by accident or on purpose, are significant. Those who mistakenly fail to report can expect fines of up to 5% of the asset value involved. For those who wait until an investigation is launched, the penalty increases to up to 50 percent.

    US residents are also required to report worldwide income, including from foreign accounts and investments. You may need to factor this in when thinking about offshore business or properties.

    Laws and forms for transferring more than $10,000 overseas

    Additional tax and legal considerations

    Sending $1 million or more overseas may require additional planning in some situations. When dealing with complicated situations or countries with additional requirements, contact a lawyer or tax professional.

    Property requirements
    Some countries will require you to own property in that country in order to open an offshore account or holding company. That can mean significant additional costs — not just for the purchase of a residence, but also for the legal or account registration fees that may be required for setting up the holding company.
    Accidental tax evasion
    Offshore trusts, foundations or businesses can provide a way to restructure ownership of assets in the case of lawsuits or debt issues at home, making them an attractive option to protect individual assets from seizure. However, you can end up in serious legal trouble if you don’t file the proper tax forms.
    Gift taxes
    If you send $15,000 or more as a gift to someone other than a spouse, you’ll need to file a gift tax return. Depending on which country your recipient is in, they may also be required to file or pay gift taxes.

    Compare money transfer services now

    Bottom line

    If you’re sending $1 million or more overseas, even a small difference in the exchange rate can add up to thousands of dollars, so compare international money transfer providers to make sure you’re getting the best deal.

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    8 Responses

    1. Default Gravatar
      MJMay 9, 2019

      Hello,

      Is it possible to send 2 million dollars from the UK to the Philippines? Is it possibly done via courier? That the diplomat did not know the what is the inside of a package, possible the sender pay for clearance fee that people don’t know the inside the package.

      • Avatarfinder Customer Care
        JeniMay 9, 2019Staff

        Hi MJ,

        Thank you for getting in touch with Finder.

        Sending large sum of money from the UK to other countries like the Philippines cannot be done via courier as the UK government is strict when it comes to money laundering. Sending large sum of money to Philippines is basically done via online transfer or bank transfer.

        I hope this helps.

        Thank you and have a wonderful day!

        Cheers,
        Jeni

    2. Default Gravatar
      KBSeptember 11, 2018

      I want to retire in Thailand and then transfer around 10 million Switzerland Franc to Thailand – is there any issues I should know about thanks

      • Avatarfinder Customer Care
        JoshuaSeptember 12, 2018Staff

        Hi KB,

        Thanks for getting in touch with finder. I hope all is well with you. :)

        Transferring a large amount of money overseas would mean that you need to comply with the local laws of both Switzerland and Thailand that are related to sending and receiving money. You might need to know what tax you need to pay or the documents needed to ensure that you legally transfer money. With money laundering in the rise, it is not difficult to see that world governments want to regulate the flow of money in their country.

        For this reason, please directly get in touch with the proper authority to ensure you have covered all legalities.

        I hope this helps. Should you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to reach us out again.

        Have a wonderful day!

        Cheers,
        Joshua

    3. Default Gravatar
      GeorgeApril 10, 2018

      Do you know if Foreign Money Transfer Services are in African countries like Ghana and can the cash be withdrawn?

      • Avatarfinder Customer Care
        JhezApril 10, 2018Staff

        Hello George,

        Thank you for your comment.

        Yes, there are available money transfer services in Ghana and other African countries and yes, you’re able to pick it up in a form of a cash. Companies like Western Union and MoneyGram offer several cash pickup centers in Ghana and other African countries. You may want to check this page for the guide and list of money transfer services to Ghana.

        Regards,
        Jhezelyn

    4. Default Gravatar
      CharlesMay 4, 2017

      How long does it take for you to borrow from one million dollars to Europe? How many days ? Or how many weeks?

      • Avatarfinder Customer Care
        HaroldJuly 6, 2017Staff

        Hi Charles,

        Thank you for your inquiry.

        While we do not represent any company that we feature on our pages, we can offer you a general advice. If you wish to have a personal loan you may want to consider the options available here.

        I hope this information has helped.

        Cheers,
        Harold

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