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Receiving money from overseas

Everything you need to know about receiving money from abroad.

There may be times in your life when you will be receiving money from overseas. Be it from friends or family, or maybe you are an expat living abroad. With the right tools at your disposal, you can find the best deal and have quick access to your funds when you receive a money transfer from overseas.

What is the best way to receive money from overseas?

The best way to receive money from overseas depends on your specific situation. For many, receiving the money to their bank through an international wire transfer is the most convenient – even if it can be expensive. However, you will find it is often cheaper to use a money transfer service instead. These types of companies specialize in sending money overseas, and offer lower fees and stronger exchange rates than banks.

We’ve listed the best ways to receive money from overseas – going from cheapest to most expensive:

  1. International money transfer service. Specialized money transfer companies are one of the cheapest options when it comes to receiving money from abroad. Use our comparison table to find a money transfer company that suits your needs before you receive your transfer.
  2. Money order. Sometimes called a bank draft, an international money order is an inexpensive but slow way to receive money from overseas.
  3. Mobile wallet. Having money delivered to a mobile wallet isn’t a popular option in the US, but it is convenient if it’s available.
  4. Cash delivery. Consider having your money sent to a local money transfer agent location as a cash pickup. Some services will even deliver it straight to your home.
  5. International wire transfer. International wire transfers through a bank often get charged fees on both ends of the transaction, so tend to work out as an expensive option.

Compare international money transfer companies to receive money from abroad

As typically one of the cheapest options when it comes to receiving money from abroad, you can save yourself more money by comparing money transfer services.

Use our comparison table to see how much money you could receive through different money transfer companies and when you have made your choice, click Go to site.

1 - 9 of 9
Name Product Filter Values Fastest Transfer Speed Fees (Pay by Bank Transfer)
Within minutes
From $0
Special offers like free transfers and better exchange rates available for new customers.
Remitly has quick, affordable transfers around the world, with both express and economy options.
Within minutes
From 0%
New Instarem customers will get a special FX rate and zero-fees on their first transfer.
Instarem offers zero transfer fees on all transfers.
Within minutes
From $1.99
MoneyGram has fast cash pick-up transfers to more than 350,000 agent locations worldwide.
Wise (TransferWise)
Within minutes
From 0.41%
Wise uses the mid-market rate and transparent fees to help you send money in 45+ currencies.
24 hours
OFX has no maximum limit transfers, with competitive exchange rates for 45+ currencies.
OFX International Money Transfers (Business)
24 hours
Business customers: Send safe, no-limit transfers with no fees and competitive exchange rates.
Currencies Direct (business)
24 hours
Minimizes costs of international transactions and offers custom solutions for business clients. Currencies Direct may call you to confirm your transfer, so be prepared for a phone call shortly after initiating a transfer.
Currencies Direct
24 hours
CurrenciesDirect makes transferring money abroad simple with bank-beating exchange rates. Currencies Direct may call you to confirm your transfer, so be prepared for a phone call shortly after initiating a transfer.
24 hours
CurrencyTransfer lets you shop around for the best exchange rate on its online marketplace.

How does receiving money from overseas work?

The process may differ depending on the service provider used to send the funds. With some money transfer services, you need to request the transaction reference number from the sender and present the number along with your identification documents. You may also be required to fill out a receive form to access your funds.

With online transfers, the funds are deposited into your account, after which you can withdraw them. You can also receive funds through a prepaid card or mobile wallet.

Bank information needed to receive money

Keep in mind, in order to receive money from overseas, you’ll need to provide specific bank details, including:

  • Bank account number
  • BIC/Swift Code — you can this from your bank
  • Bank State Branch (BSB)
  • Full name
  • Street address

Do I need to pay fees if I’m receiving money from overseas?

While most fees are incurred by the sender, your bank may charge a fee for processing and depositing the money you have received from overseas.

It is also worth keeping in mind you could be required to pay intermediary fees. Intermediary banks act as the ‘middleman’ through which money passes when transferring between two financial institutions. As a result they take a small fee from the funds being transferred. This is separate to the fees charged by banks or money transfer services.

How do exchange rates and margins affect the amount I receive?

The amount you receive in the end may be less than expected if the sender doesn’t pay the currency exchange rate at the beginning of the transaction.

Most banks and money transfer providers will quote an exchange rate that’s higher than the mid-market rate, otherwise known as the midpoint between the buy and sell prices. This markup is also known as a margin, which is how these companies make profit.

The exchange rate margin is often the reason why there is a difference between the amount that is sent and the amount that is received. Small differences can put a big dent in the end amount, especially when receiving larger amounts of money.

What type of money transfer should I use to receive money?

Money transfers come in many varieties, all of which can be used to receive money from overseas. Here are some of your options:

  • Online transfer. You can use online payment services to transfer and receive funds. The funds are converted into the recipient’s currency.
  • Money transfer. Money transfer companies that offer cash pickup are an easy way to receive money. Just double check that there’s an agent location near you before agreeing to receive a cash transfer.
  • Prepaid card. You can access your funds through an ATM when using a prepaid card to receive money.
  • Mobile wallet. Receive and send funds directly from your smartphone when using a mobile wallet.

Frequently asked questions

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2 Responses

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    julieSeptember 7, 2018

    my parents are selling their family home in portugal and are transferring the money to my sisters and I. the money will be wired to our US bank account..are there any tax implications. we are all US citizens living in the US.

      JoshuaSeptember 10, 2018Finder

      Hi Julie,

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

      If you are receiving more than $10,000, you’ll need to abide by US laws. Aside from the bank reporting your money transfer transaction to the government, you would most likely need to fill out Form 3520. This form is not a tax return form, but more of being an “information return.” The reason behind is that foreign gifts generally are not subject to income tax. However, please be reminded that stiff penalties may apply for failing to submit Form 3520 when it is required.

      To learn more please read our guide entitled, “Laws and legal documents when transferring large sums of money into the US.” You may also choose to directly get in touch with the IRS or speak to a tax specialist.

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

      Have a wonderful day!


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