Here’s how you can make regular overseas payments without going broke.
From mortgage payments to utility bills and even regular remittances to loved ones — there are a range of reasons why you might need to send money regularly overseas.It wasn’t long ago that the only option for making regular overseas payments was to go through your bank — and endure a big hit to your wallet.
But the rise of online money transfer providers that specialize in moving funds internationally means that you have more options.
Compare providers that can set up your recurring payments
Use our interactive table to compare transfer fees, exchange rates and other details for sending regular payments overseas with our money transfer partners.
Why might I need to make regular overseas payments?
- Do you own property overseas?
- Are you spending a few months traveling but still need to keep on top of your bills at home?
- Are you working in the United States and sending money back home when you can?
From mortgage payments, credit card bills and other debts to utilities, salary transfers and rental income deposits — there’s a long list of reasons why you might need to set up a recurring international transfer. It makes sense to compare your options to find a secure, cost-effective solution.
How does an overseas payments work?
Making an overseas payment requires you to pay money to an intermediary to handle your transfer — typically your local bank or a money transfer company. The provider you choose then converts your US dollars into the currency you’re sending overseas and transfers the money to your recipient. The money you sent can be transferred directly into a bank account or sometimes can be made available for a cash pickup at an agent location abroad.
8 ways to save on your international payments
Setting up a recurring payment
Many digital money specialists allow you the convenience of setting up regular payments, whereby you submit your recipient’s information and transfer details for payments as far as 12 months into the future. Some even offer tools — like forward contracts and limit orders — that protect your transfers against market fluctuations, locking in more favorable exchange rates. And giving you the freedom you need to affordably manage your international payments.
Banks vs. money transfer companies
For many years, banks offered the easiest, most convenient way to send money overseas through wire transfers. But there’s one big drawback to using your bank when you send money overseas: the cost.
Banks don’t specialize in international transfers — they offer everything from savings accounts and home loans to credit cards and insurance — and so the exchange rates they offer to customers can be disappointing. Couple that with frustratingly high fees of $50 or more per transfer, and making regular overseas payments through your bank could become very costly.
Thanks to technology and a more competitive transfer industry, here are now far more international transfer providers to choose from. Providers like OFX, TransferWise, World First and WorldRemit
allow you to send bank account transfers overseas, but with much stronger exchange rates and lower fees than you’d pay with your local bank. Not only that, but they’re also fast and secure.
Sourav is an Indian national who’s spent the past year working in construction in Los Angeles. He’s sent a payment of $1,000 home to his family every month for the past year. But sending these payments through his bank has resulted in a major drain on his finances.
Sourav compares the costs and features of his bank’s transfer service with that offered by a specialist transfer provider to see if he can find a better deal on his recurring transfer.
|Major US bank||Money transfer company|
|Exchange rate||1 USD = 63.24 INR||1 USD = 64.10 INR|
|Transfer speed||2–3 business days||3–4 business days|
|Transfer options||Bank-to-bank wire transfer||Online bank account transfer|
|Total INR received||63,240 INR||64,100 INR|
Sourav learns that he can save $40 in transfer fees just by sending the funds with a transfer company instead of a bank. He can also ensure that his parents receive an extra 860 Indian rupees.
How do I compare international money transfer services?
When looking for a money transfer provider to handle your regular overseas payments, keep the following factors in mind.
- Transfer fees. As Sourav learned, fees vary substantially and can make a big difference to the financial effectiveness of a transaction. If you’re sending a large amount, ask whether you qualify for a fee-free transfer.
- Recurring transfers. Does the provider offer the option to set up recurring transfers in advance? How far ahead can you schedule transfers, and will you need to pay an extra fee?
- Exchange rate. The exchange rate is a crucial factor when calculating the overall cost of your transaction, and early all providers skew exchange rates for a profit. Compare the rate you’re offered to the mid-market rate — the rate banks and transfer services use when they trade among themselves — and look for the smallest margin between them.
- Transfer options. Can you take advantage of flexible transfer options to save yourself time and money or protect your transfer against market fluctuations with a limit order or forward contract?
- Payment and delivery options. Some transfer companies allow you to pay with a credit card online, by phone or through an app. Others offer agent locations for cash payments and pickups. Also ask how your recipient can receive your funds: bank account, cash pickup, mobile wallet and more.
- Transfer speed. If it needs to be there fast, some companies allow for quick cash pickups, often in minutes. If you have more time, you’ll get better rates and fees with an independent provider.
- Transfer limits. Your best option might depend on how much you want to send. For large transfers, weigh the best exchange rate — especially since providers encourage large transfers by offering low fees. For smaller amounts, consider the fees you’ll pay on top of the exchange rate.
- Customer support. Most companies offer customer service by Internet chat, phone, in person or by email. Make sure help will be available if you need it.
Compare the cost of three methods of transfers
What are the pros and cons of regular overseas payments?
- It’s simple. Sending regular overseas payments is simple and convenient with online transfer specialists.
- It’s affordable. You can now send more affordable transfers than before thanks to competitive exchange rates and fees offered by transfer providers.
- Manage your finances. Sending regular overseas payments allows you to keep on top of your finances no matter where you are in the world.
- Regular transfers not always an option. Some companies offer only one-off transfers. The time it takes to enter all your transaction details every time you need to send a transfer can be frustrating.
Frequently asked questions
Can I send cash overseas?
Yes. You can send cash transfers using such companies as Western Union, MoneyGram and Ria. Each company runs extensive branch networks around the world, offering hundreds of thousands of locations at which your beneficiary can collect the money you send.
Are there minimum and maximum transfer limits?
Yes, each money transfer provider imposes its own limits on how little or how much you can transfer per transaction. For example, you may need to send at least $500 but an amount no greater than $30,000. Limits vary widely between providers, so check with each company to find out the requirements.
Can I cancel a regular overseas payment?
Yes, you should be able to cancel a recurring payment at any time by contacting your provider. However, if the funds transfer process has already started, your provider may not allow you to cancel or amend a transaction if you have locked in an exchange rate.
Where can I learn more information about money transfer providers?
Get a range of information and important details about reputable money transfer providers to begin comparing their services.