From mortgage repayments to utility bills and even regular payments to loved ones, there are a range of reasons why you might need to send money overseas on a recurring basis. It wasn’t all that long ago that your only real option for making regular overseas payments was to go through your bank and endure a big hit to your wallet in the process — but the international money transfer market has changed significantly in recent years.
The rise of online money transfer providers that specialise in moving funds internationally means you have more options to choose from than ever before, and that it’s easy to save money when you send transfers overseas. You just need to shop around to find the transfer provider that offers a secure and cost-effective deal.
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With over 17 years of foreign exchange expertise and over $100 billion transferred, OFX can help with all your currency exchange needs, including:
- Buying property abroad
- Regular overseas payments
- Risk management
Why might someone need to make regular overseas payments?
These are all instances where you might need to make regular overseas payments:
- Do you own property overseas?
- Are you spending a few months travelling around the world but you still need to keep on top of your bills at home?
- Are you working in the USA and sending the money you save back home to your family overseas whenever you can?
From mortgage repayments, credit card bills and other debts to utilities, salary transfers and repatriation of rental income you receive, there’s a pretty long list of reasons why you might need to set up a recurring international transfer. The reasons are equally as many and as diverse for business owners, so it makes sense to compare your options and find a secure and cost-effective transfer solution to your overseas payment problems.
How do regular overseas payments work?
Making an overseas payment requires you to pay money to an intermediary that handles your transfer – this is usually your bank or a specialist money transfer company. The provider you choose will then convert your US Dollars into the currency you wish to send overseas and transfer the funds to your recipient. The money you sent can be transferred directly into your beneficiary’s bank account or in some cases can be made available for collection in cash from a transfer company branch near your recipient.
Some transfer companies only allow one-off transactions, meaning you’ll have to manually enter the details of your transfer every time you want to send funds. Other providers allow you the convenience of setting up regular payments — entering your recipient and transfer details and setting up transactions up to 12 months into the future. In some cases, the money-saving option of locking in your exchange rate is also offered, giving you the freedom you need to affordably manage your international payments.Back to top
Banks vs money transfer companies
For many years, banks have offered the easiest and most convenient way to send money overseas. If you already have an account with a major bank, it’s pretty simple to send an international wire transfer and even set up instructions to execute regular overseas payments.
But there’s one big drawback to using the services of your bank when you want to send money overseas: the cost. Banks don’t specialise in international transfers — they offer everything from savings accounts and home loans to credit cards and insurance —so the exchange rates they offer to customers are disappointingly low. Couple that with frustratingly high fees, for example $45 or $50 per transfer, and making regular overseas payments via your bank could send you broke fairly quickly.
Thanks to modern technology and developments in the transfer industry, however, there are now far more international transfer providers to choose from than just the banks. Specialist online money transfer companies like OFX, Payza, World First, and WorldRemit all offer much more affordable payment options thanks to their higher exchange rates and lower fees. Because these providers trade such large volumes of currency and have lower overheads than the banks, they can afford to offer their customers a better deal.
Some of them also allow the convenience of setting up recurring payments so as to more effectively manage your time and your international money transfer requirements.
Sourav is an Indian national who has spent the past year working in the construction industry in LA. He has sent a payment of $1,000 home to his family every month for the past year, but sending the payments via his bank has put a major drain on his finances. Sourav decides to compare 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.
|Bank||Money transfer company|
|Exchange rate||1 USD = 63.24 INR||1 USD = 64.10 INR|
|Transfer method||Bank-to-bank wire transfer||Online bank account transfer|
|Ability to set up recurring payments||Yes||Yes|
|Transfer time||2-3 working days||3-4 working days|
|Amount received (in INR)||63,240 INR||64,100 INR|
As this example shows, Sourav can save $45 in transfer fees just by sending the funds with a transfer company instead of a bank, plus 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 fee. How much extra cash will you have to pay on top of the money you will be transferring? As Sourav’s example above shows, transfer fees can vary substantially and make a pretty big difference to the financial effectiveness of a transaction.
- Recurring transfers. Does the provider offer you the option to set up recurring transfers in advance? How far ahead can you schedule transfers, how easy is it to do, and will you have to pay a substantial extra fee?
- Exchange rate. The exchange rate is a crucial factor when calculating the overall cost of your transaction, so shop around to see how each provider’s rate offerings stack up against the competition. Do companies that offer higher rates also charge higher fees?
- Transfer options. Can you take advantage of flexible transfer options to save yourself time and/or money? For example, can you use a forward contract to secure the current exchange rate for a future transfer, or place a limit order so that your transfer is only sent when the exchange rate you want becomes available?
- Sending and receiving methods. Is the money sent from your bank account or can you pay for a transfer in cash? Is credit and debit card payment also an option? Then consider how your beneficiary will access the funds, as some companies only offer bank account transfers while others will also provide cash pickup services.
- Transfer times. Processing times can differ substantially depending on the provider and transfer method you choose. If time is of the essence, look for a company that offers rapid transfers.
- Currencies supported. What currencies does each provider allow you to transfer and where? Are your desired transfer destinations and currencies included on that list?
- Customer service. How will you be able to access help if you ever have difficulties with a transfer? Are phone and email support offered? Is there an online live chat option as well?
What are the pros and cons of regular overseas payments
- Simple. Sending money overseas on a regular basis is incredibly simple and convenient with online transfer companies.
- Affordable. You can now send more affordable transfers than ever before thanks to the high exchange rates and low fees on offer as transfer providers compete for customers.
- Manage your finances. Sending regular overseas payments allows you to manage your international finances no matter where you are in the world.
- Regular transfers not always an option. Some companies only offer one-off transfers and won’t make it possible to schedule regular payments. As a result, re-entering all your transaction details every time you need to send a transfer can be frustrating and time consuming.
Frequently asked questions
Can I send cash overseas?
Yes. You can send cash transfers using companies such as Western Union, MoneyGram, and Ria. Each company runs extensive branch networks around the world, offering hundreds of thousands of locations where your beneficiary can collect the money you send.
Are there minimum and maximum transfer limits?
Yes, each money transfer provider will impose 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 their unique 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, this may not be possible if the funds transfer process has already started, while some providers will also not allow you to cancel or amend a transaction if you have locked in an exchange rate.
Where can I find out more information about money transfer providers?
finder.com has gathered a range of information and important details about reputable money transfer providers. You can start comparing their services any time.