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How to send money to Costa Rica
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Use our comparison calculator to assess transfer fees, exchange rates and other details for sending funds to Costa Rica with our money transfer partners.
How do international money transfers work?
An international money transfer allows you to send money to a recipient overseas. Generally, a transfer involves you providing funds to a bank or an independent transfer provider, which then sends the money to your recipient in another country — in this case, Costa Rica. This can be done in person, over the phone, through a mobile app or online. You can use cash, a credit or debit card, or transfer funds from your bank account, which will then either be deposited into your recipient’s bank account or mobile wallet, or made available as cash for them to pick up at a location in their country.
Banks versus money transfer companies
We use our banks to take care of all our other financial needs, so surely we should use them when we need to send an international money transfer, right? Not necessarily. While major U.S. banks offer money transfer services, they usually present less competitive exchange rates coupled with high transfer fees.
You can often save money by using the services of a dedicated money transfer company. These providers specialize in handling overseas money transfers, offering attractive exchange rates and affordable transfer fees. This translates to big savings for you.
Case study: Jon sends money to Costa Rica
Jon’s daughter Kelly is on vacation in Costa Rica when, after one too many shopping sprees, she runs out of money. She calls home to ask her dad for a quick transfer of $1,000, which Jon agrees to send right away. But rather than settle for the quite disappointing exchange rate offered by his bank, Jon compares the services of two specialist money transfer companies in an effort to find a more cost-effective transfer solution.
|Money transfer company 1||Money transfer company 2|
|Exchange rate||$1 USD = $543.25 CRC||$1 USD = $545.822 CRC|
|Transfer method||Online transfer||Online transfer|
|Processing time||Within an hour||2 days|
|Amount received||$543,245 CRC||$545,812 CRC|
Even though the second transfer company charges double the fee of the first, Jon will still be able to send his daughter 2,567 CRC more because of the second transfer company’s superior exchange rate.
How do I compare transfer companies when sending money to Costa Rica?
- Exchange rates. How do the company’s exchange rates compare to those of other transfer providers?
- Transfer fees. How much will you have to pay to send the transfer? Can you avoid a transfer fee if you send a larger amount?
- Transfer methods. Will you be able to place transfers online, over the phone or by visiting a branch? Is there a mobile app available so you can send transfers from just about anywhere?
- Transfer options. Check to see whether the company offers a range of transfer options to provide increased flexibility and convenience. For example, can you set up a recurring transfer in advance?
- Minimum and maximum limits. What are the company’s minimum and maximum limits for each transaction? Do they suit your needs?
- Processing times. How long will your recipient need to wait until they can access the funds you send?
- Pickup options. Will the money be deposited straight into your beneficiary’s bank account, or will they be able to collect the transfer in cash?
- Customer service. How will you be able to access customer service and during what hours is support available?
Foreign exchange rates explained
The exchange rate determines how much one country’s currency is worth in another currency. When a country’s currency is strong, it yields more money when exchanging it in a country with a weak currency. Costa Rica’s exchange rates is flexible, so it can change from moment to moment. Factors that influence the exchange rate include interest rates, economic stability and inflation.
Currency exchange rate for Costa Rica
What are my options for sending money to Costa Rica from the US?
- Bank transfers. Bank-to-bank transfers may cost more than other options but they are a secure way to send money to Costa Rica.
- Online money transfer providers. A reliable online money transfer company can offer fast and cost-effective transactions.
- Money transfer companies with cash pickup options. MoneyGram and Western Union are the world’s two largest providers of this service.
- PayPal. PayPal offers secure international money transfers to many destinations around the world.
- Checks. International checks can be obtained from U.S. banks and then sent overseas.
Steps to send money to Costa Rica?
- Sign up for an account with the provider of your choice. Provide your name, contact details and proof of ID.
- Provide information about who you are sending the money to and where they live.
- Specify the amount you are sending and the transfer currency.
- Save your tracking number or receipt so you can monitor the progress of your transfer.
Tips for picking up cash in Costa Rica
- Confirm an agent’s location and hours of operation before you visit.
- Only pick up cash in an area where you feel safe.
- Ask a friend to go along with you to collect the funds.
- Don’t display the money in front of strangers or carry it around for any longer than is necessary.
Cash pickup locations in Costa Rica
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