How to take advantage of low fees and competitive exchange rates when sending money to Macedonia.
How do international money transfers work?
International money transfers are the way you send money from one country to another—in this case, from the US to Macedonia. You’ll need to provide the funds to your bank or an independent transfer provider that will then convert the money to the appropriate currency before sending it off to your recipient. You can pay by cash, card or directly from your bank account. Your recipient can receive the transfer in the form of cash, or they can have it directly deposited into their own bank account.
With so many options, it’s easy to find a way to complete an international money transfer.
Banks versus money transfer companies
When you need to make a money transfer, your bank may seem like the obvious choice. However, with high fees and low exchange rates, most banks are hardly competitive when it comes to international transfers. You should instead consider finding an independent money transfer company, one that has minimal fees coupled with decent exchange rates.
While both are valid options, you’re more likely to save money and send more to your recipient when you choose a money transfer company rather than a bank.
Case Study: Vesna Sends Money to Macedonia
Vesna left Macedonia in the late 1990s to move to the US permanently, but she still stays in contact with her parents in Skopje. She regularly sends them money to help them during their retirement, and when their home is damaged after a storm, Vesna makes plans to send them an emergency transfer of $1,000 to pay for repairs. She compares her current bank to an international money transfer service to see which one can offer a fast and affordable transfer.
|US bank||Money transfer company|
|Exchange rate||1 USD = 55.99 MKD||1 USD = 56.639 MKD|
|Transfer method||Online, phone or bank||Cash pickup transfer|
|Processing time||1 – 3 days||10 minutes|
|Amount received less the transfer fee||55,930 MKD||56,072 MKD|
As you can see, Vesna can send an extra 142 MKD by using the money transfer company and save money on transfer fees. Her parents won’t have to wait long to start repairs on their home, and Vesna can sleep comfortably at night knowing she’s helped keep them out of a bad situation.
How do I compare transfer companies sending money to Macedonia?
- Exchange rates. Shop around to see what exchange rates are available among different providers. Be aware that better exchange rates will sometimes also come with higher fees attached.
- Transfer fees. You’ll usually need to pay some sort of fee each time you send a transfer. Compare the amount charged by different providers to find one that’s low enough to still get you a good exchange rate.
- Transfer methods. Different providers have different transfer methods. Many offer transfers that can be done online, over the phone, in-person or through a mobile app.
- Flexible options. Some companies let you get a better exchange rate by placing forward contracts (which allow you to lock in an ideal exchange rate now and transfer the money later) and limit orders (which allow you to take advantage of changing market conditions by executing the money transfer when a certain exchange rate is met), while they may also offer you the flexibility of scheduling regular payments in advance.
- Turnaround time. While some companies offer transfers in as little as a few minutes, these urgent transactions usually cost more to send. Longer transactions will cost less and will often end with your recipient getting more money.
- Transfer limits. Check to see whether the provider imposes minimum and maximum transfer limits on a transaction.
- Pickup options. While some companies will allow your recipient to collect the cash you transfer from their nearest branch, others will offer transfers in the form of bank account deposits.
- Customer service. It’s essential to investigate a company’s reputation for offering friendly and efficient customer service so that you can get a fast answer to your questions if you ever encounter a problem.
Foreign exchange rates explained
Exchange rate is a simple calculation that allows banks and other international companies to convert currency from one country to another. A strong currency will yield more when exchanged for a weak one, and since the Macedonian denar (MKD) has been traditionally weak against the US dollar (USD), you’ll be able to send more denar when you complete a money transfer.
What are my options for sending money to Macedonia from the US?
- Money transfer companies. Find a money transfer company that specializes in sending money from the US to Macedonia.
- Cash pickup transfer providers. Western Union and MoneyGram both have several locations in Macedonia.
- Bank transfers. Speak to your bank about the cost involved in sending a transfer to Macedonia.
- International guaranteed check. Mailing an international guaranteed check to Macedonia is a secure but slow transfer method.
Tips for picking up cash in Macedonia
Whenever you pick up cash, you’ll want to remain safe and keep your cash out of the hands of potential thieves. Following these tips should help.
- Don’t travel alone — bring a friend and travel during the daylight hours.
- Stay aware of your surroundings and keep an eye out for anyone acting suspiciously.
- Only visit a cash pickup location in an area where you feel safe.
- Don’t display your cash in public.
- Don’t carry large amounts of money around for any longer than necessary.