Need to send money from the United States to Poland? Here’s how you can do it safely, conveniently and cheaply.
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Compare international money transfer services to Poland
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, Poland. This can be done in person or oftentimes online. You can use cash or transfer funds from your bank account, which will then either be deposited into your recipient’s bank account are made available as cash for them to pick up at a location in their country.
Banks versus money transfer companies/services
While banks can easily send international wire transfers, they’ll charge high fees and offer unattractive exchange rates.
Recent years have seen the emergence of an increasing number of specialist money transfer companies. These companies focus solely on moving money internationally, allowing them to offer better exchange rates and lower fees than you will get from a bank. This allows you to find a more affordable way to send money overseas.
Case Study: Pavel Sends Money to Poland
Pavel is spending a few years living the American Dream in California and building a big savings balance. To help his parents pay off their debt back home in Poland, Pavel wants to send them $1,000. Rather than use his bank, which offers a paltry exchange rate and a hefty transfer fee, Pavel decides to investigate the services of a couple of money transfer providers.
|Money transfer company 1||Money transfer company 2|
|Exchange rate||$1 USD = $3.69 PLN||$1 USD = $3.60 PLN|
|Transfer method||Bank account deposit||Bank account deposit|
|Processing time||3 business days||4 business days|
|Amount received (in PLN)||$3,690 PLN||$3,600 PLN|
As you can see, a small difference in the exchange rate leads to Pavel’s parents receiving an extra 90 Polish zloties if Pavel uses the first money transfer company.
How to compare transfer companies when transferring money to Poland
- Exchange rates. Higher exchange rates mean that more of your money makes it to your recipient, but remember that some companies that offer great exchange rates will also charge higher fees.
- Fees. You’ll need to be willing to pay a transfer fee in most cases, and these fees can vary substantially between providers. Some companies will waive their fees for large transfers.
- Transfer methods. In addition to online or in-branch transfers, keep an eye out for companies that provide smartphone apps and over-the-phone transfers.
- Transfer options. Flexible options like the ability to schedule recurring payments can save you time if you need to place transfers frequently.
- Turnaround time. Turnaround times can be as short as a few minutes or as long as several business days, so keep this in mind when choosing a money transfer company.
- Minimum amount. If your provider imposes a minimum transfer limit, make sure you’ll be able to exceed this limit whenever you need to send a transfer.
- Pickup methods. Will your cash go straight to your recipient’s bank account, or will they need to visit an agent to pick up the cash in person?
- Customer service. Phone, email and online chat customer support can provide peace of mind if you have a problem with a transaction.
Foreign exchange rates explainedThe exchange rate determines how much one country’s currency is worth in another currency. When a country’s currency is strong, it will yield more money when exchanging it in a country with a weak currency. For example, in January 2018, the U.S dollar was worth approximately 3.58 Polish Zloty. However, most countries’ exchange rates are flexible, which means it can change from moment to moment. Factors that influence the exchange rate include interest rates, economic stability and inflation.
See today’s US dollar to PLN exchange rate
Options for sending money to Poland from America
- Bank transfers. Most major banks will allow you to send an international wire transfer to Poland.
- Online money transfer providers. Send money to any Polish bank account from the convenience of your own home.
- Money transfer companies with cash pickup options. Providers like Western Union allow your recipient to pick up the funds you send at agent locations across Poland.
- PayPal. PayPal may be better known for allowing you to pay for online shopping purchases but it’s also able to send international money transfers.
- Checks. Sending an international guaranteed check is a slow but effective transfer method.
How to send money to Poland
There are plenty of options to choose from when you need to send money to Poland, and depending on which one you select, you may need to register for an account with the provider. This usually means you’ll need to supply details such as your name and address, your contact details and photo ID before you can send your funds.
After you place a transfer you will receive a transaction reference number. Use this to check the status of your transfer.
Emergency cash transfers in Poland
If you need to send money to Poland in a hurry, be wary of the fees and exchange rate that apply to your transaction. You’ll usually be charged a premium for sending an urgent transfer, so make sure to closely check the full cost of your transaction.
Tips for picking up cash in Poland
Whenever you pick up the funds from a cash transfer, make sure that you follow a few simple safety precautions to prevent yourself from becoming a victim of theft or robbery.
- Avoid any high-crime areas.
- Take a friend along for assistance and security.
- Stay aware of your personal security at all times.
- Deposit large sums into your bank account instead of carrying them around.