Hunting around for the best exchange rate and lowest fees can save you money when you need to transfer funds to Portugal.
Finding the best exchange rate coupled with low fees can be a pain, but it doesn’t have to be. When you compare money transfer companies, banks and other similar services, you can quickly find the best way to send money from the US to Portugal. Some options even allow your recipient to collect money within minutes, just watch out for higher fees and less favorable exchange rates.
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Compare money transfer services to Portugal
Banks versus money transfer companies
When people are looking to make a money transfer, their first thought is usually to use a bank, but this isn’t always the best idea. Banks can be convenient, especially when you’re converting dollars to euros, but they often have higher fees and less favorable exchange rates.
A cheaper and faster option may be to go with a dedicated money transfer company. These can send money transfers anywhere in the world, and they often offer better exchange rates, lower fees and quicker processing times than their bank counterparts. Your recipient can choose to have their cash deposited into their bank account or to pick it up at an agent location, whichever is more convenient.
Cristiano Sends Money to PortugalCristiano is living and working in the US after meeting an American girl and moving to Atlanta. However, he wants to send $2,000 back home to his parents in Lisbon as a gift for their retirement. He decides to compare the services of his bank with those of a money transfer company to see which provider can offer him the better deal.
|Bank||Money transfer company|
|Exchange rate||$1 USD = $0.82 EUR||$1 USD = $0.84 EUR|
|Transfer method||Bank account transfer||Online transfer|
|Processing time||1 to 4 days||1 to 3 days|
|Amount received (in EUR)||€1,640||€1,680|
As the table shows, Cristiano can save $15 in transfer fees if he uses a money transfer company instead of his bank and his parents will also receive €40 extra.
How do I compare transfer companies when sending money to Portugal?
- Exchange rates. The better the exchange rate you get, the more money will arrive in your recipient’s pocket. Shop around for a company that offers great exchange rates, but watch out for companies that attach high transfer fees to their attractive exchange rates.
- Transfer fees. Consider how much it will cost you to send a transfer. Fees can vary substantially from one provider to the next, and some companies will even allow you to avoid their fees if you transfer a large amount of money.
- Transfer methods. Find out how you can make a transfer. Some companies work entirely online, while others allow you to visit a local branch or call over the phone. Pick a company that offers a convenient method for your needs.
- Transfer options. Ask if the company offers forward contracts that allow you to lock in an ideal exchange rate now and transfer money later, or limit contracts that allow you to take advantage of changing market conditions by completing a transfer when a certain exchange rate is met.
- Transfer time. Make sure you look at how long it will take for the funds you send to make it to your recipient. If a company claims to offer super-fast transfers, you might have to be prepared to pay extra for this service.
- Minimum amounts. Check to see whether there are any minimum transfer limits that you must meet with each transaction and whether it is feasible for you to do so.
- Pickup methods. See if your recipient can pick up the money as cash or have it directly deposited into a bank account.
- Customer service. Check the customer service options available so that if you need help, you can access it quickly and easily.
Foreign exchange rates explained
Exchange rate is used when converting one currency to another. Because the euro is a stronger currency than the US dollar, you won’t be able to send as many euro to Portugal per dollar you send. In September 2018, the exchange rate was around €0.85 per $1. This means that you’d need to send about $1.18 in order for your recipient to receive €1. However, this amount is flexible and fluctuates regularly based on the economies of the US and the EU, bank inflation rates and interest. If you frequently send money to Portugal, keep an eye out for good deals that can save you money while getting your recipient more cash.
What are my options for sending money to Portugal from the US?
- Online money transfer companies. Known for their attractive exchange rates, low transfer fees and convenient transfer options, online money transfer companies like OFX, World First and CurrencyOnline can help you send money from the US to Portugal.
- Cash pickup transfer companies. If you want to send funds to Portugal and allow your recipient to collect cash from an agent location, companies such as Western Union and MoneyGram can help. Your recipient can visit an agent location anywhere in Portugal to pick up their euros at a time convenient to them.
- PayPal. PayPal’s international money transfer service makes it affordable to send smaller amounts of money to Portugal and other locations around the world.
- Bank transfers. Any major US bank can help you send funds to countries in all four corners of the globe, but banks offer higher fees and mediocre exchange rates when compared to online transfer providers.
- International checks. International guaranteed checks can be obtained from your bank and sent overseas, but this transfer method is time-consuming and costly.
What are the steps to send money to Portugal?
While the exact process for sending money from the US to Portugal will vary depending on the transfer provider you choose, you will generally need to follow similar steps.
- Compare your options. Use the table above to compare money transfer providers. You can also call your bank or look online to get USD-EUR exchange rates and a list of possible fees.
- Set up an account. You can often do this online and you may need to provide your name, address, proof of ID and bank account details.
- Enter details about your transaction. You’ll need to provide details about the amount of money you wish to send, in which currency and where it will be going.
- Provide your recipient’s details. Provide cash pickup or bank account details for your recipient, including their full name.
- Pay for your transfer. Submit your transfer and pay for the transaction. In some cases you may need to pass on a reference number to your recipient.
There are plenty of options available when you need to send money to Portugal, so compare the choices at your disposal before you settle on a transfer method.
Emergency cash transfers in Portugal
There are certain situations where you might need to send a transfer as quickly as possible. When you do need to send an emergency transfer, remember that you will usually have to pay extra in order to get your funds to your recipient ASAP. Make sure to check the exchange rate and fees that apply so you know exactly how much it will cost. This is often the more expensive option, so take the time to compare your options and find the best one for your emergency transfer.
Tips for picking up cash in Portugal
If your recipient decides to pick up cash, share these tips to keep them safe from theft.
- Take a friend along to provide extra security.
- Don’t display your cash in public.
- Avoid traveling through any high-crime areas.
- Don’t carry large sums of money around.
- Deposit the funds into your bank account as soon as possible.