Because Puerto Rico is a US territory and uses the US dollar, there’s no need to worry about losing money on weak exchange rates — you’ll only pay a transfer fee. Transfer fees will vary by provider, method of payment and delivery.
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While you could choose the convenience of walking into your local US bank for a money transfer to Puerto Rico, you may pay a steep transfer fee to do so. That’s because some banks exclude US territories like Puerto Rico and Guam from its list of reciprocal banks, treating transfers to these territories as international transfers. Fees can $35 or more, depending on your bank.
With an independent money transfer specialist, you will typically pay a lower fee with better options for payment and delivery to your recipients.
How to compare transfer providers
Fees. Fees can vary wildly by provider, but your local banks will typically charge more than you’ll pay with an independent money transfer specialist.
Transfer options and speeds. Do you need to schedule your transfer online, by phone or in person? Confirm each provider’s method of payment, and ask how long it will take for delivery.
Minimum amounts. If a provider imposes a minimum limit on transactions, make sure this limit isn’t too high for your needs.
Pickup methods. Some providers allow for bank deposits only, while others may also offer the ability for your recipient to pick up your funds in cash.
Customer service. Confirm whether customer support is available 24/7 by phone, email or live chat, if you encounter a problem.
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Checks and money orders. While a slower option, these old-school payment methods are safe and effective.
In an emergency situation, sending money to Puerto Rico can be expensive. Bank transfers are not ideal for emergency situations, because of their longer processing times.
However, most independent providers allow you to send expedited payments with additional processing fees. Using a credit card can also save time, but expect higher fees with some providers for this method of payment.
Tips for picking up cash in Puerto Rico
When picking up cash in Puerto Rico, take a friend along who speaks Spanish, if you don’t know the language. Only about 20 percent of those living on the island speak English, and you can make expensive errors simply by not knowing the language. Never flash your cash when traveling, and avoid dark secluded areas.
How to send money to Puerto Rico
Regardless of how you choose to send money to Puerto Rico, you’ll typically need to set up an account.
Most banks and money transfer providers will require your name, contact information and government-issued ID. Next, you’ll provide your recipient’s name and contact information, how much you’re sending and how your recipient will receive it. If you’re sending a bank transfer, you’ll also need to provide your recipient’s bank name, routing number and account number.
Once you’ve completed your transfer, the provider will confirm your transaction with a reference number. Use this reference number to track the progress of your transfer to receipt.
With so many options available, sending money to Puerto Rico should be a simple and painless Process. By comparing your options, you can prevent unpleasant surprises like high fees and penalties for cash pickup. However, your cheapest option may be the services of an independent money transfer specialist. With these companies, you could pay $10 or less — or for larger transfers, no fee at all.
Frequently asked questions
If your bank conducts business in Puerto Rico, it may consider a wire transfer a domestic transfer. Domestic bank-to-bank wire transfers within a bank’s system are often free.
When processed through a reputable provider, your funds are safely tracked until in the hands of your recipient. When sending money internationally, federal protections are in place that require banks, credit unions and money transfer companies to, for example, disclose all fees upfront and give you 30 minutes to cancel a transfer, assuming it hasn’t yet been picked up or deposited.
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Adrienne Fuller is the head of publishing at Finder US. With a decade of experience creating guides in finance and education, she aims to deliver the accurate and transparent information she wishes she had when she made some of life's important financial decisions. For the past 3 years she has been the publisher of money transfers, helping readers save when they send money all over the globe. She has a BA from Colorado College and loves to hike with her two Catahoula dogs around her home in San Diego.
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