Here’s how to send a quick, affordable and secure money transfer to South Korea.
Compare International Money Transfers
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- Buying property abroad
- Regular overseas payments
- Risk management
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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, South Korea. 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
The first place many people go when they need to send an international money transfer is to their bank. While banks can certainly send money overseas for you, their fees are often higher compared to companies that specialize in international money transfers. These money transfer companies focus on international transactions and can offer much better exchange rates than most major banks. This means that you save money, and your recipient ends up with more South Korean wons in their pocket.
How to compare transfer companies when sending money to South Korea
- Exchange rates. How do each company’s exchange rates compare to the competition?
- Fees. How much will you have to pay every time you send a transfer? Can you avoid a transfer fees if you send a larger amount?
- Transfer methods. Can transfers be placed online, over the phone, by visiting a branch and/or by using a mobile app?
- Transfer options. Can you lock in an ideal exchange rate now and transfer the money later, known as a forward contract? Does the institution offer limit orders, which allows you to take advantage of changing market conditions by executing the money transfer when a certain exchange rate is met? Can you schedule reoccurring payments, or does the company only provide one-off spot orders?
- Turnaround time. Will the funds be available for your beneficiary in minutes, or will they take several working days to arrive?
- Minimum transfer amount. What is the minimum transfer limit imposed by each company, and will this affect the size of your transfers?
- Pickup methods. Can your beneficiary pick up the cash from their nearest transfer agent, or will the funds be deposited into their bank account?
- Customer service. What sort of customer support is offered and during what hours can you receive assistance?
Cliff is buying a collectible baseball card from a private seller based in Seoul. Having agreed on a price of $1,000, Cliff looks for the most affordable way to send this sum to the seller. But when he sees the poor exchange rate offered at his large U.S. bank, he decides to compare the features, benefits and costs of two money transfer companies to see which one comes out on top. Both of the companies he compares send U.S. dollars instead of the Korean won, as U.S. dollars are accepted in some parts of Korea.
|Money transfer company 1||Money transfer company 2|
|Transfer method||Cash pickup only||Bank deposit or cash pickup|
|Transfer options||One-off spot orders only||One-off spot orders only|
|Payment method||Bank deposit, credit card, debit card or cash||Bank deposit, credit card or debit card|
|Processing time||10 minutes||Up to four business days for bank deposit, 15 minutes for cash pickup|
|Difference in fees||This company is $54 cheaper|
As you can see, the fee charged by the second company is substantially higher than that charged by the first, allowing Cliff to save more than $50.
How can I send money to South Korea from America?
- Bank transfers. Bank-to-bank transfers may cost more than other options but they are a secure way to send money to South Korea.
- 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 South Korea and many other destinations around the world.
- Checks. International checks can be obtained from U.S. banks and then sent overseas.
How to send money to South Korea through an independent transfer provider
When sending funds to South Korea, you’ll be asked to provide the following information:
- Your name, address, contact information and valid photo ID.
- Your beneficiary’s name, address and information, along with their bank account info if you’re sending a bank transfer.
- How much money you’re sending, in what currency and which country you’re sending it to.
- If you are not using cash for this transaction, you will need to provide your banking info in order to have funds drafted from your account.
Once you have completed your transaction, you will be given a tracking number. Make a note of this number so you can monitor the progress of your money transfer.Back to top
Sending or receiving cash in South Korea
MoneyGram and Western Union operate extensive worldwide transfer networks. If you send money for your recipient to collect from a MoneyGram or Western Union agent in South Korea, make sure they take along a valid ID and a transaction reference number when they go to collect the funds.Back to top
Emergency cash transfers in South Korea
There are certain situations when 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 beneficiary ASAP. Make sure to check the exchange rate and fees that apply so you know exactly how much it will cost.
Tips for picking up cash in South Korea
Picking up cash from a transfer agent in South Korea? Follow a few simple steps to ensure that you and your money stay safe:
- Avoid any areas where crime is known to be a problem.
- Keep your wallet and/or bag safe and secure at all times.
- Take a friend along to provide additional security and peace of mind.
- Don’t flash your cash around in public.
- Don’t carry large sums of money around for any longer than is absolutely necessary.