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How to save money every time you pay an overseas bill
If you are looking for an easy and affordable way to pay overseas bills, compare the features, exchange rates and transfer options offered by specialist international money transfer companies.
Not that long ago sending money overseas was a complex and expensive procedure. However, now it is simpler and cheaper than ever before. Specialist online money transfer companies offer fast and affordable transactions, which make it easy to send money overseas to pay rent, utilities and a variety of other bills.
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Why would I need to pay an overseas bill?
In an increasingly inter-connected modern world, individuals and businesses may need to move money across international borders for a number of reasons. Some of these reasons are:
- Paying an overseas home loan
- Paying rent for an overseas property
- Helping a family member keep up to date with their bill payments
- Paying school or university fees for a child studying overseas
- Covering medical expenses incurred by yourself or a loved one
- Paying staff members who work abroad
- Managing payments to a business supplier
How does paying your overseas bill work?
Paying overseas bills is actually quite easy. The first step is to choose a provider to handle your transfer. This could be your bank, a specialist online transfer company, or another provider that offers cash transfers. As a general rule, specialist transfer companies offer better exchange rates and lower transfer fees than banks, which means a better deal for you.
Once you have chosen a provider you can enter all the details of the bill payment:
- How much money do you need to pay?
- What currency will you be sending?
- Where does the money need to be sent?
You will receive a quote that details the exchange rate and the fee that applies to your transaction. If you are happy with the deal you receive, you then pay for your transfer and use the provider’s tracking service to monitor the progress of your funds.
Case Study: Tim pays an overseas bill With Western Union
Tim is a retiree living on the outskirts of Auckland and his son, Jake, is spending a few years living and working in Australia.
Jake’s rent is a week overdue and he is a little strapped for cash, so he asks his dad to send him $400 to cover the bill, as quickly as possible. In order to send the funds quickly, Tim jumps online and visits Western Union’s online bill payment service.
He opts for a cash transfer that can be completed within minutes, accepts the $15 transfer fee and pays for the transaction using his credit card. Fifteen minutes later, Jake walks into a Western Union cash pick-up location in Sydney and collects $400 cash, which he delivers straight to his landlord.
What are the types of overseas bills?
There are two types of overseas bills you can pay using an international money transfer service:
- Fixed regular payments. These are payments that remain the same from one month to the next, such as rent or mortgage repayments. If you need to make regular payments, look for a transfer company that allows you to set up a recurring payment plan. Not only do you save time by setting up a transfer schedule in advance, but you may be able to take advantage of an attractive exchange rate by locking it in for future transactions.
- Non-fixed payments. These payments vary from one month to the next, so you can’t lock in an exchange rate ahead of time. Instead, you will need to lodge a transfer request whenever a bill arrives and use the current exchange rate.
How do I compare international money transfer services when paying bills?
The better the exchange rate you receive, the less money you need to spend to pay the bill.
Compare the fees each company charges every time you send a money transfer.
Some companies only offer one-off payments, while others allow you to use limit orders and forward contracts to get the exchange rate you want.
Check how long each service takes to process a transaction from start to finish.
Check to see the methods available for placing a transfer – online, over the phone and/or visiting a branch. Some providers also offer transfers via dedicated mobile apps.
Make sure prompt and helpful customer service is available if you ever need assistance with a bill payment.
What are the pros and cons to using an international money transfer?
- Better exchange rates. Dedicated international money transfer services provide better exchange rates than banks when you need to pay an overseas bill.
- Lower fees. Specialist companies typically charge lower transfer fees than banks, while many will also waive their fees if you transfer a large amount.
- Convenient. Specialist transfer services offer the speed and convenience of online transactions.
- Fluctuating exchange rates. Changes to market exchange rates can affect the affordability of your transfer.
Things to avoid about international money transfers
It’s important when you are carrying out an international money transfer that you shop around for the best deal. Even a quick comparison of the exchange rates and fees of two money transfer providers may save you a significant amount of money, so make sure you do your homework.
Another common mistake is not reviewing the full details of a transaction. Make sure you are aware of the exchange rate, transfer fee and total transaction cost before you part with your money.
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