An international money transfer allows you to send money to businesses, friends and family overseas. Generally, it involves you sending cash or money from your bank account to an intermediary transfer service or bank, which then exchanges and sends the money to your recipient in another country — in this case, Brazil.
Depending on the provider, you can initiate a money transfer in person, online or by phone. Your cash or bank account transfer is then either deposited into your recipient’s bank account or mobile wallet. With some providers, it can be made available as cash for pick-up at a location in their country.
You may think that because it handles your other finances, your local bank is the simplest option when sending money overseas. In truth, international money transfers are no longer a game for big financial institutions. Newer companies promise to undercut the competition to earn your business.
Because banks offer a diverse range of financial products and services, their exchange rates can be among the weakest around. Poor exchange rates and high fees per international transfer can eat up a sizable chunk of the amount you’re sending.
A reputable money transfer specialist can offer better exchange rates and also charge lower fees — typically offering more flexible options for repeat payments — resulting in savings for you and more Brazilian real for your recipient.
Example: Ronaldo sends a gift to his cousin in São Paulo
Ronaldo has lived in New Zealand since he was 12, but he keeps in contact with his big family back in his home country. About twice a year, at least one of his siblings, cousins, tias or tios is getting married or having a baby, allowing Ronaldo to spread some of the wealth he’s accumulated in New Zealand.
Ronaldo typically uses an account at his bank to transfer money to celebrate with loved ones. But he’s recently become aware of money transfer companies that might offer a cheaper alternative. He compares two well-known money transfer providers when sending $1,000 to find the best deal.
Money Transfer Company A
Money Transfer Company B
1 NZD = 2.67 BRL
1 NZD = 2.46 BRL
Bank account deposit
Bank account deposit
1 business day
3 business days
Total real received
Ronaldo learns that can pay lower fees and send an extra 2160 BRL by using money transfer company A.
What’s the best way to send a business transfer to Brazil?
Buying supplies, fulfilling orders, paying global employees — a modern business finds many reasons to regularly exchange money the world over. If you aren’t sure how to get the best value for your money, these transactions can weigh heavily on your bottom line. Learn more about cost-effective ways to send international business transfers.
How should I compare money transfer services to Brazil?
While exchange rates and transfer fees affect how much you’ll pay, you’ll also need to consider how quickly your money needs to get to where it’s going, among other factors.
Exchange rates. Nearly all providers skew exchange rates for a profit. Look for a company that’s close to the mid-market rate — or the rate banks and transfer services use when trading among themselves. Remember that companies with strong exchange rates may also charge higher fees.
Transfer fees. Find out whether the provider charges a flat fee or a percentage of your transfer. If you’re sending a large payment, ask whether you qualify for a fee-free transfer.
“Hedging” options. Ask whether you can schedule payments ahead of time or protect your transfer against market fluctuations with a limit order or forward contract.
Payment and delivery options. Some transfer companies allow you to pay with a credit card online, by phone or through an app. Others offer agent locations for cash payments and pick-ups. Also ask how your recipient can receive your funds: bank account, cash pick-up, mobile wallet and more.
Transfer speeds. If it needs to be there fast, companies like Western Union and MoneyGram allow for quick cash pick-ups, often in minutes. If you have more time, you’ll get better rates and fees with an independent provider.
Transfer limits. Your best option might depend on how much you want to send. For large transfers, weigh the best exchange rate — especially since providers encourage large transfers by offering low fees. For smaller amounts, consider the fees you’ll pay on top of the exchange rate.
Customer support. Most companies offer customer service by Internet chat, phone, in person or by email. Make sure help will be available if you need it.
The exchange rate determines how much Brazil’s real is worth in another currency. When the real is strong, it yields more money when exchanging it in a country with a weak currency. As of December 2018 the New Zealand dollar was worth approximately 2.67 Brazilian reals. Brazil’s exchange rate is flexible, which means it can change from moment to moment. Factors that influence the exchange rate include interest rates, economic stability and inflation.
Making a same-day cash transfer to someone in Brazil
You might need to send an emergency cash transfer to Brazil. When you need to transfer funds urgently, your fastest possible transfer will often be your most expensive option. Carefully review the exchange rate and transfer fee against your needs so that you understand exactly how much it will cost you.
Tips for picking up cash in Brazil
Whether picking up funds in Rio or anywhere else around the world, take a few simple safety precautions to prevent yourself becoming a target for thieves.
Call ahead. Learn the company’s business hours and choose a safe time to pick up your cash. Daylight hours are best.
Bring a friend. Carrying money when alone can be dangerous. Ask a friend to come along.
Deposit your money immediately. The likelihood of losing your money to theft or simple carelessness grows the longer you have it with you. Go straight to a bank and deposit your cash as soon as possible.
Keep your cash hidden. Place your money in your purse or wallet before going outside. Carrying cash out in the open could make you a target.
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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