Transferring money between New Zealand and Latvia isn’t difficult, but if you’re not sure what service to use, it can be more expensive that it has to be. Our guide will cover how to get the most euros out of your dollar and how you can reduce the large fees charged by banks.
Compare money transfer services to Latvia
Use our comparison calculator to assess transfer fees, exchange rates and other details for sending funds to Latvia with our money transfer partners.
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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, Latvia.
This can be done in person, over the phone, through a mobile app or online. You can use cash, a credit or debit card, or transfer funds from your bank account, which will then either be deposited into your recipient’s bank account or mobile wallet, or made available as cash for them to pick up at a location in their country.
Banks versus money transfer companies
You might think the best place to go when you need to send an international money transfer is to your bank. While your bank can certainly help you send money to Latvia, however, they won’t do it cheaply. High fees and low exchange rates are hallmarks of international transfers through banks, so you’re better off looking elsewhere for a more cost-effective solution.
Specialist money transfer companies are the best place to start. These companies, such as OFX and WorldRemit, offer fast, secure and much more affordable transfers to Latvia and around the world. Their fees are usually lower than the banks’, their exchange rates higher and the transactions can be handled from the comfort of your own home.
Foreign exchange rates explained
Finding a good exchange rate is of the utmost importance when transferring money to Latvia. This is because the euro is traditionally strong against the dollar, meaning your dollar will be worth less than one euro. However, this rate is flexible based on global economic stability and inflation. The amount a dollar is worth in euros changes on a daily basis.
How to compare transfer companies when transferring money to Latvia
By comparing a few elements of your transfer, you can ensure that you get the cheapest deal for your needs.
Exchange rates. Nearly all providers skew exchange rates for a profit. Compare the rate you’re offered to the mid-market rate — the rate banks and transfer services use when they trade among themselves — and look for the smallest margin between them.
Transfer fees. Find out whether the provider charges a flat fee or a percentage of your transfer. If you’re sending a large amount, ask whether you qualify for a fee-free transfer.
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 pickups. Also ask how your recipient can receive your funds: bank account, cash pickup, mobile wallet and more.
Transfer speeds. If it needs to be there fast, companies like Western Union and MoneyGram allow for quick cash pickups, 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.
Flexible transfer options. Ask whether you can schedule payments ahead of time or protect your transfer against market fluctuations with a limit order or forward contract.
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.
Create your account, including your bank account information.
Enter your recipient’s personal information and preferred method of pickup–bank account transfer or cash.
Complete the transaction and pay.
Save your tracking number to follow up on the progress of your transfer.
How safe is a money transfer?
When you use a reputable provider, your funds are tracked until in the hands of your recipient. There are multiple protections in place that require banks, credit unions and money transfer companies to disclose all fees and give you 30 minutes to cancel a transfer before it has been completed.
Although it’s completely possible to find a money transfer service that can quickly wire funds from your account in New Zealand to someone else in Latvia, this is often the most expensive option. Unless it’s a true emergency–like a relative having an overdue bill–you’re better off finding a company that takes a couple of days rather than hours. Not only will it cost less in fees, but your recipient in Latvia will also receive more euros.
Picking up cash
Whether picking up funds in Riga or somewhere else in Latvia, you should take a few simple safety precautions to prevent yourself from becoming a target for thieves.
Call ahead. Learn the company’s business hours and choose a safe time to pick up your cash.
Bring a friend. Having someone with you while you’re picking up cash can help. Two sets of eyes are better than one, and you’ll be able to spot a potential threat faster.
Deposit your money immediately. The longer you walk around with a large amount of money, the more likely you are to lose it. Put it in your bank account or a safe at home as soon as possible to reduce the potential for loss.
Keep your money hidden. Store your money somewhere on your person, not in a purse or bag.
Adrienne Fuller is the head of publishing at Finder. 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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