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Sending $1 million overseas

A competitive exchange rate can save you thousands.

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Fact checked
While your local bank branch may be the most obvious way to send money overseas, a secure money transfer company will offer a much better exchange rate. But whichever you choose, transfers over ₱500,000 will need to be reported by your bank in the Philippines.

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Tips for large transfers

Before sending a large transfer overseas:

  • Check transfer limits. Some service providers will limit how much you can send daily or monthly, so choose a provider with a high limit or no limit when sending USD$1 million overseas.
  • Negotiate. Many of the rates quoted by providers may be affected by the amount you’re sending and could be negotiable, especially with larger sums.
  • Research tax laws. Each country has their own set of tax laws, and you or your recipient may need to file taxes.
  • Research sanctions. If you’re sending money to a country with US-imposed sanctions, contact a professional to help you navigate the rules.
  • Understand the risks. Digital money transfer specialists often send billions of dollars a year and are almost always regulated by federal agencies in a variety of countries.

Compare high limit transfer services

Use our table to estimate transfer fees from money transfer services below.

Name Product Minimum Transfer Transfer Time Transfer Fee
MoneyGram
MoneyGram
PHP 1
1 day
USD 9.99
Easily transfer cash to more than 350,000 locations around the world.
Western Union
Western Union
PHP 1
Same day
3.4%
Send money online to friends and family around the world with Western Union.
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Using a money transfer service

Specialized money transfer companies are typically the cheapest and fastest option for secure overseas transfers. You can also track your money along each step of the transfer, with online and phone support available if you have any questions.

Should I use my local bank?

You can, but it might be pricey. On top of weaker exchange rates and higher fees, you’ll find it typically takes longer for your bank to transfer money internationally. This could be a problem if your money needs to get to its destination by a certain time. Also, your bank may not be able to transfer money to every country.

How important is the exchange rate?

Given the amount of money you’re looking to send, a solid exchange rate is critical. Even minor variances in exchange rates can save — or cost — you thousands of dollars.

For example, if Company A quotes you an exchange rate of 1 PHP = 0.0211 USD and Company B quotes you a rate of 1 PHP = 0.02500, that half a cent difference adds up to USD$3,900 on a USD$1 million transfer.

If you have time on your side, you may want to use a limit order. A limit order allows you to set a target exchange rate with a service or broker, which monitors the rates 24/7 to make sure you don’t miss it. Once exchange rates meet your target, the service or broker will contact you to complete the transfer.

Money transfer fees

Money transfer providers charge fees to increase profits and make up for the time they spend filling out reports for international transfers, such as currency transaction and Know Your Customer reports.

Some fee-free transfer providers make up that money with less favorable exchange rates, which can cost you more when you’re sending a large transfer.

When choosing a transfer provider, factor in both the exchange rate and any fees to get the best deal.

Taxes and legal considerations

Sending USD$1 million or more overseas may require additional planning in some situations. When dealing with complicated situations or countries with additional requirements, contact a lawyer or tax professional.

  • Property requirements
    Some countries will require you to own property in that country in order to open an offshore account or holding company. That can mean significant additional costs — not just for the purchase of a residence, but also for the legal or account registration fees that may be required for setting up the holding company.
  • Accidental tax evasion
    Offshore trusts, foundations or businesses can provide a way to restructure ownership of assets in the case of lawsuits or debt issues at home, making them an attractive option to protect individual assets from seizure. However, you can end up in serious legal trouble if you don’t file the proper tax forms.

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Bottom line

If you’re sending USD$1 million or more overseas, even a small difference in the exchange rate can add up to thousands of dollars. Compare international money transfer providers to make sure you’re getting the best deal.

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