Sending Money Abroad: A Traveler's Guide

All you need to know.

July, 2021

These days, more and more people have loved ones or businesses in other countries they need to transfer money to.

Plenty of companies and financial institutions offer money transfer services, but the range of platforms doesn't always make the process any easier. Between choosing one of many transfer methods, navigating fees, and completing the transfer, sending money abroad can be stressful.

This in-depth guide has compiled everything you need to know about sending money abroad through the most popular services — including recommendations and how to get started. Read more below to learn what options are available to you whether you're traveling or in your home country.

Sending money abroad

A Travelers' Best Online Options for Sending Money Abroad

There are countless services for sending money abroad. Some platforms may offer unique services or conveniences that are more aligned with what you're looking for.

In general, you'll get the best quality service by using an online platform. Not only are online services more likely to be available to you no matter where you are, but they also tend to be the cheapest options and offer the most services.

Below, we go over some of the most popular companies that travelers use worldwide:

Currencies Direct

Currencies Direct is the most developed and convenient third-party platform for travelers. The money transferring company has developed many features to make sending money abroad an easy task.

Below, we describe a few reasons why you should choose this platform:

• Multiple routes for service. Use the platform from any device with Internet access — there's even a mobile app for your smartphone. If you prefer, you can also contact the company over the phone.

• Competitive rates. Currencies Direct offers some of the best rates for small and large transfers alike. They don't hide any fees in their terms of service — you know exactly what you're paying ahead of time.

• Large team to help you send money. Should you need assistance, Currencies Direct has over 500 specialists staffed to help you any time of the day. You also receive an account manager to handle your cases and extra aid if you're buying foreign property.

• Free quotes. Currencies Direct understands that you want to shop around. As such, the platform provides free quotes for sending money abroad. You can compare rates with another transfer service to ensure you get the best deal.

While recipients can't go to a walk-in center to receive their cash, the extent of individual services makes Currencies Direct a highly recommended company for travelers looking to shift funds. A $25,000 sending limit also means most people will be able to transfer all necessary funds at once.

PayPal

PayPal is one of the most well-established and widely recognized money transfer services. Part of its popularity is its built-in conversion service and its options for instant transfer. Your recipient may not even need a bank account to receive the money; PayPal can hold the funds for them if that's what they prefer.

As with most services, conversion and instant transfer come with fees. The more money you transfer, the higher the fees will be. Those who you're sending money abroad to will also have to pay fees if they want to transfer the money to their bank instantly, so sending money ahead of time is the best choice when possible.

Those who want to send larger amounts of money at once may want to look into other services that specialize in large transfers.

TransferWise

With its strict and extensive security measures, TransferWise is a solid choice for those who wish to move large sums of money. Those transferring and converting in the most popular currencies will get the best rates on this platform.

Be prepared to provide a little more proof of identity, especially if you're sending a large sum. Of course, you'll have to provide the standard forms of documentation that we discuss later, but TransferWise's security means it goes through every measure to stop fraudulent activity. If you don't assure the company you are who you say you are, you may get locked out of your account.

OFX

For others who only need to move smaller sums, OFX may be the way to go, as its transfer minimum is $1000. No transfer fees mean you get access to some of the most competitive rates available. Best of all, this platform's services are available across 91 countries.

If your recipient needs the money as soon as possible, you may need to look elsewhere. The lack of instant transfers is one of OFX's few downsides.

Google Pay

Google boasts a free transfer service with a sending limit of $9,999. Like most Google applications, Google Pay will be easy to start using if you already have a Gmail account — though it's not much harder to access if you mainly use another email service.

Unlike some other online services, your money is fully insured if you send money abroad using Google Pay.

Using a Bank to Send Money Abroad

Banks are the most traditional route of transferring money. For many people, their usual financial institution will be the most convenient service in terms of time and accessibility. However, the high fees that banks charge push many to specialist services.

You may be able to avoid high fees if you and your recipient have an account with the same institution, though not all banks drop fees just because of this situation. You may also avoid high rates by opening a foreign account with certain banks, though this method might not be effective in terms of time and convenience.

What to Keep in Mind Before Choosing a Service Method

With so many platforms to choose from, you need to research your options carefully before picking a service provider to handle your funds. Remember to consider several factors before making your decision:

Comparing Services Based on Your Needs

Though providers may offer competitive deals and services with many features, the most important thing to consider is your individual needs. As you weigh the pros and cons of each money transfer service, try going through this list of factors that may influence your decision:

• Does this company send money to the country your recipient is in?

• Are your funds under the sending limit?

• How quickly will the other party be able to access the money?

As you go through these questions, you may realize certain services are not an option for you. If other questions arise while making your decision, try contacting the company for a detailed answer.

Understanding International Money Transfer Fees

Most services will not move your funds around for free. Whether you're sending money abroad once or looking to make it a regular occurrence, understanding service fees will help you avoid unnecessary charges.

Here's a look at some common fees you should be mindful of:

• Conversion fee. A conversion fee (also known as an exchange rate) covers the cost of exchanging currencies. Check the exchange rate of a few different providers to make sure your chosen service is fair.

• Transfer fee. You can usually expect a charge for using a money transfer service. If you don't see any information about transfer fees, don't assume that there aren't any. That may be a sign of an untrustworthy company or hidden fees.

• Commission fees. If you're transferring large sums, you're more likely to be charged an additional fee by your service platform.

• Receiving fee. Some services will charge a fee to receive the money, but you're much more likely to encounter this if you use instant transfer.

Preparing to Send Money Abroad

Once you choose your international money transfer platform, you should gather all information the company may require. In most cases, you will need to provide at least one form of identification. Examples include a driving license, a government-issued document, a passport, or even a bill with your home address on it.

The more money you're moving, the more documents you may need to produce. For institutions that you've never used before or those that handle large amounts of money, you may need to produce more documents than usual regardless of the amount you're transferring. Ensure to familiarize yourself with your specific service, as ignoring documentation requests could lead to being locked out or an extremely delayed transfer.

Sending Money Abroad Can Be Simple No Matter Where You Are

Whether you want to shift funds to loved ones, do business, or even buy property in another country, there are plenty of methods available to you. You can try a platform like Currencies Direct to access assistance. Or, access other services like PayPal if you want something more familiar.

When exploring your options, don't hesitate to refer back to any of the information mentioned in this guide to help you make your choice.

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