Authored by Jon Dela Cruz
Globalization has led to an increasing number of people working in foreign lands, often far away from countries they call home. And one factor that connects most expats, no matter where they live, is the need to send money abroad.
The reasons, of course, tend to vary. These may include paying bills, making mortgage payments, or simply sending money to family members or friends.
Sending money from one country to another has evolved considerably over the last two decades, so expats get to choose from different options now. We’ve covered these options, and put together a guide on how to transfer money overseas.
How to Transfer Money: An Expat’s Guide to International Money Transfers
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Until the turn of the last century, most people turned to banks to meet their overseas money transfer requirements. This usually entailed steep fees and less-than-favorable exchange rates, which honestly, hasn’t changed.
Bank turnaround times also left room for improvement, which saw companies like Western Union and Money Gram pop up to provide an alternative. These companies still offer better deals than most banks, although they now face tough competition from specialist FinTech money transfer companies.
Depending on where you currently live, you will get to choose from different specialist money transfer companies that let you send money in a host of currencies to various countries.
Based on how you want the recipient to collect transferred funds, you get to choose from four basic options.
#1 – Transfers to Bank Accounts
If you want to make mortgage payments or pay bills from your home country, this is the route to take.
To make such a transfer you will need the recipient’s name and bank account details.
#2 – Transfers to Email Accounts
Transferring money to someone’s email account is possible through companies such as TransferWise and PayPal.
With TransferWise, the recipient will provide his or her bank account details to the company at a later stage. With PayPal, the money transfers into the recipient’s PayPal account, which can then be withdrawn into a local bank account.
#3 – Transfers to Cash Pickup Locations
If the recipient does not have a bank account, or if you need to carry out a transfer as quickly as possible, you may consider sending money to a cash pickup location.
In this case the recipient collects cash by presenting a unique transaction number along with a valid form of state issued ID. While these transfers usually take place almost immediately, they tend to cost more than bank account transfers.
#4 – Transfers to Mobile Wallets and Airtime
Depending on where the recipient lives, you may have the option of topping up mobile wallets and airtime. Examples of companies that offer this feature include WorldRemit and Azimo.
How to Select the Right Money Transfer Company
Paying attention to a few simple aspects will ensure that you select a company that suits your needs.
➡ Exchange rates and transfer fees tend to vary from one company to another. An easy way to determine which company scores better on this front is to compare how much money the recipient will receive at the end of the transfer.
➡ Modes of payment. Most companies accept payments via bank transfers. Some accept debit card payments and fewer still let you pay using credit cards.
➡ Transfer limits. Minimum and maximum sending limits tend to vary from one company to another. Other factors that may affect sending limits include where you live, the destination country, the mode of payment, and the transfer method.
➡ Customer service. If you plan to use the services of an overseas money transfer company frequently, you may need assistance in different ways. Some companies offer over-the-phone support, some offer support via live chat, and almost all provide assistance via email.
Selecting the right overseas money transfer company may not just lead to savings, but also to peace of mind through knowing that your money is in safe hands.
Since individual requirements tend to vary, make sure you run a thorough comparison before making a decision.
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