At one point or another, nearly everyone is faced with the task of sending money overseas to someone for any number of reasons. Whether you’re sending to a relative in need or having a friend purchase something for you unavailable where you live, sending money is sometimes unavoidable. However, the prospect of paying high fees can be a turn-off for some. Luckily, there are ways you can do to reduce, or in some cases even eliminate, the fees associated with tranferring money for any reason.
One of the best ways to curb foreign exchange fees is to use a credit card designed to be used internationally. These are known as over the top or specialty credit cards, and although they come from a domestic bank, they do not carry foreign transaction fees and can be paid off as if they were a domestic account each month. If you are able to plan ahead, you can carry these cards with you or send them with a prospective traveler to avoid the need to pay wire and currency conversion fees in the first place.
Alternatively, many banks also offer free or low-cost money transfers to other banks inside their network. For larger branches, these even include their international equivilants. Again, this is where a little planning goes a long way. If both you and the person you intend to send money to have an account with the same network, transferring money is as easy as exchanging a few account details. In some cases, these transfers can even appear in the recipient’s account immediately after transfer.
There are also many money transfer services that can be used to send money online for goods, services and other purposes. PayPal, the primary service of eBay, is a popular option and has a debit card to speed up the money withdrawal process. These companies charge a fee based on the amount and method which the money is sent. Also, you should be careful putting large sums of money on payment processors for large periods of time. They are not banks and are not obligated to obey the same rules in regards to protecting and handling your funds.
In some cases, it may be imparative to send money immediately to someone overseas. For these situations, money transfer services like Western Union and MoneyGram are available for a higher price, sometimes exceeding 10% of the total transaction depending on location.
These services are fast, but they provide little protection in the case of fraud, which makes it very important that you only send money to people you know personally and can know for sure that they are where they say they are. There have been numerous cases of fraudsters pretending to be friends or relatives of unsuspecting people in order to extract money. Once the cash is picked up by the recipient, the money is gone for good.
Whatever service you choose, be sure to take a look at the fee schedule associated with each product to avoid unnecessary surprises.