In our hyper-digital world, there is increased connectivity in essentially every part of life. We can interact with mass amounts of people across the globe through a variety of platforms and for a variety of reasons. Sending and receiving money is just one of the many areas of life and business that have been impacted by our increased connectivity.
If you’re looking to send or receive money internationally, there are some things you need to consider. No two transactions are equal in this space because the fees applied to those transactions can vary drastically. Keep reading to learn about some of the least expensive ways to send or receive money globally.
How Much Does It Cost to Send Money Internationally?
Depending on the banks and countries involved, your cost to send money will vary. There are two important factors that affect how much it will cost you to send money:
- Transfer fees
- Exchange rates
Transfer fees are fees that are charged to customers who are sending money to another bank account, whether domestic or international. These are typically much lower for domestic transfers than for international ones. Transfer fees are also usually lower for money transfers using a bank account, as opposed to a credit or debit card.
The fees you pay for a transfer can vary from flat rates to percentage-based rates, depending on the service you’re using to transfer the money. For larger transfers, you’ll probably be better off using a service that charges a flat fee, rather than a percentage. For smaller transfers, the opposite may be true. Many companies now are offering zero-fee transfers to entice customers to use their services.
Even if you find a zero-fee money transfer service to use, you still need to lookout for exchange rates. While a fee-free transfer sounds awesome, they might have really poor exchange rates, which means you’ll lose money anyway. Contrary to popular belief, exchange rates are not the same with every bank and every money transfer service. Each one has different rates that can impact the amount of your transfer.
An exchange rate is basically how much your currency is worth in a different currency. There are two different types of exchange rates: floating and fixed. Fixed rates are determined by the central bank of a specific company while floating rates are impacted by a variety of factors including supply & demand, the money transfer service being used, and the countries involved in the transfer. Finding the best exchange rate can be a challenge, but it’s definitely worth exploring.
Transferring money between countries with advanced banking systems will save you some money. Countries such as the US, Canada, Australia, and the UK, have excellent online banking systems that make the process easier. Since the process is easier and requires less human interaction, it is also much cheaper. If you’re sending money to a country that is less sophisticated in its banking systems, you can expect to pay more processing and transaction fees.
What Documentation is Needed to Send Money Internationally?
The various documents necessary to send money internationally will vary based on the banks and countries involved. However, you can expect some combination of the following to be required.
- Sender’s proof of identity (driver’s license, passport, photo ID, etc.)
- Recipient’s full name and street address
- Name and street address of the recipient’s bank, including country codes
- The recipient’s bank account information including type (checking, savings, etc.) and number
- Routing number for the recipient’s bank
- The SWIFT Code or BIC for the recipient’s account (where applicable)
- The IBAN for the recipient’s account (where applicable)
- Amount of and reason for the transfer
This may seem like a ton of information, (and it is), but it will ensure that the money you’re sending will end up in the right country, at the right bank, in the right account. If the person or business you’re sending money to supplies this information, you should be able to enter it into the money transfer service that you chose and be able to send the money without a problem.
Is There a Limit on How Much Money You Can Send?
Some companies have limits on how much you can transfer in one transaction or in a specific time period. If it’s important that you be able to transfer large sums of cash, you should definitely read about this in the features section of your chosen money service. Depending on the nature of the transfer, where it’s going, and the reason for it, you may be limited on what you can and can’t do.
What Are Some of the Best Options to Send Money?
Starting with some of the most well-known brands, let’s run through a few money-transferal apps that are available.
This is one of the world’s oldest and largest money-sending apps. It has millions of users all over the globe who can send and receive money to one another almost instantaneously. However, the convenience of transferring money quickly and to anywhere is not cheap.
PayPal is not known for its amazing exchange rates or low transfer fees, but it is known for its efficiency. In general, it’s a great option for a transfer of less than $500. Anything above that will rack up some hefty fees.
Unlike PayPal, Google Pay is fairly new to the money-transferring game. But they have some pretty amazing benefits to offer. The service is completely free for its users, meaning there are no transaction fees to use this service. However, you still need to consider the exchange rates and how competitive they are in the marketplace.
Google Pay has a $9,999 per transaction limit, so you can’t transfer more than that in a single transaction. It is fully FDIC insured, making it one of the safest ways to transfer money.
This service allows transfers from a bank account, credit card or debit card with zero transaction fees. They have very competitive exchange rates that are often better than some of the big banks. They can handle transfers from the US to more than 130 countries across the globe.
Their service is quick and easy to set up. They require some basic information to initiate your transfer, but it’s not as long as some other services. Transfers can be completed within 1-2 business days from when they were initiated.
This platform has gained a ton of positive feedback from various customer and financial reviews. They offer transfers in over 170 different countries, which is more than the majority of other money transferring services. They offer fee-free transfers and competitive exchange rates, along with 24/7 customer support.
A unique feature of currencies direct is that once you open an account with them, you can actually negotiate and lock in an exchange rate for 12 months. This is beneficial in times of economic uncertainty because you can lock in a great rate and not have to worry about it for the rest of the year. It can also facilitate recurring transfers if that is required..
We have only touched the surface of all the options available in the money-transferring world. It’s important to think about how much you want to transfer and how often before doing your research. If you just need a one-time transfer and don’t plan on doing it again for many years, the decision is a little less menacing. However, if you’re going to be transferring money internationally on the regular, it pays to do your due diligence beforehand and get the best rates possible.