Sending large amounts of money across the border can be a bit of a headache due to a lot of things, such as service charges or fees. But, because of the variety of financial systems that are sprouting everywhere, especially on the internet, finding the best way to transfer your money can be a bit challenging.
You must consider the time it takes for your money to be acquired by the receiver. Additionally, how trusted the system or institution is. Nonetheless, wherever you are in the world, you need to know the best way to transfer money internationally.
Here are some of the most recommended ways to send money to your loved ones, pay fees, or purchase items online:
1. Bank to Bank Transfers
Sending money internationally through banks has become easier nowadays. Especially when it comes to sending large amounts, you don’t need to worry about it anymore.
When sending money through banks, you can either do the following:
- In-branch bank transfers – this is somewhat a traditional way of sending money by personally going into a physical bank to send the money. Bank transfer is probably one of the safest ways to send money worldwide, even when it seems tedious. It’s because you hand over your cash to the bank teller.
All you need for such a transaction is the receiver’s bank account number and SWIFT code. The Bank Identifier Code (BIC) or SWIFT code pertains to the account’s branch, bank, and the country it’s registered.
- Telephone Transfers – some banks use an automated recording to guide you, but other banks have their customer representatives. All you need to do is call them, and they’ll do the work for you.
- Online bank transfers – nowadays, banks have their online system wherein you can send money through their website or their application. Some banks offer online registration for online banking, while others can assist you online.
Typically, recipients through online banking can receive the money sent within 24 hours and some for 3-5 working days.
It may be convenient, especially with banks having online banking, but bank transfers have lower exchange rates and higher fees.
2. Money Orders
Similar to a check, money orders, when purchased, can be used to receive money on demand. It’s issued by a banking institution or the government in the form of a certificate.
You can use money orders if you don’t have a regular checking account. Money order functions are purchased so you can pay your business or personal small debts. You can buy it at gas stations, grocery stores, and post offices.
Moreover, you can use it to send money internationally. However, you must cash it in the bank first before depositing them to avoid being victims of fraud.
Things or details needed for money orders are:
- Amount of money to be cashed
- Issuer’s name
- Payee’s name
Issuing convenience stores have lesser fees than credit unions or banks. However, most money orders have a 1,000 USD maximum limit, so you’ll need more than one money order if you send larger amounts.
Here are some benefits of using money orders when sending money internationally:
- It can be cashed in another country even when issued from a different country.
- Without a fee, you can deposit your money orders into a bank account.
- Upon receipt of the money order, you don’t need to go to the issuing institution to have it cashed. You can simply go to a credit union or local bank.
- Bank account numbers and bank’s routing number are not required, so it’s a lot safer when avoiding being a victim of fraud.
However, no matter how beneficial it may be, money orders have their limitations:
- It causes delays or extra administrative work. For instance, money orders are not usually accepted in brokerage firms and insurance companies due to fear of money laundering schemes.
- Purchasing money orders are not that convenient as you need to personally fall in line and wait your turn before being issued. Moreover, you’ll have to wait for the money order into your mail.
- Costs more, especially when you need to buy money orders with more than the maximum limit, which is 700-1000 USD.
3. Peer to Peer Currency Options
If the receiver doesn’t have a bank account, you can use an online payment tool, app, or what’s called Peer to Peer (P2P) payment tools. Its transfer rates are considered as one of the best since it only comes with lower fees.
How P2P works:
- No middle man in any transaction, so you can save on high fees.
- No dealing with foreign exchange providers or banks, so margin on your exchange rate is not applied.
- With the use of a P2P platform, it can directly transfer money internationally.
- When you send your money through the platform you’re using, your funds will be matched to someone from the same place you’re sending to. This happens after your funds are converted from the mid-market value. For instance, if you’re sending from the United States to the Philippines, the platform will find a match from someone sending funds from the Philippines.
However, you must consider the following factors when using a P2P platform:
- Available Currencies – you must check if your provider covers the destination you’re sending the money to.
- Exchange Rates – to save more money, compare the rates that P2P platforms offer so you can choose the ones offering the best prices.
- Fees – no matter how great the exchange rates are, you must check the costs as some may charge with high fees in exchange for the best rates they offer.
- Customer Service – look for platforms that have a phone, email, or live chats and are operating even in the wee hours.
- Transfer Amounts Limitations – especially when you’re sending large amounts of money, check the maximum and minimum limits your platform allows.
- Methods – most platforms offer online transactions while some have an in-person and phone options, so choose what you are most likely to use.
4. Foreign Exchange Broker
One of the best ways to save money on the exchange rates is through foreign exchange (FX) broker. Some FX brokers even offer cheaper charges and more options. Transferring money abroad, selling of currencies, and purchasing currencies are some of the specializations of FX brokers.
Since these brokers are focused on currencies alone, they have an in-depth knowledge of the following:
- Effective solutions for adverse effects of different factors to a person’s portfolio.
- Tools in analyzing technical currency movement.
- Current news on the global political climate news, like whether a country supports Euro or not.
- Forecasts on global macroeconomic conditions.
Here are the following reasons to send money through an FX broker:
- Sometimes called a firm, FX brokers allow you to buy and sell currencies through their platform.
- You have a lot of currency options.
- Some offer lock-in exchange rates.
- You can even register your recipient’s account that you regularly send money to.
- Some offer free charges when sending large amounts of money internationally.
- Money transfers are often completed within 1-2 days.
5. Money Transfer Operators
Often called as MTO, money transfer operators facilitate transactions or payments made internationally. MTOs are financial companies that transfer money from border to border through the access of banking networks or internal system funds.
The money transfers of these MTOs are often called as remittances or international money transfer. And because of the increasing numbers of MTOs, competition became healthier, which means that the costs of transferring money internationally are becoming way cheaper than before.
If you want to send money through MTOs, you’ll have the following benefits:
- You can send to anyone anywhere, especially if the recipient doesn’t own a bank account or if the receiver lives in a remote area.
- If you need to pay fast or the receiver urgently needs the money, MTOs are one of your best options. MTOs can immediately release the fund sent as long as they have the reference number. This is because some MTOs have options like next-day speed or same-day speed to transfer your money. But of course, same-day speed may have higher fees.
- Other MTOs have their apps or websites that you can use to send money in minutes as long as you have funds in it.
- Some MTOs, especially the popular or well-know remittance centers, have over 4,000 to 100,000 branches worldwide.
- Some even allow you to send money to the recipient’s bank account directly.
- Most MTOs have a toll free number, so you can make a transaction through phones.
5. Online Payment Services
Online payment services are one of the most convenient ways to send money internationally, especially when you’re paying for a service or product. You can send money in the comforts of your home as long as you have internet, mobile phones, desktops, or laptops.
If you’re still unsure whether to use an online payment service, then check out these reasons why it’s a good option:
- Online payments are more and more accepted by people from all over the world.
- By registering to one or more online payment services, you can accept or send payment quickly.
- Manual payments, like cheques, are becoming a hassle since online payments are faster. Cheques needed to be recorded and checked manually, but online payments are processed automatically.
- Only a couple of seconds are needed to update your bank account after submitting your payment online.
- If you have a business, whether online or not, confirmation of transactions are quick so you have a smooth cash flow.
- Records or card information are also processed automatically so you won’t need to store or handle card information physically.
To understand how online payment works, here’s a flow of the process:
- Before entering or making an online payment transaction, you need to have the following:
- Registered account to an online payment service provider — a platform, website, or application that handles such money transfers.
- Funds — an account is not enough to send a payment through this service. You must have enough funds in your account. But other online payment services lets you link your bank or credit card account. With such, you can still send money even without depositing money through their platform.
- After setting up your account, you can now send money to a registered account of the same platform, your bank account, or other people’s bank accounts as long as you have their account number.
- The online payment service provider then processes the information you enter, such as the credit card number of the recipient through their payment gateway. Your provider cannot view this crucial information as they’re encrypted.
- Before any payment is confirmed, the payment service provider will first verify the funds in your account whether it suffices the amount you’re requesting to send.
- When you have a sufficient amount, then you’ll receive a confirmation that such transfer is completed. On the other hand, if your account lacks enough funds, then you won’t be able to send money.
- The information you entered will also be verified before the completion of the transaction. Any discrepancies like an incorrect account number will hinder the completion of the process.
If you’re sending money abroad for service payment, bills payment, or funds for your loved ones, many options are available. What’s important is to check the platform or services you’re using to send funds, especially when it comes to large amounts of money. You must also do your research on the reviews or news about the provider before engaging in one. Because even a popular payment method or payment service provider can sometimes have issues from time to time. For instance, if the financial institution you’re regularly using suddenly has fraud issues, then it’s wise to use another money transfer method.
Another thing to check now and then are the charges or fees when sending your money. Some have hidden fees, while others increase their service charges. So if you want to save on these fees, then it’s better to be updated on these matters. If you’re lucky, you may even take advantage of most money transfer providers’ promos.