International money transfers take place regularly, across different currency corridors. In 2016, migrants living in different parts of the world sent around U.S. $574 billion to their home countries. While reasons to sending money overseas, or from one country to another may vary, what’s common is the need to look for an effective way to carry out such transfers. Fortunately, you get to choose from different methods and service providers.
Should You Turn to a Bank?
If you wanted to send money to a foreign country around two decades ago, you would, in all likelihood, use the services of a bank or a high street forex broker. However, banks continue to lose out on their share of the global remittance pie because people have considerably more cost effective alternatives from which to choose. Not only do most banks provide less than favorable exchange rates, their fee structures and turnaround times also tend leave room for improvement.
International Money Transfer Companies
Several overseas money transfer companies have entered the market since the turn of the last century, and the prominent ones serve people from most countries. These companies usually fare better than banks by offering highly competitive exchange rates, charging little to no fees, and providing quicker turnaround times. However, not all companies operate in the same manner, so you need to choose one depending on your individual needs.
Comparing Your Alternatives
When selecting a company for transferring or sending money overseas, various aspects require your attention.
- Supported countries. Start by making a shortlist of companies depending on where you and the recipient live. For instance, while you may turn to Azimo for sending money overseas from Europe, the company does not accept customers from outside of the continent. On the other hand, companies such as TransferWise, WorldFirst, and OFX accept customers from most countries the world over.
- Transfer methods. Companies such as Western Union and MoneyGram have given their customers the ability to send money to physical locations for some time. However, newer entrants such as WorldRemit, Azimo, and Ria tend to offer more cost effective solutions. If you wish to send money to an overseas bank account, you may turn to companies such as TransferWise, WorldFirst, OFX, Currencies Direct, or CurrencyFair for sending money overseas. Some companies such as WorldRemit and Azimo also facilitate topping up of mobile wallets and airtime from different countries.
- Payment methods. Almost all international money transfer companies let you pay using your bank account. Finding companies that accept debit and credit card payments is fairly simple. Some even accept payments via methods such as Google Pay, Apple Pay, ACH, SOFORT, BACS, CHAPS, iDEAL, and POLi.
- Turnaround time. Cash transfers to physical locations tend to process on the same day. In some cases, they process almost immediately. When sending money overseas to an overseas bank account, the processing time varies depending on where you and the recipient live, the company you use, as well as how quickly the receiving bank processes the transfer. Typically, transfers to overseas bank accounts process within five to six working days.
- Cost effectiveness. The exchange rate you get and the fee you need to pay directly affect the cost of your transfer. An easy way to determine which company is the most cost effective is to look at how much money will reach the recipient once the transfer is complete.
- Customer support. The best overseas money transfer companies provide phone support in different countries. Several provide online support via chat. If you cannot find even an email address to contact a company, it is best that you look for another option. Review-based websites such as Trustpilot and Feefo give you an easy way to check how these companies rate in the real world.
Sending money overseas does not have to be complicated, time consuming, or expensive, provided you know what to consider. While cost effectiveness plays a key role, do not forget to address aspects such as convenience, speed, and customer service.