Sending money overseas has been made more convenient and accessible nowadays. Now that everything is digital, you just have to deposit funds to your online account, click on a few buttons on a website, and wait for the recipient to receive the cash.
Western Union executed the first wire transfer, which involved telegraphs. The process required the sender to pay money to the company and wait for the operator to transmit a message to another office. Passwords and codebooks were utilized to verify the transaction and confirm the release of the funds to the recipient.
Now, there are lots of cheap ways to send money overseas. You can choose from various platforms and select the one that fits your needs and preferences. If you’re working abroad and sending cash to your family back home, you can avoid hefty fees from bank transfers
Here are some of the best ways to send money to someone overseas:
Sending cash to the UK has become more convenient and accessible through digital platforms like TransferWise and similar companies. These websites and apps have minimal transaction fees and the best exchange rates without compromising their quality of service regarding delivery time.
These are the most popular money transfer platforms today:
This UK-based service provider has more than 700 currency routes globally. The company has a unique take on the money transfer service. They use local cash pools in major countries for faster delivery.
So, if you’re from Australia and you want to send money to the UK, you just have to deposit the funds through their website, and their British outlets will release the equivalent value to the recipient without having to move the money physically. This reduces the transaction cost by going around currency conversion and cross-border transfers.
Xoom users can send money online to 131 countries, including the UK, Canada, France, and Brazil, among others. Their fees vary depending on the country you’re sending to and from, the method of depositing funds, and total transfer amount.
The platform allows for cash deposits or sourcing the funds from your credit or debit card. Of course, the latter option charges a higher transaction fee. However, the processing is done quicker.
The company specializes in money transfer services to countries in Asia, Africa, and South America. It began in 2010 with the focus on facilitating international money transfers to migrant communities.
It’s also one of the pioneers of mobile-to-mobile payments. Senders can process purely digital transactions while ensuring that the recipient can choose from a variety of cash-out methods.
XE is a Canadian-based tool that’s primarily focused on providing users with live exchange rates. This information can help you decide on when you should transfer funds to make the most out of your funds. It then evolved to include international money transfer and other currency-related services.
Third-Party Money Transfer Companies
As mentioned above, Western Union is the oldest money transfer company that isn’t a bank. They’ve moved on from telegraphs and have allowed customers to send funds from their website, through their app, or when you go to one of their offices.
The primary advantage that these third-party money transfer companies have against other service providers is that the funds can be deposited directly into their bank account. The recipient can also pick up the amount at one of their branches in their area. However, delivery typically takes four to five days, which is slower than other methods.
These companies earn money by collecting transaction fees, which are added on top of the amount you plan on sending. They either impose a set price for each transaction or take a percentage or portion of the total transfer amount.
This cost is pretty straightforward, and money transfer providers usually inform you of it upfront. Most companies also waive your transaction fee if it’s your first time using their platform.
However, a sneakier way that these companies earn money is through the exchange rate. This figure determines the equivalent value of your cash in the recipient’s currency. Often, exchange rates are flexible and influenced by interest rates, economic stability, and inflation.
Some service providers advertise the real exchange rate, which is considered as the price between the buy and sell prices of two currencies. However, you’ll notice that you aren’t given this rate when processing your transaction. Instead, the provider often marks up the value and keeps the difference for themselves.
Take note of these tips to help you save money and time on money transfers:
- Do Your Research - It’s beneficial to compare different companies and their rates to find the best deals. Check how much they charge for transfers, what their exchange rates are, and whether their previous customers are happy with their service.
- Stick to One Transaction - You’ll save more money on fees by sending a large amount through a single transaction than going for multiple transfers. As much as possible, schedule your remittances for cost-effectiveness.
- Know the Transfer Limits - Ask about the transfer limits since fees are based on the amount you’re sending. Don’t send a large sum through a service provider that caters to smaller amounts and vice versa.
- Consider the Exchange Rate - Exchange rates are ever-fluctuating. Observe when the value of your currency typically rises or falls, even for a few pennies, because even the smallest amount can make a significant impact on how much your recipient receives.
- Calculate the Receivable Amount - Sometimes, the lowest transaction fees aren’t the most cost-effective because service providers can take their profit from exchange rates, which may make a considerable difference in how much money is actually received by your loved ones.
Peer-to-Peer (P2P) Transfer
You also have the option to send funds directly to the recipient through peer-to-peer money transfers. PayPal is the most used P2P service provider these days because of its global popularity.
One primary disadvantage of this setup is that both the sender and receiver have to create accounts on the same website. A potential issue that may arise from this is the time-consuming verification process that entails the withdrawal of funds, which may not be an ideal arrangement during emergencies or crises.
P2P transfers work by matching buyers and sellers of various currencies. This method provides a competitive exchange rate for users. It’s an excellent way to save on substantial exchange rate margins from traditional financial institutions.
Still, there are drawbacks on this model, such as:
- Relying on Estimates - While the rates and low margins are definitely tempting, you have to remember that the value you see right now may automatically change after you process your transaction. It’s highly likely that you don’t end up with the price you want, and the recipient will be getting an even smaller amount.
- Lengthy Processing Time - Finding a buyer for your currency can take as long as three to five days. Plus, the platform will pause your transaction automatically if the exchange rate changed to 3 percent from the price when you booked the deal. Again, this may not be the best arrangement when the recipient needs the money as soon as possible.
- Buyer and Seller Imbalance - The lengthy processing time may be caused by the imbalance on the number of buyers and sellers at a given time. This disparity can make you miss out on a profitable exchange rate. You should look for a platform that has a substantial user base and has established strong relationships with banks.
Bitcoin (BTC) is also a form of P2P transfer, albeit more specific and utilizes a different currency. This cryptocurrency has gained traction in the fin-tech world because of its decentralized nature and global usage.
This electronic cash thrives on peer-to-peer transactions, and you can take advantage of its minimal fees to send funds to your recipient. You can use Bitcoin exchanges or online wallets to send and receive this cryptocurrency.
The benefits of Bitcoin include:
- Decentralization - BTC doesn’t have a central entity governing or controlling its processes. It works through the users in the community. It has lower transfer fees because the efforts in verifying the transactions are spread throughout miners in the network.
- Anonymity and Transparency - The only information that’s included in the public ledger or blockchain is your unique digital address and the transfer amount. Nonetheless, it promotes transparency because each transaction can still be traced back to the sender and receiver even if it’s a complicated process.
- Regulation - As leaders and governments see the growing usage of Bitcoin as a medium of exchange, rules and regulations are being crafted to protect users. This is beneficial for everyone involved in the blockchain and won’t hinder the BTC’s decentralized nature.
- Future-Proof - This electronic cash system is deemed as the future of money. It allows everyone with an account to send and receive funds with ease, as well as enjoy minimal transaction fees while only having to consider a single exchange rate.
Sending cash overseas is made convenient and accessible by online platforms, such as TransferWise and Xoom. There are also third-party money transfer service providers that can give you the best exchange rates and low fees.
Platforms like PayPal, on the other hand, provide a way for you to send money directly to your intended recipient as long as they have an account on the same platform. Lastly, you can choose to remit Bitcoin and take advantage of minimal transaction fees.