Transfers

How to transfer money between the U.S. and your country.

There are a variety of money transfer services available today that allow you to easily transfer or send money between your own accounts, as well as to others. Money transfers typically cost either a small percentage of the overall amount of money being transferred or a fixed fee per transfer.

International money transfers

Bank transfers in the U.S. are usually quite fast and straightforward, but this is not always the case for international transfers. Many money transfer services offer either online or offline transactions. Different money transfer services offer different security guarantees, so you will want to check into these before initiating a transaction. You might want to consider some of the following alternative transfer methods:

Banking Transfers

If you have a bank account, there are several ways to transfer money overseas using the bank system. Not all banks operate in the same way. Check with your local bank for details.

Sending a Check Abroad: This can be a complicated option - a check can take four to six weeks to clear and the recipient will be charged a fee of about $50 per check. Some countries have less streamlined banking systems than others and may not honor foreign-drawn checks.

Foreign Drafts: Depending on where you are, this procedure can take from a couple of days to a week for the bank to prepare the draft. After that you mail the draft to the recipient. Usually there is a fee for this service and the recipient needs to have access to the bank you are sending the draft from.

Wire Transfers: To send a wire, you don't have to be a customer of the bank, but you have to pay cash. Wire transfers are quicker than a Foreign Draft, since it is done almost immediately. Usually, there is a fee for this service even if you are a customer and the recipient also needs to have access to the bank you are wiring from.

Money Orders

Most banks issue money orders. Usually, the maximum amount is $1,000 and the fee is around $10 if you are not a customer. The United States Postal Service (USPS) also issues international money orders. The maximum allowed per money order is $700 but you can buy many money orders per day, up to a maximum of $10,000. The fee for each money order is around $3 to $8.50. American Money Orders can be cashed in banks or post offices in many countries around the world. Keep the receipt for your records.

Money transfer agencies

Another way of transferring money abroad is to use an international money transfer agent such as Moneygram or Western Union. Although it was originally designed for people without bank accounts, these agencies are generally faster (it takes around 10 minutes) and more reliable than traditional bank transfers. However, commissions on transfers are quite high (around 7 to 10 per cent of the amount sent). You simply take your money, in cash, to the agency and let them know where the recipient will pick it up. The person receiving the money needs to take ID to the office to receive the money in cash.

Paypal

You might want to have a look at the Paypal system - www.paypal.com  (especially if you're American or British). Although it was originally designed for international internet transactions, this system provides a convenient way to make US Dollar/Euro or Sterling/Euro transfers.

Further reading

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