In the age of the Internet, sending money abroad can be easy as a pie but also very complicated, depending on the method. This paradoxical situation is mainly due to the multiple directives on money laundering issued by many governments.
To transfer funds abroad, you currently have four possible choices: the bank, operators like Western Union or MoneyGram, international money order, or platforms that use the real market rate like IBANBit.
Let’s take a quick review of the strengths and limitations of each money transfer method we have available.
International wire transfer via bank
You can make your money transfer at the counter of your bank but also via your online account.
If you decide to make the transfer from the Internet, you will need to add the beneficiary’s bank information beforehand. You will sometimes be asked to wait up to 48 hours before you can make the transfer.
So this is a method that lacks flexibility if you are in a rush.
- Secure operation
- Your bank already has all the information about you
- Convenient if you have to make frequent transfers
- Fairly obscure pricing
- Exchange rate often increased
- Bank to bank transfer only
International money transfer operators
The best known are MoneyGram or Western Union. You can send money to an electronic wallet, a bank account, or a store.
- Convenient for sending cash
- Very flexible regarding the medium to which the funds must be transferred (account/bank card, mobile, etc.)
- Possibility to have the money delivered in person
- Fairly high fees
- Fairly low sending ceilings
- Increased exchange rate
Postal money orders
Payment is made at your local post office, in cash or by credit card.
- No banking information to know: only the name and address of the recipient is sufficient
- One piece of ID is enough to transfer
- Check (or notice) arrives at home
- Can be done online
- Not all countries are covered
- Limited amount and rather high costs
- Slow service: the transfer time is the same as that of mail delivery (4 to 10 working days, depending on the country)
New online money transfer players
The new online platforms do not take a commission on the exchange rate, but only a percentage on the amount you want to send, to pay the shipping costs between different currencies.
Sometimes, there may be a fixed charge which is used to cover the transport costs. This surcharge is clearly announced before you make the transfer. The costs are, therefore, entirely transparent.
Platforms like IBANBit provide you with a calculator that lets you know how much the transfer will cost you and how much the recipient will receive.
- Transparent pricing and often cheaper than a bank
- The exchange rate is not increased
- Account to account transfer only
- Additional fees if paying by bank card or SWIFT
- Not all countries are covered
How to Choose the Best Option for Money Transfer?
When it comes to money transfers, the cheapest method isn’t necessarily the best. Before making your choice, here are some questions to ask:
What payment document will I pay with? The fees will be different depending on whether you make the transfer using your bank card, in cash or by bank transfer.
How much is the transfer? In this case, pay attention to the limitations imposed by the transfer method. Also, keep in mind that the amount you send will not be the amount the recipient will receive, even after conversion.
Is the transfer urgent? If so, choose a flexible method.
What is the real cost of the transfer? The bank rate and the various fees (sending, receiving and conversion rates) can inflate the price of the transfer.
Which country will the money be sent to? Depending on the route, the funds will pass through different corresponding banks, which will generate additional costs that you cannot predict upstream.
How will the recipient recover the funds? In an agency? Directly on his account? Depending on the method, you have to plan the opening hours of the bank or wonder if the beneficiary has the possibility of withdrawing money from the nearest distributor.
The average rate fluctuates constantly. So the rate at which you will subscribe will probably not be the one that will be taken into account at the time of the transfer. In certain currencies, IBANBit guarantees you a fixed exchange rate over a short period.
Financial institutions take advantage of their virtual monopoly situation to impose their prices. However, as you can see, there are alternative solutions, and they are very beneficial.