How to move money internationally
If you need to send money to someone who is located in a different country, there are several ways you could do so. Below, we briefly explain some of the options.
Use a wire transfer
This is the most traditional way to transfer money from one place to another, including between people in different countries. This system has been in place and widely used since 1872, when the telegraph was used to send details of the transaction. Today, all of that information is sent digitally.
It is still one of the best ways to send money abroad. If you read this guide to international wire transfers you can find out everything you need to know. Including, how it works and what the fees are likely to be. As well as when it is a good idea to use a wire transfer instead of another type of service.
Use a bank
When most people want to send money abroad, perhaps to a friend or family member, their first thought is to use their bank. That is a possibility. But, you need to check the exchange rate first. Often it will not be as good as you can find elsewhere. In some cases, it will also take longer than some of the other options that we tell you about in this article. You also need to check out the fees.
Use a cash pick up service
If the person you are sending money to does not have a bank account, things get a bit trickier. You cannot use a wire or bank transfer. But, there are other options. One of which is to send your cash through a service like Western Union or WorldRemit.
The way it works is that you send the money via a local agent. The person you are sending it to goes to the office of an agent in their country along with an ID and your reference number. Provided everything adds up, the agent gives the cash you sent to the person you have sent it for. This type of service has been around for over a hundred years and it works well. But, it is usually one of the most expensive ways to transfer money.
Send someone a pre-paid credit card
If you are sending money to a friend or family member, you could buy a pre-paid credit card and post it to them. Once they receive it they can use the PIN you send them to withdraw cash from ATMs or pay for things in their local shops. It is a good idea to send the card via a signed for delivery method and to send the pin separately. That sounds obvious, but, it is surprising how many people don’t think and send the two in the same envelope. Again, this is not the cheapest way to send money to someone, but it can be a very convenient way to do it.