Sending money from abroad is a must for all Expatriates. Either because a family member needs it or because of previous commitments in our country of origin. It seems sometimes that high commissions make buying a round trip ticket more comfortable than making the transfer.

With this concern, in Mundo en Latino we decided to show you which are the best alternatives to send money from abroad in the most comfortable way possible.

1. The selection of the right provider.

It is always possible to compare options before making a money transfer. As a general rule, you will discover that you could save money by the amount of the transfer (the higher the amount the lower the price).

Therefore, you must select one or two providers for your transfer needs and use them regularly. Finally, it is not about saving cents in each transaction, but significantly reducing the total rates at the end of the year.

To determine which is the right provider for your transfers you should consider the following factors:

  • Deposit type: cash, online, credit card, bank account, PayPal
  • Type of payment: cash, bank account, credit card
  • Currency and country: the more exotic the currency, the lower the options
  • Duration: from real time to a week
  • Convenience: from a click on the application to queue at a branch
  • Rates: fixed and flexible transaction costs, exchange rates
  • Business or private: this also influences transfer costs

If you compare the options, always keep in mind the amount that must reach the recipient, not the rates that are shown. In this way you will consider all fees, including exchange losses.


2. First option: Bank transfer.

The requirements of the banks often make them the most expensive alternatives, either in a face-to-face transaction or through online banking. It is a fact that bank transfers in foreign currency cost time, nerves and high fees. On the other hand, no form of payment is as accepted and generalized as traditional transfers.

Some banks charge a fixed fee per transfer, others a flexible fee. For transfers in foreign currency, there is still the so-called brokerage commission, which is communicated transparently or depends on the current exchange rate of the bank of your preference.


3. Second option: Traditional transfer services.

Transfer services that have existed for decades, such as Western Union or MoneyGram, allow cash transfers around the world in a matter of seconds. The money can be deposited in a subsidiary in almost every country in the world. The recipient can pick up the cash with their ID and a transfer number. However, a verified account is required for this. After opening the account, you must pay the money, which takes between 1 and 2 days.

The great advantage of these transfer services is that you can send cash around the world in real time with almost total security. You can track the status of your shipment online. Of course, there are market leaders in this type of service: Western Union and Moneygram. A good alternative (at least for some countries) are World Remit and Azimo services.

The fees payable online the amount that will be sent are significantly cheaper, but the transfer services are only worth it in large quantities or in absolute emergencies.


4. Third option: Online money transfer services.


Purely online transfer services are cheap, fast and easy to use. However, the scope of services and geographic coverage are far behind traditional transfer services or banks.

In recent years, some transfer services have emerged. Opening an account is easy and fast. After online verification, you can deposit money by bank transfer, credit card or PayPal and send money in the offered currencies. The recipient receives the amount in their account or, sometimes, can withdraw it in cash at an associated branch.

With TransferWise, money does not change countries, only the owners, thanks to an equal to equal system. TransferWise will search for another user to transfer the same amount in the opposite direction. The disadvantage is that only the most important currencies are covered in relatively few countries.

With CurrencyFair, the process is similar to TransferWise, except that the exchange rates are set by the users.

Another option is the Revolut application, which allows you to send money to other users of the app, through a mobile phone number or email. If the recipient does not use Revolut,  will be invited to install the application, or you can withdraw the amount to a bank account of your choice, which will be subject to collection fees according to the bank. The money received can be issued by credit card, withdrawn or resent.


5. Fourth option: Online transfer with PayPal.

PayPal is also a typical online transfer service, which has a high level of acceptance and availability. PayPal can charge very high fees, which hopefully will soon change with the new online transfer services.

Rates vary by country, currency and if you have a private account or a merchant account. It also depends on whether you have funds in your PayPal account or if you charge your credit card or bank account during the transaction.

Each transaction will have a fixed rate of 30 cents and a variable rate of 3-4%. For payments in other currencies, there is a 2.5-4% exchange rate charge. In the terms and conditions of PayPal, you will find the detailed list of costs.


6. Fifth option: Kryptocurrencies as Bitcoin.


Digital currencies like Bitcoin are peer-to-peer and independent from banks, and are not subject to regulatory agencies. Registering, buying and selling bitcoins is easy and it only takes a few minutes to send it. In addition, confidential data is not exchanged between the sender and the receiver. As today Bitcoin prices are extremely high, so this may not be in start a cheap option.

Unfortunately, all this is still not well defined, because until now the acceptance of digital currencies is still insignificant. Currently, bitcoins are barely practical, resulting in a highly volatile course.

However, digital currencies are a great option for the global transfer of money. Because there is no need to convert any currency, there are no fees for transfers, except for the low transaction costs. “Market rates” are less than 1%.

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