Sending Money Abroad: International Money Transfer
There are three major ways to send money transfers from the United States to someone in another country ( international money transfer ):
Western Union . an established leader in international money transfer, can send money worldwide, including the ability to transfer money online or send money abroad by phone.
- Its international money transfer website has a useful feature that calculates the cost of sending money abroad to the country of your choice. If you transfer money online or send money overseas by phone, you pay using a credit card or debit card.
Western Union Online FX is a more helpful online solution for frequent users – those individuals or businesses that need to send money abroad, or make international money transfers or payments, frequently or periodically. You can establish your own online international money transfer account at no cost (no setup fee, no account fee or maintenance fee), and you have more choices about how to fund and deliver transactions (including direct debit, EFT, ACH, bill payee, wire transfers, and drafts). Phone and email support is provided, and your online account provides transaction history with full details. Western Union Online FX is part of Western Union’s new service offering, and it has the feel of a premier service that may cost you less to use than other methods.
MoneyGram is a competitor in international money transfer and now offers the ability to send money online as well. It has 75,000 agents in 170 countries. Like its competitor, its website has a useful feature that calculates the cost of sending money to the country of your choice. It claims to be cheaper than the leading international money transfer provider, although costs may vary by country and the amount of the international money transfer (for example, we found it significantly more expensive for sending money to Mexico, but slightly less for sending money to the United Kingdom).
International Money Orders: U.S. Postal Service Banks
The United States Postal Service issues international money orders:
- Maximum allowed is $700 per international money order. However, you can purchase multiple international money orders per day, up to a maximum of $10,000 in international money orders.
Most banks also issue international money orders. The maximum is $1,000 and the fee is $4.50 per international money order. Most of the routines of U.S. Postal International Money Order purchases apply.
International Bank Transfers
If you have a bank account, there are several ways to send money overseas by making international money transfers through the banking system. Not all banks send money abroad in the same way. Check with your local bank for details on its services related to international money transfers.
Sending a Check Abroad
- International check clearing can take from 4 – 6 weeks.
- Even though it’s easy to issue a check, it may not be easy for the recipient to cash the check.
- The recipient will be charged a fee of about $50 for international check processing.
- Some countries have less streamlined banking systems than others and may not honor foreign-drawn checks.
- Depending on which city or town you live in, this can take from a few days to a week for the bank to prepare the foreign draft.
- You mail the foreign draft to the recipient.
- The money comes out of your account when the foreign draft is prepared, not when the recipient receives it.
- There is a fee for this service of about $25.
- Since the foreign draft is drawn on your bank to another (corresponding) bank, the recipient must have access to the corresponding bank.
International Bank Wire Transfers
- You don’t have to be a customer of the bank to send an international bank wire, but you have to pay cash.
- Sending an international bank wire transfer is quicker than a Foreign Draft, since it is done almost immediately.
- The fee for sending an international bank wire transfer is about $65 for non-customers and about $40 for bank customers.
- The recipient must have access to the corresponding bank.
International Money Transfer
Cost / Efficiency Comparison
Sending $300 from the United States to the United Kingdom