Note: I am not being paid or financially compensated in any way for this blog post. But since this has been such a hurdle for us, we expect other families spanning country/continent borders have struggled with this problem.
Typically for any considerable financial sum you send abroad, you pay hefty fees (and sometimes the recipient of your transaction also pays).
The No. 1 way to find low-cost options is always the most straightforward, but sometimes the hardest … do your research.
It may vary from location to location, but I’m sharing some of the options we’ve researched for sending money overseas and the particular one we selected.
Of course, you’ve probably already heard of money transfers from all these sources, but some of them may be a surprise to you.
1) Banks and credit unions
We looked at these first and found that most require a fee of $50 or more to transfer money internationally. Just search for “international transfer” or something like that on their websites, and you’ll usually find their rates. If all else fails, try calling and pestering them until they tell you. 🙂
FYI: Credit unions typically don’t have SWIFT codes, unlike the bigger national banks, which can make it impossible for you to receive money from an international account into your credit union.
(SWIFT codes are bank identifier codes set by the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication. I don’t know too much else about them, but they sound impressive.)
Next to credit unions and banks, I had probably heard of this the most often as the option for sending money abroad. This is better, as we were looking at fees of $22 or so, but still not ideal. Another nice option about Western Union is that they have a good online presence.
This is the service we ended up using. From our personal experience, we ended up paying $9.90 in fees, which compared to $50 is a steal. I also like their Rewards program, so if you sign up with them you can get discounts on subsequent money transfers.
Hope this helps someone out there! And if you have any other suggestions on saving money while sending it internationally, feel free to share in the comments. And merry Christmas to all!