There are a variety of different ways you can send money to somebody (or to yourself) overseas: you can send a money order, use an online payment service, or set up an account with a money remittance service such as Remitly.
Any one of those options is a great way to go, especially the money remittance service, but if you have an unusually large amount of money to send, your best option will arguably be an international bank wire transfer.
The reason why is simple: banks have a much higher limit to how much money you can send, with the limit sometimes being set at ten to fifty thousand dollars, or if you’re already an established customer, at two hundred and fifty thousand dollars.
Here are the top things you need to know about sending an international bank wire transfer:
You Can Do A Wire Transfer Online or In Person
Many people have the misconception that wire transfers can either only be done in person at their bank and not online.
This is simply not true and international wire transfers are easier today in 2018 than they ever have been before. You can just login to your bank account and plug in the required information to complete the transfer. Speaking of information…
You’ll Only Need Limited Information To Complete The Transfer
Completing an international wire transfer at your bank will probably be easier than you may have initially suspected, because there’s only a limited amount of information that you need.
You’ll specifically need the full name of your recipient, their branch number, their bank account number, and then the transit number. Simple, right?
You’ll Have To Pay A Large Flat Fee
An international bank transfer is not something that can be done for free, or even for cheap, unfortunately. So while it may be simple and straightforward, it’s still not inexpensive.
Almost always, banks will charge a large flat fee. This is in contrast to a small percentage fee that money remittance services will often charges. For example, whereas remittance services may charge a fee of 1% to 4% or so of the sum you’re sending, banks will just charge a flat rate of $40 to $80.
To put this into perspective, if you’re only sending $500 for instance, you may only have to pay $5-15 for fees with a remittance service versus $50 or so with a bank.
It’s for this reason that international wire transfers are best suited for sending exceptionally large sums in the several thousands of dollars.
You’ll Also Need To Pay Part of the Exchange Rate
Both bank wire transfers and money remittance services will charge you a margin of the exchange rate in order to convert the currencies.
Typically, the margin of the exchange rate you’ll be charged will be anywhere from 1-5%. The exchange rate is always shifting on an almost never ending basis, as in multiple times per day.
Furthermore, the exchange rate may differ significantly between banks. Your best bet would be to contact your bank to find out what their current exchange rate is for the type of currency you need to convert your money into.
Your bank will then either give you a guaranteed exchange rate or an estimated one. Hopefully you’ll get the guaranteed rate so you’ll know exactly the amount you’ll have to pay.
You’ll Need To Be Patient
One of the significant downsides to sending money internationally using a bank wire transfer is the amount of money will take a long amount of time to transfer over. You’ll need to practice patience.
Bank transfers should, at minimum, take around five or so business days to transfer internationally. Sometimes they may even take longer.
In contrast to this, money remittance services can typically complete transferring the funds in only one to two business days. Again, the advantage to using a wire transfer lies in your ability to send large sums versus cost savings or speed.
Sending An International Wire Transfer
All in all, these are the top things you will need to know about sending an international wire transfer.
It may not be the overall best option for sending money overseas due to its high cost and slower transfer times, but if you have an unusually large sum of money to send, it’s one of the very few options that you’ll have available to you.