Many people use international money transfers daily to send money to family and friends overseas or pay for products and services. The transfers are not necessarily free, though, and some providers charge relatively steep fees. Fortunately, consumers can follow a few tips to save valuable money on these transfers.
Choose an Alternative Provider
A number of people turn to banks for their transfers, but banks are not always the cheapest. Online money transfer services can be substantially cheaper while being reliable and offering more options than banks do. You can even use an international money transfer app to get low fees and great exchange rates (or do the transfers on your computer or in person).
Check for Promotions and Discounts
Money transfer providers may be running promotions or discounts for new customers or for specific transfer amounts. For example, your first transfer fee might be $0 USD.
These promotions are a good opportunity to try a new provider and see how reliable and cost-effective it is. Some providers offer rewards or loyalty programs, too. You can save money over time, perhaps qualifying for fee discounts, transfer credits, e-gifts, discounted movie tickets, travel perks, and more.
Remain Aware of Hidden Fees
Providers might advertise low transfer fees but with hidden charges in the small print. For example, a few providers might charge additional fees for same-day transfers, while others could charge to receive money. Always review the terms and conditions carefully before you choose a provider.
Compare Transfer Fees and Exchange Rates
Assess the different fees and exchange rates that varying providers show. Compare at least three to get the most cost-effective options for you. These cost details should be easy for you to find. Beware if you’re having a hard time researching information on costs or if the costs seem to be inconsistent for the same provider.
Pay Attention to the Timing of Your Transfer
Exchange rates can fluctuate rapidly, causing the timing of your transfer to have a significant impact on the amount you pay. Try to time your transfer for a favorable time for your exchange rates in the currency market. For example, many people attempt to plan ahead as much as possible to get the best deal. A last-minute transfer could result in higher fees and less favorable exchange rates.
However, it is not possible to always time the market perfectly (at least not consistently). It involves risk and does not necessarily give you the best deal.
Avoid Small Transfer Amounts
You could pay higher fees and deal with less favorable exchange rates with smaller transfer amounts. If possible, consolidate your transfers into larger amounts to save money on fees and get better exchange rates.
Watch for Scams
You could follow all of the above tips and still lose money if you’re being scammed. For example, in a romance scam, someone builds your trust over time and then asks for money such as in a fake emergency or to visit you.
Consumers have several options for saving money on international transfers. It is important to compare providers, review fee structures, watch for hidden fees, explore promotions and discounts, and give yourself plenty of time to make a transfer, if possible.