Send Money Overseas, Abroad - Best Global Money Transfer, Online Services

Overseas Money Transfer

Living abroad and want to send money overseas to your home country? There are so many ways to send money overseas and so many online global money transfer services available that it can be confusing to choose one. In this post you will find a list of most popular ways to send money and some general guidelines in order to choose the best method to send money abroad. Sending money is also sometimes called remittance.

How to Send Money Abroad?

Here are the different ways in which you can send money abroad to your home country.
  1. Send Money Abroad by a Check - Simply Send a check to the beneficiary. Overseas mail usually takes 4 to 10 business days plus clearing of check can take a couple of weeks. This is not a good method because it is too time taking.
  2. Send Money Abroad by Wire Transfer - You go to one bank, tell that bank to send money to other bank located overseas in your home country.
  3. Send Money Abroad by Cash Transfer - In this method of overseas money transfer, you pay a service and the beneficiary physically collects cash from one of the locations. Western Union and MoneyGram are two most popular services offering Cash Transfer.
  4. Send Money Abroad by sending a Debit Card - You pay for sending your beneficiary a Debit Card which can be reloaded with cash. This is a good method if you are going to send money frequently. Read more.

FAQ on sending money Abroad

  1. How much money can you send overseas? - As such there is no limit on how much money you can send abroad. However when you use a particular service, that service may have its own restrictions or limits on how much money you can send. You are free to use several services if required, or best just use wire transfer to send all your money at once.
  2. Do you have to pay taxes when you send money abroad? You pay taxes when you earn money. However when you send money to other country, you should not have to pay any taxes to the new Government, because you have already paid taxes for that money in the country where you earned it.
Below is a comprehensive list of different services which you can use to send money overseas. Note that whenever you send money by credit card, it may be counted as 'cash equivalent' by your credit card company and charges equivalent to cash withdrawal may apply. Call you credit card company to find out more.

Some popular ways to Send money to your home country

Remittance Method
Remarks
Things you need
Bank Wire Transfer
This is an excellent method to send money abroad if you are sending a large amount of money. You typically have to pay fees of $30 to $40 per transaction. However since the exchange rate you get is one of the best this is profitable when you want to send more than a couple of thousand dollars overseas.
Bank Accounts in both countries, Beneficiary details, Swift code of the bank your overseas Bank.
Paypal
No Fees. Exchange Rate you get is usually 2.5% less than the market rate, so not profitable for sending large amount of money. Convenient if you are sending money to a country where Paypal allows you to directly withdraw money to your bank account, e.g. India.
Paypal Account,
Beneficiary Email address. U.S. Bank Account or Credit Card or Debit Card for adding Funds.
Xoom
Xoom is also a popular method of sending money overseas. It is some negative reviews though. Read my detailed Xoom Review.
Xoom Account, Beneficiary details, U.S. Bank Account or Paypal or Credit Card or adding funds.
Ikobo
This is a different method of sending money abroad where you send a Re-loadable Ikobo Visa Debit Card to your beneficiary. Fees depend on various factors. Find more about Ikobo Fees. Read more about Ikobo Visa.
Ikobo Account, Beneficiary mailing address. Credit/Debit Card or U.S. Bank account for adding funds.
Western Union Money Transfer
Highly trusted way of sending money overseas, but high fees. When you send money by Western Union, the beneficiary has to physically collect the money from one of the Wester Union location. If you have a western union account, this is also perhaps the quickest way of sending money.
Western Union Account. Beneficiary collects money from a western union location.
MoneyGram
This method of sending money abroad is more or less like Western Union where a Beneficiary collects cash from and agent location. The maximum amount you can send in one transaction is $899. Fees vary and are typically around $12 to $14. They also have a same day money transfer service. If you are sending money to Philippines, you can also send money to your beneficiary's Debit Card. Read more about Moneygram.
MoneyGram Account. Beneficiary collects money from a MoneyGram location.

Send Money Online to India - How to Remit?

If you are sending money to India, following are several remittance services which allow you to send money from your U.S. Bank Account to either Indian Bank account or send a Demand Draft to the beneficiary. If you are clueless seeing several options below, I recommend that you choose among the first two from the list below.
  1. SBI Express Remit (check exchange rates)
  2. HDFC QuickRemit (check exchange rates)
  3. Remit2India (check exchange rates)
  4. ICICI Remit (check exchange rates)
  5. CitiBank Remittance.
There is also a combination of Remit2India and AxisBank Remit where you can send a debit card to your beneficiary, much like the Ikobo option. I will write more about this remittance service after finding out more information.

Some general remarks on sending money overseas

Here are some general tips to keep in mind before you decide to remit your money overseas.
  1. There can be unexpected delays of a few business days. So plan your remittance well before advance, say at least a week or two in advance.
  2. There are several websites which will claim to offer online money transfer services. But do not quickly register on any website and fill in your bank details to send money overseas. First make sure that the website is well known and well-talked about. Yes, some negative reviews, complaints about delay in money-sending, all that is fine. But at least there should not be direct fraud related to your bank account and personal details. One quick way to check whether the website is popular is to Google it and find out what people say about it. You could also use Google Insights to see if it is sufficiently many people search for that website. Give priority to services offered by well known banks or websites.
  3. If you have the time and are in less hurry, i recommend you try to send a small amount abroad in your first transaction to see how the remittance service works for you.

How to select the Best Money Transfer Service?

Now comes the main question. How to select the best method to send your money overseas? I recommend you start by asking yourself the following question:
Is this a one or two time money transfer for a large amount, or will you be planning to send money often, say a few hundred dollars per month? Are you sending this money to someone else, e.g. your family members or do you just want to deposit it in your bank account?
For one time transfers involving a big amount, Wire transfers or remittance services offered by well known banks or websites like Xoom is good. (Note that Xoom also has some negative reviews, however as far as I know no frauds etc.). For remitting money to India, see links to services like SBI remittance, HDFC Quick Remit on the right bottom side of this page.

Sending Money by Debit Card

If you are planning to send money overseas frequently, say per month, and especially to one of your family member back home, it is best to send beneficiary a debit card or an ATM card. The best way to send money using debit card is to go to your bank and ask them if you can order an 'additional debit card' for your dependent or a family member abroad. If they do allow this (my bank had allowed me this option), then this would be the best and the most hassle free way to send money overseas frequently. But note that when you send a card linked to your savings or checking account, you must really trust the person you are going to send the card. Other point to note is that each transaction of withdrawal is going to involve a small fee, something like $2 or $3 per ATM transaction. But this is fine (in my opinion). Read more about fees below. I used to send money by ATM card in this way and it turned out to be very convenient for me.

If for some reason your bank does not allow such a debit card, or you are not comfortable sending a debit card linked directly to your bank account, you may try iKobo. This is an online money transfer service where you can send a re loadable debit card to a beneficiary abroad. Ikobo charges $8 per transaction in which you can send $1000 at a time. They courier a Visa card to the beneficiary which can be reloaded each time you send money and can be used at any location where a Visa card works to withdraw money. Visit Ikobo website to find out more about fees, etc.. If you are sending money to India, there is also a ATM visa card facility offered by Axis Bank Remit to India in partnership with Remit2India.

Rates and Fees for Sending Money Abroad

Most of the services will say that they offer remittance services for free while some will say they will charge a few dollars. But note that no services is actually free !. The website or bank which will remit your money will make profit or 'recover' their fees by adjusting the foreign exchange rates. For e.g. lets say you have to sites to send money overseas online- say money from USA to India.
  1. Site 1 says they will charge no fees and are offering Rs. 48.5 per $1.
  2. Site 2 says they will charge $5 per transaction and are offering a foreign exchange rate of Rs. 49 per $1.
Then the free service above is actually more expensive as long as the money you send is more than $500. So in order to decide which service is cheaper don't just look at fees, also look at foreign exchange rates offered by them. Given this, sometimes services which charge a few dollars per transaction can actually be cheaper than the free ones.

After this is said, I would like to encourage you to share your experience about any service you use or have used to send money abroad with other readers in a comment.

Articles on Money Transfer

  • Send Money Overseas or Abroad: The most popular and best ways to send money to your home country.
  • Xoom Money Transfer Review
  • Ikobo Visa - A new way to send money abroad where you send a re-loadable visa card to the beneficiary.
  • MoneyGram Money Transfer and Money Order service.

  • Online Remittance to India
  • SBI Remittance Review - My most preferred method of sending remitting money to India. Good exchange rates.
  • Send Money to India by Paypal
  • HDFC QuickRemit

  • External Links
    Western Union Money Transfer -
    A trusted way to send money where beneficiary collects cash from a Western Union location.
    MoneyGram - International Money Transfer and Money Order. You send money, beneficiary collects cash from a chosen MoneyGram agent or location.
    iKobo - Send Money Worldwide
    Money Transfer by ATM Card. Useful for those who have to send money frequently. Check foreign exchange rates on the homepage of iKobo.
    Xoom Money Transfer - Online Remittance from United States to various other countries. Xoom Fees are around $8 per transaction.

    Send Money to India
    ICICI Remit to India
    Online Money Transfer to India.
    ICICI Exchange rates.
    SBI Remittance
    Online Money Transfer to India.
    SBI exchange rates.
    Remit2India
    Online Money Transfer to India.
    Remit2India exchange rates.
    HDFC Quick Remit
    Remit Money to India online from U.S., U.K., Europe and Singapore.
    HDFC Quick Remit exchange rates.
    CitiBank Online Remit
    Remit Money to India from US.


    Disclaimer
    I have been sending money to India for quite a few years. I have been involved in at least 50 money transfers to India and used 4 to 5 different methods of online remittance. Although I do make efforts to provide accurate information about services related to online remittance, none of the opinion, experience or reviews in this post should be used for making any decisions to remit money to India or any other country. It is easily possible that my experience or opinion about a particular remitting service is different from yours. It is your money that you want to remit. So please verify the information from your own authentic sources before making a choice for remitting your money. I do not accept any liability for incorrect or inaccurate information. Some of the links in the posts may be affiliate links, however the opinions and reviews presented in the post remain honest and unbiased.

    Apr 11, 2009

    7 comments:

    lulugal11 April 14, 2009 at 9:23 PM  

    I noticed that you did not mention things like using Money Gram. I use Money Gram to send money home to my brother and it works well for me.

    He can get the money 10 minutes after I send it and it even gives you a phone card that lets you talk for 3 minutes so you can call and give the person the code to collect the money.

    Paul July 9, 2009 at 7:10 PM  

    Another, argubly the best, company not mentioned is No1 Currency.

    I have always used No1 Currency and find them very fast and very very cheap. I am yet to find another company that is better. Plus they opperate Nationwide!

    www.no1currency.co.uk

    ganesh August 13, 2009 at 1:11 AM  

    detailed useful post

    Anonymous March 30, 2010 at 12:24 AM  

    I have just been sent some money from overseas and used a company called Moneybookers - BEWARE! Nowhere on their website they advise that if the bank you have your account with doesn't deal internationally themselves, an intermediate bank might chew off a big chunk of that money. Moneybookers has low fees, but misleads customers into thinking that those fees are all that's needed. In some cases: NOT TRUE. In my case it would have been cheaper to use, for example, Paypal.

    paco May 3, 2010 at 11:50 PM  

    What is the maximum you can send overseas from the US without having to declare that amount to the IRS? Also, how often can you send below that maximum -per month, for example? I read somewhere it's $10,000 but I'm not sure.
    Thanks!

    Anonymous May 25, 2010 at 11:01 PM  

    for transfering money through debit card, for example SBI debit card, you need to apply for an international debit card. The usual one, ATM-cum-debit card is operable only within India. SO that won't work for those who are in a hurry and don't have the time to apply for international debit card.

    Raj October 29, 2010 at 12:17 AM  

    I am planning to start a web-based business whereby customers from India will be abe to avail service from USA. While ordering their service, they will need to make a payment upfront. How can Indians remit payment on web to reach US?

    Thanks, -- Raj

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