Online money transfer is a popular form of EFT—Electronic Funds Transfer—that allows you to transfer money to others without actually having to go to the bank or send a check. When you transfer money online, you simply type in the name of the recipient and the amount, and the data—aka, money—is transferred.
You’ll then see the money deducted from your bank account/credit card, and on the other end, the recipient will see the funds in his bank account, ewallet, or at a local kiosk for pick up.
The benefits of using online money transfer—as opposed to traditional bank transfers—are many. Online money transfer offers:
Instantaneous money transfer options. Whereas banks can take a few days, many money transfer services offer immediate money transfer under certain conditions or expedited services. Western Union, for example, offers money transfer in minutes when you use your debit card.
Lower rates than banks, in many cases. TransferWise, for example, is up to 8 times cheaper than any bank on surveyed routes.
Easy international money transfer. International money transfers through traditional banks are complicated and involve a lot of red tape. With online money transfer services, you can transfer money abroad easily, with just a few clicks of your mouse or taps of your finger. While most money transfer companies serve a large selection of countries, they do comply with each country’s regulatory codes. Practically, this might mean a delay in receiving the money or additional fees.
Convenience. You don’t need to go to the bank or write a check; you can do everything from your PC or mobile.
Top-level security. The best online money transfer companies use multiple layers of encryption technology to ensure the safety of your financial information and money. Of course, it’s up to you not to send money to someone you don’t know.
Using Online Money Transfer to Send Money to Family Overseas
People transfer money for all reasons; for personal loans or gifts, or for business expenses. One particularly popular reason that people use online money transfer services is to send money to family overseas. There are many situations in which one member of the family may find themselves in a different country, and also find themselves in need of cash. These situations can include:
Working in one country for better wages and sending money to family back home
While online money transfer services do charge a fee for transferring money, the convenience is usually worth it. Services are set up for both regular transfers and emergency situations. For example, foreign workers can use an online money transfer service to send money back home once a month. On the other hand, if a family member is overseas and needs emergency cash, you can send money instantly with various money transfer services, without having to make frantic phone calls to bankers.
Online money transfer is the ideal medium to send funds to family overseas since it isn’t limited by geography or location; money can be transferred virtually anywhere in the world. Moreover, when you use a reputed company, you can rest assured that your data (bank account/credit card info) is encrypted with multiple layers, making it virtually impossible for hackers to decode.
Choosing an Online Money Transfer Service
While Western Union and MoneyGram are the most well-known online money transfer services, there are a number of other companies that offer similar high-quality service and security. The question then becomes, with so many choices out there, how can you decide which online money transfer service to use?
Here are a few factors to consider when making your decision:
Fees and rates
Every company charges a fee for money transfer, and the fees usually differ based on:
The method of transfer (bank account to bank account, credit card to bank account, credit card to kiosk, etc.)
How much you’re sending
How fast you need it sent
Where you’re sending it
Because each individual person’s circumstances are different, it’s a good idea to check out the fees for a few top companies so you’re able to compare and get the best deal. Many companies have a Fee/Rates Estimator that you can use so you can predict the fee of your money transfer before you actually transfer it.
In the same vein as finding the company with the best fees, it’s also important to know that when sending money to a family member overseas, there will be currency exchange rates involved. Some transfer services make money on the exchange rates; others, like Currencies Direct, offer assistance in getting you the best exchange rate. The currency you’re sending and the cut the money transfer service takes should also be a factor you consider when deciding which company to use.
How long it will take for the money to get there
If a family member has an emergency and you need to get them money ASAP, you probably won’t think twice about a company’s fees and rates; rather, you’ll look for a company that offers money transfer within minutes. Both Western Union and MoneyGram offer options to send money overseas within minutes, but make sure to find out if the recipient will need to get to a kiosk to pick up the funds (and if they can get to a kiosk).
On the other hand, let’s say you send money back to your family every month. In this case, it’s not an emergency situation and you have the luxury of using a company that offers the best rates, even if the money takes a few days to get there. OFX, for example, is a top-rated money transfer company that caters specifically to people who transfer money to their families regularly. While the typical transfer time is 1-2 business days, if you’re not in a rush, it’s a good option.
How much money does your family member need? Each service has its own minimum and maximum transfer limits, but when you’re sending abroad, you’ll also have to take into account any limitations imposed by the country itself. Fortunately, the money transfer service you use will inform you if there are any limitations, both from the company and from the destination country.
When choosing a money transfer company, make sure that it indeed allows you to send to the country you need to send to. While most top companies send to 190+ countries, make sure the country you need appears on their lists!
When choosing a money transfer service to send money to family overseas, you’ll want to make sure that you get the best rates, that the money gets there in time, and that you don’t get slammed by high exchange rates. You’ll also want to make sure that you choose a reputable company so you don’t have to worry about fraud or scams.
A good way to make sure you’re choosing correctly is by reading reviews of money transfer services so you know what you’re getting. Once you’ve gathered all the relevant information, the power is in your hands to decide which money transfer service is best for your needs.