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How to Send Money Overseas without the Headaches and Crazy Fees

By Ann Voorhees Baker January 12, 2018 Lifestyle

The extent to which people are moving around the globe – traveling overseas, taking extended stays, becoming expats – well, you’d think the whole world was their home. Wait a minute, the whole world is our home, isn’t it?

More Travel, More Money Moving Around the Globe

As we grow older, many of us travel more, including internationally. This is mainly possible because we now have more time to travel than we did when we were younger. Moreover, thanks to the Internet and mobile computer devices, many of us can take our work with us, making even longer stays possible.

Our generation seems hell-bent on global travel. Close to 100% of us plan to take at least one trip a year; 42% plan to travel both domestically and internationally.

According to the National Travel and Tourism Office, the average number of international trips taken by U.S. travelers annually is about 2.5. In 2017, that translated to 66 million trips overseas.

Of course, these travelers aren’t all over 60. Gen-Xers and Millennials are traveling in especially high numbers, especially to foreign locations. The world may not be their oyster – thank you, global economy – but the younger generations definitely seem intent on exploring all corners of the world.

An impressive 80 percent of Millennials surveyed by the American Society of Travel Agents took at least one leisure trip in 2016 – usually more, averaging 2.38 vacations per person in 2016.

Gen-Xers averaged 1.80, and Baby Boomers averaged 1.65. What these numbers boil down to is that the average Millennial took 32 percent more vacations than the average Gen-Xer and 44 percent more than the average Baby Boomer.

All that movement around the globe means money travels around, too. Sometimes – maybe often, depending on you and your family members’ international adventures – someone finds it necessary to send money to a loved one overseas.

If you’re called upon to send money to someone in a foreign country, does that mean a special trip to your bank, filling out forms and paying through the nose for a wire transfer? Not anymore.

Are There Ways Other Than a Wire Transfer to Send Money Overseas?

Oh yeah, there are. They’re referred to as international money transfer service. In my opinion, that kind of money transfer is easier than a wire transfer. You can do it online, without going to your bank to get it done. To be fair, some banks provide for wire transfer orders online, while others do not.

Money transfer services are cheaper. A traditional wire transfer usually carries a fee of up to $50 or more, even for small amounts of transferred funds. Money transfer services typically cost far less.

They’re faster. A wire transfer typically takes 2 to 3 business days to complete. International transfer service transactions usually are completed within 24 hours.

You yourself could be traveling at the time that an international transfer is needed, and you could handle it quickly and efficiently from anywhere in the world. All you need is Internet access.

My Experience with an International Money Transfer Service

One of my daughters lives halfway around the world from me – I’m in Southern California, she’s in South Africa.

While she’s self-sufficient, sometimes I want to send her money, such as at Christmas time when my husband and I, plus my mother and sister, give her money for gifts. Everyone sends their checks to me, I deposit the money in my account and then handle the transfer of funds to my daughter.

In the past, I went to my local bank in person, jumped through a few hoops to get around the special restrictions that seem to be imposed on all things financial in South Africa, and filled out a wire transfer form. Three days and $50 in fees later, my daughter received the funds.

This year, I set up an online account with a service called TransferWise, entered the relevant banking info for myself and my daughter, ordered the transfer, and boom – it was done. The next day the money was in her account and it cost me about $21.

When you use TransferWise, you’re likely to pay fees even lower than what I paid; transactions involving South Africa, in my experience, always cost more. In general, TransferWise’s fees are about 1% of the amount sent.

For more information on TransferWise and other international money transfer services, visit Top 10 Money Transfer.

Have you used an international money transfer service? Does anyone use traveler’s checks anymore? Please share your experience below!

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The Author

Ann Voorhees Baker is a writer, website designer and SEO and social media marketing specialist. She is also Founder and Organizer of Women At Woodstock She produces two annual events – a workshop and a mastermind weekend for women over 50 and a writers retreat for women of all ages. Both are held in Woodstock, NY.

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