Consumers are able to send international wire transfers by using walk-in money transfer centers, sending funds to a prepaid debit card the recipient holds or transferring money directly bank to bank, explains Consumer Reports. Consumers should compare total costs according to exchange rates, fees and amount delivered.
Walk-in money transfer centers are common in venues such as drug stores, super markets and shopping centers, according to Consumer Reports. They typically accept payment by cash, credit card or debit card, although fees often vary based on method of payment. Consumers can replenish prepaid debit cards for recipients by cash, credit card, debit card or direct deposit, but prepaid cards generally carry a number of fees such as an activation fee, monthly fee, penalty for inactivity and a fee for each transaction. Although direct transfers from bank to bank are convenient, as consumers can arrange them by phone or online, often the sending and receiving bank charge high fees for such services.
To determine the best value, people sending international wire transfers should calculate the effective exchange rate, which includes the currency exchange rate plus fees, states Consumer Reports. Federal law obliges the agency sending the wire transfer, known as the remittance transfer provider, to furnish the sender with information such as the exchange rate; all taxes and fees collected; fees charged by institutions and agents abroad; and the total amount of funds to be delivered, notes the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.