Options for sending money overseas include specialized remittance programs, such as Bank of America’s SafeSend and Wells Fargo’s ExpressSend, and the cash-to-cash money transfer services offered by firms including Ria, Moneygram and Western Union, explains Consumer Reports. Other ways of transferring money abroad involve specialized smartphone applications, such as those offered by PayPal and Western Union, and prepaid debit cards.
Banks such as Wells Fargo and Bank of American allow international intra-bank account-to-account transfers for customers with checking and savings accounts, reports USA Today. Such transfers are typically fast and attract no fees. The Western Union payment platform offers more flexibility, allowing international cash transfers via phone, the Internet or its sprawling global agent network for a small fee. Moneygram, a Western Union competitor, offers a lower-cost three-day transfer option.
Payment platforms such as PayPal and AlertPay also allow international money transfers, explains USA Today. Services may be free for users and recipients in certain countries. Depending on the destination, the money is typically available in a few days.
MasterCard, Visa and other companies offer a unique solution to the international money transfer conundrum; they purvey prepaid cards that buyers can load with funds and mail to recipients overseas, explains USA Today. Users can replenish these cards in minutes using debit or credit cards, checking accounts, direct deposit or cash, according to Consumer Reports. Depending on the provider, prepaid cards can attract a range of fees. For instance, as of 2015 one company charges an activation fee of $19.95, a monthly fee of $4 and a $10 fee for cards that have been inactive for six months.