Money Transfer Services

Written by Linda Alexander
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If you want to transfer money from the United States to a person in another country, you have several options for doing so. In the past there were only a limited number of choices, such as wire services and banks. With the advent of new technology, however, there are more ways than ever to send money internationally.

Your first choice is the traditional wire transfer. This is done through your local bank or through the service of a wire transfer specialist like Western Union. Wire services are still the easiest way for people without bank accounts to transfer money overseas.

You can pay in cash at any of their locations, yet you also have to locate a receiving agency as well in order to complete the transaction. Your recipient will have to pick up the money at that location. If you pay by credit card, you can do it online. Most banks will conduct a wire transfer for you even if you don't have an account--but both of these methods are costly and require a lot of information in order to proceed.

Postal and bank money orders are another option for people paying in cash and those with bank accounts. The United States Postal Service issues international money orders for 30 different countries. Their value cannot exceed $700 U.S. but you can buy up to $10,000 worth per day. The fee per money order is less than $10 U.S.

Transfer Cash with Money Orders

Banks across the U.S. also sell money orders, valued up to $1,000 U.S. each. Their fees are usually around $10-15. As with postal money orders, you will need to fill out the recipient's name before you mail the money order. Bank and postal money orders can then be cashed at banks or post offices around the globe. The recipient does not need to have a bank account to cash money orders.

If you have a checking account, you can write a check and mail it to your recipient. Not all banks accept foreign checks, however, and those that do charge relatively high fees to convert the currency and process the check. Or, you can purchase a bank draft. This costs about $25 and is drawn on your bank payable to another bank (your recipient's bank or one that he/she has access to). The amount of the check comes out of your account immediately, and you then mail the draft to the recipient.

Finally, if you have access to a computer and have an email account and a credit or debit card, you can send money to anybody with an email address. The fees for online payment services are usually much lower than other methods of money transfer. Often it is free to send money and just a small fee ($.50 or so) to receive money. Before you use an online transfer service, read reviews about other people's experiences. While most of these companies are legitimate, there are a few scam artists out there who will take your money and not deliver it to your intended recipient.

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