The Best Way to Transfer Money Internationally

Transferring money internationally has traditionally been a time-consuming and often expensive process. For those unfamiliar with it, international money transfers have in the past seemed something only the rich and famous did. However, how to transfer money internationally is a basic skill needed by any businessperson or individual who is or knows someone traveling overseas. Thankfully, the global financial infrastructure has become much more accessible to anyone who may need to send funds abroad.

Western Union

Most often used in situations where a friend or loved one is living or traveling overseas, Western Union is a very convenient way to quickly send moderately large sums of money overseas. Depending on the method that you use--online, over the phone or in person--Western Union can send money in amounts up to $20,000 per transfer in a matter of minutes. Western Union can also, upon request, provide currency exchange from the sender's local currency type to the receiver's local currency type. The disadvantage to that is that those money transfers are based on the amount of money sent and sometimes the destination of where it is being set. This amount can be considerable in some situations and, as such, Western Union is usually reserved for emergency situations.

Traditional Bank Transfer

Many people don't realize that their own banks are capable of sending international money transfers. In addition, banks and other financial institutions, such as credit unions, charge less to transfer funds overseas than Western Union. The disadvantage to this type of international currency transfers is that they traditionally take one to several days to complete. This type of bank transfer is usually reserved for times when the need to transfer funds internationally has been foreseen ahead of time. The maximum limit on transferable funds, however, is much higher than that of Western Union. The specific charges charged by private financial institutions vary from a few cents to several dollars depending on the financial institution's pricing schedule.

Online Financial Companies

Online financial businesses, such as PayPal, allow for instantaneous transfers of funds between people with PayPal accounts. Though there is a monthly transfer limitation of $10,000 per month for limited users (that is, users who are not address verified), verified and premier account holders may transfer virtually unlimited funds instantaneously between accounts. PayPal even offers currency exchange services that are reasonably priced depending on the amount and type of currency exchange to take place. While there is no direct charge for the exchange of currency itself while using PayPal, it is worth checking the current exchange rates prior to a transaction to ensure you are receiving the desired amount of funds. PayPal users may transfer the funds received to a traditional bank account or withdraw the funds when using a PayPal-issued credit or debit card. These cards carry a $300 a day limit for withdrawals and a $3,000 a day limit for card purchases.