Author Topic: Cheapest Way to Transfer Money to Another Country  (Read 885 times)

dcozad999

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Cheapest Way to Transfer Money to Another Country
« on: December 08, 2020, 12:24:23 PM »
We've transferred money to Colombia for gifts and financial assistance a handful of times the last few years through Western Union type services, which cause quite a bit in fees.
Last time it cost us $538 to send $500.

I had an idea and tried googling it, but apparently can't seem to come up with the correct search terms. I know that when I use a debit card down there at an atm machine, there are no fees from my bank, and the conversion rate is pretty much spot on. Is it legal for a non-resident to be a co-owner of a bank account in the US? My idea was I put the money in the account when needed, and my father-in-law could then use a debit card to withdraw it in Colombia. Is this a good way to do it, or is there a much easier, cheaper way to send money internationally?

I know several people on here regularly send money overseas, so am hoping for a good solution.

Thanks all.

Tester

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Re: Cheapest Way to Transfer Money to Another Country
« Reply #1 on: December 08, 2020, 12:27:59 PM »
I am using wire transfers from the USA. Costs 40usd per transfer, no matter how big the amount.

terran

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Re: Cheapest Way to Transfer Money to Another Country
« Reply #2 on: December 08, 2020, 02:32:34 PM »
I have no personal experience, but I've seen https://transferwise.com/ mentioned.
« Last Edit: December 08, 2020, 02:37:55 PM by terran »

Paul der Krake

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Re: Cheapest Way to Transfer Money to Another Country
« Reply #3 on: December 08, 2020, 02:49:07 PM »
There is no law preventing non-residents from opening bank accounts in the US. However, it's likely that the bank will want to see the non-resident show up in a branch in person to comply with the KYC laws. Ask them.

Transferwise is great UX but not that cheap.

Interactive Brokers is pretty much wholesale pricing, but you need to know what you're doing.

edit: never mind the last part, IB doesn't offer COP trading.
« Last Edit: December 08, 2020, 02:56:48 PM by Paul der Krake »

katsiki

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Re: Cheapest Way to Transfer Money to Another Country
« Reply #4 on: December 08, 2020, 03:09:57 PM »
Not an expert either but I think Bank of America allows non-residents to open accounts.  You might check into that.

Have heard good things about transferwise but no personal experience.

reeshau

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Re: Cheapest Way to Transfer Money to Another Country
« Reply #5 on: December 08, 2020, 03:52:35 PM »
I use OFX between Ireland and the US.  There is no fee when you transfer $1,000 or more.  (Though of course there is a spread in the FX--but It's not bad)  I do not believe you need to own accounts at both ends of the transfer, although in my case I do.  It's also pretty fast, although the first transfer between two accounts is slower--I presume to check for possible fraud.

Most US bank debit card will charge fees to transact in another currency.  And If you are withdrawing money, there will be ATM fees on top of that.
« Last Edit: December 08, 2020, 03:55:08 PM by reeshau »

ctuser1

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Re: Cheapest Way to Transfer Money to Another Country
« Reply #6 on: December 08, 2020, 05:11:08 PM »
Second the suggestion about transferwise.

It's been around for some time (from 2011). I've used it - it's great!

>> Is it legal for a non-resident to be a co-owner of a bank account in the US?

It sure is legal for a non-resident to be a co-owner of a bank account in the US. Non-resident can even own stocks and such (I know because my first employer would routinely issue stock options, in a US based brokerage account, to non-US residents). US allows very broad ownership of all kinds of assets to foreign entities.

Now, just because it is legal, I don't claim it will be easy. I think they need to file a separate form (this one? https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/fw8ben.pdf). Also I have heard noise that banks have recently made life hard for cross-border people.

So just approach the bank(s). As long as the bank allows you to open it, and you and the co-owner files all required paperwork - it is perfectly legal.
« Last Edit: December 08, 2020, 05:15:43 PM by ctuser1 »

jamesbond007

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Re: Cheapest Way to Transfer Money to Another Country
« Reply #7 on: December 08, 2020, 05:39:04 PM »
transferwise, paypal (if the detination country allows it), xoom. I have been using xoom for the longest time. Transfer are done within 4 hours. fees is around $2.99 for $350 I send every month,

AccidentialMustache

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Re: Cheapest Way to Transfer Money to Another Country
« Reply #8 on: December 08, 2020, 10:12:09 PM »
I had noticed a lot of bitcoin atms around campus plastered with what I think was Chinese more prominently than English. My assumption, based on that, is that new-wealth parents in China buy bitcoin with Yuan and their children on a student visa are pulling it out as USD here. YMMV, I've never had a need to do that.

Sure, bitcoin's drunken squirrel volatility, but I'd take that over $500+ in fees!

Paul der Krake

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Re: Cheapest Way to Transfer Money to Another Country
« Reply #9 on: December 08, 2020, 10:15:50 PM »
Sure, bitcoin's drunken squirrel volatility, but I'd take that over $500+ in fees!
I'm pretty sure OP meant it cost $38 in fees to send $500, for a total of $538. Not $538 of fees.

lutorm

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Re: Cheapest Way to Transfer Money to Another Country
« Reply #10 on: December 08, 2020, 11:58:27 PM »
I've been using Transferwise to pay the occasional bills I need to pay in Sweden. The fees are pretty reasonable, certainly better than asking my bank to wire the money. But you do need a destination account on the remote end.

elaine amj

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Re: Cheapest Way to Transfer Money to Another Country
« Reply #11 on: December 09, 2020, 12:11:24 AM »
Can u just get him one of your credit cards with no foreign transaction fees? Maybe reduce it to a low credit limit and then raise it as necessary?  That's the easiest IMO. But only if u trust the other person oy to use it when instructed. My parents gave me their CCs (in my name) and I did the same thing. Made it easy for buying presents.

Also Chase Sapphire Checking offers free foreign wire transfers now. Not sure of other banks?

For a while with my brother in the UK, we would buy each other Amazon gift cards. Not so useful in large amounts though.

We now have an online bank in Canada that partnered with Transferwise and it's been pretty cheap for me to wire cash internationally now (cheaper than directly through Transferwise). For a one time transfer, I registered with Transferwise to get my first transfer free.

Not going to be easy for him to actually get added on a account with u as banks typically want to verify his identity in person.

Sent from my VCE-AL00 using Tapatalk
« Last Edit: December 09, 2020, 12:16:15 AM by elaine amj »

dcozad999

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Re: Cheapest Way to Transfer Money to Another Country
« Reply #12 on: December 09, 2020, 07:26:58 AM »
Sure, bitcoin's drunken squirrel volatility, but I'd take that over $500+ in fees!
I'm pretty sure OP meant it cost $38 in fees to send $500, for a total of $538. Not $538 of fees.

Yes. The fee was $38.