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7 things to know when making an international money transfer

Send money abroad the smart way

Melissa u May 12, 2021

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These days, there are plenty more options for sending money abroad. Traditionally, sending an international money transfer has been costly — especially when sending with a high-street bank. But today’s modern options are often faster, just as secure and don’t have to cost you an arm and a leg!

While nowadays cheaper, it’s still important to investigate the charges for moving money abroad. Other things you’ll want to consider are the speed of your transfer, safety and security, plus much more. Read on for insider tips so you can make an informed decision the next time you need to send money abroad.

1. What are the fees to watch out for?

The main fees associated with international money transfers that you need to be aware of are:

  • current exchange rate
  • fixed transfer fees
  • commission fees
  • intermediary bank fees
  • receiving fees

Current exchange rate

This is the rate at which one currency will be converted to another. A quick internet search will uncover plenty of live exchange rates and conversion tools, some of which are updated within seconds. Still, keep in mind that the exchange rate is constantly changing. So it’s best to check this right before you’re ready to send to get as close of a real-time figure as possible. Knowing this rate will help you see when you’re getting the best deal when choosing a money transfer service.

If sending with Monese, you can plug in amounts on our Money Transfers page or right in your app to compare. However, the rate may change when you actually send. We’ll update this figure with the real-time conversion rate before confirming your mobile money transfer.

Fixed transfer fees

This is the fee that a bank or international money transfer app will charge you for using their service. These fees can vary significantly from one service provider to another, so it pays to shop around.

Commission fees

On top of a fixed sending fee, some providers also charge a commission on top of transfer fees. This is usually the case when sending with larger firms and larger amounts of money.

Intermediary bank fees

There may also be an intermediary bank fee, which is the amount charged by a third-party bank that acts as the middleman when facilitating a money transfer between two institutions. These can be paid by either the sender or the receiver.

Receiving fees

There may be a charge for receiving the money, such as accepting it into a bank account. This is a fee worth investigating, too, so you’re clear on everything you may be charged for.

At Monese, we believe in no hidden fees. If you know you’ll be making plenty of international money transfers regularly, you may want to sign up for our Premium plan. On this plan, foreign currency transfers to non-Monese accounts are free. On all our other plans, you’ll pay a fee of 0.5–2%, depending on which plan you’re on (although Monese to Monese transfers are always free, no matter the currency). The foreign exchange rates will of course still apply to all plans.

2. How do I find the cheapest international money transfer service?

The best way to find the cheapest international money transfer service is to do your research and compare. It’ll depend greatly on the amount you’re sending. Plus, the cheapest way could also change over time. A quick internet search will uncover plenty of live comparison tools you can use.

Traditional transfer services may be more expensive than more modern options and expat money transfer services nowadays. Most international money transfer apps have a currency converter screen. This will show you a breakdown of what the recipient will get depending on how much you send, which should help you compare and make your choice.

3. Where can I send money?

You can make an international money transfer to virtually anyone, anywhere in the world, depending on the service or bank you choose. With Monese, for example, you can send EUR, GBP or RON to more than 30 countries, including electronic money transfers to Europe and SEPA countries. Here are just some of our most popular countries and currencies we support:

  • pound sterling (£) → US dollar ($)
  • pound sterling (£) → euro (€)
  • euro (€) → Romanian leu (RON)

4. How do I make an international money transfer?

Once you’ve settled on an international money transfer service, sending money in another currency should be simple. You’ll usually need the recipient's account details if it’s a bank transfer, including their name, account number and bank code and in some cases, their residential address.

If sending with Monese, you can make an international money transfer straight from your phone. You'll need to add a new payee if it's your first time sending money to the recipient from your app. Then choose what currency you want to send from the list of currencies and countries available in the app. We'll save your contact's information and account details in the app, so you don't have to fill their details in again the next time you make an international money transfer to them.

For thorough, step-by-step guides for sending to specific countries, check out our Money Transfers blog series.

5. How long will my international money transfer take?

Generally, international money transfers can take anywhere between 1 and 5 working days. Some international money transfer services and banks offer same-day transfers, but these can cost you extra. If you aren’t in a hurry, waiting a few days could save you money. If you do need to send money abroad on the same day, just make sure you do so before their cutoff time.

When sending money outside the UK or EEA with Monese, the actual delivery time for a mobile money transfer may sometimes vary. It’ll depend on the processing times of the receiving bank and the country you’re sending to. Typically though, it’s between 2 to 4 working days. This timeframe can be longer if you’re sending on weekends or bank holidays, so keep this in mind.

6. What are the limitations of international money transfers?

Limits around how much money you can send abroad and how often vary from company to company. Some services could have per-day, month, week or even yearly limits to how much you can send internationally. To learn about specific transfer limits at Monese for GBP, RON and EUR accounts, check out our Fees and Limits page.

7. Are international money transfers safe?

Generally, yes — but it’s essential to do some checks first. Safety and security are paramount to assess when it comes to sending large amounts of your hard-earned money abroad.

Say you've finally found an expat or migrants money transfer service you trust. In that case, it's important to check if they're regulated by an official regulatory body, such as the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in the UK. This should give you extra peace of mind knowing that your money is protected because your money is kept separate from company funds.

If you’re still unsure about an international money transfer service you’re trying out for the first time, try sending a smaller amount of money first to make sure it arrives with no hiccups.

Let us know what other questions you have about international money transfers, and we’ll be happy to try and dig up answers for you. Get in touch on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or email us your thoughts at community@monese.com.

If you have specific questions about our international money transfer service, check out our FAQ articles for more details.

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