Eduardo, a 43-year-old father of two boys, made the difficult decision to leave his home country of Mexico for the United States in search of work that paid better. His job as a farmhand was beginning to be too hard on his body and he worried for his sons’ future as violence in the area drew closer to their home. Once Eduardo reached Illinois, started to settle into a new routine, and began to make money, he wanted to help his brother support his family. So, Eduardo asked his coworkers how they send money to their loved ones back home. Here are the important tips they shared:

1. Explore your options before sending.

Sending with a Bank

One way to send money to another country is to use a wire transfer at a bank. A wire transfer sends money electronically from one bank to another and the money is normally available within 1-2 days. It’s important to know that both you and the person you’re sending to need to have a bank account to complete a wire transfer. Banks also charge high fees for wire transfers and they do not normally have the best exchange rates on the market. Sending money with a money transfer company instead of using a wire transfer at a bank can save you money and is an option if either you or your recipient doesn’t have a bank account.  

Using a Money Transfer Service

There are a lot of money transfer companies that allow you to send money internationally. You can send money online using your debit card, credit card, or bank account, or you can go into a money transfer store and pay in cash. Your recipient can choose whether they want to receive the money in their bank account or pick up in cash from a money transfer operator or their partner agents. Some companies even offer home delivery in certain countries. Although money transfer companies charge fees, they are normally lower than bank wire transfers fees and they offer better exchange rates so more of your money gets to where it’s going. Ria Money Transfer is one option, and their online and brick and mortar store services allow domestic and international money transfer to over 155 countries.

Comparing Exchange Rates and Fees

If you choose a money transfer service, it’s important to compare exchange rates and fees. Not all companies offer the same rates. But, be sure you are considering both the exchange rates and fees. If one company offers the best exchange rate, but it also charges a higher fee, it may seem like you’re saving money, but you could save more with another company.  


2. Take these steps to lower the cost.

Look for Promotions

It can save you money to take advantage of discount codes and other promotions that money transfer companies offer throughout the year. To stay competitive, money transfer companies often have promotional offers. Ria Money Transfer, for example, offers a $10 gift card as a Welcome Bonus when you create an account with them and a $20 gift card when you refer a friend who then sends their first money transfer. Money transfer companies also stay competitive by offering seasonal promotions around a receiving country’s holidays (like, Diwali in India, or Ramadan in Muslim countries) or just general holidays like Mother’s Day, or Christmas. Before choosing a company to send with, it can help you save money to look into available promotions.  

Send More to Save More

The fees that money transfer companies charge are affected by the amount of money you send. For example, if you send $10 you might pay a $1 fee, but if you send $100 you might pay a $50 fee instead of $100 ($10 transfer x $10 ($1 fee/transfer) = $100). So, rather than sending $10 ten different times, it is better to send a one-time transfer of $100.  Sending a larger amount will save you money in the long run.  What we have noticed, people who have sent money internationally for a long time often have one trusted person (usually a relative) back home to receive the money, and have that person distribute the money to other family members, or budget the money for the rest of the month, until the next money remittance comes in.


3. Pay in the way that’s best for you.

Pay with Your Bank Account  

Paying for your money transfer online using your bank account is usually the least expensive option, but the money may take longer to get to your recipient (up to 4 business days). Using a credit or debit card may require a small fee because the money arrives at its destination more quickly (usually within 15 minutes). So, if you need the money to get to your recipient quickly, using a card* and creating your transfer online may be your best option. If you aren’t in a rush, however, paying with your bank account can save you money.  

*Keep in mind that your credit card company may charge a cash advance fee. Please contact your credit card company to find out or use your debit card to avoid fees. If you have a debit card, this is a better option over a credit card as you will not be charged a cash advance fee.

Pay with Cash

Some money transfer companies have physical stores that you can walk into and pay with cash. Although you might pay a few dollars more than if you were to send money online, this can be a good option for people who don’t have internet access or a debit/credit card, underbanked, or for people who just prefer to pay in cash.  

Whether you’re new to sending money internationally, like Eduardo, or you’re just looking for more ways to save on your transfers, consider the three tips above.