Sending money from one corner of the world to another has never been easier thanks to the advancement of financial technology (fintech) innovation. Traditional banks were not too long ago the only way to send cash across borders, but now there are excellent options for consumers to avoid using antiquated methods. Below is a list of 10 ways to transfer your money abroad while directly avoiding your bank.
PayPal rose to prominence when it was a subsidiary of eBay and served as its payment processor. In 2015, PayPal became its own fully independent company, and it has had since then doubled in market value from $50 billion to north of $100 billion in five years. As of 2020, PayPal has 305 million active and registered accounts and operates in more than 200 markets. The company facilitates online money transfers for personal or business use and can only send, receive, and hold funds in 25 currencies.
2 Western Union
Western Union is synonymous with global money transfers given its global presence. However, the company was founded in 1851 as a provider of telegram and communication services. It wasn’t until the 1980s it started to send global money transfers. Consumers worldwide can walk into any Western Union store (or go online) to send or receive physical cash. Western Union facilitated a whopping 289.4 million transactions throughout its fiscal year 2019.
Established in 1971, MoneyCorp is one of several reputable online money transfer services. Users can send money across borders with ease, and transactions can be settled and finalized in as little as one day. MoneyCorp can help customers send and receive payments across more than 190 countries and has offices in key regions across the world.
4 Prepaid Gift Cards
The slowest and probably least efficient way to send money internationally is to buy a prepaid gift credit card and then mail it. Gift credit cards typically come in pre-loaded amounts and can be purchased at supermarkets, gas stations, and convenience stores. A prepaid Visa gift credit card, as an example, is valid anywhere Visa credit cards are accepted. Instead, the balance of the gift card can be used to withdraw cash at any ATM where Visa is accepted.
5 Send Cash
Stuffing cash in an envelope and mailing it across the world is a method that some still use. The recipient will most likely need to exchange the cash to their home currency at an exchange counter, or a bank. Some foreign currencies are often accepted in certain scenarios. For example, it shouldn’t be hard to find a store in London that accepts euros — although at a large premium versus the current exchange rate.
6 Door To Door Delivery Through Xoom
Xoom, a subsidiary of PayPal, offers a more secure alternative to sending cash. Recipients can choose to pick up their cash at thousands of pickup locations worldwide. In some countries across Asia, like the Philippines and Vietnam, Xoom offers a free home delivery option where cash will be delivered to the recipient’s door.
Transferwise is another online money transfer service dedicated to providing exceptional rates and a quick turnaround. Users can create an account for free and will need a debit or credit card to send money internationally. Transferwise is regulated by multiple government agencies worldwide, such as the Australian Securities and Investments Commission.
Bitcoin’s core purpose was built around sending and receiving a currency across borders through a peer-to-peer network that isn’t built around a central bank or single administrator. Interest in bitcoin soared in the late 2010s as the digital currency was nearly worth $20,000 U.S. at its peak. Sending bitcoin is likely among the most complex solutions as it requires a certain degree of knowledge of how the relatively new digital currency works. It might be challenging to locate a physical bitcoin ATM to withdraw cash, but certainly not impossible.
9 Other Digital Currencies
Bitcoin’s dominance within the digital currency level universe has fallen over the years as it is far from the only one that can be used to send money internationally. Some of the more notable digital currencies built around international money transfers include Litecoin and XRP.
10 Mobile Wallet
Money transfer services like Moneygram allow users to send money directly to mobile wallets around the world. This option is particularly useful when sending money to a recipient in a country that has a large population without access to a bank account but with high smartphone penetration rates. For example, MoneyGram can send cash within minutes to mobile wallet accounts in Kenya, Tanzania, Romania, and Zimbabwe. The sender will need the recipient’s mobile number, including area code, and this process can be completed online or at participating locations, such as post offices.