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There are frequent threads on FW Finance from readers who ask how to send money to various countries from various countries.

Generally, the advice is the same - the main options are:
bank wire
Paypal
Western Union
less secure and unregulated private money transfer company
send the person a check in US dollars that he/she can deposit in his/her bank account (and pay the fees on)

Because they are very safe, I've been sticking to international wire transfers from my US bank, but it raised the fee from $20 to $30 earlier this year.

On Monday, I want to send a small amount ($100) to the UK, and it's ridiculous to pay $30 to send $100, so I decided to see what my other options are. I would be willing to try an unregulated private company for a relatively small sum like this.

An internet search brings up many companies offering currency transfer, but there doesn't seem to be an easy way to tell them apart or to compare them.

However, I did find some helpful websites, which I thought I'd share with FWF because of the quality of their information:

1. http://www.sendmoneyhome.org/Content/about.php
-Started out from a UK perspective, but now covers transactions to/from various countries and currencies.
-Although privately-owned and managed, the site was initially funded and supported by the UK government's Department for International Development (DFID), with the aim that it would be an unbiased and trustworthy source of information in this confusing area of personal finance.
-Allows you to punch in the exact amount of money you want to transfer, and which 2 currencies you are dealing with.
-Checks dozens of companies simultaneously and lets you compare the current exchange rates (updated every 15 minutes), the fees, the time it will take, which countries, etc. -- listing them in a handy chart.
-For example, here is the sending-money-from-the-US page which allows one to pick the UK as the destination country, which at first was kind of hard for me to locate on their website:
http://www.sendmoneyhome.org/money-transfers/Sending_money_from_...
-Their self-description from the "about" page:
"SendMoneyHome.org is a website that provides consumers with an independent comparison of the best value services offered by Banks, Money Transfer Operators (MTOs), FX providers and prepaid cards for transferring money abroad taking into account their fees, real-time exchange rates, speed and method of transfer. Privately owned by Profile Business Intelligence Ltd (PBI), the site provides detailed information on the various options and methods to find consumers the best deal when sending money abroad.
Launched in March 2005, originally funded and supported by the UK Government’s Department for International Development (DFID), the site has already been established as the widest reaching and most comprehensive independent online comparison site for international money transfers and has been described as the ‘benchmark’ for money transfer comparison sites by the UK’s champion for consumers, Martin Lewis (moneysavingexpert.com).
Since September 2008, SendMoneyHome.org has already expanded its offering to a more global audience and is currently the world’s foremost money transfer price comparison service for sending amounts from $10 to $10,000,000 or more.
SendMoneyHome.org was initiated by the UK Government’s Department for International Development (DFID), to bring clarity and transparency to the remittances sector for migrant communities living and working in the UK who send money home. Previously, Western Union, MoneyGram, Travelex Money Transfer (now Coinstar) and to a lesser degree banks had a stranglehold on money transfer flows from the UK – charging exorbitant fees and offering poor exchange rates. Since its inception, Sendmoneyhome.org’s mandate has been to promote awareness of the other options that are available and provide information about money transfer options that were otherwise not commonly known. This model has worked extremely well in the UK and we are now providing the same comparison model for additional countries - Something that, currently, is clearly absent in many of those countries. Our main longer term goal is to find consumers the best deal wherever they are sending money from and to.
SendMoneyHome.org provides clear, concise comparisons of money transfer services available when sending money from one country to another."
-The site won an entrepreneurship award in 2009 from British Telecom (BT).

2. http://www.moneysavingexpert.com/banking/foreign-currency-exchan...
-From a UK perspective.
-Good overview of many of the factors to consider with this kind of transaction.
(-By the way, though totally UK-focused, it can be worth looking at other topics on this site. I do find the site ugly and somewhat disorganized, but there is good advice, lots of discounts/coupons, etc. He regularly appears on morning news and consumer affairs tv shows in the UK.)

3. http://www.consumer-action.org/english/articles/how_to_send_mone...
-From a US perspective.
-Consumer Action is a non-profit in San Francisco, CA.
-This guide is for people sending money from the US to another country.
-The guide is available in English, Spanish, Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, and can be read online or ordered as a print brochure.
-One thing mentioned here that I had not been aware of previously is that the US Postal Service offers a money transfer service to several Latin American countries.

4. http://travel.state.gov/travel/tips/brochures/brochures_1224.htm...
-From a US perspective.
-For the unusual case of needing to send money to an American citizen abroad who needs "emergency" cash.
-The US State Department will send and hold money for the person at any American consulate or embassy, where the person can pick up the cash. The charge levied by the State Department is $30. They say it's a one-time service for emergencies only.

5. http://www.moneymadeclear.org.uk/pdfs/sending_money_safely.pdf
-From a UK perspective.
-Governmental publication about how to send money safely when you are not using a safe, regulated bank or credit union to do it. Questions to ask, what to look out for, what to do if things go wrong (if you are British, anyway).

6. http://www.moneymagpie.com/article/519/cheapest-foreign-currency...
-From a UK perspective.
-I'm including this link because it goes into detail about "travel money cards" (which might possibly be more typical in the UK than in the US - previously, I've not seen these being mentioned as an option for sending foreign currency to someone else, but it makes sense, especially since you can load them with cash *after* the recipient has received the card in the mail).

==
For my $100-to-UK-pounds transaction from a US bank account to a UK bank account, sendmoneyhome.org gave me just a few choices (since the total amount I want to send is so small), and the cheapest one was xoom.com. I saw a tv commercial for xoom.com a couple of weeks ago - they apparently charge just $5 for any foreign currency transfer. Since xoom was recommended by sendmoneyhome.org, the amount I want to send is pretty small, and the exchange rate they are listing isn't terrible, I think I'll give it a try.

==
Has anyone had good or bad experiences using xoom or other low-fee currency transfer services?

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Hi, very interesting topic, but I still did not find any mention on how the funds are usually send to Xe-trade from the ... (more)

woodscat7 (Jul. 10, 2010 @ 8:18p) |

I too is interested in this topic. Whats the cheapest way to wire money from USA to Malaysia?

I use to use WaMu and now ... (more)

chong67 (Sep. 16, 2010 @ 12:18p) |

Hsbc business direct offers free wires

But you need to check their exchange rate

SUCKISSTAPLES (Sep. 16, 2010 @ 12:32p) |

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NantucketSunrise said: For my $100-to-UK-pounds transaction from a US bank account to a UK bank account, sendmoneyhome.org gave me just a few choices (since the total amount I want to send is so small), and the cheapest one was xoom.com. I saw a tv commercial for xoom.com a couple of weeks ago - they apparently charge just $5 for any foreign currency transfer. Since xoom was recommended by sendmoneyhome.org, the amount I want to send is pretty small, and the exchange rate they are listing isn't terrible, I think I'll give it a try.

==
Has anyone had good or bad experiences using xoom or other low-fee currency transfer services?
Why not just use paypal? The fee should be less than $5 so it seems that aside from a free wire transfer, it would be the best option given the amount you want to transfer.

mttatkns said: Why not just use paypal? The fee should be less than $5 so it seems that aside from a free wire transfer, it would be the best option given the amount you want to transfer.

I am looking at all my options.

However,

-I am not so sure that Paypal's exchange rates and fees would be a better deal than xoom.

-The person I'm sending the money to doesn't have a paypal account and I don't want to make her go through all that rigamarole to set one up just for my benefit, when I've already got her bank details and a xoom payment would presumably deposit the money in her bank account with no work on her side. (They say on xoom that it's just like a wire transfer.)

-I am against Paypal UK's requirement that the user signs an open-ended direct debit agreement with his/her bank account, which can only be stopped by writing a hardcopy letter to the bank.

-I have heard so many scare stories about letting Paypal be linked to one's main bank account that I've always been cautious of using it. (I am aware that these scare stories are mainly from eBay sellers and that a money transfer is a different category of transaction.)

I use CustomHouse to transfer between the U.S. and Canada. They're owned by Western Union and service most countries in the world. They don't charge a fee, but make their money on the exchange. See www.customhouse.com.

I am the technical Director of www.sendmoneyhome.org and I would just like to clarify a few points. The website has always been privately owned and run, initially as a project to provide transparency in the money transfer sector and also to make people aware that there is much more choice than Western Union, PayPal and wire transfers. To this present day, we continue to be independent and only list companies we have worked with, have generated positive feedback from our visitors and are continuing to include many more options and services from one country to another.

With regards to PayPal, they are a very useful company in certain situations, but again their fees can be variable and the exchange rates are not normally favourable and as for Custom House, for the amount you are wanting to send there will most likely be a fee - the fee free option becomes valid for much larger amounts of money as with all UK based Foreign Exchange Brokers.

Xoom is definitely an option, we have worked with them for over a year and their fees and rates are pretty good. All I can say though is that there are many options and depending on your situation some services are more suited to your needs than others - another option is Travelex Personal Payments. They do charge £10 for the transfer (an offer only avaialble by using sendmoneyhome.org), but the exchange rate is much better in comparison to the other services you have mentioned.

Hope this helps.

Huw

I have used Xe.com Select Trade link. The rate quote I just got was 100 USD = 66.30 GBP; 1 USD = 0.6630 GBP; 1 GBP = 1.5082 USD. The Yahoo Finance mid rate at this time was 1 USD = 0.6755 GBP.

There are no other fees and the money is ACH transferred at both ends.

xoom has been around for a while. I havent checked reviews on them but if they are cheap and legit, go with them

Stay away from xoom.com

it is unsafe. I had horrible experience with them.

I've used XE trade; they have been satisfactory -- though the first transfer did require some "verification" steps to protect them against fraud/laundering etc. After getting one transfer through, future ones are easy and turnaround in around 2-4 days (I've been transferring primarily from Canada and back).

SendMoneyHome said: I would just like to clarify a few points. The website has always been privately owned and run


Hi Huw,

Welcome to FatWallet!

Sorry that I misunderstood your origins.

The following on your "about" page suggested to me that the site had been developed by a government agency, but I see it can also be read as saying the government gave your private company its funding when you started out:
"Launched in March 2005, originally funded and supported by the UK Government’s Department for International Development (DFID)".

Also, this had given me the same idea: "Initiated by the UK government's Department for International Development (DFID) in 2005, www.sendmoneyhome.org has made the transition from being government funded into a fully fledged price comparison site for consumers." source: http://www.sendmoneyhome.org/blog/?page_id=1246

I will change the wording in my original post about that point.

----
Also, please note my trouble in initially locating how to find a US to UK page on your site.

I went through your various page options of being an expat, emigrating overseas, changing a small amount, more than 5000 in currency, sending money home, etc. etc. --- and all the pages let me choose the "from" country to be "US" with no problem, but the dropdown box for the "to" country does NOT give the UK as a country on those pages! 70 countries to choose from, but no UK in the "to" box. This must be an oversight?

I bounced around on your site, and I think it was the page for people who are going to buy property in a foreign country that let me climb through the trapdoor and reach the US-to-UK webpage. (This one: http://www.sendmoneyhome.org/money-transfers/Sending_money_from_USA.php?countries=US&destinations)

Even what is apparently your "main" page for comparisons, http://www.sendmoneyhome.org/Content/money-transfer-comparison.p... does not have the UK in the "to" country box.

This one doesn't either: http://www.sendmoneyhome.org/channels/foreign-currency-transfers...

I've just now seen the big orange box at the top of all your pages, where the UK DOES appear in the "to" dropdown box, but I didn't notice the top banner last night - I was too focussed on the dropdown boxes that appeared in the middle of the individual pages.

---
Congrats on the British Telecom 2009 Entrepreneur award!

Just now, I tried to rediscover the page on your site where I read that announcement last night, but I can't find it anymore on your site - I've clicked everywhere I can think of. Even though it was crazy o'clock in the morning, I am sure I read it, because it talked about the Dragon's Den guy (Nick?) and your special award portrait's being exhibited up through January in a public venue. On your "about" page, it says "click image to download [BT award] press release" but the image can't be clicked. No big deal, of course! I just wanted to see if you were one of the two fellas who had been in the photograph that I remembered seeing last night.


thetechnicaldirectorofsendmoneyhomedotorg
Disclaimer
NantucketSunrise said: SendMoneyHome said: I would just like to clarify a few points. The website has always been privately owned and run


Hi Huw,
...
Welcome to FatWallet!
...

Congrats on the British Telecom 2009 Entrepreneur award!

Just now, I tried to rediscover the page on your site where I read that announcement last night, but I can't find it anymore on your site - I've clicked everywhere I can think of. I am sure I read it because it talked about the Dragon's Den guy (Nick?) and your special award portrait's being exhibited up through January in a public venue. On your "about" page, it says "click image to download [BT award] press release" but the image can't be clicked.

Nice post and interesting subject!

Thanks, Santa!

Cheapoking said: Nice post and interesting subject!

szhang6 said: Stay away from xoom.com. it is unsafe. I had horrible experience with them.

Szhang6, what was your bad experience with xoom? What did they do?


====
More on xoom:

After doing the FW search trick of looking on an external search engine for former FW threads, I did find an old thread from 2007 that was negative about them. I found a couple of others that were neither positive nor negative, just offering up xoom as an option for money transfer. And that was it for Fatwallet comments.

From my internet search, I learned that since Paypal stopped allowing personal payments to India, a lot of folks have begun to use xoom instead to send money to India.

I also learned that xoom used to publish coupon codes (for one free exchange, 50% off an exchange, etc.) but stopped suddenly several months ago. They made coupon sites like retailmenot take their coupons down. There are still some mentions of their codes out there, but they are all dead now.

AZpennypincher said: I use CustomHouse to transfer between the U.S. and Canada. They're owned by Western Union and service most countries in the world. They don't charge a fee, but make their money on the exchange. See www.customhouse.com.


AZpennypincher,

Thank you for the recommendation.

I've looked around on the Custom House site and they aren't very transparent about fees. This is all I could get without signing up for a personal account:

"Will I be charged a fee for using this service?
There is no fee to start and hold an account. Fees vary by your actual transaction. Depending on the nature of your transaction, some charges may be imposed by a third party institution such as banks and payment processors. Please see the funding types section for more information."
from: http://www.customhouse.com./online-transfer/faq/

However, when I looked at the funding types section, there was absolutely no information about fees.
http://www.customhouse.com./online-transfer/funding-types/


They have a "contact us" form, so I wrote them and asked what fees they would charge for the exchange I want to do, and what the present exchange rate for that transaction would be. (I will update this comment if I hear back from them.)

UPDATE: As of 6 days later, I have not heard back from customhouse. Seems they aren't interested in potential new customers who have taken the time to go to their website, learn about their offering, and fill in the website's "ask us a question" contact form.


badcustomerservice
Disclaimer
NantucketSunrise said: szhang6 said: Stay away from xoom.com. it is unsafe. I had horrible experience with them.

Szhang6, what was your bad experience with xoom? What did they do?...



Maybe chargingrandomaccounts

I have yet to find an economical way to send small amounts of money to South Africa. Suggestions? PayPal works for most countries, but not South Africa.

SendMoneyHome said: another option is Travelex Personal Payments. They do charge £10 for the transfer (an offer only avaialble by using sendmoneyhome.org), but the exchange rate is much better in comparison to the other services you have mentioned.


In my case ($100 from US bank account to UK bank account), Travelex is probably is not a good option, because the 10 pound fee ($15) is three times as much as xoom's $5 fee, and it would have to be a very favorable exchange rate so as to make up for the extra $10 charge ($15-$5) within the exchange rate itself, on a $100 transaction. (By my quick calculation, to save me $10 within the $100 being exchanged, Travelex's rate would have to be about 1.41 as compared to xoom's 1.54 that I was offered yesterday on the xoom site, and the interbank rate at that time was about 1.49 -- Travelex would not have offered a lower rate than the interbank rate. I might not have done the calculation exactly right, but it's close enough.)

This Travelex option is also a bit problematic for people outside the UK, because their site wants the potential user to either call a UK number (expensive from abroad) for a quote on the desired trade, or to fill out a long form and wait a couple of hours to be approved, before giving further details on their service, fees, rates, etc. If Travelex gave out more information on this webpage, it would be helpful for potential customers who are trying to compare different companies' offerings, especially customers who aren't in the UK and are less likely to want to call a UK telephone number.

bobbyvescolives said: Maybe chargingrandomaccounts


Right, thank you bobbyvescolives for pointing out what Szhang6 had written 3 years ago about xoom on FW.

That actually was the 1 negative Fatwallet mention of xoom from 2007 that I referenced above in my post. I didn't realize it had been Szhang6 in that thread too. As I recall, the other thread contributors seemed to think it had been a typical cc fraud situation, and not xoom's fault.

Without more explanation from Szhang6, I will probably chalk that up to random difficulties, and give xoom the benefit of the doubt on that one, especially since there have been no other negative comments about xoom on FW in all these years, and since "sendmoneyhome.org" has been working with them for over a year with no problems.

shadyj said: I have used Xe.com Select Trade link. The rate quote I just got was 100 USD = 66.30 GBP; 1 USD = 0.6630 GBP; 1 GBP = 1.5082 USD. The Yahoo Finance mid rate at this time was 1 USD = 0.6755 GBP. There are no other fees and the money is ACH transferred at both ends.



Update:
About the first part of my comment in this post, later in this thread, ShadyJ pointed out:
"The values I wrote earlier was an actual quote from the XE website. I initiated a transaction to get the quote without going through the whole transfer."

====
My original comment:
Shadyj, those rates you have quoted look like they might be from the page you provided a link to, which are xe's "mid-market rates" (at the top of the rate chart on the page your hyperlink opens, it says "mid market rates refreshed minutely", so I would assume these are mid-market rates), and in their FAQ xe says that they do NOT honor the mid-market rates which are quoted on this page when it comes to their actual trades:

"Q: Do you trade at the mid market-rates shown on the main XE.com website?

A: No one can buy or sell at mid-market rates. But our best rate guarantee means that you are sure to save money with XE Trade.

The mid-market rates shown on our main XE.com website and the information services are neither "buy" rates nor "sell" rates. Mid-market rates are derived from mid-point between the buy and sell rates of large-value transactions in the global currency markets.

Since "buy rates" and "sell rates" include overheads and profit margins that are set independently by each foreign exchange provider, they will vary depending on who you're talking to, and will always be different than the mid-market rate. Through our XE Trade service, we strive to offer the best buy and sell rates on every transaction.

When doing a conversion, our free currency information services always list the mid-market rate, since we can not know if you will be buying or selling a given currency. The mid-market rate is the most generally useful number, since it serves as a reliable, indicative value for the currency that is not biased towards buying or selling.

For your ease of use, our XE Trade service takes a simplified approach. We simply collect the information about your desired trade and quote you a price. This is specifically to avoid needless confusion."


If someone is already a member of xe and can enter in my transaction of $100 US dollars from a US bank account to a UK bank account, and get xe's actual quote/fees for that, please let me know what the outcome is (rates and fees). They say that you can cancel the transaction after they give you the real rate, if you want to.

===
Regarding their "best rate guarantee", it's only regarding banks, not unregulated private companies:

"Q: Do you really have a best rate guarantee?
A: Yes. We guarantee to beat every posted bank rate on every transaction. We also guarantee to beat every other competitor's rate nine times out of ten."

I have no idea how a customer who wanted them to honor their guarantee could prove that they aren't matching their competitors 9 times out of 10 - that's kind of nonsensical. It gives them a way out with every single complaint (that is not about an official bank's rate).

===
XE only gives their real rates after you open an account with them, and they say that it's quick and easy to do that, so I thought that I'd give it a try.

Right away, though, I saw where they need two forms of ID, and it seems that they have to be hardcopies... or maybe they'll take emailed scans, I don't know:

"Overview

Due to legislation regarding the proceeds of crime, money laundering, and terrorist financing, we must verify the identity of all of our customers.
This regulation greatly increases the security and reliability of all foreign exchange transactions, and helps us to protect all of our client's interests.

What Is Required

REQUIRED: The details of a bank account in your name which you will use to send us funds via a bank statement.
Statements must be from within the last 90 days.
Must show your name, account number (and preferably address).
Please note - If your statement shows your address it will also count as your Secondary Identification.
Internet banking statements are acceptable.

REQUIRED: Two pieces of identification. Note: All US citizens will be required to provide your Social Security Number (SSN)
We need at least one "Primary" Identification.
All identification must be valid, and not expired.
All copies that we receive must be clear and legible, and any photos must be visible.
Primary Identification:
A Valid Passport showing your name, face, birthdate, birthplace, registration number, and signature.
A Valid Drivers License showing your name, face, birthdate, and signature.
Secondary Identification:
A Bank Statement (no more than 90 days old) containing your name, account number and address.
A Valid Birth Certificate containing your name, birthdate, birthplace, and birth registration number.
Note: UK Birth Certificates are not acceptable as Secondary ID
A Recent Utility Bill (no more than 90 days old) containing your name and address.
A Major Credit Card copied on both sides.
US Social Security Card copied on both sides."

And then they say that the account will be activated within one business day after they get that information from you.

It's not worth it to me to go through all that, just to get a quote of their real rate for my specific transaction.

BradMajors said: I have yet to find an economical way to send small amounts of money to South Africa. Suggestions? PayPal works for most countries, but not South Africa.


BradMajors, I punched in USA to SA, $100 hypothetical sum, on the "sendmoneyhome.org" website and I got a few results. Your best bet, from the choices they give you, looks like it's xoom:

Xoom.com, Bank account to Bank account, 7.3774, $4.99, 1-2 days, 700.92ZAR

Here is the full chart:
http://www.sendmoneyhome.org/Content/money-transfer-comparison.p...

NantucketSunrise said: mttatkns said: Why not just use paypal? The fee should be less than $5 so it seems that aside from a free wire transfer, it would be the best option given the amount you want to transfer.

I am looking at all my options.

However,

-I am not so sure that Paypal's exchange rates and fees would be a better deal than xoom.


Paypal's exchange rate is approximately visa's rate plus a ~2.75% fee (they list it as 2.5% but their exchange rate is consistently off by .25%) which will be a worse deal than xoom (after regular paypal fees on the other end), however you can choose to have your credit card billed in pounds if you have a card with no foreign transaction fees. So on a $100 paypal transaction you would end up paying $3.50 to send $100.

If you have time, trust the recipient and have an AMEX card or acct w Citi, BofA, AAA or high-end Visa - you could send a Sterling traveler's check. I believe BofA still does foreign currency travelers checks.

Would billing your credit card for a money transfer count as a cash advance and accrue interest at the daily cash advance rate?

I know people have used ICICI Bank and Remit2India to send money to India and have been very happy with the service, fees and exchange rates.

I have used moneygram to transfer from US to India and had pretty good experience with them. I looked up their estimated rates for your transfer and got this:

Exchange Rate 1 USD = 0.652179 GBP


Send Amount Receive Amount Fee Rewards Total Cost

Same Day 100.00 USD 65.22 GBP 14.00 USD 0.00 USD 114.00 USD
Economy 100.00 USD 65.22 GBP 10.00 USD 0.00 USD 110.00 USD

use western union. they are a little pricey but at least you will have peace of mind that you are not being scammed out of your cash by people that you have never heard of. I personally have never heard of xoom and i would never use them until i did my research. use the established services because cheap is always expensive

for people with money in UK, this is a good site for competitive rate LINK

I use citi GTS, from 1 citi account to another citi account anywhere in the world. the rate is depends on the country, citi uk branch has no fee sending money to anywhere in the world to another citi account holder.

US citi charges $10 to send money, free to receive

the downside is the other party needs to have a citi account.

chimeer said: Paypal's exchange rate is approximately visa's rate plus a ~2.75% fee (they list it as 2.5% but their exchange rate is consistently off by .25%) which will be a worse deal than xoom (after regular paypal fees on the other end), however you can choose to have your credit card billed in pounds if you have a card with no foreign transaction fees. So on a $100 paypal transaction you would end up paying $3.50 to send $100.


Chimeer, I am not using a credit card, I am using the cash in my bank account. It's bank account to bank account. I still doubt that paypal would be cheaper than xoom for my transaction.

hirenrp said: Would billing your credit card for a money transfer count as a cash advance and accrue interest at the daily cash advance rate?

Yes.

ansh25 said: I have used moneygram to transfer from US to India and had pretty good experience with them. I looked up their estimated rates for your transfer and got this:

Exchange Rate 1 USD = 0.652179 GBP


Send Amount Receive Amount Fee Rewards Total Cost

Same Day 100.00 USD 65.22 GBP 14.00 USD 0.00 USD 114.00 USD
Economy 100.00 USD 65.22 GBP 10.00 USD 0.00 USD 110.00 USD




Ansh25,

Thank you for looking up that comparison rate.

This indicates that Moneygram would be more expensive than xoom for my transaction. Moneygram charges $14 or $10 in fees, as compared to xoom's $5 fee.

Xoom's exchange rate yesterday was: 100 USD = 64.62 GBP. Therefore, Moneygram would charge $114 or $110 for 65.22 GBP, while xoom would charge $105 for 64.62 GBP.

(I am aware that today the exchange rate has fluctuated, with the pound rising against the dollar in the morning and falling in the afternoon - the net result is that the pound is now (6 pm Eastern) about where it was yesterday. I'm not sure where the rate stood when you checked into this transaction today, but I imagine your rate was comparable to the rate xoom would be offering at the same time, or at least was not so good that it would allow for making up the extra $5 in fees within the exchange rate itself.)

kenyant said: use western union. they are a little pricey but at least you will have peace of mind that you are not being scammed out of your cash by people that you have never heard of. I personally have never heard of xoom and i would never use them until i did my research. use the established services because cheap is always expensive


Kenyant, I was knowingly conservative for many years about foreign currency transactions, and I have always used my bank, which I felt extremely safe with, which until now has had an okay fee (used to be $15, then $20, but jumped to $30 this year).

However, now that I have a uniquely small transaction to do, I decided to try out some of the other foreign currency transfer options, since they have been in business enough years now that they will have reputations to investigate.

Some reasons that I have decided not to fear that xoom is a shady, fly-by-night operation:
1. They were mentioned on Fatwallet in 2007 (3 years ago), and a couple other times as well. There's only been one complaint about them in all that time here on this site.
2. On one of the national US tv networks, a few weeks ago I saw a 30-second ad about xoom. That kind of ad costs a lot of money, and it was professionally done. Of course, a major-network television ad by itself doesn't mean anything, but it is an indication that they are doing well and that they are serious about their operation.
3. Impartial, trustworthy consumer-information sites like www.sendmoneyhome.org have recommended xoom on their sites, and a representative from that site wrote above in my thread here that he's been working with xoom for over a year, and feels that he can endorse it.
4. When I signed up for an account with xoom on Sunday, everything seemed to go well and they have been timely and professional in their email communications.
5. There seem to be many groups of people who use xoom frequently - I found discussions on internet forums of Thai expats, Indonesia expats, India expats, etc., talking about their using xoom on a monthly basis.


It is not true that "cheap is always expensive". It's a good thing you found Fatwallet, so you can learn that!

How about setting up a joint checking account with the person in the UK and then giving them an ATM card? You could then dump some money into the account in the US and then the recipient in the UK could just go to a local ATM and pull it out with the ATM card. You'd have to share the account with the person but I assume this is a close relative. When I was traveling in the UK I had pretty easy access to cash from my US bank account with relatively low ATM fees. This idea may not work if you don't completely trust the person on the other end or there may be some other 'gotcha' that I'm not thinking about.

dawhim said: I use citi GTS, from 1 citi account to another citi account anywhere in the world. the rate is depends on the country, citi uk branch has no fee sending money to anywhere in the world to another citi account holder.

US citi charges $10 to send money, free to receive

the downside is the other party needs to have a citi account.



Dawhim,

Thanks for letting me know about this option.

I would actually doubt that citi would beat xoom for my current small transaction, since citi's fee to send from the US is $10, while xoom's is $5.

The upside is that citi is a bank, so the money is very safe during the process.

Also, I don't have a citi account. My recipient doesn't have a citi account. So it wouldn't work for us, but might be a reasonable option for other people in other circumstances.

A question for you: When sending from the US to the UK, from citi account to citi account, you say that citi charges $10. If citi UK does not charge a fee to send, and citi US doesn't charge a fee to receive, does that mean that citi-to-citi UK-to-US foreign currency transfers have no fee at all, and are free, besides whatever small percentage is tacked on to the interbank exchange rate?

jerosen said: How about setting up a joint checking account with the person in the UK and then giving them an ATM card? You could then dump some money into the account in the US and then the recipient in the UK could just go to a local ATM and pull it out with the ATM card. You'd have to share the account with the person but I assume this is a close relative. When I was traveling in the UK I had pretty easy access to cash from my US bank account with relatively low ATM fees. This idea may not work if you don't completely trust the person on the other end or there may be some other 'gotcha' that I'm not thinking about.


Jerosen, this is a good idea for sharing money across borders, although it would only apply in limited circumstances, as you pointed out.

You'd need to trust the person, you'd have another bank account to open and manage, you would have a long wait to receive the atm card in the mail and then to send the atm card by airmail to the person based in the UK before they could get the cash on their end, and you'd only go through the hassle of this if you expected to have several foreign currency transfers to that person in the future (not worth it for a one-time transfer).

These circumstances don't apply in my case.

srl99 said: If you have time, trust the recipient and have an AMEX card or acct w Citi, BofA, AAA or high-end Visa - you could send a Sterling traveler's check. I believe BofA still does foreign currency travelers checks.


Sr199, thank you for mentioning yet another possible way to send someone money in a foreign currency. It's amazing there are so many ways!

[Wow, I think I haven't used a traveller's check since the Berlin Wall was still standing... chuckle. ]

Compared to the modern internet-based payment options, the disadvantages to this (the time it would take to figure out if I have a financial account that will issue one of these, the time it would take to order and receive one, any fees that would be charged for this, trusting the check to be safe in the international post, making the recipient go to a bank to cash the check after she gets it in the mail) mean that I won't look into it, but it might be an option for some people.

Sunrise,

Have you sent any money using xoom yet?

Let me know how it worked out, if you already have; interesting to use the service myself.

dawhim said: for people with money in UK, this is a good site for competitive rate LINK


Dawhim, the Caxton link you give is to a UK-based company which sells travel atm/debit cards to use abroad. This has limited use as a way to make foreign currency transfers to other people who are located in other countries. However, it might be good for some people, and is worth knowing about. Check out topic number 6 in my original post for an explanation of this kind of card.

Cheapoking said: Sunrise,
Have you sent any money using xoom yet?
Let me know how it worked out, if you already have; interesting to use the service myself.


I decided to use them. When it's completed, I'll report back on how it went.

Skipping 25 Messages...
Hsbc business direct offers free wires

But you need to check their exchange rate



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