Category Archives: International Money Transfers

Send and Receive Money Anywhere with Payza

By Mohammed Waseem

UK based payments provider, Payza offers an e-wallet that is available and accessible in over 200 countries across the globe. Users can send and receive money and can load and withdraw it in many ways supported by the e-wallet. 21 currencies are supported, including USD, CAD, EUR, GBP, MYR, AUD, NZD and HKD among others.

With Payza, users can take the money around the world, without carrying it. They can also send and receive money from anywhere, at any time. In addition, they can pay for shopping online as well. This is so good that even if the ‘Pay with Payza” option is not available; payment can be made from the e-wallet online.

PayzaMost customers are happy with its speed of transfer between the wallet and bank account or a card. Users can load their Payza e-wallet through bank account transfer (where available), bank wire, credit card and debit card. Withdrawal can be done to a bank account, through bank wire and to the Payza Prepaid Card. Hundreds of local payment options are supported for loading and withdrawing funds from the Payza e-wallet.

Users can send money worldwide with Payza to multiple recipients. They can also send gifts of pay back a loan. In order to do this, they need the recipient’s email address, that’s it. They can also send money through a Payza authorized exchanger, including Cavirtex, EgoPay and EraChange. SimplySendBD is a new product Payza has launched for Bangladesh, that enables users in Bangladesh to receive funds from anywhere in the world. From the sender’s viewpoint, the product can be used to send money from anywhere in the world to Bangladesh. Apart from sending, users can request and receive money.

Payza Prepaid Card is available in USD and CAD and can be used anywhere Visa cards are accepted. It can be used just like a debit card or for withdrawing money from an ATM. A one-time fee is applicable for ordering the card, which is $19.95. Various fees applicable are: card load fee of $1 or ATM transaction fee between $2.5 an $3, inactivity fee (for 3 months of inactivity) of $1 charged monthly, over the counter withdrawal fee of $10, POS usage fee of $0.5 and foreign exchange fee of 2.5%. At present, prepaid cards are not being issued, but may be resumed in the future.

To use Payza, users should have a free account, load their wallet. They can start sending and receiving money right after that. No monthly fee or activation fee is applicable; sending money is free, but recipients may be charged a fee starting at 2.50 % + $0.25. The fees for adding funds are: bank wire fees, prepaid card fees and credit card fees. Withdrawal fees for bank wire and prepaid card are also applicable, apart from currency conversion fee of 2.5%. Most fees may be different for each country, and can be checked here.

Transfer Money On The Go With The TransferWise App

By Mohammed Waseem

UK based money transfer company, TransferWise has launched a mobile app for Android which enables users to transfer money right from their smartphones to anywhere in the world within minutes. Started in 2011, they have been doing pretty well offering good exchange rates and low fees.

They use real currency exchange rates and are among the fastest and the cheapest ways to send money abroad. They claim that their fees are 10 times lower than what banks charge. They charge £1 for all transfers of amounts lesser than £200 and 0.5% of the amount for all transfers of higher amounts. USD transfers are charged at $15 for amounts up to $1500 and 1% of the amount for amounts between $1500 and $5000. For anything above that, the charge is 0.7% of the amount.

TransferWiseThey compete with banks for money transfer, but what about money transfers companies? Well, as far as fees are concerned, they are better than many money transfer services. They are also better in exchange rates because money transfer companies, apart from the fee they charge, make money from exchange rates as well; they provide a rate lower than the market, keeping the difference for themselves. Unlike this, TransferWise offers real time market rates for the transfers.

Having said all this, their concept may not work well everywhere due to the way they operate. Their service may work well between countries which transfer roughly equal amounts to each other and may have lesser significance and appeal for pairs of countries where the amounts transferred between each other don’t match. I have discussed more about this here.

The mobile app is available for Android and iOS and is free to download. Alternatively, senders can use their online service on their website.

Money Transfer Questions and Answers

I receive many questions from readers about money transfer services and problems and I don’t always have time to respond, so I’ve grouped together some of the easier ones here:

1. How to open a Paypal account?

pamela wrote:
i want to set up a account with paypal but i cant find the page to do so. thank you

Pennah Haimbodi wrote:
how can i get a paypal account? where can i apply for it?

yasmin wrote:
im new and i dont know how to sign up for paypel!!

Answer:

These are the steps to create a PayPal account:

Step 1: Go to https://www.paypal.com and click on Sign Up.

Step 2: Choose the purpose of your signup (Personal use or Business use)

Step 3: Fill in the details, and click on Continue/Agree and Continue.

Step 4: Enter the security code from the image and continue.

Step 5: Confirm your email and login.

Step 6: In order to send money, you need to link your bank account or credit/debit card to your newly created PayPal account. So, after logging in, click on My Account > Profile > Link Bank Account or Link Debit/Credit Card and follow the instructions.

In order to receive money, you need to give your email (the one you registered with) to the sender. After you receive money, you can withdraw it to your linked bank account.

Question and Answer

2. How to send money to a U.S. prison inmate?

E.M wrote:
Hello, can you help me to send money to prisons in USA from Finland? I have master card only.

Answer:

I researched this previously and answered it in a post, here:  How to add money to an inmate’s commissary account.

3. Was the MoneyGram cashed?

lillian day wrote:
how can i find out it a moneygram was cashed?

Answer:

Lillian, you should call the MoneyGram customer service line at 1-800-328-5678. They should be able to tell you if your MoneyGram payment was cashed or not.

4. Sending money to Nigeria?

muriel montoya wrote:
i want to know if i can send money to lagos nigeria online from my bank in america to lagos.

Gunn berit Åkre wrote:
hello i must transfer 700 dollars on november 19 to nigeria and it important that the money will be sent that day.

Answer:

Muriel and Gunn, I would first caution you to be careful who you are sending money to, and for what reason. Nigeria is the scam and fraud capital of the world. Are you absolutely sure that you are sending money for something legitimate? If so, here are your options:

1. Western Union Money Transfer (http://www.westernunion.com/nigeria)

2. MoneyGram (http://global.moneygram.com/ng/en)

3. World Remit (https://www.worldremit.com/en/nigeria)

4. Xend Pay (http://www.xendpay.com)

5. Western Union near Marplasolo, France?

karen linton wrote:
where is the western union in france? is one in marplasolo? or even near?

Answer:

Karen, I am sorry, but I can not find such a place in France.

6. How can I get my money transfer back?

eugene smith wrote:
I called the company to whom i sent a payment & discovered that they no longer
accept payments. What do I do to have the payment returned? THANKS.

Answer:

Eugene, you should first call the money transfer service you used and find out if the payment has been received. If not, then they can probably refund it to you. If the payment has been received, then you can find out who received it and request a refund from them.

7. Safest way to send money to an online gambling service?

suzanne glynn wrote:
I live in California and I would like to play poker online. Any suggestions on how to transfer funds to a safe… if it exists…online poker site with the assurance of withdrawing winnings with little or no hassle. thanks for your help….suzanne

Answer:

Suzanne, we don’t report on or research online gambling sites or issues. Sorry.

8. How to send money from the USA to the UAE?

Linda Briley wrote:
I need to send money to the UAE (United Arab Emirates) as soon as possible. for my husband to come home.

Answer:

Linda, you didn’t say where you are located but I’ll assume the USA. There are several money transfer services you can use to send money to the UAE.

There is Western Union, in which, you have to walk in to one of the Western Union agents in your city, give them the money and the details about your husband’s location and obtain a MTCN (Money Transfer Control Number). Then give this number to your husband who is in the UAE who can collect the money from one of the Western Union agents in the UAE. You can also use online transfer option from your debit/credit card or from your bank account. Log on to http://www.westernunion.com for this.

There is also MoneyGram, which you can use for transfer of money to the UAE. Even here, you need to walk in to any of the MoneyGram agents or pay online at https://www.moneygram.com.

You can also transfer money through PayPal. You will need to create an account with them on https://www.paypal.com/ and link your debit/credit card or bank account with the PayPal account, in order to transfer the money. All you need to do after linking the card/account is enter your husband’s email address and the amount you wish to transfer. If he is registered on PayPal and has linked his bank account with PayPal, he can immediately withdraw it, otherwise, he will have to sign up on PayPal with the email address you had sent the money to.

***

Do you have a question about money transfer services, gift cards, sending money to a mobile phone, or a problem you’re having with a money transfer? Calling the money transfer agent’s customer service line should be your first course of action, but if that doesn’t work then contact us through our contact form, and we’ll be happy to answer.

Sending money from Brazil with Perfect Money?

A reader named Alberto Miranda wrote:

Question:

Gostaria de saber se: http://safecashtransfer.com/ pode me ajudar – Criei uma
conta em Perfect Money e preciso enviar pelo menos 200 dólares sacando do meu
Visa internacional. É possível? E como devo proceder se minha moeda é o Real
do Brasil? – Aguardo sugestão. Obrigado – Alberto Miranda

I ran this through Google Translate and got the following translation from the Portuguese:

I wonder if SafeCashTransfer.com can help me – I created a
Perfect Money account and must send at least $ 200 of my whipping
Visa International. Is it possible? And what should I do if my currency is the Real
Brazil? – I await suggestions. Thanks – Alberto Miranda

Short Answer:

Perfect Money logo.
Perfect Money logo.

Alberto, it doesn’t look like you can fund your Perfect Money account with a Visa card. You need to do a bank transfer, or convert from another digital currency like WebMoney. You could also try an alternative e-currency service like Paypal (the leader in the field).

Long Answer:

I had actually never heard of Perfect Money, so I looked them up.

Perfect Money (http://www.PerfectMoney.com) is apparently an e-currency or digital currency provider registered in Panama and headquartered in Zurich, Switzerland. They also offer currency conversion and prepaid cards.

Digital currencies are accepted by some legitimate businesses, though not many. Mostly they are used to pay contractors and buy products from individual sellers. They are popular among online criminals (drug dealers, scammers, hackers) because they do not require any form of identity verification.

Many of the clients of Costa Rica-based Liberty Reserve – which was known for catering to cybercriminals and was shut down when the founder was arrested on money laundering charges – have migrated to Perfect Money. In an apparent bid to avoid investigation by the U.S. Justice Department, Perfect Money declared in a release on their website that they would not accept user registrations from the United States.

That’s not to say that Perfect Money’s service is not legitimate. By all appearances it is. Here’s some specific information on the service, taken from their website and other sources:

Deposit fees
Wire from 1.5%
Conversion
USD/EUR , EUR/USD
At market rate
Interest
Added to balance: 4% per year
Transfers
Internal 0.5%
Withdrawal fees
Wire transfer from 3.75% + bank fee
Security fees
SMS Notification $0.1
Annual Service $0
Account Restoration $100

So if you use Perfect Money to send money to someone else with a Perfect Money account, the company takes 0.5%. That could be quite low or quite high, depending on how much  money you’re sending. On the whole it’s a very reasonable fee.

You can deposit funds into your Perfect Money account by the following means:

1) If you have some other electronic currency you can exchange it for Perfect Money currency.

2) Bank transfer: Minimum sum of deposit is $300 USD.

You can withdraw funds from Perfect Money by the following means:

1) Exchange for any other electronic currency (for example, PayPal) and then withdraw in any exchange office in your city.

2) Bank transfer to your account via exchange offices that are partners of Perfect Money. I would not recommend that you withdraw on your bank account directly via Perfect Money. In my opinion, the system charges too high a commission for such a service.

3) Cash transfer via Western Union and MoneyGram.

If any readers have experience with Perfect Money, I would love to hear about it. Did you find it easy to use? Did you have any problems? Was it affordable?

Two Options for Online Money Transfers

You no longer have to go to a money transfer office to schedule money transfers.  You can send money to friends and family from the comfort of your home with online money transfer services.

Many of the traditional money transfer services now offer the option of making a transfer over the phone or online at their website.  Other companies have been started in recent years that exist solely as online services.  Here are two of them to consider.

Western Union

Western union safe cash transfer
Western Union

Western Union has been doing regular electronic money transfers for years and has now expanded into online service via the internet.  You have several options when using their online service for payment.  If you need the money to arrive quickly, you can pay with a debit or credit card.  If it is not an emergency, you can use your bank account to transfer money.

You create an online profile with Western Union that you can go back to anytime you need to send money.  Then you choose your options based on what you need.  The receiver can get their money several ways:

  • In their bank account
  • At a Western Union agent near their location
  • Delivered to their home or office
  • In their mobile wallet

If you don’t feel comfortable sharing your bank information with Western Union, they also provide WU Pay.  With this option, you can set up a payment in your Western Union account and they will send a bill.  Then you go to your bank account’s online bill pay and pay the bill like you would any other.

With all of these options, you receive email confirmation to know that the money has been sent.

Xoom

Xoom is a newer money transfer company founded in 2001 and located in San Francisco.  They handle all transfers online and send money to the following countries:

  • The Philippines
  • Europe
  • Latin America
  • India
  • Canada
  • Australia
  • South Africa

You must sign up on their website before you can send money.  Once you create a profile, you will enter the recipient’s information, including their name and country, how much you want to send, and how you want them to receive the money.  You have three options on this: bank deposit, pick up in person, or delivery to their home.  The latter two options may not be available in all countries.

You will also need to know the recipient’s address and bank information (if depositing into their account) and contact phone number.  You will then enter your payment information where you have the option of paying from your bank account or with a credit card.  You will have a final chance to review the transaction before submitting.

It’s much easier to send money today with online money transfer services.  You have multiple options, which allow you to select the most affordable choice with the best features.  These are two of the best known companies, one that has expanded their services and one that only provides online services.

New online money transfer service to Rwanda

MTN Rwanda and MFS Africa today announced the launch of an online money transfer service that enables MTN Mobile Money customers to receive international remittances directly on their mobile phones.

MTN is a global communications company and cellular provider, focused on the Africa and the Middle East.

MFS Africa (Mobile Financial Services Africa)  connects money transfer operators, remittance hubs and banks to mobile wallet schemes across Africa. They also run web-based money transfer services on a white label basis.

MTNMMO international money transfer service

The website for the new online money transfer service is MTNMMO.COM.

Rwanda has large populations living overseas. Millions are in other African nations, and many more are in Europe and the United States. In fact, the Rwandan government even has a ministry (the Diaspora General Directorate) dedicated to serving the needs of the Rwandan diaspora.

Naturally, these millions of Rwandan emigrants need an easy way to send money home to their families in Rwanda.

With this new service, senders from outside Rwanda can now register on the website MTNMMO.COM and send funds from their debit card or bank transfer via the internet to Rwanda by simply entering a beneficiary’s mobile phone number. Funds are delivered immediately to the beneficiary’s Mobile Money account in Rwanda.

Mobile Money has already been offering this money transfer service within Rwanda itself. Now the service has been extended to senders overseas.

“Making the connection to MTNMMO.COM to enable international remittances together with MFS Africa was high priority for us to better serve our customers, understanding their need to use their Mobile Money accounts to receive money from abroad,” said Albert Kinuma, head of MTN Business. “We will continue to add new services to MTN Mobile Money, and grow our agent network, now standing at over 700 agents across Rwanda. With MFS Africa as a partner, we look forward to introducing additional products to Mobile Money in the near future.”

Auke Algera, the General Manager East Africa at MFS Africa said MTNMMO.COM is the first product being launched in Rwanda by the company. “The service extends the benefits of Mobile Money to the Rwandan Diaspora,” he explained. “We established ourselves in Rwanda because we are committed to deploying a range of innovative financial products for mobile money providers in the region.”

SBI and MoneyGram Teaming Up – SBI Branches Become MoneyGram Agents

SBI branch office
An SBI branch office. SBI has inked a deal with MoneyGram to provide inbound money transfer pickups in its branch offices.

New Pick-Up Options for India Money Transfers

The State Bank of India – SBI – announced last month that MoneyGram in-bound cash remittance services will be available in 100 SBI branches in Chennai and Mumbai.

Basically what this means is that if you send money to someone in India from any of the tens of thousands of MoneyGram locations worldwide, the recipient in India will be able to receive the cash at participating SBI branches. SBI is India’s largest public-sector bank, with 13,000 branches. And India was the world’s largest recipient of remittances in 2010, according to the World Bank, amounting to nearly $55 billion last year.

In order to receive the money transfer, the recipient must have the money transfer code, and must show a photo ID and proof of Indian residency. According to RBI guidelines, Indian nationals can draw up to Rs50,000 in cash immediately. Transactions above Rs50,000 are paid out in the form of a cheque. Foreign nationals can withdraw cash up to the equivalent of $2,500 after producing a valid passport and visa.

This is a pilot program. SBI has plans roll out the MoneyGram tie-in to all of its 13,000 branches in the next two years.

MoneyGram has been rapidly growing its network of partners in India. MoneyGram offers a convenient and reliable way to send money to India, with competitive rates and good currency exchange rates as well.

Interestingly, SBI already has the same sort of tie-in established with Western Union in all its branches. So within the next few years, Indians will be able to pick up either Western Union or MoneyGram money transfers at all SBI branches. SBI continues to aggressively position itself as a one-stop money transfer center for Indian nationals.

Send Money Online With a Credit Card, Part 2 – Xoom and iKobo

Sending money

Part 1 – Western Union, MoneyGram, Paypal
Part 2 – Xoom and iKobo
Part 3 – Moneybookers and Amazon Payments

In Send Money Online With a Credit Card, Part 1, I covered three major money-transfer services: Western Union, MoneyGram and Paypal.

In Part 2 I will discuss some lesser known money transfer services.

4. Xoom.com by Credit Card

Recommended.

Based in San Francisco, Xoom.com does not have their own dedicated stores, rather they partner with various financial institutions who act as their agents (this is common of course; Western Union and MoneyGram do it too). For example in Panama, Xoom partners with Citi and the Super99 grocery store chain, among others. They have 42 pickup locations in Panama, which is pretty good.

Xoom seems to specialize in money transfers to Latin America and Europe, though they do have a scattering of agents in Asia and other places. As of this writing they have agents in 30 countries. That may be a far cry from Western Union’s 200+ countries, but Xoom still provides a good service.

The fees are reasonable and you can pay with a U.S.- based credit card or debit card, or with a U.S. bank account. To take the example I used previously of sending $500 to Panama, if you paid by U.S. bank account the fee would be $7.99. If you paid with a credit card or debit card it would be $19.99. They accept Visa, MasterCard or Discover.

I have used Xoom‘s services in the past and found them to be reliable.

Caution

If you haven’t read Part 1, here’s my standard warning about funding a money transfer with your credit card:

Be aware that in addition to the normal fees that the money transfer company charges, your credit card company may impose an extra fee. They might see a money transfer transaction as a cash advance, and charge you the cash advance APR (interest rate), which can be considerably higher than your card’s default APR. It’s best to check with your bank first and find out if there are any extra charges for funding a money transfer with your credit card.

5. iKobo.com by Credit Card

Not available.

I used to use iKobo.com all the time to send money to a web development contractor overseas. Their fee to send $500 to Panama is $21.25 (I use Panama as my example because I used to live there); if you fund the transaction from your bank account you can send up to $1,000 anywhere for only $8, which is a great deal.

However, when I visited the website just now I saw the following notice on their home page:

Important Notice: iKobo money transfer is temporarily suspended while we update our services. Money transfer services will soon be restored.

I don’t know what’s going on with them.

Next: MoneyBookers and Amazon Payments.

Send Money Online With a Credit Card, Part 1 – Western Union, MoneyGram, Paypal

Send money online

Part 1 – Western Union, MoneyGram, Paypal
Part 2 – Xoom and iKobo
Part 3 – Moneybookers and Amazon Payments

If you want to use a credit card to send money online from the convenience of your home, there are several options:

1. Western Union by Credit Card

Recommended.

Western Union is one of the world’s leading money transfer companies, with almost 400,000 agents in over 200 countries around the world. If you walk into a Western Union office to send money you must pay in cash, or use a debit card. However, if you do it by phone or through their WesternUnion.com website, you can use a credit card. It must be a Visa or MasterCard, issued by a U.S. bank.

It’s safe to say that Western Union has long been the leading company offering this service of sending money online by credit card.

Advantages

The money you send will be available to the receiver literally in minutes. You can also transfer the funds directly to the receiver’s bank account. Alternatively, you can have the funds delivered to the receiver’s home or workplace by FedEx the next day.

Fees

The sender must pay a fee to send money by Western Union. The fee will vary depending on the amount, and the countries that you send money from and to.

Caution

Be aware that in addition to the normal fees that Western Union charges, your credit card company may impose an extra fee. They might see a Western Union transaction as a cash advance, and charge you the cash advance APR (interest rate), which can be considerably higher than your card’s default APR. It’s best to check with your bank first and find out if there are any extra charges for funding a Western Union transfer or other online money transfer.

2. MoneyGram by Credit Card

Recommended.

MoneyGram also allows you to send money online with a credit card. Go to their website at MoneyGram.com, and right on the home page you can choose the country you want to send money to, choose the receive option (for most countries there’s only one option – pick up at agent, local currency payout), enter the amount, and click “Get Started”.

At this point the window will change to show you a cost estimate. For example to send $500 to Panama, the fee is $31 for same-day service, in which the money will be available to the receiver in 10 minutes, or $15 for economy service, where the money will be available in 3 business days. For some reason economy service can only be funded from your bank account, but same-day service can be paid for by credit card.

The window will also give you a link to their MoneyGram location finder, which allows you to search and find a list of MoneyGram agents in any country and city. I found it rather annoying that when I clicked this link, instead of showing me the info in a pop-up page the website took me to a new page, and did not save any of the info I had just entered. So I navigated back to the home page and started over, re-entering the country and amount. Anyway, once you input the info and click “Get Started”, you’ll be asked to register and confirm your email address, then you’ll be able to send money online with your credit card, using the same-day service option.

Caution

The same warning applies that I mentioned above. Your credit card company might view this transaction as a cash advance, and charge you a higher APR. Make sure you check with your bank first and find out if there are any extra charges for funding an online money transfer with your credit card.

3. Paypal by Credit Card

Not recommended.

Paypal is another very popular service that allows you to send money to anyone who also has a Paypal account. However, Paypal no longer seems to allow the option to add funds to your account by credit card – at least my account does not. Instead, I see only two options: add funds from a U.S. bank account, or add funds from a Green Dot MoneyPak. The MoneyPak is essentially a prepaid card that you can buy at Walmart or many other locations. There’s a service fee to load money onto the card, and you can then use it to pay for various transactions.

So theoretically you could use your credit card to buy a MoneyPak, then use the MoneyPak to fund your Paypal account, then send money by Paypal. However, you’d be paying two and possible three separate service charges, so I do not recommend this option

Conclusion

There are other, smaller services that may allow you to send money online with your credit card. I will look into them in the coming weeks. However, the major ones are Western Union and MoneyGram. These companies are international, well-established and trustworthy. So I would stick with them.

Western Union Waives Fee for Money Transfers to Japan

Japan earthquake and tsunami destruction
Western Union has introduced a no-fee money transfer program to Japan

In the wake of the devastating earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan recently, Western Union as of today, March 17, 2011, is waiving the fees for money transfers to that nation.

This program will continue to be available through April 17, 2011, and is subject to network and currency availability, the company said. Money transfers to Japan can be made at Western Union service locations, or online through their website, which is WesternUnion.com.

Earlier this week, the Western Union Foundation made a $50,000 contribution to Mercy Corps in support of Peace Winds Japan, its local partner, to provide for the immediate needs of Japanese disaster survivors, including supplying shelter, food, water, blankets and medicine.

Additionally, Western Union has activated a special account to enable U.S. consumers to support Japan disaster-relief efforts. People in the U.S. can donate to Mercy Corps by sending a no-fee money transfer using the Western Union Quick Collect service (code city: Japan Relief, CO) online or through any participating Western Union agent location.

The Western Union Foundation also has initiated a Japan Earthquake Relief Fund to match donations from Western Union employees.

I commend Western Union for taking these steps. This is exactly the kind of corporate social responsibility that we need to see more of. I encourage people to take advantage of this program by donating to Mercy Corps through Western Union.