I recently found myself needing to send $750 to a friend named Adam in El Valle de Anton, which is a small town in Panama. I went to my bank (Bank of America) and inquired about sending a money transfer. They told me I had to come back early the next morning and it would cost $45.
Instead, I went home and logged on to Xoom.com, an online money transfer service based in San Francisco.
Checking the rates, I found that it would be $27.99 to send $750 to Panama using a debit card or credit card; and only $9.99 if I funded the transaction from my bank account!
So that’s what I did. I used my bank account to send the money. Until recently money sent to Panama via Xoom could only be picked up at a few selected banks in the capital city, which is 90 minutes away from El Valle. But now Xoom has partnered with the Super99 grocery store chain as well, so money transfers can be picked up at any Super99. And there are Super99 stores everywhere, including in Coronado, only 30 minutes away from El Valle.
The money transfer was completed quickly – within an hour or so. My friend Adam told me that it was easy to pick up the money. He said he didn’t know that money could be sent from the USA to Panama so cheaply, and that he would recommend Xoom to others as well.
Overall it was a quick and easy transaction, and inexpensive. If you need to send money to Latin America, I highly recommend Xoom.com.